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IgotWood

Need a little help with jerk baits, please

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Hey folks. I need a little bit of help with jerk baits. I have been fishing them quite a bit this fall in water temps from 45-55, and also yesterday where the temp topped out at 60 degrees, and depths from 5'-9'. I have been fishing Lucky Craft Pointers, and Rapala Shadow Raps in open water near drop-offs, which is where I have been marking fish on my machine. I've tried fast, moderate, slow, and super slow retrieves, and nothing seems to be working. Perhaps they just are not active fish, or maybe they're panfish, but regardless, I want to learn how to fish jerk baits. 

What are some of the conditions you fish jerk baits? And what is your retrieve like? Do you ever use it as a search bait? Throw it into heavy cover, like wood? Any advice will help...thanks!

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My retrieve is I cast out, reel to get the bait to dive, then stop. I'll wait, jerk the bait twice, reel up the slack, pause, jerk twice, reel up the slack, and do it again. The pause will be anywhere from half a second to a full minute.  Usually I start with about a 2 second pause. I'll change, the length of the pause depending on what they react to. Colder water will usually mean longer pauses.  I seldom if ever fish jerkbaits with a steady retrieve. This is with suspending jerkbaits. I believe the trigger is the pause. When the bait is jerked and it dances wildly then stops right in a fishes face and holds there, they just can't resist an easy meal. 

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I too, have been doing two jerks, and a pause. I have been changing the length of the pause; sometimes 1 second, and as long as 15-20 seconds. The length of the pause is what I was referring to when talking about the speed of the retrieve. 

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2 minutes ago, IgotWood said:

I too, have been doing two jerks, and a pause. I have been changing the length of the pause; sometimes 1 second, and as long as 15-20 seconds. The length of the pause is what I was referring to when talking about the speed of the retrieve. 

What's the water clarity like?  I usually have a hard time catching them on jerkbaits if I don't have at least 2 feet of visibility.  Also, make sure you give the bait slack immediately after both jerks, this allows the jerkbait to swing around and dart to the side.  I usually like play around with a new jekrbait right next to the boat where I can see it, that way I can tell what motion I need to give it to get the right action out of it. 

My standard retrieve is two jerks and then a pause, and I vary the pause length starting at only a second or two and go up to around ten seconds, occasionally in very cold water they want something even longer than that but as a general rule that's as long a pause that the fish want (plus I'm not usually pacient enough to wait longer than that, using a thirty second pause between jerks could take over ten minutes per retrieve if you actually time it:blink:). 

And there are some days that they just don't want a jerkbait, for instance if they are hugging the bottom instead of suspended, a jerkbait might not be your best option. 

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People swear they're for cold water applications. But I catch bass on jerkbaits year round. Typically slower retrieve in late fall/early spring, and faster spring through early fall. 

My favorite is to snap-snap-snap straight down . It gives the x-rap a nice roll when it comes to a rest. 

You must figure the fish out every day. There is no golden retrieve. I recommend really getting comfortable with a few of your favorites that way you can visualize what they are doing under water. 

Sometimes they don't want a jerkbait ! Don't force the issue.. 

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I have found that there is no one retrieve that works every time. Sometimes it's a series of jerks and pauses, sometimes it's pulls and pauses. Other times it's some combination of the two. The one thing that is the real key is finding the shad in the area. If I can find the shad and then locate fish suspended over brush piles or under docks etc. near them, I find my success rate goes way up. The deeper the fish are suspended the deeper diving jerkbaits i will use. I like to keep it just over their heads. In water temps in the 40-50 range I use a more subtle retrieve with longer pauses. In water 50 to about 55ish I like a more aggressive retrieve with shorter pauses. I will seldom throw a jerkbait in water over 55 as I find I can cover more water with a crankbait, spinnerbait etc.

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6 minutes ago, Yeajray231 said:

Ha-ha.  I post mine and yours slides in right above it. Saying "some days they just don't want a jerkbait " . @IndianaFinesse

 

Must have posted mine just a few seconds before you and your computer took a second to register or something?

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5 minutes ago, IndianaFinesse said:

Must have posted mine just a few seconds before you and your computer took a second to register or something?

Ya beat me to it. I just thought it was funny we had a comment the exact same . That's when you know its true. Ha-ha 

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Sometimes it's not the pauses that's the problem, sometimes it's the jerk causes the issue. If you're jerking it too hard, or not popping the slack, a lot of times you're over working the bait. Try a little less aggressive jerk next time you're out. As the water cools later in the year, I've found that sometimes it even works better just to pull the bait slowly instead of jerking it. 

