bass; perch. Clausen’s other primary shallow water jerkbait applicationmis during the summer shad spawn when bass devour the easy targets. The key is to choose shad colored baits and keep them moving at a relatively quick pace in order to mimic the slightly sub-surface action of shad.
During the winter and pre-spawn periods when anglers most commonly locate suspended bass, Clausen starts by searching the mid depth water column with a Megabass Vi- sion 110 jerkbait. “I always start by looking for the shallow bite under 10 feet of depth,” Clausen continues, “shallow water fish are more active, easier to catch, and it’s a much quicker way to cover water.” Traditionally Clausen uses the mid depth jerkbaits during the winter and pre-spawn periods when the water temperatures are above 50 degrees. He finds the 50 degree temperature mark to be the magic number when distinguishing between actively feeding fish and lethar-
gic ones that are often difficult to coax into biting. During this period Clausen seeks out specific structural and depth characteristics that narrow his search, “In cold water during the winter or pre-spawn I look for shallow water that tran- sitions into deeper water quickly.” His primary locations are banks that offer a forty-five degree slope and vertical rock wall bluffs that afford the bass easy shallow water depth mi- gration for feeding purposes. Although he’s found his best success with jerkbaits early in the year, Clausen doesn’t believe in absolutes, “I use the mid-depth jerkbaits year round really. I find that early in the year it’s the overall best presentation, but it still catches them post-spawn. During the post-spawn when fish aren’t commit- ting to topwater you can absolutely crush them using a jerk- bait.” Clausen also finds jerkbaits to have some species spe- cific variations in results as well, “One time I always have a jerkbait on the deck is when I’m targeting smallmouth. They will eat a jerkbait in any conditions 365 days a year.”