“Gotcha!” Arkansas pro Kevin Short knows that jerkbaits rule in cold, clear water. He whacked this bucketmouth on a modi ed Norman Razor Minnow.
jaw. To pre- vent the hook from ripping out, you need a soft action rod, one that acts like a shock absorber. I recommend either a 6 ½- to 7-foot jerkbait-speci c rod or a light-action cranking rod for this application. Pair it with a 6.3:1 reel with a smooth drag spooled with 10 to 14 pound line. I prefer uorocarbon because it sinks and gets the jerkbait a bit deeper, but clear mono is okay.”
Arkansas pro Kevin Short knows jerkbaits rule in cold, clear water. He caught these two bruisers on consecutive casts while jerkbaiting a Tennessee lake.
» LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
“I sh jerkbaits in places where most other anglers don’t even sh for bass,” says Alabama (by way of Japan) pro Kota Kiriyama. “This includes the ends and sides of the deepest main lake points, over offshore ledges, and around steep channel banks, especially those with fallen timber extending from shore over deep water. These untapped areas provide bass with a deep sanctuary where they stage prior to spawning.” Don’t freak out if your boat is sitting in super-deep water while you’re chunking your jerkbait around one of the aforemen- tioned structures, Kiriyama says. “Bass may be suspending 12 feet from the sur- face in 60 feet of water, 6 feet deep in 20 feet of water, etc. The depth of the area they’re using really doesn’t matter; it’s the presence of some sort of underwater breakline, a nearby piece of cover, or a rapid depth change that makes for a good springtime jerkbait spot.” Both Kiriyama and Ponds have caught some real toads by jerkin’ their minnow plugs around lone pieces of cover in clear lakes. “Bass will suspend over a solitary rock or stump on the edge of a breakline or at the end of a deep point,” Pete has found. “They’ll also suspend adjacent to standing timber in highland reservoirs. These sh are using the cover as a refer- ence point rather than for concealment, so they often relate to it very loosely. For this reason, you need to fan-cast the jerkbait all around the object, not just directly to it.”
I’ve found that wind and sky condi- tions don’t have a predictable im- pact on the jerkbait bite. I’ve done photo shoots with both Short and Kiriyama on dead- calm, sunny days when they’ve whacked big bass on these plugs, and I once watched Ponds catch good sh on them during a snowstorm with 45 mph gusts. The main weather adjustment these pros sometimes make is to sh a plug with a re ective n-