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Jerkbaits: Need Some Advice

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Ok, so I like throwing the jig too much...so much that I buy and tie hundreds every year, and probably fish jigs 90% of the time. When not on jigs it's mainly senkos, spinners, and shakyheads.  So this spring I'm committed to making an effort to learn more about jerkbaits, a lure I like throwing when the bite is on. But the waters I fish it just doesn't seem to be a hot bait.  Never the less I plan on having a jerkbait on deck all spring.

Most of the problem I'm having is deciding what kind to buy...Do I really need to spend $10, $15, and more on lucky crafts, yo-zuri's, megabass, etc?... Are they really that much better?  My jerkbait box, which doesn't get open often mainly consists of Suspending Rogues in a few colors, I believe a few bombers, and of course some rapala's (floater/diver and suspenders).

 

I almost bought one expensive one yesterday, but went with another Rapala X-Rap XR10 7/16 ounce in Moss Back Shiner...I own one other X-rap in a blue/silver color, and have thrown it a few times but never been bit.  I know this is a mult-species lure (or is advertised as one) is it effective on bass, and a good bait?

 

Finally what colors are best in Kansas/Midwest...usually pretty clean water?  I have friends who fish Table Rock and are always talking about clown color, but I just can't get past the fact that it doesn't resemble any baitfish we have around here...? And in spring what depth is best? I believe most of mine fall into the suspending 3-10 foot depth running baits...the deep diving ones all seem really expensive. And when fish are on the bottom is a suspending jerkbait really the right bait?

 

Bunches of questions I know :dazed-7:   But I just really want to get this jerkbait thing figured out...I love lures that catch big fish in spring fall, and honestly other than jigs which I have down pat, I know this is a tried and true cold water bait....apparently just not for me lol.

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While its not necessary to buy expensive jerkbaits to catch fish, it may affect the numbers you catch. One weekend I lost 4 Jackall Squad Minnows getting hung up in cover. So instead of spending another 60 on more Jackalls I started looking at other ones on TW. Ordered several in the 5-9 dollar range. I rarely catch fish on them. Example, I ordered 3 Baker Lures jerk baits. I threw all three for about an hour. I managed 1 bite. So I tied on an LC Pointer, caught 8 fish. The action on the pointer was more erratic and the finish(American Shad) was definitely a step above. Id rather catch fish than spend money on a lure that doesn't.

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While its not necessary to buy expensive jerkbaits to catch fish, it may affect the numbers you catch. One weekend I lost 4 Jackall Squad Minnows getting hung up in cover. So instead of spending another 60 on more Jackalls I started looking at other ones on TW. Ordered several in the 5-9 dollar range. I rarely catch fish on them. Example, I ordered 3 Baker Lures jerk baits. I threw all three for about an hour. I managed 1 bite. So I tied on an LC Pointer, caught 8 fish. The action on the pointer was more erratic and the finish(American Shad) was definitely a step above. Id rather catch fish than spend money on a lure that doesn't.

 

:mad: Not what I wanted to hear...but I expected this may be the case. Any tips on good colors and models/companies is helpful. Thanks for the input.

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The Luck E Strike jerkbaits are a great bait that comes in a lot of colors similar to the Megabass and the bait design is very similar. French Pearl is my favorite color. Herring bone chartreuse, cosmic shad, pro blue, stealth flash, and secret night are all good colors. I'm not a fan of the X raps, they just don't seem to catch the bigger fish around here. I really like the Lucky Craft Pointers and Slender Pointers and Duo Realis baits as well and feel they're 100% worth the money, but you don't need them to catch fish all the time, but they're the best bait in certain situations. 

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The Luck E Strike jerkbaits are a great bait that comes in a lot of colors similar to the Megabass and the bait design is very similar. French Pearl is my favorite color. Herring bone chartreuse, cosmic shad, pro blue, stealth flash, and secret night are all good colors. I'm not a fan of the X raps, they just don't seem to catch the bigger fish around here. I really like the Lucky Craft Pointers and Slender Pointers and Duo Realis baits as well and feel they're 100% worth the money, but you don't need them to catch fish all the time, but they're the best bait in certain situations. 

 

Well you know I don't have a problem burning money  :drinking-10:  :laugh_blue:!! You've seen the crazy money I spend on rods and reels. I guess I would be more comfortable if I had more success on them, and that they worked on the lakes I fish often. I buy most mine off TW, send me some links sometime. And do you ever have luck on them at Wabunsee??  How early in spring do you start throwing them?

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I've done pretty well with them out there, especially on the smallmouth. One of the biggest smallmouth I caught out there last year was off the point right by the ramp on a jerkbait. I start throwing them as soon as the water gets soft. 

