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How to Fish Jerkbaits Around Shallow Grass

For Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, jerkbait bass fishing was his first specialized technique as a kid and remains his favorite as a national touring bass pro. In this video, Gussy discusses how to fish jerkbaits for bass around shallow grass throughout the year and how to adjust your technique, tackle, and rod setups when fishing around cover like grass and even shallow woody cover.

Jerkbaits continue to ascend as a lure category that excels at covering water and triggering bass year-round. That’s right. Not just in cold water but in the heat of summer too. Why? Jerkbaits are one of the most realistic representations of minnows and other forage species, such as shad. They can be fished at a range of depths and speeds, and the action is freestyle, meaning it’s up to the angler to impart the desired action. All of these factors combined stack up to unparalleled trigging ability. Then factor in the “video game” effectiveness of jerkbaits with forward-facing sonar, and you have a super lure.


Bass anglers typically try maximizing the diving depth of jerkbaits, but when jerkbait fishing around shallow grass, desired running depth is dictated by the height of the grass. It’s more common to use shallow-diving jerkbaits around grass and work your rod with a side jerk or upward sweep to keep the bait just above the grass level. The goal is to minimize fowling in the cover while periodically ticking the grass to trigger reaction strikes.


Lure running depth is also impacted by line size. Gussy commonly steps up to a 12-pound fluorocarbon line for additional strength and a shallower running depth. While 10-pound test excels in open water, it’s usually too light when fighting and controlling a big bass around grass. Gussy also upgrades his treble hooks to a beefier gauge to hold up to the rigors of increased load.

A high-speed reel and longer 7-foot medium power jerkbait rod afford additional speed and control when fishing jerkbaits around grass.

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