Jerkbaiting is old tradition in the Ozarks

Jerkbaits are probably the dominant lure of this Classic, and they're quite evident today. If you grew up in the Ozarks, like Mike McClelland and Jason Christie, you learned to throw suspending jerkbaits before suspending jerkbaits were manufactured. The original Rogues floated to the surface when they weren't being reeled.


About 40 years ago the best bass anglers in this region discovered that a suspending Smithwick Rogue was the go-to big bass lure in late winter and early spring. By drilling holes in them and filling the holes with lead, or wrapping lead wire around the hook shanks of the three trebles, they created a Rogue that could be reeled down into the middle of a cedar tree and just sit there, begging a bass to bite.


As Brent Chapman once said, "Sometimes you need to leave it long enough to eat a snack before you move it."


Jason Christie said Saturday that he's caught 95% of his fish this week on two jerkbaits - a Smithwick Rogue and a Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue.


"My mentor, Bud Guthrie, was one of the main guys who developed (hand-altered Rogues)," Christie said. "But they make them now where they work right out of the box."


No one is eating a pack of crackers while a jerkbait suspends in a treetop this week. They're fishing them faster than that. But if you want to catch a big one, it's hard to fish a jerkbait too slow in the Ozarks.

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