Picking the right bait is critical. But, like you read last time, I don’t think or fish like most of the other guys. My standards for a good jerkbait are different. I’m not saying they’re better, just different. They’re what works for me.
Editor's note: Read part 1.
Basically, I look at four things — color, size, the angle of the lip and the weight transfer system.
Color is important to me but not in the way you might think. I don’t worry much about matching the hatch. Instead I look for something with a lot of white on it from fall into spring. For spring into fall I like reds. Sometimes a little accent color helps but what color that is and where to put it isn’t all that important to me.
When the water’s real clear I will sometimes throw a translucent bait.
My next consideration is size. I almost never fish with anything smaller than 4 1/2 inches, and I never fish with anything bigger than 7 inches. I do try to match the hatch with size, however. Small baitfish call for a small lure, and it’s the opposite for big baitfish and bigger lures.
I often fish a Berkley Cutter. The 110 size is my go-to lure when either the baitfish are small or if the bite is a little hesitant. I’m mentioning that to give you a point of reference.
Next on my list is the size and angle of the bill, or lip. Obviously, a sharper angle on long bill will get the bait down deeper and quicker. At the same time I want to say that a shallower angle on the bill will keep the bait up higher in the water column.
But the bill isn’t everything when it comes to depth. You can get a jerkbait down deeper by modifying it regardless of what kind of bill or lip it has from the factory. All I ever do is change the hardware. I do not add anything to the body or to the bill.
When I want my lure to run deeper I’ll put big heavy hooks on the front and on the back, but never in the middle. And, I’ll put those hooks on with heavier split rings. That’ll do the job for almost any situation. That might not sound like much but I guarantee you it’ll be enough.
I modified one of my baits the way I just described at the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship last week. I measured it. It was down 17 feet, and I caught a bass on it. You don’t need anything more than hooks and split rings to change the depth of a quality jerkbait.
The thing I’m going to mention last is a weight transfer system. Just because I put it last, though, doesn’t mean it’s the least important. Without a high-quality weight transfer system a jerkbait is useless because you can’t cast it. It’s like trying to cast a feather. Don’t buy any jerkbait without one.
OK, so there you have my thoughts on why I throw jerkbaits. I know they’re different from what you usually hear. Nevertheless, they work for me, and I think they’ll work for you.