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Jerkbait Setup Question


steelheader316

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Good evening,

 

I have scoured this website as well as several others seeking to find a good jerkbait setup, casting preferably.

 

This will primarily be used to hunt trophy class northwest smallmouth prespawn. Like many others here, I pay careful attention to what Dwight Hottle and A-Jay have to say on any and all smallmouth topics. As I understand it, both prefer braid to mono leaders on casting setups, with A-Jay preferring faster Alpha Slasher and Dwight an unnamed moderate casting rod, rated a little heavier to an oz.

 

My question: I am not a fan of braid at all. I will use it for bottom contact and plastics for the sensitivity factor, but I prefer mono. I also have trust issues with fluorocarbon, as Seaguar Red Lable 8lb wasn’t super impressive. I like Maxima UG and Crystal Ivory, both of which have proven their worth over three decades of river steelhead fishing. 
 

My thought would be to use a 6’8”-7’ 8-14lb basting rod with straight 8lb Ultragreen for 110s and Pointer 100s. The big smallmouth forage primarily on Kokanee where I fish, and a 4-5 inch bait is not big at all. 
 

I am new to this technique, other than rapala cd-3s in streams for trout, so any and all suggestions would be appreciated. If braid/leader is optimal for colder jerkbaiting, I will do it, but I’d prefer straight Maxima. Thoughts?
 

What do you

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You won’t like my answer at all but I have done a lot of fishing with suspending jerkbaits for prespawn smallmouth. I use spinning rods and straight braid exclusively. I’ve found that light, thin braided lines allow the jerkbait to dive a bit deeper. On the clear lakes I fish, smallmouth nest a bit deeper.  Also, I find that the stretch of mono and flouro lines soften the action I impart to the lure compared to braid. Because the bait doesn’t get to the bottom, and doesn’t get into the rocks, abrasion resistance isn’t an issue. The jerkbaits I use are on the lighter side and cast easily with spinning gear.

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1 hour ago, Scott F said:

You won’t like my answer at all but I have done a lot of fishing with suspending jerkbaits for prespawn smallmouth. I use spinning rods and straight braid exclusively. I’ve found that light, thin braided lines allow the jerkbait to dive a bit deeper. On the clear lakes I fish, smallmouth nest a bit deeper.  Also, I find that the stretch of mono and flouro lines soften the action I impart to the lure compared to braid. Because the bait doesn’t get to the bottom, and doesn’t get into the rocks, abrasion resistance isn’t an issue. The jerkbaits I use are on the lighter side and cast easily with spinning gear.

Thank you, sir. My preferences aren’t as important to me as fishing effectively. I appreciate your input!

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You will like my answer.  I can fish for prespawn smallmouth, not exactly where I live, (closed season) but close by (catch and release season).  I use mono and fluoro, not braid.  If I want the bait to go deeper I use a +1 or +2 type of bait.  I fish extremely clear water and most of the smallmouth are not deep ( 3 to 6 feet).  I like  lines that stretch a bit.  It gives the jerkbait a special action( yes softer, but I can compensate with rod action or use a lure with a tighter action)) I use small lures at the very beginning of the season with spinning tackle  and 8 pound test but I rapidly go to bigger lures ( 4 to 6 inch) with casting tackle.  I use an Expride rod with a DC reel and 12 to 14 pound fluoro or mono.  I prefer mono early in the year because the temperature is cold and fluoro becomes  stiff.  Later, when it gets warmer, I go to fluoro.  

Where I fish there is not a lot of pressure and you can find large smallmouth  ( +4 pounds) in shallow water  ( less than 6 feet) all year.  

 

 

I forgot: I fish a river with current.

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I almost always use braid with a leader. 10lb braid specifically because it gets me an extra 5 feet of depth using deep diver jerk baits like rapala husky jerks & smithwick DD rogues. But if you don’t need the depth & want to use your favorite mono go for it. I use a St Croix 7’ MHM Legend Tournament spinning rod now discontinued from their walleye line. It’s rated 3/8 to 1 ounce. One of my favorite baits is the LC pointer 128 weighing 1 oz. It’s got plenty of give because of the moderate action for compensating the no stretch braid. Since you want to use mono you can use a MHF or MHXF rod of your choice. The faster action rod will be compensated by the stretch of your mono. I always used  Maxima for leaders. It is super strong & and has good abrasion wear throughout the line classes. I would use a 7’ or 7-6” rod but I work my baits to the side rather than downward slapping the water. The longer rod gives you better casting distance & more cushion on a big smallie when digging boat side. My way (tackle) was developed for me & my circumstances fishing big water mostly deeper than others. But you can develop your own way tackle choice that works for you & your circumstances. Good luck working it out. 

