Jerk Bait Presentation

Fish, Smallmouth, Dolomieu, Micropterus
When the snow melts and the temperatures of the rivers and lakes start to rise it’s time to get ready for pre spawn smallmouth bass. Hard bodied or jointed jerk baits designed to suspend in the water are a terrific choice this time of the year, especially on windy overcast days when the smallmouth appear to be aggressive. Conversely, it appears slower moving weightless plastics appear to work best on calm sunny days.
Tackle and equipment: I typically for 3 poles rigged up for fishing with a jerk bait.
7′ Medium fast action rod with a 5:1 reel or greater, Abu Garcia makes a few great reels for jerk bait fishing. Line this up with 15lb braid using a fluorocarbon leader and you have yourself a great set up for your larger hard baits and larger spinning lures.
I really like this setup on still sunny mornings. This is my go to soft plastic jerk and twitch bond setup. This is a wild card pole, in the past I have had success with this using weightless flukes as well as smaller hard bodied lure. What I have found is that since fluorocarbon line sinks it has a propensity to bring the hard and soft plastic baits a bit deeper and the 6lb line has a little better feel with the lighter baits than the 10lb baitcasting setup. If I could only take one I would take this one since I feel it is the most flexible but the other setups are specific to the task. . Natural colors in clear water and heavily fished areas, white, pearl, perch and Chartreuse are winners in the spring in stained water.
Soft bodied baits – Zoom super fluke 5″, these simply have great movement and seem to out fish any other soft plastic jerk bait I use. Recently I Berkley Gulp Alive, KVD and many others have come out with great quality products as well.
Location
Spring is such a great time for smallmouth because no other time in the year are their patterns more predictable and so many large females being”stacked up” in precisely the identical location. Concentrate on regions deepwater drops and inland spawning areas 10ft deep with gravel bottom and floor structure is a great place to start. Egg laden large females will be actively feeding and can have several trophies sitting in the same small indentation or around exactly the exact same stump. Small mouth will spend the majority of the winter in 30-40 feet of water then move in to shallow flats right after ice out and till the spawn which usually starts when the water temperature reaches into the mid or upper 50’s. Any large flats in 8-15 foot of water alongside 30-40 shelves are great place to start. Start looking for a gravel bottom, often times a nice rock pile or stump could hold 10 big females in this time of the year.
Smallmouths often must find baits a couple times until they opt to strike if they’re not actively feeding so if you see a good-looking place take 3-4 casts before proceeding. When they are feeding and you catch one make sure you cast right back to the same spot because large females are seldom alone at this time of year. This can be some of the most fun, quickest fishing of the year. When they’re feeding it is not from the realm of possibility to land five pound fish in ten casts.
When it is overcast and windy it seems to stir the build-up and have the best bite. Anytime I’m using a jerk bait in the end I use bigger and heavier hard bodied baits. I also work the bait faster than I do with soft plastics. Rapala Husky Jerk 10 is a favourite bait in these state with white, Chartreuse and pearl white being hot colours. I check with a bait shop or online about hot colours on a particular body of water.
I work the bait at about 3-5 feet of depth with longer pulls mixing with short twitches. 1 key suggestion is to maintain constant slack in your line particularly when using the braided line set up, it is going to give the bait more of an erratic darting movement and the twitches more realistic appearance. I remember one time a buddy and I were in exactly the same boat using the very same colors and the exact same bait. The only difference was that he added a very small weight and was working the lure at a rate that he was averaging 3 casts to every one of my casts. At the end of 75 minutes it was 14 fish and he had 1 and I was averaging about 16″ per fish with a few four pound, nineteen inch and smallies. The only difference was I had no weight added and was working the lure very slow, sometimes as slow as 4-6 minutes between activities. This method is particularly deadly on a sunny calm morning, the smallmouth are not as stirred up as they will be when the wind picks up but they’re always up for an easy meal. This is often the first lure I start out with and the final one I finish with.
For the men and women who fish them, spring smallmouth bass fishing is in a category of its own. Using jerk and twitch baits is among the most fun ways to catch them. Tight lines!

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