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 Posted: Tue Sep 1st, 2009 08:47 am
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Cpt. Hook

Joined: Mon Feb 9th, 2009
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3360
Equipment: More rods than she has shoes
Best Catch: Several good catches, love them all
Favorite Fishing Spot: Canyons
Boat: Fat Girl - Silverton 10.4m Sport Fisher
Fishing Jerk Baits is one of my favourite ways to target Bass, especially during the spawning season which will be upon us soon. With Jerk Baits you can target Bass all year round and expect to get some awesome Bass during the pre spawn, spawn and post spawn.


During the spawn period most dams will have a low water level, and the Bass will be found on flat gravel beds, shallow grass beds and in many little corners around the dam, and during this period you will have a really good chance at catching a fat Mama Bass. The best way will be by using jerk baits as most fishing during the spawn season will be sight fishing in clear shallow open water. Jerk Baits will work even in the dark, and work best in early morning and later afternoon conditions. During the spawning season Jerk Baits will work through out the day if you use stealth and spot your fish or nests without them spotting you.


You will need to equip yourself with the correct tackle to fish Jerk Baits successfully and this is the very most important consideration to make when fishing these lures or you will not get the correct action on your lure and you could risk losing many aggressive takes.

Most Jerk Baits come in small and medium sizes and will weigh from 1/8 ounce to 1/2 ounce and there are a few that may weigh 3/4 ounce. Taking these weights into consideration and the real chance of landing a big Mama bass you will need in my opinion a medium duty rod that can cast these jerk baits and handle Mama Bass at the same time. The length of the rod is also a consideration as a longer rod (7’ max) will give you more casting distance and a shorter rod (6’ min) will give you more accuracy and is easier to handle with the actions, the best is 6’2” to 6’6” with my personal choice being a 6’2”.

The most important point to consider will be the action of the rod, and this is crucial to get the correct action on the Jerk Bait and to allow the hooks to set when the Bass strike the lure. There are basically two types of actions to consider; Jerking and Twitching. Each of these actions will change the action of the lure. More commonly used and known is the Jerking action which is a soft rod with the flex in the mid area of the rod and when you are retrieving your lure will give your lure longer sweeps, as opposed to a Twitching Rod (Often used for Cherry Salmon) which when retrieved will give your lure shorter and sharper sweeps, a Twitching rod will have a soft tip section only and flex about 300mm down from the tip.

If you can afford both it would be ideal; or you could get an in between rod leaning more towards a Jerking Rod which can give you both actions depending on how you hold the rod, for jerking you would hold the rod loose with your hand and give action with your wrist (like a badminton racket) to give the jerking action or you could hold your stiff with your hand and give the action with your arm (like a tennis racket) to get the Twitching action.


The next item to consider is the line that you will use. Braid is out of the question, for the same reason you need a softer rod. You need to allow time for the Bass to swallow the lure before you set the hook or you will rip the lure right out his mouth rendering your efforts futile and leaving you frustrated. The choice is down to flouro carbon and mono filament and each of these have there own advantages. Flouro carbon is less visible in the water and less abrasive than most mono filaments, but is heavier and sinks which is not ideal for Jerk Baits and does not have stretch like mono filament. Mono filament on the other hand floats, and has more stretch, which are both key items to consider. My personal choice would be mono filament in a light green colour with an 8lb breaking strain (6lb for the very small lures, and 10lb at the max if you must). Line that is too thick will not cast these light lures well and will impair their action in the water. In addition you need to consider that you are sight fishing in shallow clear water, so the visibility of your line is also a key factor to consider.


The Bass fishing fraternity will always want to use a bait casting reel for this job and if you have the money to spend on a really expensive bait caster that is ultra light and has many ultra smooth bearings and a slower ratio of around 5.4:1 you are going to end up really frustrated with many over winds and no distance, and so my advice is to go for a spinning reel of which most will have around a 5.4:1 ratio as standard. It is also advisable to go for a larger diameter reel, not for the capacity but to reduce line twist which is an important consideration with these lighter lines. I find that a 2500 to 3000 size reel works well. There are some really nice spinning reels on the market today that are really light with large diameter spools specifically designed for this purpose. The reel needs to have an ultra smooth drag that does not stick and a fine adjustment because the line your are fishing is light and you have a real chance at getting a Big fish and do not want to risk the drag tightening up and causing your line to part.


Now that you have the correct tackle you need to know how to use it in order to get your Jerk Bait swimming in the best way to turn casts into fish. The name “Jerk Bait” should already be a clue as to how these lure are meant to be fished, so if you were thinking that you simply cast your lure out and retrieve it back you are wrong. This information is Gold and the key to how to use Jerk Baits correctly. The action of the rod that was mention earlier is what is going to make your lure move the way you want it to, and so you need to let the rods action impart the action to the lure.

When casting out you need to decide if you want to immediately retrieve your lure or if you want to let it stay there still for a moment or two, and this will depend on how shallow the water is and how skittish the fish are as the last thing you want to do is scare your target fish away. To start your retrieve you hold your rod up at about 30 degrees and then you start to wind your reel at the same time as you bring your rod down to about minus 30 degrees, you then bring the rod back up to 30 degrees and repeat the procedure until you have retrieved your lure back to you. That is not all, there is more….. You can now start playing around with different speeds of your up and down and reeling and you can start to pause in between these actions to allow your lure to stand still and you can even play around with the “paused time” depending on the type of lure you are using. The rod you are using will determine if the “Jerks” are long (Jerking Rod) or short (Twitching Rod).


There is a huge variety of Hard Plastic Jerk Baits on the market and the different brands and models will work at different depths from just below the surface, down to 2.5m (8ft) and you will even get those that work on the surface as a combination stick bait/jerk bait. Some jerk baits float, some sink and some are even suspending (my favourite). You will need to find out these characteristics when you are purchasing them, and then cast them in your pool at home to learn exactly how they perform.


My favourite as mentioned above are suspending Jerk Baits which have initial neutral buoyancy which means that they will stay suspended in the water without moving for a short period before they start to rise to the surface slowly.  This suspended action is the main reason why these types of Jerk Baits are my favourite because when you make the pause they just stand there dead still for a while and then slowly start to rise and this drives the Bass mad and they will give you big strikes. With suspending Jerk Baits you can also fish really slow and make long pauses, especially over a nest that you have identified which Mama Bass will find as an intrusion and will strike out at the threat. The male Bass is the one who takes care of the nest and in post spawn conditions will defend his nest with all he has got, and if your lure comes near him he may not touch it at first, but if you persist you will usually get him to loose his cool and he will strike.


If you are fishing in an area with a fair amount of structure, then you would be better off using a floating Jerk Bait as if you make contact with structure you can then stop reeling and let your jerk bait rise above it before you start to retrieve again. When you start to retrieve again and the Jerk bait makes a dive down past the structure, you will often get the attention of a bass lurking by the structure.


In most cases I would not recommend a sinking Jerk Bait as these are mostly used in running water, however if you happen to be going for Bass in a running river, then this would be an ideal time to use them.

Attachment: Big Bass.jpg (Downloaded 67 times)

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