Covering water and changing your cadence are keys to finding and catching winter bass, and no bait does this better than jerkbaits. While the Alabama rig has taken the spotlight on many fisheries, jerkbaits are regaining ground due to their realism and freestyle nature. Brad Hallman of Oklahoma discusses where to find winter bass and why beating the “right” banks with jerkbaits can be the best pattern in the winter.
Hallman’s 3 tips for quickly locating prime spots and triggering tentative winter bass using jerkbaits:
- Target steep banks. Many anglers focus their efforts on offshore winter holes, leaving banks overlooked. Hallman looks for steep banks adjacent to creek and main river channels. These could be channel swings, bluff walls, and areas that feature changes in rock size. The key is adjacency to deeper water. Hallman explains how to identify these spots with your naked eye or reading contour maps.
- Experiment with baits of different running depths and actions. Not all jerkbaits are not created equal — rig rods with a mix of lures that allow you to fish shallow and mid-depth areas. Hallman also considers bait action — some feature a sharper action while others are muted. While you can control bait action to an extent, baits with a more muted action (slower to come to a pause on slack line) often outperform in cold water.
- Vary your cadence. One of the key attributes of jerkbaits is the ability to adjust the bait cadence to the fish’s mood. Hallman doesn’t have the patience for long extended pauses but successfully retrieves using softer twitches and direction changes.