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Thread: Let's talk jerk baits.

  1. #1
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    Default Let's talk jerk baits.

    Let's talk jerk baits.
    My all time favorite is the JackAll squirrel DD 79SP. The DD 79SP dives 8 to 9 feet using 8 to 10 pound test. The 76SP dives to 6 feet using the same test line. This particular bait gets me a lot of bites and the hook up ratio is outstanding. There's nothing really exotic about it. It's a straight forward suspending jerk bait. However, I believe what makes it so good is its smaller size. I used to use a lot of Lucky Craft jerk baits, and still do from time to time. In my opinion, the JackAll squirrel out performs the Lucky Craft in most all situations. That being said, there's always a "but". The Lucky Craft Pointer XD in sexy shad and ghost minnow are two colors that I still throw often and work extremely well.
    I also like the Strike King KVD Suspending jerk baits. They're larger and I'll use them mostly when the water temps are above 50 and I'm fishing 6 foot or less. I'm usually throwing these on 12 pound test because of the larger size and heavier weights. They have good color choices and hook up ratios are really good.
    I do have some specialty jerk baits that I "go to" when the bite is super tough; like the bevy shad from lucky craft and another good one is a small white rapala that dives less than three feet. These are about two and three quarters of an inch long or less and weigh 1/8 to 1/4 oz. Because they are so small and light, they require 6 pound test line and spinning rods to throw them. I don't care to much for using a spinning rod, but there are times when these two baits will out fish every thing in my box and it would be foolish not to.
    Then there's the Mega Bass. I haven't thrown these enough to give anyone an honest and thorough evaluation yet. However, thus far, the hook up ratio using these baits has been horrible for me on two pound bass or less. Here's why I think? The mega bass comes to a rest differently following every jerk or twitch. No two times are the same. Sometimes its 90 degrees nose up, nose down, 90 degrees left or right and every angle in between. This action generates a lot of bites but it makes getting good hook sets difficult. What I've had do is wait an extra second or two for the rod to really load up before sweeping the rod to set the hook. This has helped improve my hook up ratio. But it's a hard adjustment to make when bouncing back and forth between styles of jerk baits all day.
    From what I've read about these baits they require using 6 pound test line to achieve the best actions and to get the maximum depth out of each one. 8 pound test is about the heaviest line test that's recommend I think. Jump in and correct me if I'm wrong because I want to get it right. I have the 110, the 110+1, the ITO Shiner , the X-80 and the X-80 +1. I'll be experimenting with these over winter to get better with them. I really want to weight one down so it can sink down to about 20 feet deep without waiting five minutes to get there lol.
    I also recently added a "Damiki Abyss" jerk bait to my line up. It's supposed to get down to 8 or 9 feet and they have some colors choices that I like, so I'll give them a try.
    Where to throw jerk baits? The answer is everywhere. I've caught multiple limits of bass and bass up to 4 pounds in 43 degree water temps, working three foot flats in the backs of creeks in February. So there is no off limits to where I'd use them.
    When? They work all year, but they're at their best when water temps are in the 40's.
    Set up's: Any rod made for small top water poppers like the Rico is a good rod to use for jerk baits. I use the JB Custom 6-6 "Bug Rod" for my jerk baits. It's perfect for the sizes and weights I typically throw. I don't get to shook up over which reel speeds to use and mainly stay with two; the 5.2:1 and 6.4:1 speeds. For bait casters I'm using 8, 10, and occasionally 12 pound Berkeley Floro Carbon line. For spinning rods it's 6 pound test.
    Retrieves? This is something you just have to play with. It all depends on how aggressive the bass are on any given day. Twitch, jerk, long pause, short pause, a steady retrieve, or a combination of all of the above sometimes is what it will take to be successful. For the most part I make a long cast, give it a few cranks to straighten it out and get it diving in the right direction. Then a jerk, jerk and pause retrieve. I let it suspend for a second or two, then give it a twitch or two and let it rest again before repeating the process. I work it like that all the way back to the boat, or until I feel I'm out of the strike zone. This is what works for me on most days.
    How to choose which one to start with and what color? Let's face it, there's a lot to choose from and it can get confusing. The most important factor for which one to choose first is the depth. Whether you're fishing shallow or deep doesn't matter. Like I mentioned earlier, there's bass that live shallow and deep all year long so it depends on what depth you decide to start with. Pick the right one for the depth you are fishing. If I'm fishing shallow flats less than 6 foot I'm going to choose two sizes. One that gets down and digs the bottom and another that suspends at about two feet under the surface. If I'm fishing for bass in the 6 to 15 foot depths I want one that's going to hit bottom down to about 8 foot deep and then continue to work it over the 8 to 15 foot ranges. Bass will come up a few feet to attack the bait, so if my jerk bait is getting down to 10 foot then bass as deep as 17 feet will come up and get it on a long pause. Size is the next consideration. I start with one in the three to four inch range and then adjust to larger sizes for larger and the more aggressive fish. Color does make a difference and sometimes is the overwhelming factor in getting bit. That being said, I try to keep it simple. Shades of blue, pearl, solid white, and or, the Tennessee shad colors all work extremely well. Match the color to water conditions and you will be fine. I do have some specialty colors like clown, ghost minnow, fire tiger etc, that I will throw when water conditions warrant it. "BUT", bass don't always play by the book. The clown color and fire tiger are know for producing some nice size bass in gin clear water so it pays to play around sometimes.
    Finally, jerk baits aren't just for bass. I'll use them for crappie, Striper, and yellow perch fishing too. They're just an all around good bait to use year round.
    Well there you have it. I hope it helps you put more fish in the boat this winter. Anyone who wants a little one on one, on the water tutoring can give me a shout and we'll try to put a trip together. No charge. I'm on Face Book and Twitter and easy to find. God bless you, Merry Christmas and see ya on the water.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  2. #2
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    I think there should be more books on Jerkbaits, I could find one just now doing a Google Search. Instead of writing a book as a reply, here are what are important to me with a few comments. Do yourself a favor and watch some youtube video's from Ice Fisherman targeting Largemouth bass. You will be shocked at how active they are in very cold water (30's). They are moving around and will eat. I watched one where they caught over 20 in a short amount of time basically on dropshot wacky rigs with a small white bait in very clear water. Why do I start with this? Don't be assuming that if the water temp is 40, they are not capable of moving rapidly, so experiment with your retrieves constantly until you find the cadence that gets you bit the most on that day.

