“Jerkbait” is one of those terms that you’re going to hear a lot over the next few months. As the baitfish concentrate and the bass key in on them, there are few baits that mimic the prey and trigger bites quite like a jerkbait will. But, in the jerkbait family we have a wide array of options; one of those options being “soft” or “hard”. Both options are excellent tools for covering a lot of water and picking off active fish, but it is helpful to know how to choose which tool will drive the nail the best. Here are a few tips I’ve collected that help me decide which jerkbait to pickup this time of year!
When I mention a hard jerkbait I’m talking about the elongated minnow shaped baits covered in treble hooks. As we all know, treble hooks don’t play well with cover. Pair that with the strict diving depth that the lip provides and a hard jerkbait become quite situational as to when and where you can throw it.
For me, when I’m targeting structure-oriented fish that are positioned on points, channel edges, steep banks, bluffs, and rocks then the hard jerkbait is key. Some sparse cover is ok, and even helpful if I can rip the bait through it, but it’s a hard row to hoe if you’re attempting to put this treble hooked minnow in or around a lot of cover.
Soft jerkbaits on the other hand are extremely versatile baits. You can rig them on a jighead, drop shot, or any variety of ways but the most popular method is a simple weightless Texas-rigged bait. This, too, can be a good option in open water when fish are schooling, but this bait shines when the bait (and bass) are relating to shallow cover like wood and grass. When fished as a weightless Texas-rig, a soft jerkbait may be the most weedless bait you have in your boat. Aside from that, it tends to draw strikes when a lot of other baits will not because of it’s subtle nature and realistic profile.
Most importantly, you must let the fish decide which bait is the most productive on any given day, but these tips should give you a starting point on which to pick up first. Let us know how these tips work for you! Also, be sure to find us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more in-depth content to help you catch more fish!
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