By: Jeff Miller
This is a bait that I
call the fish finder. Rather than just catching fish it does one of the most
important things in fishing and that is it finds them!
A jerkbait is my
number 1 bait in the early spring(pre-spawn) to early summer(post-spawn) to
find either a solo fish or better yet WAD’S of fish. For this time of the year
I believe a hard jerkbait is the best search tool in the tacklebox as
long as the water clarity is clear or semi clear meaning at least 3 foot of
visibility. There are hundreds of different sizes, colors, and styles of hard
jerkbaits to choose from but I believe the best thing you can do is try the old
saying “match the hatch”. What I mean is to know the forage that the bass is
eating rather it be a largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass you might be
targeting on the body of water that you are fishing. For example in the
Great Lakes I would be trying to match in size and color of a perch, spot-tail
minnow or alewive pending on what time of the year it is. On inland reservoirs
I would try to throw a jerkbait that might resemble a bluegill/sunfish, gizzard
shad or a blue herring.
Colors and Styles
With so many different manufactures and different colors on the
market where do you start? First and foremost I want a jerkbait that I can cast
a long distance even with wind in my face. What I mean by this is a want a
jerkbait that has a internal weight system on the interior of the bait. Small
lead, steel, or brass beads that slide in the bait from the tail of the bait
during the cast and then slide back to the center of the bait for level
buoyancy when working it in the water. Almost all of the JDM jerkbaits on the
market today have this weight system. The jerkbait that I chose for early in
the season when water temps are in the mid 40’s would be a Lucky Craft Staysee
90. This jerkbait has a long bill and dives anywhere from 6 to 10 foot
depending the line size you might be using. When working this jerkbait I will
be pulling then pausing for at least 6 seconds with the rod rather than jerking
it violently like I would when the water warms up. The colors that I try to
stick with at this time of the year and this bait are nishiki, chartreuse shad,
and wakasagi pending on water clarity. When the water warms up in the mid 50
degree mark I reach for a Megabass x-80 trick darter and a Lucky Craft pt. 78.
These little 3 and 4 inch baits have a ton of action and really match’s the
hatch when bass are defending their territory for the spawn. The retrieve for
these baits I like to use is a snap, snap, pause for 3 seconds than snap again.
Not only do these baits catch them but it really shows you where they are! With
all the colors for these baits I try to stick with a few that I have confidence
in. For Megabass x-80 I like Cosmic shad, Ayu and Hachiro Reaction which
is a crazy color but it just seems to work at this time of the year. For the
Lucky Craft Pointer 78 I prefer Bluegill, Aurora Black, and Perch. After the spawn is complete there
are two jerkbaits that I rely on very heavy. These two baits are a Lucky Craft
pt. 100 and a Megabass Vision 110. The way I work these baits is usually very
fast. I am trying to draw a reaction strike from the fish or more or less piss
them off! With the Megabass vision 110 there is a whole lot of snapping and
jerkn’ going on during the retrieve and with the LC pt. 100 there will be a
snap, snap, snap, then pause for 3 seconds before starting the snapping process
again. The colors I like on the LC pt. 100 are Ghost Minnow and Chartreuse
Shad. For the Megabass vision 110 it hard to beat French Pearl and Pro Blue.
The action of rod
that I prefer to use on these jerkbaits is a medium for the larger jerkbaits
and a medium light for the smaller jerkbaits. Both of these rods I want a soft
and forgiving tip. The reason for this is so I do not lose fish. I might work a
little more snapping the jerkbaits but it is worth it when you don’t lose fish.
It does not matter on spinning or baitcasting rods which ever you are more
comfortable with. The line I chose for jerkbaiting is usually Seaguar
fluorocarbon in 10lb. I will throw 8lb. test with the Luckycraft Staysee 90
just to get it a little deeper if necessary. The reason for using a
fluorocarbon line instead of monofilament is the sensitivity, very little
stretch and a little more depth.
A jerkbait is a tool
that is used not only to catch them but also to find them which sometimes is
the hardest thing to do in fishing!
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