You can fish with jerkbaits all year. However, using them effectively means you must jerk or twitch the lure to achieve action, not with a steady retrieve. Running them the same as crankbaits will make them ineffective. Also, the reel should only pick up the excess slackline.
The line should never be completely tight. This implies you should have some slack at the beginning and end of the twitching or jerking motion. Also, watch the line between jerks to see if it moves or twitches a bit, as it may be a fish, and always be ready to set the hook.
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How to Fish with a Jerkbait
You need to develop a cadence or rhythm to the jerk or twitch action that will make fish react. Try different cadences to find what works best. As an example, I have used pauses in between jerks of different lengths. A fish will hit jerk baits quite often after a pause. Above all, practice the pause with jerk baits it will catch you more fish.
Fishing with jerkbaits includes at what depth to fish the lure. For instance, the jerkbaits excels in shallow water. Plus, water 1-5 feet deep has better clarity. Therefore the areas to use this lure include rocky shorelines, rock piles, points, and channels where a tributary enters a larger body of water. The wind will push baitfish into this structure and cover, making the wind an asset in this aspect.
Lures usually have 2-3 sets of treble hooks, therefore, the lures will snag and grab the thick cover. The fish are in the cover which means going in after them. As a result, you have to decide whether it is worth losing a lure. Since you will lose a few in cover as part of fishing.
What Equipment is Best for Fishing with Jerkbaits
You may have a rod and reel that will work with jerk baits. You likely have a medium to medium-heavy power outfit with fast action and it is the recommended tackle for bass fishing also. Although, you will need to change to lighter equipment for smaller lures and heavier tackle for very large lures. Also, a reel needs to have a fast enough retrieve to bring up the excess slack after 2-4 jerks with one crank. Because if you have to turn the reel too many times it may throw off the cadence.
The line for jerkbaits will have an effect. A small-diameter line allows you fish the lure deeper. An 8-12 pound line is the recommendation. Also, a large diameter line will prevent the lure from getting to its maximum depth. Using monofilament or fluorocarbon will suit this style of fishing but the line needs to be good quality, subsequently if using very small lures go with light line and heavy line with the biggest lures.
What Colors for Fishing With Jerkbaits
The choice of colors is a debatable subject also. Too often anglers go with their confidence color on all lures. If you look in other people’s tackle box it is likely you will see a few colors only. The impact of sun and water clarity affect how a fish sees. That is to say, light impacts lure color. The majority of fish only see 2-3 colors in the spectrum.
Bright colors including light blues, yellows, and reds work well in clear water. Likewise have a few dark colors like black or dark blue and some flashy colors including gold or silver. Those colors are best in darker water. Lures have various patterns made to represent baitfish, including perch, shiner, shad, and a multitude of other options. A few pattern colors are essential. You can start with 3-4 colors including one being a pattern option. As these should cover all light and water clarity conditions. As you progress add more colors for different waters.
This is a basic guideline to help fishing with jerkbaits. There are many nuances to using this type of lure. Fishing with jerk baits is productive when done correctly, especially for bass. As you gain experience, the lures will perform better leading to a better catch rate.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights