Everything You Need to Know When Fishing a Jerkbait

Jerkbaits are long minnow style lures that mimic injured baitfish. The great thing about jerkbaits is their ability to trigger reaction bites. It is probably the best bait for triggering a response. This really pays off when you come across a big school of bass because if you can trigger one bass then you will likely trigger the entire school. This makes for exciting fishing when you are pulling in one after another and can be very addictive. For Jerkbait recommendations check out our jerkbait buyers guide.

How To Fish a Jerkbait

To create the proper action you want quick sharp snaps of the rod tip while at the same time doing a half handle turn on your reel. That half reel turn will bring in just enough slack so you can still feel a bite and set the hook while leaving enough so the bait isn’t affected during the pause.

The number one thing when fishing a jerkbait is to never reel up all the slack. You never want the jerkbait to swim from reeling up too much slack. You always want the bait to stop moving on your pauses. If the bait swims on the pause bass will not strike. You want hard twitching and cutting from your jerks and hard stopping on the pauses, that is the key to jerkbait fishing.

Another thing that matters is how hard you snap your rod tip to work the bait. In most cases the longer the bill or the deeper it dives the less you have to work it. So on a deeper diver like a Lucky Craft Staysee you use smaller movement and a softer snap. On the other hand, lures like the Jackall Rerange or Lucky Craft Flash Pointer can be fished much more aggressive with much harder snaps. These smaller billed baits are great when bass are up shallow and hunting baitfish.

Along with the size of the bill, water temperature also plays a roll in how hard you should work a jerkbait. When the water is cooler you should slow down and let the bait pause longer. On the other hand when the water is warm you can work the bait much faster.

Best Jerkbait Rod & Reel for Every Budget

Jerkbaits one of  the few techniques that require a dedicated rod. You need a rod that can correctly work the bait without messing up its action while also being able to fight large fish in on light hooks. So having a quality jerkbait rod is critical when fishing jerkbaits. Below are all great options, choose one that matches your price point and get out there and catch more fish!

Best Value: : St. Croix Bass X 6’8″ Medium XFast paired with a Shimano SLX 150 HG

Mid-Ranged: Shimano Expride 6’10” Medium paired with a Shimano Curado DC 150 HG

High End: Megabass Orochi XX Jerkbait Special paired with a Aldebaran 50HG

Top of the Line: St. Croix Legend X 6’8″ Medium XFast paired with a Aldebaran 50HG

What Line to Use When Fishing Jerkbaits

When fishing a jerkbait I mostly use 12lb fluorocarbon. On most of my other rods I will use braid to leader but when jerkbait fishing I found that braid tended to hit a little too hard and risked bending out hooks. So I recommend sticking with 10-12lb fluorocarbon. It gives the perfect balance of distance, responsiveness, and just enough stretch to absorb the fight of a large bass without bending out your hooks. Additionally fluorocarbon is basically invisible in the water so it is great when you have to slow down in the colder months.

You will should change your jerkbait rod line yearly. Fluorocarbon line has memory, so over time it will develop a coil-like shape. This really hurts you because when you are trying to stop the bait the old line’s memory will slowly be pulling the bait forward because of the coil. That small forward movement is all it takes to kill the jerkbaits triggering power.