    So, I use Megabass, Jackalls, Luckycrafts, Rapala's etc. I have found that size and depth and cadence can all make a difference. If you look on the deck of the top jerkbait fisherman on Lake Anna (people like Stan Cobb) on a Winter Series sunday, you'll see every combination. Why? Quit reading if you ask that question I have seen JB fish caught with deepdivers thrown in shallow water and the bill used to dig the bottom and just tear them up (Carl I have seen it where you needed to bump the dock post and let it sit. You have to learn how to manage casting angles and boat momentum to get the bump just right. Careful with Megabass ITO 110's doing this, the bill will snap off. I've snapped off way to many to not make that comment

    ok, so variables I will look at:

    -WATER CLARITY- clearer the better, long casts and slower retrieves is where I start. Darker the water the more continuously I move the bait (but not fast)
    -WATER TEMPS - baits that sit nose down are better and better (MB, Staysee) when the water is near 40. Warmer the water, the more you might want a riser (slow to fast) and even nose up to simulate feeding on the surface.
    -SUNLIGHT - bluebird sky and I will fish more around docks and other forms of shade where structure meet
    -DEPTH - bass will have a strike zone. If they are deeper, your bait should be as well. Threadfin go deeper on sunny days, while blueback herring come up. Know which ones you are fishing around@
    -JERKBAIT - size, depth and color. I catch more Stripers on pure white jerkbaits than any other color. My go to colors are white, go pro blue, aurora black, ghost minnow.
    -RETRIEVE- NO RETRIEVE is wrong, but at any given time, some will work better. In stained water you want the bait to continuously make noise, so don't make long pauses so a fish can find it in the dirt water. In clear water, long pauses can be key. A dormant bass needs a couple minutes to go from inactive to active (yes, this has been scientifically measured). This is why some pro's SWEAR that multiple casts to key structures are key. If you really think a good bass is in the vicinity, work the spot with a variety of retrieves. I'll often go jerk/jerk/pause/jerk/pause, slow pull. Sometimes when I really want the bait to soak in some good areas, I mentally think of moving the bait 1 inch at a time. One thing that works at times is while jerking a prime area and the bait is 1/3 or so of the way back, snap the rod tip UP to simulate a bait trying to escape. They can trigger bites from bass following the bait but not commited.
    -JERKBAIT - suspend/sink/rise - I like baits that will sink when the water is 40 or below as it imitates dying threadfin pretty well. Get a shad kill, throw a sinking bait (or a white hair/feather jig If you change out the hooks on a Megabass to heavier wire, they will SINK. The tolerances are that close. Tackletour has a great article about this. Experiment if you want, or just make sure that if you want it suspending, check it out when you are on the water. I carry suspend strips and light wire to wrap around the hook to adjust.
    -LINE - DO NOT IGNORE YOUR line. Megabass 110 with fluro will sink. For megabass that I want to suspend, I use co-polymer in 8lb test. 8lb is the recommended line size for Megabass. If I am fishing dirty shallow stumpy water with Luckycrafts, I won't hesitate to use 10/12lb fluro. Why do I really like co-polymer? It floats and I can line watch! Many strikes come at you or from the side. A twitch in the line is the only tell. The other if you miss that is if you are jerking the bait and you get a feeling for how much you move the bait on a jerk, and the bait is not there? reel hard and fast and catch up, a bass is swimming off with your bait!
    -REEL - I use 5.x retrieves. Why? Well, especially with Megabass, the hooks are very thin and will bend easily (carry spare hooks when using MB and texas style split ring pliers) and I don't want to horse them. Second, no matter which bait you use, you often get them lightly hooked. Given the rod and line you are using, you don't want to horse these fish.
    -ROD - SOFT...I actually spent the 550 dollars for a Megabass rod made for the ITO 110. Its perfect and its a parabola style action. You want light actions (slow not fast tips). Note, I use both Baitcasting and Spinning rods for a couple reasons. One, spinning rods can throw lighter baits and if you are working a bank into a wind, well, you know. Second, it allows me to switch hands as one gets cold or tired as I reel right handed with baitcaster, left handed with a spinning reel. Lastly, believe it or not, I work the baits differently with each just do to the different hand angles and such. I know because I always make short casts near the boat in clear water and fine tune my jerking action to what I think will work and just to see how the bait is reacting to the way I am jerking it that day. You can easily overwork these baits without realizing it, so I check to make sure I am focused on the presentation at all times.
    -SOUND - sound can be key as well as having no sound. I have luckycrafts made of wood that are silent and megabass that have a deeper rattle. Bass "hear/feel" in the 60-250 hertz range (think very low ranges). Anything higher is not detectable by them, so I think this is why some swear by the one knockers as they have a lower sound range).

