I love to fish minnow profile baits in the winter. A jerkbait, a spy bait, a slender spoon, a small grub — they all offer a small minnow profile that seems more appealing to bass in the winter. Bass don’t require as much food in the winter and so a wounded easy looking meal is often attractive to big bass that don’t want to move far for a meal.
There have been several slender hard lures that I have already had great experiences with and will be well worth your time to check out. I would love to know if you have already gotten some good bass on these baits and also when you do in the future. Drop us a comment or send us an email with your catches on these baits so we can feature you on our social channels.
Here is a quick rundown of the following new stickbaits for 2022:
- Berkley Stunna 112
- Shimano World Minnow 115SP
- Strike King KVD 100 Jerkbait
- Berkley Stunna 112+1
- Shimano World Diver 95
- Nishine Lure Works Baby Abino 70
- Imakatsu iRoller70
1. Berkley Stunna 112
The Berkley Stunna 112 was hotly anticipated after Hank Cherry used it to help win his second Bassmaster Classic on his new signature jerkbait. I was anxious to get one in my hand like most. It features brass weights in the belly, a weight transfer system for casting and proper orientation on the retrieve. It comes in a great selection of colors that I really love. I bought like 6 right out of the gate because I knew they would all be fish catchers.
The Stunna 112 throws really well on a baitcaster and fishes excellent. It has a lot of action and a good slow suspend. You can tweak it to get it to rise and sink pretty easily just changing hooks or using just a small amount of lead tape.
They come at a great price and I’ve already boated several fish on the Stunna 112 this fall and winter. You can find them at the following retailers:
2. Shimano World Minnow 115sp
The Shimano World Minnow 115sp brought some new ideas to the jerkbait niche in bass fishing. Their new Flash Boost technology features a plate that is suspended inside the bait. When you jerk this jerkbait and let it pause, the Flash Boost plate continues to flicker and flash while the bait is sitting still. My first outing with these new jerkbaits was a good one. I caught several fish, with all the bites coming on the pause. I really enjoyed how this bait casted and fished. It’s a very heavy duty and durable bait. I don’t recommend slamming into the rip rap or the side of a dock, but it’s a very well made jerkbait with a strong lip.
It fished really well on baitcasting gear and the bait shows up great on my Livescope. I also found the baits very easy to tweak to get into various strike zones. I fished it really shallow and weighted it to fish deep and did equally well with both.
Our buddy Alex Davis has already had a client catch a 10-pounder on one this winter on Guntersville that we’ll share at the end of this round-up.
You can find the Shimano World Minnow at FishUSA.com.
3. Strike King KVD 100 Jerkbait
At 3 1/2 inches and 1/4 ounce, the Strike King KVD 100 Jerkbait doesn’t seem like much. But wouldn’t you know it, I caught my biggest bass of the year on one over Thanksgiving break. Where I think this bait excels is the fact that it’s still fishable on light baitcasting gear or a spinning setup. And if you’re going to fish on smaller fisheries that likely have smaller forage, this could be the perfect imitator. It dips and darts well for such a small jerkbait and surprisingly it will get down to 5 feet.
I was fishing a small neighborhood lake on Thanksgiving, a lake that the locals had gave up fishing because it didn’t seem like there were any bass in it anymore. So I figured I’d just tie on a smaller jerkbait and try to match the forage in there and maybe have a chance to catch some big bull bluegill or a big crappie. First cast I caught a little grass. So I adjusted my cast and worked the bait with my rod tip high. On a slow pull coming off a shallow ridge, I was grinding and finally cleared the shelf and twitched it one time into the ditch and my line snatched straight. I just leaned back because I was using 10-pound line and small 6’8” jerkbait rod. And after a slow and methodical fight, I lipped a 7-pound, 15-ounce bass. My biggest this year. So consider me impressed. The tiny hooks held up and the fish had no chance of getting off.
So if you fish smaller bodies of water or really pressured bodies of water, try the KVD 100 jerkbait for a more finesse offering to sluggish bass.
4. Berkley Stunna 112+1
I will let you in on one of my jerkbait staples. I weight my jerkbaits pretty much all the time now. I have just found a lot more quality bass this time of year on the TVA in water deeper than 10 feet. And when I have sat and watched struggling shad during the winter die-off, you see them pulse and dart and then fade slowly out of site. They don’t float to the top. The kick and dodge and then sink. And now with Livescope, I’m looking at fish 20 feet deep and working my jerkbaits down to their nose. I’ve showed this trick to several other fishermen who use it all the time now as well.