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+1 for the 2 jerk pause retrieve 

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So this might not be taken seriously, but try it.  The usual jerk is in a downward motion.  Try across (side ways) or upwards as well.  Same bait will behave slightly different based on the jerk.  Had days where you had to do the upwards sweep to get bit.  Try it sometimes.

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When the water gets cooler or even cold - my "Jerkbait" becomes a "Pull-Bait"

I catch a whole lot more fish this way. 

Watch this clip.

A-Jay

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Great info, guys...thanks! I'm headed out this morning. I'm thinking about fishing only jerk baits for the day. I've done this in the past to force myself to learn a bait, and glad I did it. 

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The suspended fish you are seeing are prob not bass.

As said they work better in more clear water.

DONT rip it like KVD in cold water. I actually fish it more like a jig. Crank it down and pause. Then just work it slow like a jig or worm. Very slight twitches then pause. vary your twitches and pauses.

Get a deep jerk like a LC Stacee or KVD deep.

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5 hours ago, IgotWood said:

Great info, guys...thanks! I'm headed out this morning. I'm thinking about fishing only jerk baits for the day. I've done this in the past to force myself to learn a bait, and glad I did it. 

I do this when I'm in a slump.Bring nothing but a pack of hooks and a bag of yum dingers.Get back to basics.

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So, today I fished a different lake due to the wind. Shallow, mostly 2-5'. We're fishing cranks, jigs, and worms...nothing happening.  Another guy comes paddling through and asks if we catching. I said no, and returned the question. Right as I asked him, he hooked a fish about 3lbs. JERK BAIT! Then, on his very next cast, he caught another. :angry:

So, I spent the next 3-4 hours fishing only jerk baits. I caught one fish about 4-5"...yes, INCHES. Whatever...it still beats sitting at home on the couch. Even though I didn't catch, I still feel like the day was well spent. I feel much more confident with this bait. Now I just need to put myself in the right situation to have a better day next time. Thanks again to you guys for the advice. 

 

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20 hours ago, A-Jay said:

When the water gets cooler or even cold - my "Jerkbait" becomes a "Pull-Bait"

A-Jay

This for the win.

I fish jerkbaits 12 months of the year and they are always my first choice when the water hasn't warmed up enough to consider throwing a topwater.  Once the water warms then an erratic jerk can't be beat, but once the temps drop there's nothing quite like pulling a jerkbait over or around cover where you can then pause the lure and the fish will come and gobble it down.

Here's an episode of Lindner's Angling Edge where they're fishing the Shadow Rap in the fall.  They are mixing up their retrieve between jerking and pulling during the video and I'm sure they caught fish on both styles of retrieve.  One thing I took away though is that even when they were jerking the bait during retrieval it was more of a soft jerk instead of an aggressive one.

All the best in your future jerkbait fishing, hope that you can figure them out as it's a great year round presentation that can produce some big bags during great multi species fishing days.

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I too have had no bites at all on a jerk bait.  I have tried every retrieve mentioned and just haven't hooked up yet.  I am going to focus more on them this coming season.

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Don't give up on them - they do produce. We've caught 125 bass in the past two weeks on jerkbaits. Most everything has been covered above. Where you fish them matters...for numbers. That and try and get out with someone who is experienced with the bait (if possible) - it will help tremendously.

-T9

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Went to BPS and picked up a new Rapala shadow rap 11 because of this thread lol.Swapped out the trebles with short shank KVD triple grips and Owner hyper rings.

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24 minutes ago, MassBassin508 said:

Went to BPS and picked up a new Rapala shadow rap 11 because of this thread lol.Swapped out the trebles with short shank KVD triple grips and Owner hyper rings.

Good stuff!  What pattern did you pick up?? I personally tricked out a couple of Shadow Raps with a VMC bleeding red treble on the front and a VMC Barbarian on the back and it helped catching short striking fish quite well.  I swapped out the hooks after the originals had done battle with a 40" musky and while I landed the fish the hooks wouldn't have been able to handle any further contact with any type of fish.

6 minutes ago, UKCATSBASSER said:

Sorry to piggyback but when reeling it down to depth do you real fast for say 4/5 seconds then let it sit. Then start the rip rip pause?

I always reel fast for the initial dive as it'll put a bit more flash and noise out into the surrounding water that you're fishing which can be seen and felt by fish from a fair ways away, especially if you're after smallmouth. That's during cold water fishing.  During warm water fishing I won't crank it down much and just start with the jerk retrieve as I'm normally fishing aggressive fish that will travel distances to hit a jerkbait.

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