BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 62

Aaron Martens powers up for big bass by putting #3 Gamakatsu Round Bends on the front and tail of a Megabass Vision 110 (top). Mike McClelland bigs up one or two belly hooks on his Spro McStick 110 (center) or McStick 95 (bottom) with #4 Gamakatsu Round Bends in order to get the lure’s head to hang lower in the water when paused.

Jerkbaits have been an essential part of bass an- glers’ arsenals for decades. Back in the day, everyone who wanted to be effective had to modify their baits to get them to work just oh-so-right. Hours were spent on tweaks. One of the originals on the West Coast jerkbait scene, outdoor radio show host and professional angler Kent Brown reminisces about his days tuning the old timey lures. “You had to tune every stinkin’ bait. We made them work without a doubt. But a lot of the modi cations we were do- ing in the ‘80s, we just at don’t have to do anymore, which is kind of cool. The preci- sion baits from every manufacturer today makes the stuff we were shing look like cartoon characters.” Today jerkbaits bought off the shelf have been factory-built to perceived per- fection using the latest modern technology and input from the best designers and sh-

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ermen around the world. But that also means the art of modifying these baits is a dying tradition, taking a back seat to store- bought convenience. You rarely, if ever, hear of tuning modern jerkbaits these days. The truth is, even with these highly- perfected baits, modi cations are still be- ing done by the best shermen around. Why? To give them an edge, of course. Read on to learn ways to tune the modern jerkbait from some of today’s best-know pro anglers.

» HOOKS

Hooks have been a subject of debate for many years, but one thing the pros agree on is that changing hooks can help you catch more sh. On many jerkbaits, hooks can be up- graded by at least one size. This adds to the hooking and holding power and affects the oating and suspending qualities of the baits. Just ask Bassmaster pro Aaron

Martens, a jerk- bait fanatic who uses the Megabass Vision 110 as his primary weapon. Aaron swears by changing the hooks on his baits. “If there are a lot of good 4 to 6 lbers, I’ll take the center hook off the Vision 110, and then change the two outer hooks to Gamakatsu Round Bends in size 3 (or 4).” This gives Martens a lot more con dence to “just yank ‘em in!” Elite Series pro Mike McClelland will also change the hooks on his Spro McStick 110. Depending on water temperature and the action he is trying to achieve, McClel- land will replace either one or two of the stock size 5 Gamakatsu treble hooks on the Spro McStick with size 4 hooks instead. But note he’s only doing this with the front trebles (not the tail hook) to keep the nose down. “I truly believe you’re go- ing to catch more sh if the nose is down because the sh are going to eat the low- est point of the bait in the water column,” McClelland says.

» FEATHERS

Feathered trebles are another favorite addition to many baits because (as every

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January/February 2011