Soft Jerk Bait Fishing
This article will cover the use of soft jerk baits. There are
many styles of jerk baits. The most popular is probably the wacky
by Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau
A wacky worm is a regular worm
with a hook run through the middle. Some people prefer to use a
regular 2/0 hook with the point protruding through the middle of
the worm. I prefer to use a 3/0 hook which has a wire weed guard.
This will enable you to fish the bait through all kinds of cover.
In this style of fishing you do not use any type of weight.
After you have rigged the worm with the hook in the middle your
first look at the bait will cause you to wonder why a bass would
hit that . The primary reason that the bass strike this type of
lure is because this is a do nothing style fishing. You will
normally use this bait when the lake has had a lot of fishing
pressure or right after a cold front. I fish this on fifteen
pound clear Trilene Big Game. There are a lot of people who will
use a spinning rod because this bait is so hard throw. Sometimes
after major cold fronts I switch to spinning gear also. When I do
this I normally use eight or ten pound line.
Just about any type of worm can be used wacky style. I use the
Zoom Trick Worm. The biggest problem in choosing a worm for this
type of fishing is durability. The Zoom Trick Worm holds up good
with a 3/0 weeless wireguard hook. Some worms are way to soft and
will tear up on the cast.
Colors may very in different lakes. I prefer watermelon, it is
a good all-around color for Lake Fork in Texas. In the spring I
sometimes use a bubble gum color. The spring is a good time to
use this style fishing when the fish are more finicky from cold
fronts and fishing pressure. I fish the bait along weed lines,
stumps and trees, and the bank. I throw the bait out and let it
sink and give it a few twitches and let it sink again. Sometimes
I let the bait go to the bottom and let it lay there for a few
seconds and start twitching again. When the fish get active
sometimes just a slow constant pause and jerk will work. I keep a
wacky worm rigged at all times during the spring . When the fish
have moved into the coves and a major cold front moves through,
the fish have a tendency to become lethargic. That is when the
wacky worm is at its best.
The Bass Assassin or Zoom Fluke
is another style of soft jerk bait. This shad-shaped style of
bait has gained popularity over the last three years on Lake
Fork. Because of the short stubby body it is very easy to throw
with a bait casting reel and light line. This bait can be thrown
on very windy days with little or no problem. This bait can also
be fished almost anywhere. I use a 3/0 wide gap hook and Texas
rig the bait. The bait is manufactured with a hollow trough built
into the bottom of the bait so that it can be fished weedless.
Snce the hollow belly allows the hook to be seated all the way
through the bait, this will help get a better hook set.
During the spring when we get the green algae (slime grass) in
the backs of most of the coves, this bait will come through it
very easily. I normally fish this bait on fifteen pound line. I
do not use a weight when fishing this bait. It is heavy enough to
sink on its own. If you twitch this bait beside the boat and
watch the erratic action you will understand why the fish hit it.
You want to fish this bait in a manner that it looks like an
injured bait fish. Normally, I use a twitch and pause retrieve.
Sometimes after cold fronts the fish will move back and lock-up
tight on stumps or trees and suspend. I cast the bait past the
tree or stump and retrieve the bait up to the stump and stop the
retrieve and let the bait fall. Because of the slow fall
normally, the fish will react and strike. You can fish this bait
all the way out to 10 ft. of water with no problem. The choice of
color is your preference, but the ones already listed above will
The floating worm is another soft
jerk bait. I like this bait, but it is very hard to throw because
of its light weight. Normally you will have to use a spinning rod
with eight or ten pound line. I rig this bait Texas rig with a
1/0 or 2/0 hook.
When the fish have started spawning and there are a lot of
fish roaming in the coves that or either bedding or protecting
fry I take a bubble gum floating worm and throw it along logs or
stumps and twitch it several times and let it fall. The light
wire hook that I use will cause the bait to sink very slowly.
Normally, when I use this bait the fish are very active and the
bubble gum color is only for sight. I fish this bait pretty fast
on a stop and go retrieve.
I know that I preach heavy line most of the time but there are
times when the eight or ten pound line has to be used. Remember
that you have to get a bite before you can catch a fish. You will
lose a lot of fish in the timber but that is just part of the
I have covered only a few of the soft jerk baits that are
available on the market. But these three or four are the ones
that I normally use on Lake Fork.
One other thing. Wthat will
happen when using these baits is that your line will twist
whether you're using spinning gear are bait casting gear. So
during the day you will have to cut the bait off and drag your
line behind the boat to remove the twist. What I normally do is
take one rod and used it primarily for any of these baits and
change the line every two or three days.
When you fish these baits and you feel a strike or see your
line swim off, first hesitate your hook set to allow the fish to
suck the bait in. In the spring the fish will sometimes grab hold
of the end of the baits and carry them away from their small fry
or their bedding areas. You can use these baits any time during
the year not just in the spring.
If there is a subject that you would like for me to cover in
one of my articles email or write me a letter or even call. I
will do my best to cover the subject. If you would like more
instructions on these type of baits I have some guide trip dates
still open so give me a call, good fishing until next time.
Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau
has the experience to help you have a marvelous fishing trip
having been a full time guide for eight years. Uncle Larry Bolton
taught Jim how to fish as a young boy and got him interested in
bass fishing. Jim has been fishing for bass primarily since the
age of 13. He even hunted on the land before Lake Fork was built.
He is no stranger to fishing in tournaments
either. Jim started fishing tournaments in 1973 on Lake
Livingston -- winning a couple and placing in several. While in
the Houston area, Jim was a member of the Humble bass club.
Jim & his wife, Sherry, have been married for
28 years. Sherry is from this area. Eight years ago a move from
Houston brought them to the Lake Fork area permanently. As a
couple, being associated with the area for the past 28 years, it
was coming home.
Give Jim a call: Toll Free 1-888-918-5088 or
Visit Jim's web site at http://members.tripod.com/~bassone/
Email Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org