One of the most effective bass baits during spring is the suspending jerk bait.Much has been said and written on the subject and there are as many jerk baits on the market as there are any other type of lure. Which one to use in what situation? One can break jerks down into four basic categories: Dead Sticks, Medium Action, Hot Action and other boats that do not know what Maine’s “Headway Speed Only” law is all about. This post will discuss the first three…

1.  deadstickDead Sticks: These baits have the least action available…and this a good thing. An example would be the Smithwick Dead Stick Rogue. Use these baits when the water is REALLY cold. Basically, any water that is less than 40 degrees is good water to fish the Dead Stick in. The way I use it, the bait could best be described as a “Pull Bait”. I simply cast out, reel down a bit to get the lure to it’s working depth and then sweep or pull the rod 1-3 feet. Pause longer than you normally would, remember it is cold. Pull again. Bass will almost always strike while the lure is paused and you probably won’t feel anything until you pull the lure again after a pause. You’ll feel the spongy weight…set the hook!

 

huskyjerk2.     Medium Action: This category encompasses almost every Jerk out there. Think of the Rapala Husky Jerk. When the water is in the lower 40s, tie one on. Start by imparting the action described above. If you get no takers or see fish following, that is your queue to speed things up a bit. Give the lure 2-4 hard Jerks and then let it rest. Vary the rest period. Speaking of the Rapala Husky Jerk-I’m not very impressed with the quality control of the manufacturer with this specific lure. I’ve bought several over the years, probably more than 75. It is no exaggeration to say that a full 40% of them do NOT suspend as advertised. They will either SINK or FLOAT. Both of these traits, in certain situations, are valuable…but when you are looking for something to suspend…and in very cold water…and I AM…it is quite aggravating-especially given the price tag of lures today.

 

xrap3.     Hot Action: Yeah, baby- Not that type. Many folks jerk all year long. If you are going to do so, you’ll probably need to use a jerk bait with a lot of action. Check out the Rapala X-Rap. They say it is a “Slash Bait” and once you get the hang of using it you’ll see why. I steer away from this bait in “cold water”…under 55 in this case because it has a couple of characteristics that I don’t care for when fishing very cold water. First and foremost is the lure’s extreme (for a jerk bait) action. The two baits above have almost zero (Dead Stick) and limited (Husky Jerk) lateral action and roll. This bait comes equipped with a bill that seems to impart A LOT of both. I get my best results with the X-Rap when I “walk the dog” with it under water, just like I do a Zara Spook surface bait, with the occasional short pause. Unlike it’s Husky Jerk counterpart, I’ve NEVER found one that isn’t 100% ready to rock and roll right out of the box. KUDOS to whatever department at Rapala make them. The other thing about this lure that lends itself to warmer water angling is the feather trailer on the rear treble. It works wonderfully, and almost gives the lure a “jointed action”, this is great, but doesn’t necessarily lend itself to cold water tactics.  

So….there’s your assignment. Catch bass in cold water using Jerk Baits! P.S. Slow down in No Wake Zones…