How To Fish A Jerkbait

How To Fish A Jerkbait

Bronson Bonner

All us fishermen know that the bass are hard to catch in the fall/winter. This is because they are mostly suspended. This is when the bass move out to the deepest water available and basically just hang out. They do this to conserve energy as they know that their food will be few and far between. 

But there is a way to still catch these suspended bass. And one of the top ways to accomplish this would be to use a Suspended Jerk Bait.

How To Swim It

There are many ways to swim a jerkbait. You can do a straight reel which will catch fish but to take full advantage of the jerkbait you will need to throw in some snap-pause action. This will give the lure an erratic action which mimics an injured baitfish.

  • Start with your rod tip pointing down at around a 5 O'clock position.
  • Snap the rod down to the 6 O'clock position in a quick manner making sure you have slack in the line between each jerk.
  • Return to original position while reeling in enough slack to account for how much the lure has traveled. (But leave a little slack for the next jerk.)
  • Keep on repeating this process. Jerk-pause, jerk-pause, jerk-pause. Or jerk-jerk-pause, jerk-jerk-pause etc.


Jerk baits are a very versatile lure and can be fished in many different ways. As Kevin VanDam said,

“I really mix it up and work it more aggressively than most people would imagine. The biggest key to fishing a jerkbait is making sure that you have slack in your line. Start your twitch, or series of jerks, with slack- and finish with slack the same way. That’s what allows these baits to have that maximum erratic side-to-side action,” 

Do the cadence you like. The lure sells itself.

Tweak retrieval as weather changes

As the seasons change, so do the fish as mentioned above. Keep this in mind when fishing a jerk bait. During colder weather, make sure to slow down your retrieval in cold temps and speed up in warmer temps. You can still make hard snaps in the cold, but make sure your pauses are a bit longer. In the warmer months, take advantage of those aggressive reaction strikes and fish it fast.


Where to fish jerkbaits

  • Around docks
  • Ledges and drop-offs : Retrieve the bait perpendicular to the break
  • Rocky Shorelines and points
  • Open water : Where bass are feeding


Water Conditions

Jerkbaits perform best in water that is clear or mostly clear. My rule of thumb is I would like to see my lure at least 2-3 inches under the water. This lets me know that the bass are able to see my lure. When you have dirtier water, reach for a shallower diving jerk bait that makes a lot of noise. In clearer water, you can opt for a deeper diving jerkbait.

Lure Color

Always go for the color of what the bass are eating. Ever heard the term "Match The Hatch"? This applies to jerkbaits, so go with natural patterns like Shiner, Shad, or perch.


Best Rod

For the best action you will need to go with a stiffer rod. The Quantum Tour KVD 6’10 medium-heavy action rod would be the choice I make here. This stiffer rod makes sure that the lure is moving as much water as possible and creating those aggressive reaction strikes.


Best line

Its all about keeping the lure above the line of site of the bass. You will need different line for different depths and temps. I suggest using 12-pound BPS XPS fluorocarbon fishing line in cooler water where you will not be as aggressive with the lure, but in warmer waters you can bump that up to a 14-lb test. But, if you are in shallow water and you want the lure to stay up higher, move up to a 20-lb test. If you are fishing deep water and need to get the lure down far, make the switch over to 8-lb test.

Check us out on YouTube

Leave a comment