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Spring Time Jerkbait Tactics


With the first couple of warm weather days drawing near here in Illinois that means it’s time for one thing, Pre Spawn bass fishing. Bass have a biological trigger that kicks in and lets them know it’s time to move up from their deep wintering holes and onto points and structure adjacent to spawning pockets and coves.

One little problem though with the water still cool (53-60 degrees) those bass aren’t willing to chase that favorite crankbait or spinnerbait that you like to throw. What bait is the most effective bait to throw when you have fish that are in a negative feeding mood, the answer is a Suspending Jerkbait. Without a doubt one of the best cold water baits on the market.

To effectively fish these baits you need the right equipment. I prefer a 6’6” Gloomis Crankbait Rod in a Medium action. This rod has a moderate fast tip, so that means it won’t load up as fast like those fast action worm rods do. For reels I like a fast ratio reel like a Shimano Chonarch reel, because the fast ratio reel allows the angler’s to pick up the slack in the line quick and it will help these baits work more effectively.
For line, I prefer a 12 lb McCoy 100% Fluorocarbon Line.  Fluorocarbon line is a sinking line not a floating line so it will keep the jerkbaits not only at its maximum dive depth, but it will keep suspending jerkbaits stationary when it not moving, mono will float the bait up out of the water column you’re trying to cover.
Color is very simple because these baits are visible baits, you need at least 24” of water clarity to make these baits effective so that should tell you that your going use shad imitating baits, but be sure to take into consideration cloud cover and wind. The cleaner the water the more natural the bait , if you have sunshine use baits with a metallic finish ,  cloud cover or water that has little color to it use matte color or solid color baits like bone color or firetiger!

The retrieve is the key to this bait as Doris Mattox of D&S Lures stated “LET THE FISH TELL YOU HOW THEY WANT IT “so many fisherman stick with the same retrieve and wonder why they don’t get bit.  Change up your retrieve till you get a bite, once you get bit stay with that retrieve until you stop getting bit than change it up again.
Remember each bass is different so you have to experiment with retrieve styles and speed a lot, that’s why equipment is also important because you could be throwing a jerkbait if you have the right equipment you won’t get fatigued in a day’s fishing.  Jerkbaits are one of the most effective baits to use during the prespawn period if you use these tips you will have a successful spring!


Jerkbait fish from Doris Mattox of D&S Lures ,

“Remember to change the retrieve of your jerkbait… what works one time may not work the next time as conditions change.”