Spring Jerkbait Tips for Smallmouth Bass and Walleye

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We set out on a smallmouth bass mission on this spring day but were pleasantly surprised to catch a pile of big prespawn walleyes – best of all, both species were eating jerkbaits. Ricky Teschendorf details his springtime jerkbait fishing system for finding and catching prespawn smallmouth bass. If you’re a multispecies angler, this program is equally effective for targeting big walleyes and northern pike. 


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Ricky explains where to start the search on natural lakes and reservoirs. Main lake points laden with a combination of rock and sand and adjacent to shallower pockets are prime staging areas and best fished with deep-diving jerkbaits. Teschendorf likes the bigger bill to create erratic bottom deflections similar to squarebill crankbaits, which in turn trigger reaction strikes from cover-oriented fish. You’ll know you’re fishing the right color when the fish are hooked solidly in the mouth. 

The right jerkbait rod and reel combo delivers effortless casting and efficiency when working the bait, plus the power necessary to fight big fish. Look for a medium power rod with a soft and crisp tip but with a strong backbone for setting the hook and fish-fighting power. A high-speed reel is useful for quick line pickup between jerks and setting the hook in “off” rod positions when working the bait.