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3 hours ago, Dwight Hottle said:

I almost always use braid with a leader. 10lb braid specifically because it gets me an extra 5 feet of depth using deep diver jerk baits like rapala husky jerks & smithwick DD rogues. But if you don’t need the depth & want to use your favorite mono go for it. I use a St Croix 7’ MHM Legend Tournament spinning rod now discontinued from their walleye line. It’s rated 3/8 to 1 ounce. One of my favorite baits is the LC pointer 128 weighing 1 oz. It’s got plenty of give because of the moderate action for compensating the no stretch braid. Since you want to use mono you can use a MHF or MHXF rod of your choice. The faster action rod will be compensated by the stretch of your mono. I always used  Maxima for leaders. It is super strong & and has good abrasion wear throughout the line classes. I would use a 7’ or 7-6” rod but I work my baits to the side rather than downward slapping the water. The longer rod gives you better casting distance & more cushion on a big smallie when digging boat side. My way (tackle) was developed for me & my circumstances fishing big water mostly deeper than others. But you can develop your own way tackle choice that works for you & your circumstances. Good luck working it out. 

Thank you, Dwight. I appreciate the feedback. 

4 hours ago, Reel said:

You will like my answer.  I can fish for prespawn smallmouth, not exactly where I live, (closed season) but close by (catch and release season).  I use mono and fluoro, not braid.  If I want the bait to go deeper I use a +1 or +2 type of bait.  I fish extremely clear water and most of the smallmouth are not deep ( 3 to 6 feet).  I like  lines that stretch a bit.  It gives the jerkbait a special action( yes softer, but I can compensate with rod action or use a lure with a tighter action)) I use small lures at the very beginning of the season with spinning tackle  and 8 pound test but I rapidly go to bigger lures ( 4 to 6 inch) with casting tackle.  I use an Expride rod with a DC reel and 12 to 14 pound fluoro or mono.  I prefer mono early in the year because the temperature is cold and fluoro becomes  stiff.  Later, when it gets warmer, I go to fluoro.  

Where I fish there is not a lot of pressure and you can find large smallmouth  ( +4 pounds) in shallow water  ( less than 6 feet) all year.  

 

 

I forgot: I fish a river with current.

Thank you, sir. I appreciate the input.

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8 hours ago, Reel said:

I can fish for prespawn smallmouth, not exactly where I live, (closed season) but close by (catch and release season).  I use mono and fluoro, not braid.  If I want the bait to go deeper I use a +1 or +2 type of bait.  I fish extremely clear water and most of the smallmouth are not deep ( 3 to 6 feet).  I like  lines that stretch a bit. 

I am also in the mono camp for jerk baits.  This is one situation when I actually prefer to have some stretch, as it provides that "cushion" when I am snapping the rod and a bass has bitten.  The hooks on my jerk baits are not super stout either so I don't want the combination of braid that has no stretch with lighter wire hooks.  I usually use 8 or 10 pound test on a bait caster.  I feel like I have more control over my presentation with a BC.

 

I haven't fished a jerk bait since about June this season but I'm about to bust it back out for some fall fishing next week.

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My jerkbait setups are also something I fish a lot of other techniques on. 

1- Megabass Orochi X4 Rattle Viper F3-68X4. I have a PX68 and 10# Seaguar R18 on this one. This gets everything from an X-Nanahan to a Vision Oneten. I also use this rod for weightless plastics.

2- Daiwa Tatula Elite 6'9" ML. I run a TD Sol on this rod with 10lb copolymer as it doubles for smaller wake baits and cranks. 

3- Megabass Orochi XX Jerkbait Special F4.5-611XX. I use a Tatula 80 and 12# Seaguar R18 on this with bigger jerkbaits up to a Max LBO and soft jerkbaits like a Super Fluke or Sakamata Shad. 

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Do it how you feel most comfortable.  I've done it all ways, and it can work however you want to do it.  I would only suggest, that if you want a fast, quick, jerk on the jerk, use a fairly powerful fast action rod.  Especially if you use mono which has significant stretch.  

 

I wanting a slower sweep instead of a fast jerk, a slower action rod will be fine.  

 

Main thing is to tune the equipment to what you are trying to accomplish with respect to the exact jerk you are trying to accomplish.

 

I find that fish in different lakes/environments like different jerks.  There was a time when hard jerk fishermen were attaching weights to the tips of GLASS rods to slow the jerk down.  But on Lake St Claire, I think the bass want a much faster/ sharper jerk.

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I like an XF action  medium power rod.  St croix avid 68MXF is my favorite, though I also have an ALX Kelly Jaye and a Dobyns 704cb (far too slow for my preferences).   I used to throw fluoro but had too many issues so switched to 12 or 10 lb yozuri hybrid and love it.   I primarily throw 110’s and 110+1’s.

 

I also have an avid 68MXF spinning rod that I’ll switch to if my carpal tunnel starts kicking in.

