Why a jerkbait and why now?

bass fishing jerkbait

This time of year, I’ve always been a squarebill-type guy. I’ll fish a lot of main-lake laydowns adjacent to deep water and I’ll also run up a river and throw a big ol’ squarebill on just about any shallow wood I can find. I’ve had some great luck doing that in the past but it seems to be somewhat of a finicky bite for me. They’ll crush it for a day or two and things will get tough for the next few days.

Tired of the inconsistency and inspired by the multiple summer butt kickings from shallow-diving jerkbaits, I started throwing a jerkbait in the same places. I figured that most of those squarebill fish, especially the main-lake ones on the ends of laydowns, were suspended anyways, so why wouldn’t a jerkbait do the trick?

Spoiler alert: A jerkbait did and currently does the trick. In my opinion, it’s often better than that big squarebill bite.

Those big, post-spawn females are slap worn out this time of year, in my opinion. They’ve recently endured the annual stress of the spawn and to further add to their lethargy, the water in this area reaches the mid to high 90s every summer. So they’ll suspend underneath the ends of these laydowns and use it as shade to both regulate their body temperatures and hide from unsuspecting prey as they wait to ambush it.

Maybe this is why that big squarebill bite was so hot and cold for me throughout the summer months. I think I was having to run across bass with the right temperament, for lack of a better term, to elicit a reaction strike. Not every bass is ill-tempered enough to swat at a faster-moving crankbait in that nasty, hot water.

A jerkbait, however, seems to appeal to a wider range of temperaments, if that makes any sense. You’re not just relying on a reaction bite to fool one into biting. In super clear water on the south-end of my home lake, I’ve seen some big bass come out of a laydown and eat my jerkbait on the pause, almost as if it were in slow motion. That type of fish won’t bite a squarebill, in my opinion, but if you stop a jerkbait in front of its nose, maybe the slower-moving action and less obstrusive profile makes ‘em feel more comfortable about eating it.