How to choose the right bait, jerkbait versus a crankbait. People give little thought to which lure to use at specific times. It does make a difference in catch rates. The factors affecting the choice. Include matching the hatch, the depth the fish are located, and water conditions. All these factors need consideration when choosing a lure.
Crankbaits create vibrations and tend to have rattles. Jerkbaits rely on a visual aspect with flashes and mimicking an injured baitfish. Understanding why a lure performs in a situation will improve your fishing success. Every lure has a time and place where it performs its best.
Add in the fish’s activity level, do they want an erratic retrieve or a steady retrieve. Using a steady retrieve with less active fish does not work. An active fish will likely hit either. Yet, a steady retrieve covers more water faster. You need to adjust to the fish’s behavior using lures.
There are many variations in both types of lures. Having an understanding of the body types and bill angles is needed. The options offer many lures for multiple situations. In some cases, either lure may work well.
Match the Hatch
A common term among anglers is matching the hatch. This means having a color pattern and body shape. That compares to the naturally occurring baitfish. In lakes, panfish are common so fat body crankbaits tend to be a good choice. On a river, the long thin bodies are more common in the baitfish.
The colors do not need to be exact matches. Use colors that are visible and give a fish the allusion it is a natural part of the ecosystem. Do this using colors that provide better visibility based on the water conditions. The depth has an effect on the colors along with the water color and level of staining.
Jerkbait Versus Crankbait in Water Column
A jerk baits and crankbait have differences in depth. In general, a crankbait is for going deep with a lure. This lure is effective at 10 feet or more. Crankbaits are made to deflect off the cover and rocks on the bottom. There are shallow water versions that are good as search baits. Use the shallow cranks the same. Have the lure ricochet off the cover on or near the bottom. Use a crankbait when the fish are feeding down. In other words, the fish are looking at the bottom for food. The lure needs to be at the bottom.
When fish are feeding up or looking higher in the water. Use jerk baits for better results. The suspending or floating models stay at a depth or slowly rise. Jerk baits come in models for various depths. A few go 1-4 feet, while others reach down to 7-8 feet. A fish feeding up will have interest in a jerk bait. The fish are looking for a food source that is suspending or near the surface. A lure at the bottom will not be productive.
When you find fish using the bait based on the feeding habits and the water column is a key factor. A lure must stay in the strike zone or where the fish can see and are willing to chase. Do not get stuck on a lure because it is a favorite. A lot of people stay with the same lure too often. There are times, changing the type makes a big difference in success.
Water Conditions for Jerkbait Versus Crankbait
Water clarity affects the choice also. In lightly stained or clearer waters, a jerkbait is productive. The lure creates a flash that attracts fish. The shallower water tends to be cleaner so jerkbaits are a good fit for the depth. The lures with some silver, gold, or another reflective color offer the most flash. In the very clear water, a lure with too much flash may be too much. Use lures with softer bright colors in this situation.
In darker or deeper water, lures lose visibility. A crankbait has vibration and or rattles making sound for attraction. Fish are drawn to certain vibrations. A good crankbait has been tested for the right vibration. The same goes for lures with rattles. A few only make a tic while others can be loud. The sound is an element you need to test in your home waters.
The colors on crankbaits come in many options. A baitfish pattern, bright color, and a dark color are what you need. The multitude of colors has you buy lures. Fish see the contrast and few see more than 2-3 colors. In deeper water, almost all lures turn grey or black.
I recommend the colors that work on the waters you fish. This may be black or blue for dark colors, yellow or chartreuse for a bright color, and a bluegill baitfish pattern.
The quality of a lure does matter. The multi-packs tend to be low-quality lures. Look at Rapala, Storm, Smithwick, Bomber, and KVD lures for a better quality of lures.
Each lure has a time and place it is best. A few simple rules will help you identify which lure is best to start within a situation. Does the fish use vision or sounds to find food? How are the fish feeding, up or down? What depth are the fish located? What are the water conditions? Answering these questions helps tell you. Whether a jerkbait versus a crankbait is the best choice.