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I don't think you need to spend lots if money to get a quality jerkbait. If you want something with the MegaBass style, try the BPS jerkbait for 6.99. You may need to replace the stock hook, but you are still not in for $25. Another good option if the forage size is very small is a YoZuri Pin's Minnow. Lastly, the XCalibur Edwin Evers 'EEratic Shad' has a good action, quality finish, and quality trebles, and usually retails for about $9. The XRap is a good bait for bass, and many people excel at catching smallmouth with them. I believe they are a better bait in slightly warmer water, because they have a lot of action and are good when fish are slightly more active. For colors I mostly use shad colors... I also bought a clown color a few days ago. I will let you know my experience w/it.

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I have a large assortment of Lucky Crafts, Rogues, X-Raps, Husky Jerks & regular Rapala baits.  I generally start with Lucky Craft.  Everyone has their own ideas about how to make jerk baits work.  I do also.  I prefer spinning gear for stick baits because generally when the stick bait bite is on, it is somewhat windy.  I have had too many bad experiences with throwing jerk baits in the wind with bait casting gear that I just refuse to mess with it anymore.  I use a short 6'3" Medium action spinning rod with an extra fast tip.  This length works for me so that when I'm doing a downward jerking action with the rod, I'm not smacking into the side of the boat or into the water.  I realize I could extend my casting distance if I went to a 7 1/2' rod but the extra length is an extra hassle in this case.

 

Early in the spring, guys want to get their baits to suspend as deep as possible, and some companies tell lies about how deep their baits will suspend.  I think 3 or 4 feet is plenty in most situations, fish will come up to get a suspended jerk bait if they want it.  I throw mine on 14 lb Fireline Crystal and a 3 foot or so fluorocarbon leader, generally 15 lb test.  As far as colors go, you've just got to experiment and find the color that works for you that day.  Me, I generally start with a Pointer 100 SP in a Table Rock Shad color.   I tend to stick with that color because I get bit on that color a lot.  As far as which came first - me liking the color or getting bit on the color - I dunno.

 

Clown is a good color though, if I'm on Grand Lake, I am starting with a clown color.  The tournament success of that color on that lake is difficult to ignore.  I've rambled on here a little bit, and I didn't mean to because I'm not that good of a jerk bait fisherman.  The gear I described in the previous paragraph is the result of my jerk bait experiences over the past decade.  Your experiences may vary.

 

My other bit of advice for jerk baits is to buy a pack of suspend dots and suspend strips (sticky lead tape) and be prepared to experiment with how you weight your baits.  Suspending jerk baits are temperature sensitive and a bait that suspends correctly at 45 degree water doesn't necessarily suspend correctly at 50 degree water and visa/versa.   There are lots of jerk baits out there.   Day in and day out, I think that the "walk the dog" action you can get with a lucky craft 5' down is hard to duplicate with other brands of baits, and when you stop the bait, it has a unique "shiver" that other jerk baits don't have.

 

Lots of guys down at LOZ throw rogues.  There is even a Rogue only tournament on LOZ .

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Rogues are great, I'm one that believes there are enough less expensive baits that work really well that you don't have to buy a high end bait but those also work well. If you have smallmouth present then clown colors is the way to go as is table rock shad, don't worry about bright colors in waters that have smallmouth. The other thing is you need to have various size baits, I'm a guy who likes to throw the larger jerkbaits but I do have a good selection of smaller ones now because there are times when the smaller bait is the one they will eat but not always so good to have a few different sizes. The Luck-E-Strike RC STX in both the larger and smaller size are good baits to have that cost the same as an X-Rap, they suspend incredibly well and catch fish and remember, the colder the water, the longer the pause.

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Don't overlook the fact that different jerkbaits have different actions.  Some wander left and right, some stay very straight, wide actions, tight actions, etc....It's not just the shiny colors and price tags that set them apart :).

 

For example...The MB Vision has a wide action and will wander left/right while the XRap has a tighter action and will stay in a straighter line.  Each has it's time and place.  

 

My favorite jerkbait is the Vision, but that doesn't mean I throw it all the time.  The XRap is a very productive bait for me as well and gets almost as much use.  

 

As for deep divers....The standard/shallow models will draw strikes over deep water.  Many times the fish will come up from a pretty long way to hit a jerkbait, they use the deeper water to ambush bait from below so they are 'looking up'.  BUT, if you are in an area you believe to hold fish and are not getting bit, that's when you should break out the deeper models.  Sometimes they don't want to move vertically, so you need to get your bait closer to them to draw strikes.

 

For colors...I try to stay natural-ish when targeting largemouth.  For smallmouth I will often use brighter or flashy colors, smallies really seem to like the bright/flashy stuff.

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I don't think you need to spend lots if money to get a quality jerkbait. If you want something with the MegaBass style, try the BPS jerkbait for 6.99. You may need to replace the stock hook, but you are still not in for $25. Another good option if the forage size is very small is a YoZuri Pin's Minnow. Lastly, the XCalibur Edwin Evers 'EEratic Shad' has a good action, quality finish, and quality trebles, and usually retails for about $9. The XRap is a good bait for bass, and many people excel at catching smallmouth with them. I believe they are a better bait in slightly warmer water, because they have a lot of action and are good when fish are slightly more active. For colors I mostly use shad colors... I also bought a clown color a few days ago. I will let you know my experience w/it.

 

BPS has Megabass style? Come on :)

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I understand the feeling of not wanting to throw a color that doesn't look natural but think about this.  Have you ever seen a black and blue crawfish or a green pumpkin worm?  Clown does work...especially for smallmouth.  They are a very curious fish and a lot of times will hit stuff just to see what it is.  My advice to you would be to go to Melvern for smallmouth or somewhere with a healthy population of white bass for confidence.  If you can find a school of whites, you can catch them on every cast.  That will give you confidence to try it other places.

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I understand the feeling of not wanting to throw a color that doesn't look natural but think about this.  Have you ever seen a black and blue crawfish or a green pumpkin worm?  Clown does work...especially for smallmouth.  They are a very curious fish and a lot of times will hit stuff just to see what it is.  My advice to you would be to go to Melvern for smallmouth or somewhere with a healthy population of white bass for confidence.  If you can find a school of whites, you can catch them on every cast.  That will give you confidence to try it other places.

Actually I have seen blue crawfish and darters that were very colorful orange , turquoise ...I  use to collect fish for my aquarium .

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The Luck E Strike jerkbaits are a great bait that comes in a lot of colors similar to the Megabass and the bait design is very similar. French Pearl is my favorite color. Herring bone chartreuse, cosmic shad, pro blue, stealth flash, and secret night are all good colors. I'm not a fan of the X raps, they just don't seem to catch the bigger fish around here. I really like the Lucky Craft Pointers and Slender Pointers and Duo Realis baits as well and feel they're 100% worth the money, but you don't need them to catch fish all the time, but they're the best bait in certain situations.

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x2

 

That's two votes for these baits and colors. I'll check them out.

 

I have no problem spending $500 + on a custom rod, but find a $25 jerkbait a slap in the face...lol I guess I'm an eccentric dude!

 

Thanks for all the input guys, I already have a more positive outlook on this, and more importantly where to spend my money.

 

Keep the tips coming, and temps you guys like throwing them at. I have an especially hard time putting the jig down when the water is in the 40's but maybe I need to try these....

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That's two votes for these baits and colors. I'll check them out.

 

I have no problem spending $500 + on a custom rod, but find a $25 jerkbait a slap in the face...lol I guess I'm an eccentric dude!

 

Thanks for all the input guys, I already have a more positive outlook on this, and more importantly where to spend my money.

 

Keep the tips coming, and temps you guys like throwing them at. I have an especially hard time putting the jig down when the water is in the 40's but maybe I need to try these....

Keep throwing your jigs, at the same time though you'll want a jerk tied on another setup, these are the only two baits I fish once the water dips below 50. I fish em on 8-10lb flouro and remember, some days you will have to fish painfully slow, just the nature of the bait. Brands I use are rouges, LC and the x-raps, I wont buy a megabass or other high end JB due to the fact of #1, the price and #2 I catch plenty on the other brands. Just keep an eye on ebay and amazon and those 16-18$ jerkbaits can be had for 10$ or less more often than not, Ive never paid any where close to retail on a LC.

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RC Stx are my easy favorite  after Pointers ... lost a 120SP pointer in American shad with custom feather hooks   ouch   week ago

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Rc stx best value

Lc pointer very popular and mid price

Duo jerk's JDM quality and great bait not overly expensive.

MB 110 to rich for me but beautiful!

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Just a follow up on this guys. I did a lot of research and ordered a bunch of jerkbaits from TW. I'm already acquiring a small arsenal of size 78 and 100 LC pointer minnow sp's. I also ordered some LC slender pointers, LC flash minnow, sp, a Duo Realis 100sp, an Ima Flit (which honestly I'm stoked about- it looks really sweet) I believe around 8 or 9 baits in all, most of them Lucky Craft, and all of them in the 4-6 foot suspending category with weight transfer system. As it gets closer to spawn time I'll try some shallower runners, but I already own some Rapala and Rogue floater shallow runners, actually quite a few.

 

I should be hitting the lake with Bluebasser in a few weeks and break out the jerks...the baits not us lol. These are already getting addictive!

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You could also try the H2O Express line of jerkbaits from Academy....they have produced well for me and I definitely don't mind if I do lose one bc of the price point

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You could also try the H2O Express line of jerkbaits from Academy....they have produced well for me and I definitely don't mind if I do lose one bc of the price point

How much do those run?

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How much do those run?

$5.99 at our stores for the Jerk Shad and it is a terrific bait for the money, just like every other Academy bait it seems. 

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