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On 9/21/2023 at 9:56 PM, Scott F said:

You won’t like my answer at all but I have done a lot of fishing with suspending jerkbaits for prespawn smallmouth. I use spinning rods and straight braid exclusively. I’ve found that light, thin braided lines allow the jerkbait to dive a bit deeper. On the clear lakes I fish, smallmouth nest a bit deeper.  Also, I find that the stretch of mono and flouro lines soften the action I impart to the lure compared to braid. Because the bait doesn’t get to the bottom, and doesn’t get into the rocks, abrasion resistance isn’t an issue. The jerkbaits I use are on the lighter side and cast easily with spinning gear.

I like the answer which makes complete sense.

Same thing but use a short flouro leader because braid forms a romantic relationship with front treble. Imo

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22 minutes ago, Bird said:

I like the answer which makes complete sense.

Same thing but use a short flouro leader because braid forms a romantic relationship with front treble. Imo

That’s true about braid getting into the front treble. You just have to make sure the lure lands softly. If you stop the line before the lure hits the water, the lure bounces back and will catch the line. I’d still rather deal the occasional fouled lure than mess around with tying braid to floro leaders. 

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I'm fishing for largemouth in mostly shallow conditions, and I like to be able to work the bait with the rod down... so I prefer a shorter rod.  My jerkbait setup is a 6'4" Ike Delay rod, Curado DC reel with 20lb braid and a 15lb FC leader.  

 

I like the Ike Delay rod a lot.  It's a glass rod designed for jerkbaits.  In years past I rarely threw them.  Since I optimized my setup they have become one of my confidence baits and I enjoy throwing them much more.  The Ike Delay is the perfect action, with just the right tip to move the bait, but enough flex to keep the fish pinned.  I throw mostly pointer 100s and vision 110s, and the occasional pointer 112.  Smaller pointers I'll throw on spinning gear.  

 

Sometimes I drop down to a 10lb leader if I'm fishing open water... but most of the time I'm fishing around a lot of thick vegetation and cover so the heavier leader is preferred.  We catch a lot of pickerel in the colder months too and the fluoro leader keeps my expensive jerkbaits from getting bitten off.  

 

My opinion is that if you have a good rod designed for jerkbaits, braid is the best choice because it will impart a better action to the bait versus mono.  I'd rather have the rod provide the cushion for the fish instead of the line.  Mono's stretch will let you get away with a heavier rod with a faster action, so some people prefer that route.  

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Thank you all for the advice. My anticipated fishery is huge water from the bank for now (Dworshak and the Snake River), so the ability to launch a jerkbait is very important. Although, I had my own preferences, I think part of being a good fisherman is being able to follow advice, especially from those with more experience and success. Therefore, I have settled on a either a Falcon Marsh or Falcon Lowrider. Both rods are 7’3” MH (3/8-3/4 oz, moderate action) but one is higher quality graphite and more expensive. I can envision a scenario where the added sensitivity will help detect a March giant’s bite. I will fill a 2500 Stradic FK with 15lb 832 braid to an 8-10lb mono leader (Maxima Ultragreen) to throw 110s, 110 plus ones, and Pointers 78-100, maybe a 128 depending how the rod feels. I believe this outfit will allow me to cast farther from shore, manipulate the bait either very subtly early or more erratically late and be able to successfully play what I hope will someday be a 6lb plus bronzeback. I wanted to fish a casting reel and rod, but the spinning setup will be more versatile, longer casting for smaller baits, and easier to cast very thin braid. 
 

Thoughts on Falcon rods or this setup in particular? I appreciate everyone’s responses and acknowledge there are many ways to skin a cat. 
 

this site is great!

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The higher quality graphite that is more sensitive is the winner all the time in my book. It allows you to feel the bite better & to work the bait better as well. Well worth the extra dollars if you can afford it.

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1 hour ago, Dwight Hottle said:

The higher quality graphite that is more sensitive is the winner all the time in my book. It allows you to feel the bite better & to work the bait better as well. Well worth the extra dollars if you can afford it.

Thank you, Dwight. I figured as much, but I was hoping you would opine on that. Probably more enjoyable to fish as well. I’d imagine a cold water, prespawn bite can be quite subtle, especially from a bigger fish?

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I fish smallmouth and walleye a lot with jerkbaits and prefer a graphite crankbait rod.  Dobyns makes the same exact jerkbait rod in both a 6’8” or 7’0” so you can pick your length  (Champion Crankbait series 685cb or 705cb). These are the rods Gary himself uses. 
 

I throw jerkbaits on 10 lb Invizx. Provides some stretch and keeps me from over-working the lure in cold water periods (as can happen for me at least with braid).  10 lb fluorocarbon is dense and I feel like it gives me a uniform sink rate and stays down, true to the rated depth of the lure.  If I need to go deeper, I switch to a +1 jerkbait. 
 

Works for smallies, largemouth, and big walleyes too ?

IMG_2023_09_14-12_58_20_8560_71B47049.jpeg

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