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billmac

What makes a jerkbait?

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Is the classic Rapala floater considered a jerkbait?  If not, what makes a jerkbait a jerkbait?

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Absolutely that is a jerkbait sir, possibly the original.  As a kid, I would cast it out, twitch it a few times on the surface, then reel it back in.  Just for kicks I started to add twitches, pauses, and jerks into the retrieve and the bass approved!  My shallow water jerkbait bite was on, and has been is a killer ever since.

 

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The reason I asked, is that when I was still a fishing fanatic, we didn't call them (floaters) jerkbaits.  Jerkbaits were relatively new and were usually Rapala-ish, but with neutral buoyancy. I think some people called the floaters stickbaits, but now I see some soft plastics are called stickbaits and that certainly wasn't the case back then.

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A rose by any other name... Jerkbait, minnow, plug, swimmer. Some of the best "jerkbaits" are walleye trolling lures (or is it the other way around?)

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Some of it is a "definition" thing, affected by regional or slang variables.  The first bait that comes to mind when the term "jerkbait" is used is a longer (4 or 5 inches plus) bodied hard bait with 2 or 3 sets of treble hooks that either floats, sinks or suspends.  Kind of a variable of a crankbait, bill size will determine where it positions in the water column.  It got the name jerkbait from the standard retrieve of snapping or JERKing the bait although you can retrieve it just like a crankbait.  Even the almighty Senko is called a soft Jerkbait by some but that refers more to the retrieve than the action.  

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Hard minnow baits are jerkbaits and the Rapala original floater was one of, if not the very first. I started bass fishing before minnow baits were suspending, the closest thing to that was when Rapala came out with the countdown minnow and I believe Rebel had one as well. I remember reading an issue of fishing facts about guys drilling holes in minnow lures and adding lead to make the bait sit motionless under the water instead of floating back up for spring time bass. Then Luck-E-Strike came out with a Rick Clunn model jerkbait that had a plastic grommet in the bottom and came with a syringe so you could fill the bait with enough water to make it suspend, the problem was trying to get the grommet out multiple times as you tried to get just the right amount of water in it. 

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