Don’t Give Up On Jerkbaits
by Trevor Knight
All anglers know how deadly a jerkbait can be in the winter and early spring. However, once the bass move up on the beds to spawn, most anglers put these baits away, never to see the light until the leaves fall at the end of the year. These anglers are missing out on the best jerkbait fishing of the year.
The post-spawn period can produce some of the biggest stringers of the year on jerkbaits for anglers that know they are year-round baits. After the spawn, big female bass move to staging areas between their spawning beds and eventual summer haunts. Typically, these staging areas are the first drop in depth from the spawning areas with some type of cover to sweeten the spot. Docks with deep water along the front, grasslines, brush piles or stumps on ledges, and rockpiles on long tapering points are prime examples of these staging areas. The time period that bass use these staging areas can vary from several days to a couple of weeks.
The common theme between all of these areas, is that they provide stressed out bass a place to easily ambush large calorie meals such as shad and bluegills. The jerkbait is a perfect imitator of these prey species. The main difference between fishing jerkbaits in cold water and warm water is an increase in the tempo and a switch to predominantly floating jerkbaits. Spro McSticks, Rapala Husky Jerks, Lucky Craft Pointers, and suspending Smithwick Rogues presented with occasional twitches and long pauses are the standard cold water tools. During the post spawn, a switch to floating Smithwick Rogues, Megabass Ito 110s, and Bomber Long As presented with quick jerks and momentary pauses, will trigger bites from hungry post spawn females.
Floating jerkbaits create the illusion of injured baitfish, and those are the types of meals big bass are looking for right after the spawn. Aggressively fishing jerkbaits around these staging areas allows an angler to cover a lot of water while targeting big bass that hardly ever see jerkbaits this time of year. Floating jerkbaits can also be great topwater baits in low light situations around isolated shallow cover. A jerkbait slowly twitched over a bed, will draw vicious strikes from males guarding beds. Some big bass will stay shallow all year on isolated cover to feed on bluegills and frogs. A jerkbait twitched on top, can also be a great way to catch these skittish bass in the dog days of summer.
So the next time you reach for your Bass Tech performance gear, make sure you also bring some jerkbaits too. It can result in some of the best post spawn fishing of the year!