The Berkley Stunna 112+1 is already setup to slowly sink on the jerk and pause. I might add like a half a suspend strip to the bait to make it go a little faster. You don’t want it to sink too fast and fight the natural side to side action of the Stunna, which is really good. But I am really digging this new jerkbait this winter. I’ve been getting them pretty good already on Northern Lights color on sunny clear days.
And I have to say the EWG Fusion19 Hooks on these jerkbaits are freaky. They are the stickiest hooks I’ve ever messed with on a hard bait. Like the bait is hard to handle. I am constantly getting the hooks caught on my hand. They are like velcro. I have yet to lose a fish. I’ve caught bass, smallmouth and largemouth, crappie, white bass, yellow bass and bluegill on this bait. And you land all of those fish I believe because of those hooks. Something gets near it and they are stuck.
5. Shimano World Diver 99SP
Like the Shimano World Minnow the World Diver 99SP features their Flash Boost Plate. But where the World Minnow is a three-hook shallow jerkbait, the World Minnow Diver is a two-hook deeper diving jerkbait, which again I prefer in the winter. I have been weighting the World Minnow Diver and catching smallmouth as deep as 30 feet this winter on Kentucky Lake. Very cool jerkbait that fishes really well. You can cast it a mile, even in the wind. And that flashing on the pause is definitely an attention getter. I have watched fish come from 10 feet away to hit the bait while it’s sitting still. That’s a very cool thing to watch.
The World Minnow Diver comes in a handful of colors, but the real attraction is the Flash Boost plate so they design the colors to work well with that. So there are just subtle hues overlaid translucently on the jerkbait. I’ve been getting bit lately on the Pink Smelt color.
6. Nishine Lure Works Baby Abino 70S
I’m a big fan of what Hiroshi Nishine is doing over at Nishine Lure Works. His baits are works of art and he adds so much functionality to his lures, it’s crazy. He also makes kits to tweak existing crankbaits, topwaters and jerkbaits to give them different actions. He released the Abino this summer and since then has released the Baby Abino. The original Abino was a topwater lure and the new one is a subsurface spy bait. It’s a perfect stickbait for fishing in the winter I think. You fish it ultra slow, it has a lot of flash and natural swim to it but it’s subtle and not too aggressive for the cold clear waters and sluggish fish. The spoon on the body gives the Baby Abino 70S it’s unique swim and it looks really good on a slow retrieve as well as just falling vertically in the water column.
At just 2 3/4 inches it’s a compact bait but it’s unique side-to-side roll and clicking sound on the steady retrieve from its unique belly blade makes it a really quality hardbait for your winter fishing.
I’m still experimenting with uses and ways you can fish this bait but I’ve had a lot of fun figuring out some new bites on this bait. The paint and detail on the Baby Abino are just incredible. You can find the Baby Abino 70S and other Nishine Lure Works hard baits at Tacklewarehouse.com.
7. Imakatsu iRoller70
It’s another smaller stickbait, but the Imakatsu iRoller70 is extremely unique. It’s barely 2 3/4 inches and only has one small hook, but it looks incredible in the water. On the fall, on a straight retrieve, drop shotted or free rigged. It’s a very neat bait with a lot of neat applications. Obviously its made for fishing in clear water as it’s very visual and alive looking in the water. It shimmies and rolls on a super slow retrieve and on the fall. The unique tail fibers undulate in the water very naturally giving off an incredibly lifelike minnow profile in the water. They are a little harder to come by and usually I find them on sites that carry JDM product stateside.
The swim video on this thing is crazy: iRoller70 Swim Video.
Some of the catches on the new stickbaits for 2022
I’ve really enjoyed fishing these new hard bait minnow lures for 2022. I really like to fish a jerkbait or a stickbait when the water gets cold. I think the fish get predictable and the bait definitely does so you can hunt bait and hunt changes in contours and structures and find where the bait and structure intersect to usually find some willing participants and now with the advances in forward facing sonar, you can watch it all go down on your screen. I tell people all the time, but December is one of my favorite months to fish and I’m also pretty fond of February but we might have a good January too with all this warm weather and rain. Could just keep the fish a little more active for some fun jerkbait fishing the next several months.
I hope you’ll get out and try some of these new baits and let me know when you catch good ones on them.