    enjoy. In re-reading this there are a ton more tips to add, but this is a good start.
    cheers,
    Steve

    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.


  3. #3
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    Nice, Steve. Try to keep a lil bit for us, umkay???

  4. #4
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    "I think there should be more books on Jerkbaits"....ya'll just wrote two of them......lol
    2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
    2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
    2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
    2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
    "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

  5. #5
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    Help me out here stevo. First off, you gotta forgive this old guy because my short term memory, and ability to recall stuff when I need it isn't working as good as it used too. It's is causing me fits lately. Second, reading the info on the box is a real chore because the print is so small. I think I got the 6 pound test info from tackle warehouse when I brought up the reviews on mega bass.
    That being said, I wanted to get a mega bass to sink down to about 20 foot. I started by taking a 110 ITO and changed all three hooks out to the next larger size. The darn thing still floated back to the surface nose up. It was a slow to modest rise, but never the less it floated up. I'm assuming it was a fast rise version of the ITO but I can't recall. Very disappointed. I lost it on a cast which brings up another tip. Wear your glasses when you tie the knot. Anyway, how much wire, and or how much of a suspend strip does it take to get a 110 to sink? I want it to sink about one foot a second. I imagine you play with it just like I'm going to have to do.
    Another thought I had about the hooks. The barbs are on the outside. If you get one stuck in you I don't think we can get it out using the string method like with the others. Just thinking, which I do too much sometimes.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  6. #6
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    No shortage of videos to watch on mega bass. Just seen one where the guy changed out all three hooks and it sank like a rock. I got a feeling when I changed out the hooks it wasn't a larger size. Just a different style. Got some investigating to do lol.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  7. #7
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    Jim - I use the suspend dots. Two (one forward, one aft) is enough to get a 110 to sink slowly with the factory hooks. Have not tried it w/ heavier hooks. Can get a Bevy Shad to sink w/ one suspend dot (~centered) with the factory hooks. I test mine in a fish tank (I keep a small one for things like this) but you can do this in a large bowl, a sink, or a bathtub.

  8. #8
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    Great read. We fish jerk baits yr round. Love em. But I really don't have any thing to add to this. You all are better sticks than I. You can also catch a ton of fish in salt water on jerk baits. My favorites are lucky craft ghost minnow and rapalas. Hj 8 in white and xraps in chrome w black back. Feathered hooks on rear.

    CHUCK n DUCK

  9. #9
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    for sinking jerkbaits, don't forget about a forgotten lure, the Countdown Rapala. A good lure that very few folks use.
    1st Place VA East FOMNTT Potomac River 2006, VA East FOMNTT Big Bag 2006, VAO Frog Only Tournament Winner 2011

  10. #10
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    I went Sunday for about two hours to test a new jerkbait rod. I had a mb 110 tied on and wow did the bass want it. I caught 10 bass with a 6lb a 5lb and a 4lb in about 20 minute window. My hook up rate was incredible with my new shimano expride jerkbait rod 12lb mono and a 110. If someone would want to help me post pics I have some.

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