Hey, everyone, Mike McClelland, Spro professional, here to talk summertime jerkbait fishing. And, you know, probably up until about the last five or six years, I think a lot of people would have told you that jerkbaits get put away when summertime hits. But with all of the footage of live coverage that we're all exposed to these days, I think it's becoming more and more evident to everyone that jerkbaits don't get put on the shelf after the pre-spawn period and the spawn period of the year.
I know with fishing the Bass Pro Tour and the Pro Circuit Major League fishing stuff, being able to watch live in some of these events when I've gotten knocked out, I tell you what, it's really kind of made me upset at myself to realize how many times I didn't throw a jerkbait enough, even in the summertime of the year. I mean, it's just astounding to me how effective a jerkbait really is. And I think one of the biggest keys to that is we have so many different jerkbait choices in this day and age. And companies like SPRO have just gone the extra mile to make sure we got every gamut of that jerkbait need covered.
And when you start talking about summertime jerkbait fishing, you know, you can look at it from two different perspectives. I mean, way down South, it's going to be a lot different than summertime jerkbait fishing up North. I mean, we all know that it takes those fish up North a lot longer to go through that spawning process. And we're fishing jerkbaits when those fish are just trying to feed up and get ready for fall again.
So I mean, a jerkbait in my opinion is a bait almost today that I feel like you can almost catch a Bass on a jerkbait 365 days of the year, as long as there's not ice on the water, or just completely, you know, muddy blacked-out conditions.
But when it comes to summertime jerkbait fishing, I mean, I'm still going to utilize a lot of the same jerkbaits that I'm going to throw early on in that pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn period, but I'm just going to fish them in different ways.
The one factor about a jerkbait that I want to make sure day in and day out is that this bait is suspending in the water column. When I throw this bait out and pull it down beside the boat, I don't want that bait to rise to the surface. I want that bait to be dead suspending. And it doesn't even bother me for the bait to be falling just a little bit. There's a couple of different ways you can accomplish this. Most of the baits, I mean, they're built to suspend, but the water temperature is going to affect how buoyant this bait is.
If the water is super, super cold, it's going to take a little bit less weight to get that bait to suspend. As that water temperature warms up a little bit, the bait is gonna become more buoyant, the water becomes less dense, and the bait tends to float up a little bit, so you may have to add a little bit more weight.
I typically like to start by adding a bigger hook. The baits come with number five round bend Gamakatsus, and I like to start on the front with a number four. If the bait isn't quite heavy enough, I'll move to the middle with a number four. And if I have to, I'll go to the rear with a number four, and that generally somewhere in that hook change process, you'll find that happy medium where that bait will truly suspend.
But the big key is, is understanding where to throw it. And a jerkbait is probably one of the most effective ways to catch fish that are suspended high in the water column, like a lot of these fish do in the summertime. So often these fish get on balls of bait, and they're just chasing them around the lake roaming. And now that we can follow those balls of bait around, we can actually be very effective catching fish on a jerkbait. The 110 is gonna be a super bait for catching them that time of the year.
When they start surfacing and chasing bait, the Zero Minnow is going to be a bait that I rely on a lot. Again, not necessarily considered part of the jerkbait family, but it essentially is a jerkbait just designed to fish right on the surface. So the Zero Minnow is going to be a big deal. Anytime I'm seeing those fish chase bait, surface, or if I know that there's fish suspended around boat docks, you know, right under the foam or right under the plastic, floats of the docks, a bait like a Zero Minnow will draw those fish out from around those docks or out of the timber to react to it.
Another bait that is going to be a big key for me, probably the one that I'm going to throw the most in the summer, is going to be the McStick 115. Again, this bait is designed to be a floater diver. It rises super fast. You can work it right under the surface, over the top of grass. You can fish it out on flats. Anywhere you got fish chasing bait in the summertime, you're very apt to catch Bass on a jerkbait.
Probably when I'm fishing a jerkbait, a big key is gear ratio on my reel. I'm always gonna throw a 5-to-1 gear ratio reel. I'm gonna throw a jerkbait on a six-and-a-half to seven-foot Falcon rod of some kind. I really liked the jerkbait rod. It's a six-foot-eight-inch rod, and allows me, you know, to throw that bait into tight places, around boat docks, around timber, things like that.
And another big key about throwing a jerkbait is typically going to be line size. I am very, very much a fan of throwing a jerkbait on either a Sunline Super Natural Monofilament, generally somewhere between 8 and 12-pound. And then if I'm not throwing the Sunline Supernatural Monofilament, I throw the Sunline FC Crank in that same range, somewhere between 8 and 14-pound test.
And the reason that I vary my line size is to help achieve the depths that I want to achieve with this bait. The smaller diameter line, or the smaller test that I throw, the deeper I'm going to be able to get this bait. So if I want to hold this bait up in the water column, all I have to do is go up to a 10, 12, 14-pound test. And I can actually take away the depth diving ability of this bait and hold it up in the water column.
The biggest thing that I will say is I do not like to throw a jerkbait on a straight fluorocarbon line. The FC Crank is actually a fluorocarbon baseline, but it still has kind of a neutral buoyancy aspect in the water. So it's not going to drag the bait down when you go into those pausing sessions with the bait.
This is a McStick 115. Anytime I'm throwing this bait like I said, I'm really not worried about it. It's a floater diver, so I'm not worried about slowing my cadence down. I mean, I'm throwing it on the edge of grass, over flats, around bait balls. It's just one of those baits that you can cover a lot of water with. You can work it really fast. It's a real erratic bait. It floats. You know, when you stop it, so you really want to just keep it coming most of the time.
So one thing about it, you know, I kind of threw this Zero Minnow in as part of the jerkbait line, and it can definitely be fished as a jerkbait. It's a bait that you can just wind very slow right under the surface. But the true effective way to throw this is keeping that thing on the surface. And the big key to throwing this bait is when you first make your throw, you want to keep your rod at about 10:00 or 11:00. As you get that bait closer to you, you just actually want to follow it down with your rod tip where you end up probably down in about the 7:00 position, and you're going to keep that bait just hovering right there on the surface throwing that V-wake.
Some of the bites you get on this thing can just be absolutely incredible, too. It's just got such drawing power for the simple fact that that V-wake that this bait is throwing is basically just calling them from a long-distance away, you know.
A lot of times when I'm throwing a 110, and I'm wanting to suspend that bait, I literally have to make myself just sit there and count 1,001, 1,002, 1,003, 1,004 in my head, and it makes me slow down. And I think that's probably the most effective thing that I've ever learned about really making myself slow down. Again, a slow gear ratio reel is really, really important. Five-to-1 gear ratio, 8 to 12-pound Sunline FC crank, wind that bait down when you first throw it in, stop it, twitch it a couple of times, count to 8 or 10. Let it set. Take up the slack. Give it a good long pull. Stop it again. And I usually follow that up with a couple of twitches.
To be sure, and remember, the next time you're out summertime fishing, you see fish chasing bait around, you know there's fish suspended in brush tops, treetops, around boat docks, be sure and check out the line of McSticks, 115, 110, and the Zero Minnow.
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