Jerk baits in cold water
As we move into the fall and water temperatures fall as we approach the winter, I start to remember the success I have had fishing jerk baits in the fall and winter. I can easily state that jerk baits have been a consistent performer for me over many years especially in the cold-water conditions. Over the past few years, a jerk bait has become the ideal bait for the fall bite as suspending baits become deadly especially in schooling fish!
There is without a doubt some performance differences with jerk baits; many are subtle, so as you choose your favorite make sure your jerk bait has plenty of side-to-side movement, that it responds to subtle tip movement and that you can cast it into the wind. I like SPRO McRip and McStick products as they are curved just enough to slide through the wind where you can get long casts and great movement while fishing it. The difference in the two SPRO products is depth the McRip goes deeper 6 to 8 ft. while the McStick stays shallower in 3 to 6 ft. of water.
The key performance of a jerk bait is all controlled by your rod performance, reel speed and wrist action. You just have to make sure your rigged properly, medium heavy rod, 6:3:1 reel speed and the ability to move your wrist sharply, quickly and precisely. The next key is your pause; I find that the colder the water the more patient you need to be with your pause of the bait. I have seen some days in the fall as the water gets colder that you should pause as long as 10 seconds. I also make sure that I vary the tip action so the movement changes constantly through the retrieve process. Many times I do quick snaps in a row, other I leave a pause in-between the snaps, and I vary the pause allowing 2 to 10 seconds giving the bait time to attract a fish. Lastly I change the depth of the bait with tip presentation; the higher you hold your rod tip the shallower the bait will go. Hold it down it goes deeper, keep it up it stays shallow, all part of finding a retrieve that catches fish!
-Captain Mike Gerry