How to Fish a Jerkbait: Part 1 – Jerkbait Gear Selection

how to fish a jerkbait part 1

Good morning brothers.

A few minutes ago, my left pointer finger was impaled with the razor-sharp rear treble of a Rapala 08 Husky Jerk.

Anytime I do anything… there’s always blood.

I’m not even mad.

I'm not even mad that's amazing gif

We’re going to talk about jerkbaits today, and believe me – I’m the perfect guy to lead this presentation. Why? Because before last season, I had never even tied one on! But I knew that I wanted to get good with them… so… I just went for it. Popped one on. Threw it around. Got a few bites. Tried a few others.

After a while, confidence increased, and more and more fish started to fall prey to these rigid little sticks with hooks. Just 1 season later, this bait has gone from something confusing to a top tier confidence bait.

This season, my first cast will be with a jerkbait. An 08 Husky Jerk, to be exact. In a new color, to be even exacter: Olive Ghost. It’s a green-backed semi-transparent number, with a tiny bit of blueish purple just barely visible down the center. A saucy little nugget, no doubt, and so is his younger brother, the Rapala RipStop® in Live Perch.

The Husky Jerk is a perfectly-balanced bait that can be cast or trolled, according to the Rapala website. It has a slight rattle and stout hooks. The RipStop has lighter wire hooks (they’re “stickier”) and a tail design that stops the bait harder & faster, then slowly rises head first.

I’ll pair both with fluorocarbon line… but lighter than what I have used in the past. We just discussed the benefits of lighter line the other day… so… I’m forcing myself to practice what’s been preached.

light line fishing techniques
Light Line Fishing Techniques

Now let’s talk about the gear.

Downsizing makes me nervous, because jerkbaits can catch big fish…

Full stop.

Nice Bass! More Fish in the Stars & Bars Trophy Room
Nice Bass! More Fish in the Stars & Bars Trophy Room

But… it must be done…

Jerkbait Fishing Crash Course:

Jerkbaits can be used all year, however, you typically see them come into play more during the spring and fall, when the water is colder. They give you the ability to pause for an extended period of time. From the pause, these baits can float up, sink, or even suspend in place (if they are neutrally buoyant). Be mindful of the line you are using, because monofilament and braid both float, but fluorocarbon sinks.

This will have an effect on the action of your bait.

Your cadence (meaning the pattern of your jerkin’ – example: so twitch-pause, or twitch-twitch-twitch-pause, and so on) should be varied until you find a twitch + pause combination that starts to get a reaction out of the fish. If the water is colder, don’t be afraid to pause for 10, 15 – even 30 seconds to see if a fish will strike.

In warmer water, you might be able to get away with 1, 3 or 5 second pauses – and yes, this bait will work in warm water as well.

After the pause, make sure you turn your reel slightly to bring in the slack. Don’t pull your rod and advance the lure or you will be defeating the purpose of the bait. Once you’ve reeled the slack out of the line, you can twitch the rod again to advance the lure erratically, pause, and repeat.

When it comes to rod and reel selection, here’s a good rule of thumb:

If you like baitcasters, you need to use a slightly heavier jerkbait and a bit heavier line. This will allow you to cast the lure effectively – if it’s too light, you’re literally begging for inaccurate casts and a massive backlash!

If you want to use a smaller jerkbait – something that will appeal to everything that swims – opt for a spinning reel setup. This is how I’ll be starting the season, and testing 8 pound test instead of my usual 10…

I know, I know… that’s not super light… but baby steps, man! This should be a positive change in the right direction. Big changes take time and effort to take root.

Understand – you can’t do it all in a day.
But you better do something – today.

Tight lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

Thank you Readers!

Thanks for visiting! I’m going to keep doing everything possible to keep the helpful content coming, and FREE FOR EVERYONE… but I need your help. Please chip in by making a small monthly contribution to keep this site alive & growing. $4.96 will buy a sweet Pack ‘o Dingers, and with it, I promise to catch many bass in your honor. Thanks. You are a gentleman & a scholar! -AJ

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