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By: Donald Broeren
WARNING: If you follow the recommendations in this article you may just catch more and bigger fish.
As far as the title of this article goes, yeah, ummmm, not so much. I have caught more big fish on jerkbaits than any other technique I’ve ever used, here is how I do it:
When: Anytime the water is below 60 degrees I’m primarily throwing jerkbaits. They can work in warmer water as well but in my experience there are better things to be doing during those times.
Where: For starters, try rocky shorelines at your favorite reservoir, lake, or pond.
Lures: In most situations I prefer Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue’s, but I also like Rapala X-Rap’s and Husky Jerk’s in certain situations. If I had to choose 3 colors to go with, I’d go with Silver, Gold, and Firetiger or Perch. Those three colors will do the job in nearly any situation you’ll come across.
Equipment: I use a 6'6" St. Croix Avid Medium Heavy Fast Action rod, and a Shimano Saros 2500 spooled with 14/6 Smoke Berkley Fireline tied directly to the lure, no leader. The combination of the rod and line really help to get the crisp action on the lure that the fish like, feel light bites, and save many $$$ in lures as well. It is a rare occasion for me to lose a bait, in most cases I can bend the hook straight and get the bait free well before the line breaks.
Technique: As far as the retrieve goes, anything from just barely twitching the bait to snapping it hard can be good. My usual routine is to reel the bait down quickly, twitch it or snap it once, twice, maybe three times, then let it pause. While the lure is paused, especially at night when you can’t see, turn the reel handle very slowly to keep most slack out of the line. During the day I don’t really do that, I just watch the slack line instead. Change up how long the pause is until you find what’s working, sometimes they want it to sit in their face for a while before they’ll hit it, other times they prefer it moving fairly quickly. In general the less aggressive the fish are, the longer the pause.
Tips: In colder water where longer pauses are often required to get bit, add Suspend Dots to your lures to make them suspend perfectly. Rogues in particular, even the suspending models, still tend to float up slowly. When the water warms it’s not such an issue, the fish usually prefer a faster presentation.
Get some small scissors for cutting the Fireline, you can’t reasonably bite it with your teeth and clippers don’t work very well on it either.
Release any large fish that you catch using this technique, if you don’t you’ll never catch another due to the bad karma that it brings. In all seriousness, it’s in everyone’s best interest to let the big one’s go. I can only hope that my kids have the same fishing opportunities that I’ve been blessed with.
Get after ‘em, I'll see you out there!