A jerkbait minnow shaped lure that provides a horizontal presentation. A straight retrieve makes a jerkbait swim with a shimmying action. This catches fish, but where a jerk-bait shines is on a snap-pause retrieve, which gives it an erratic, darting action that drives bass wild.
Tweak the Retrieve:
There’s more than one way to fish a jerkbait. Some prefer more of a sideways, rather than a downward, snapping retrieve. Mixing up your retrieve mechanics can also prevent arm fatigue. When trying different retrieves, first make a short cast and watch the lure to ensure it has a good action. Tweaking your retrieve style and cadence is also a good tactic when fishing different models, such as shallow, mid, or deep-diving jerkbaits.
Fish the Conditions:
Experiment with how fast and far you move a jerkbait minnow shaped lure, along with how long it’s paused, to match fish mood and activity level. Generally, the warmer the water, the faster the retrieve, the more aggressive the snap, and the shorter the pause. This triggers reaction strikes. Generally, it’s best to slow down in cold water. Assertive snaps can be productive, but extend the pause.
“For so long, that early springtime, cold water, suspending type presentation was when a jerkbait was considered to work the best. But I’ve figured out that anytime fish are chasing bait, whether it be bream, shad or whatever, they’re susceptible to being caught on a jerkbait.”
“On the highland reservoirs like Bull Shoals and Table Rock, you’re going to have days when you can pick up a few fish in the dead of winter, but that’s generally when the sun’s out, the bait rises really high in the water column and the fish push up a little bit.”
Bed fishing, there are too many baits of greater potential. Yet you can still force the jerkbait here. However, the right model can work wonders on hungry pre-spawners.
After the spawn, those tired and stressed out mamas will slide out to deeper recovery zones like standing timber. From Toledo Bend to any of the lakes and rivers around the country, fish chilling in treetops are suckers for a vulnerable looking jerkbait minnow shaped lure.
“I’m pausing it maybe two to five seconds, as opposed to 12 to 15 or 30 seconds (as in early spring).”
In this scenario, your biggest challenge is going to be finding which color triggers the fish.
Adding a stripe of orange or chartreuse to a bait’s belly can turn lookers into biters.
“This is especially effective on smallmouth.” “For example, Table Rock Shad (purple back with chartreuse sides) fits the bill when you’re looking for a bright bait. Sometimes they want a more subtle bait, but with a brighter belly.”
Filled to the “Bream”:
We all know that bedding pan fish mean lurking bass, but amid the prop baits, swim jigs and spinnerbaits, I suggest pausing a jerkbait all by its lonesome right in the kill zone. Matching bait models to bream bed depth is one of the keys to reaching those opportunistic bass.
Summer Hot Spot:
“It’s not that you’re trying to catch fish deep; you’re trying to catch fish that are suspended high in the water column and chasing bait,” “It almost becomes a deal where you’re looking for schoolers. Whether it’s early in the morning or later in the afternoon, and you’re keeping the bait higher in the water column.
Keep a jerkbait handy throughout the year, and one of the most favorite opportunities occurs during the fall feeding frenzy. Targeting what I would call the “gut” of a creek, Look for bass rounding up shad over the shallow ditches and depressions that provide staging points for opportunistic bass.
My parting Tip would be to seek out windy banks when you are tossing a suspending jerkbait. A little (or a lot) of chop on the surface makes it more difficult for upward looking bass to distinguish the bait from the real thing.