How to Fish Small Jerkbaits for Late Winter Bass

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Terry Blankenship delivers an in-depth lesson on where and how to fish jerkbaits for late winter bass. The Lake of the Ozarks pro proves that bass and crappie fishing can be outstanding throughout the winter and early spring if you know where to fish and the best lures for the job. On this cold and windy day, Terry uses his mapping to identify protected parts of the Lake so he can fish comfortably. Being comfortable equates to longer outings and simply being more effective with detail-oriented tactics such as fishing jerkbaits slow and deliberately. *Additional product links at the bottom.


Blankenship targets winter and early pre-spawn bass around channel swing banks marked by 45-degree shorelines. These areas provide bass easy access to deep and shallow water in a short distance; they can move as needed for feeding while preserving as much energy possible. Forward-facing sonar proves a vital tool for finding fish and determining productive stretches. Keep moving if you don’t see fish!

Smaller 80 size jerkbaits get the job done in cold water. In addition to generating more bass bites, the smaller lure size opens the bite up to crappies and white bass. Blankenship prefers a spinning setup when fishing these smaller jerkbaits. He can cast further and with greater ease in the cold. Bite detection is also better with a sensitive spinning rod paired with a braided mainline to a fluorocarbon leader.