BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 62

often suspend s s a b s w o n k Pete Ponds il a jerkbait. a n to t Mississippi pro u o h s will ru tree. g timber, and in d n ta s d nd an isolated n u u ro a ro a e u g o R k a Smithwic Here he shes

al for jerkbaiting. Here, Blustery spring days are ide s slings his Smithwick Mississippi pro Pete Pond ss a main lake point. ro ac le mi try un co a e gu Ro

ish on sunny days and one with a at nish or intense color (like chartreuse or hot orange) on cloudy days. But even that “rule” isn’t written in stone. “The main thing is, nd a jerkbait you have con - dence in and stay with it,” Kevin advises.

» CUTTING THE BALONEY

ght this bass u a c s d n o P te Pe k Rogue on on a Smithwic Shad pattern the Table Rock loud cover. under heavy c jerkbaits Pros often use nishes on with re ective d lures with sunny days an t schemes on in a p d re lo o c at- cloudy days. cloudy days.n

Exactly how do these jerkbait giants sh these mysterious lures? “There’s been all kinds of baloney written about jerkbaiting, but trust me, it ain’t rocket science,” Ponds laughs. “It’s mainly a matter of determining the mood of the sh, then making simple adjustments to your jerks and pauses as needed.” The basic jerkbait presentation Ponds uses couldn’t be simpler: 1. Make a long cast. 2. Reel the jerkbait down ve or six turns to its maximum depth. 3. Stop reeling and let the lure suspend motionless in the water column for a few seconds – maybe ve or six for starters. 4. Reel up slack line and stroke the rod straight down toward the water’s surface, causing the lure to dart or “jerk” erratically. 5. Pause again. 6. Take up slack and stroke the rod again. Repeat this se- quence back to the boat. “Check the water temp,” Ponds advises. “If it’s in the low 40s, the sh are probably gonna be real sluggish, so a slower, less ac- tive presentation with fewer jerks and longer pauses is more likely to work. Once the lake warms into the mid to upper 40s, the sh should be a little more aggressive and respond better to a more active presentation with multiple jerks and shorter pauses.” If you’re unable to get bit with a jerk/pause/jerk retrieve, Pete recommends this alternative presentation: “Reel the lure down, pause, take up slack, then s-l-o-w-l-y sweep your rod low and to the side. You should feel the plug wobble through your rod. Pause, return the rod to the start position, then sweep it again. They’ll usu- ally hit it on the pause. I’ve had big sh nearly rip the rod out of my hands with this slow-sweep retrieve.” Fighting a jerkbait-hooked lunker requires a level of patience some anglers are unable to muster. “When you detect a strike, never set the hook hard,” Kiriyama stressed. “Instead, reel quickly until you feel the sh pulling, then maintain constant pressure on it while keeping it a safe distance from the boat. In the early stages of the battle, you usually don’t know where or how well the sh is hooked, so you must be very patient. Once it begins to tire, care- fully work it close enough so you can see how well it’s hooked. If it appears to be hooked solidly, go ahead and swing it aboard or grab it, otherwise continue playing it patiently until you can work it close enough to grab it. And, you must grab it very strategically, otherwise it’ll stick a hook in your hand!” BWU

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March/April 2011