A jerkbait isn’t near the top of most angler’s list when targeting spawning bass around heavy cover, but 13 Fishing’s Ricky Teschendorf thinks it should be. Ricky explains when to reach for a jerkbait in shallow cover situations and why, against everything we’ve been told, a braided mainline (#straightbraid) direct to the bait is an excellent choice.
- LURE – 13 Fishing Loco Special, color – So Shiny
- ROD – https://wired2.fish/OmenBlack3-CastingRod, 7’1″ Medium
- REEL – 13 Fishing Concept BOSS Casting Reel, 8.1:1
- LINE (braided mainline) – Sufix 832 Braided Line, Lo-Vis Green, 40- to 50-pound
- LINE (leader material) – Sufix Advance Monofilament Line, 20-pound
Teschendorf contends that bass in popular flipping and pitching lakes such as those found in Florida and Texas get conditioned to soft plastic presentations. A jerkbait gives the bass a distinctly different action (erratic, horizontal, suspending) in a baitfish profile, which appeals to both feeding prespawn fish as well as those defending the nest against egg and fry-raiding invaders. Additionally, you can cover water in search of fish much quicker than slower soft bait presentations allow — a big plus when you can’t visually see fish or beds. Perhaps most importantly, bass don’t see a jerkbait presentation all that often around shallow, heavy cover.
So how to deal with a trebled bait around shallow cover, both in terms of fishing it cleanly and extracting a big bass should you be so lucky to hook up? Teschendorf defies convention and spools up with a straight braid in the 40- to 50-pound test range. The primary reason for this is the need for a powerful, low-stretch line when fighting a big bass around cover. A 25- to 35% stretch line (i.e., fluorocarbon and monofilament) just won’t cut it with treble hooks flapping and risking hooking any wood and grass. So what about tearing the hooks out? It will happen from time to time, but beefier treble hooks coupled with a moderate action rod help keep bass pinned.
How do you keep the jerkbait from running amok in shallow water cover? Choose a shallow running model and put a leash on it! A shallow running jerkbait tied directly to a buoyant braid allows you to easily adjust running depth with your rod angle. Want to get the bait deeper? Lighten up your braid and angle your rod toward the water. Do the opposite if you aim to fish shallower. If the fish seem line shy, tie on a small shank of monofilament leader in a 20-pound test. While it may make a difference, this tweak usually has more to do with our confidence than fish preference.
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