A Little Extra Jerkbait Gravy
Written by Russ Bassdozer
Thanks to the readers who wrote to say how much they learned
about jerkbaits from these two articles about Gary Dobyns and his
Rippin' by Gary Dobyns with BassWestUSA Editor Jon Storm
as Taught by Gary Dobyns Interview by Russ Bassdozer
The above two articles cover it well. In addition, for those
who crave just a little extra jerkbait gravy, we ladle on a few
more spoonfuls below.
a Small Profile Reel. Trying to jerk or rip
while gripping a large reel all day can wear your wrist out. I
find a small profile Shimano Chronarch MG 50 or a similar small
profile, lightweight reel reduces wrist fatigue for me
a Blank-Through Handle. A
blank-through reel seat on the rod handle means there's that much
less handle diameter you have to hold in your grip. May sound
like a minor detail now, but after a ten hour day of gripping and
ripping, you'll appreciate a small diameter blank-through handle
with that small profile reel.
a Pair of Fine Lines. I
fish a pair of Loomis CBR845 rods for small to medium jerkbaits.
I tend to use 10 lb test, occasionally 12 lb line, both fluoro
and mono. With the relatively heavier deeper-diving jerkbaits, I
tend to use Sugoi fluorocarbon which gets these baits just a bit
deeper. Plus Sugoi fishes much stronger than mono. With the
relatively lightweight, shallower baits, I tend to use
monofilament. The mono is much easier to prevent or pick out a
backlash using the lighter weight jerkbaits and since mono is
more buoyant than fluoro, the mono rod also doubles as a
lightweight popper rod. Also, both rods handle small to medium
Squad Minnow and ima Flit are just recently available in North
as Underwater Poppers? Speaking of topwater
poppers, the action you give either a jerkbait or popper should
not be dramatically different. With either, the strikes often
come during the pause. Conceptually, it can help you to envision
and fish poppers and jerkbaits as the same basic technique. It is
easier to interpret the feedback fish give us on poppers. We can
see them boil and miss - and modify our presentation (which
usually means to slow it down and pause more). Use the feedback
fish give you on how to work poppers as a guide to envision how
to work jerkbaits. There are far more similarities and few
differences between poppers and jerkbaits.
Jerk or Draw? Many of us tend to work poppers
and jerkbaits too much and too quickly. It is human nature to
want to hastily overwork them. At times, fish favor a fast
frantic fleeing action, ripping. Usually, however, the fish will
calm us down and slow us down to a more leisurely pace of jerking
and pausing that is more to their liking.
So with either a popper or jerkbait, two retrieval types are:
1) high-paced ripping and pausing, or 2) a more sedate jerk or
pop and pause. A third category of jerkbait retrieve which
works for me in cold water is the draw. Merely draw the rod tip
along slowly in order to feel the bait faintly wiggle in the rod
tip. Envision it much like you'd drag a Carolina Rig slowly a few
feet across the bottom, then wait for a bite. There's really no
jerk, rip or pop involved, just drawing the rod tip slowly for a
few feet, then pausing with slack line for the bite. Rip, jerk or
draw are three basic techniques.
colors include: Chartreuse shad (top and 3rd). Ghost Minnow (2nd
and 4th). Pearl Ayu (bottom two).
Colors. Colors like Chartreuse Shad and Ghost
Minnow are basic staples. Chartreuse Shad and Ghost Minnow colors
were originally used in Japan, not North America. Lucky Craft was
the first vendor to introduce such colors to North American
anglers. Nowadays, most every vendor has their version of these
two colors. Chartreuse Shad is opaque and works under a broad
range of conditions. Ghost Minnow is translucent, ideal for clear
A couple other Lucky Craft colors I favor are Ghost Blue Shad
(#237) which, like Ghost Minnow, this is a transparent color but
with a faint blue back similar to shad at times. Pearl Ayu (#268)
is another productive opaque color that works under most
conditions. When jerked, the shiny, highly reflective pearl
sides emit a bright white flash.
A high percentage of my confidence and catches on Lucky Craft
jerkbaits come on two other colors that are much less common in
their product line - but highly effective for bass:
- Misty Shad (#284), which is really available only in Pointers
- Golden Shiner(#239) which is really available only in Bevy
Misty Shad color. Middle: SPRO Minnow 45. Bottom: Golden Shiner
Bwevy Shad with feather treble.
Bevy Shads with Feather Tails. I
have experienced high catch rates using feather tails on Bevy
Shads. I switch out the belly hook for the same size Mustad
Triple Grip. I switch out the tail for one size smaller feather
treble. To me (and presumably to the fish I catch) this feather
duster seems to enhance the lifelike allure of the Bevy Shad.
the SPRO Minnow. There
are many great and legendary jerkbait brands and models on the
market. Go with what works for you. As for me, I tend to use
Lucky Craft Pointers, Pointer DDs, Bevy Shad 75s and Staysee 90s.
These have been some of the most popular and productive choices
in recent years. In 2007 and 2008, additional high quality
jerkbaits from ima - the Flit 120 - and from Jackall - the Squad
Minnow, Smash Minnow and Squirrels - are slowly but surely
becoming available in North America. One other jerkbait I like to
toss a lot is the SPRO Minnow 45. A relatively shallow swimmer,
the SPRO Minnow casts well even in the wind. Best of all, when
you pause it, it has a built-in boink it continues to make for a
moment while it is motionless even after the angler-imparted
action has stopped. That self-actuated boink just slays me - and
it slays a lot of bass for me too.
Well now, I hope you have soaked up some jerkbait gravy here
today. Go mop up some bass with it while the gravy's still hot.