Originally posted by: davesett2000 on 1/17/2006 9:39:31 PM
Weighted Jerkbaits-Deadliest Prespawn Lure Of All
You can catch bass on a variety of presentations, from dragging a jig or grinding bottom with a crankbait to burning lipless rattlebaits over suspended fish. But the deadliest bait of all may be the weighted jerkbait.
We scratched the surface of the jerkbait subject in the article Bass Before Bed, in the December/January issue of North American Fisherman. But there's much more to say we didn't have room to cover in the magazine.
NAFC ally Rick Clunn is a master of the prespawn jerkbait game. He's been a big believer in the lure's power since his days as a guide on Lake Conroe in the late 1970s.
"The thing that really makes jerkbaits good is they catch numbers, as well as quality bass," he says. Clunn believes the jerkbait's elongated shape and alluring action are the keys to success.
Clayton Douglass, a tournament vet from Oklahoma, also favors suspending jerkbaits in the prespawn. "The fish are suspended a lot, especially in clear water," he says. "They may be in water 30 feet deep, but they'll suspend down 15 feet or so."
Douglass was among the first anglers to experiment with weighted jerkbaits, and modified his own back in the early days. He also developed a thriving black-market business selling custom-weighted Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues for up to $45 apiece.
Today, mass-produced suspending jerkbaits are common from Rapala, Rebel, Bomber and others.
"Regardless of the season," says Clunn, "the most important thing about fishing a weighted jerkbait is paying attention to how the first few fish react to it. Are they hitting it on the dead still stop or reacting to its movement?"
Clunn starts with a basic stop-and-go retrieve, which starts with a long cast. After the bait lands he points his rodtip at the water gives the bait a series of sharp twitches, interspersed with pauses. The bait darts erratically and hangs in the balance.
"Vary the length and frequency of twitches and the duration of the pauses until you find what the fish want," he says, noting that sometimes a 30-second pause is key, while other times the fish want a practically nonstop cadence.
Although there are plenty of suspending jerkbaits on tackle shop walls, you can also make your own. One way to weight down a floating bait is to wrap the upper shank of its treble hooks with fine-diameter solder. Put equal amounts on each hook, to maintain the lure's balance.
Sinkers are another form of custom ballast. Try removing the rubber inserts from small rubber-core sinkers, then pinch the remaining lead weight n the from and middle trebles of a three-treble minnowbait. Alternately, you can weigh down the belly treble of a two-hook lure.