The 5-Minute Jerkbait Guide for BIG BASS by Rick Vogelbacher

The 5-Minute Jerkbait Guide for Big Bass

Good morning, brothers.

Have you ever struggled to keep up with something?

I have, and to be honest – I’m having a rough go of it lately…

What do we do as fishermen when we get a free second?

We fish.

Fair enough.

I’ve been fishing as much as possible lately. That means I haven’t been writing or editing videos as much. That’s a bummer – but on the other hand, it helps me stay sane. Helps me stay away from bad habits…

This year has been a wild one – and it ain’t over yet.

So far I’ve managed to almost sink my kayak, had ticks on my unmentionables, I’ve busted rods and reels, lost big fish, and I just discovered some fun new leaks in my jon boat. To top it all off, I’m recovering from a very painful allergic reaction to the antibiotic I had to take to help kick my incredible, amazing, MASSIVE, nose infection.

That was genuinely scary. I posted a quick video hoping it might prevent other fisherman from suffering the same painful fate. To warn them. It seemed to resonate with a few different online creators, and one in particular reached out to to let me know he planned to share the video, and send along some well wishes.

That gentleman was Rick Vogelbacher. We struck up a few conversations, and I asked Rick if he would like to contribute to the site. He obliged, and much to my surprise – he wrote a piece that dealt with one of my favorite presentations: The Jerkbait.

The following is just a straightforward 5-minute read, but it covers jerkbait use at different times of the year… plus some additional info I was unaware of…

It’s The 5-Minute Jerkbait Guide for BIG BASS. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

The 5-Minute Jerkbait Guide for BIG BASS

By Rick Vogelbacher

Rick Vogelbacher Smallmouth Largemouth Jerkbait Bass Minimalist Fisherman
Author Rick Vogelbacher with a MONSTER 7 POUND SMALLMOUTH (and a beauty of a largemouth bass to boot)

Fishing jerkbaits for bass can be overwhelming with so many choices on the market. You have ones that float, sink, suspend, or dive to different depths. How do you know which ones to use? There are times when we make these choices a little more difficult than they need to be. It can be as simple as the time of year you’re fishing. It could be the body of water you’re on that helps you make the choice for the day.

Let’s go over some of the basic choices for the time of year you’re fishing.

Fishing Jerkbaits in Early Spring

Ahhh… spring time fishing. The water is cold and it’s the first warming trend since the winter months. I’ve caught them on jerkbaits with the surface temperatures ranging 40 to 60 degrees. The clear choice for jerkbaits during these cold-water days is a suspending jerkbait.

They come in deep diving variations, and mid-range models that dive just 3 to 6 feet. The package or product description should tell you if the model suspends, and how deep it dives.

Colors can vary and depend on the body of water you’re fishing. Generally, jerkbaits are a good choice when you are fishing clear water. They are a visual presentation, and therefore excel in clear water situations. Stained water can be productive at times, but you will want to use a much brighter color so the fish can zero in on the jerkbait. They won’t travel as far in stained water to chase a jerkbait as they do in clear water.

One of the biggest things fishing a suspending jerkbait in the spring is to focus on the cadence of the retrieve. I would venture to say more often than not you will want to do at least a 3 to 5 second pause in between jerks with the lure. Typically fluorocarbon lines are preferred by pro’s, but I’ve been doing just fine with mono for years.

The biggest difference is the monofilament line tends to float whereas the fluorocarbon line doesn’t. The most common line diameter to use is 8 lb. test, but strength and thickness can vary from brand to brand. Typically, I will use 10 lb. line. There are times I will go as heavy as 12 lb. line, but not very often. The thicker the line diameter the less action you will get out of your jerkbait. Translucent, silver, light greens or blue mixed in colors work well on clear lakes.

Fishing Jerkbaits in the Summer

Fishing jerkbaits during the summer is a whole different ball game. The surface water temperatures can run 80 to 90 degrees depending on the part of the country you’re in. There is no bigger emphasis on cadence on the jerks of the lure than during this period. It can vary day to day, but the majority of the time you are working the lure much faster than any other time of the year.

The bass metabolism is at its highest and they are keened in on chasing and eating baitfish. You will want to jerk your lure much quicker with much shorter pauses. Often pausing it briefly and either do two quick jerks or three in a row before the next pause. Colors for clear water will be the same, but you’ll notice that bass in stained water will be more active and likely to hit the jerkbait. The largemouth in this video below show just how effective a jerkbait can be during the summer months.

Rick V Fishing Jerkbaits

Fishing Jerkbaits in the Fall

When the water starts to cool in the fall, the productivity of jerkbaits can really start to shine. You will use many of the same retrieves and colors mentioned in the early spring pattern, with one major difference – the bass will be less active some days as the water cools down. In the spring the water temperature is rising and the fish get more active with those rising temperatures. In the fall the opposite is happening. The water is cooling down and the fish are trying to get accustomed to the falling temperatures which can cause some inactivity. This is the main reason you will want to go back to those long pauses on the jerkbait to trigger the strikes.

How to Select the Right Jerkbait Size

The difference in getting bites and not getting bites can sometimes boil down to the size of the jerkbait you are throwing. Most jerkbaits are referenced by length in millimeters. For instance, anything with 110 in the name is going to be 110 millimeters long (4.33 inches). One that has 90 will be 90 millimeters long (3.54 inches). There have been days where we have only caught them on the smaller 90 and can’t get a bit on the 110.

Additionally, jerkbaits come in 120, 150, or really small in the 60 range. It’s something to be aware of when you’re trying to match the hatch of the bait fish they are feeding on.

For more tips on jerkbait fishing and to see underwater footage of the jerkbait and baitfish they feed on. Check out the video below.

– Rick Vogelbacher

Rick V Jerkbait Tips

Big thanks to Rick for sharing his knowledge on the subject, and big thanks to you as well for checking this article out. There are many more coming down the pike, as this year has been very challenging – but also very rewarding. I’ve spent a lot of time these last 2 months in the jon boat. These next few weeks I’ll hit my pits as hard as possible, before everything slows to a crawl…

AJ Hauser Trout Trick Z-Man Skipping Bass
Fat bass caught skipping a Z-Man Trout Trick… although, the Z-Man FattyZ have been more productive…
AJ Hauser rapala husky jerk olive ghost smallmouth bass pit fishing
… and the jerkbait bite has been good as well… for smallmouth and largemouth!

Get out & get some.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

The Minimalist Fisherman Father Son Bonding Better Anglers Better Men

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