One of the lonely bachelors fishing the Mpumalanga Cast-for-Cash tournament trial and part of Team Berkley ABU where interviewed after he was explaining to a beginner bass angler about jerk baits fishing. – SA Bass
One of the lonely bachelors fishing the Mpumalanga Cast-for-Cash tournament trial and part of Team Berkley ABU where interviewed after he was explaining to a beginner bass angler about jerk baits fishing. Nardus Harmse did not blink an eye and to give hi views on jerkbait fishing in the winter
For many years hard jerkbaits have been producing bass all over the world and they do catch bass year round in most conditions. Nardus started off by picking a jerkbait and tying it to
his line. “You can catch bass on them any time. I believe they work best during winter and early spring; that is if you can find a suitable retrieve. The correct retrieve will drive bass wild and if you can be patient enough you can also be rewarded
with a strike just because your bait has been sitting in their face long enough.” There is no limit to when and how to use jerkbaits Nardus explains. “Jerkbaits are very effective in cold weather conditions and I will start to fish rocky points, ledges, or drop offs first. It’s not that easy to fish them through grass patches, but it’s possible that they will work better around grass edges.”
Nardus told me that the only limitation he has found for these awesome baits are muddy cold water because jerkbaits lose their effectiveness in these conditions. Most jerkbaits have rattles, or clackers, in them but does not have the solid vibration like lipless baits to help the bass home in on the lures.
“This one is just my theory, but I prefer to fish jerkbaits in clear, cold water conditions. The water temperature can be anything between 8 to 15ºC. I have found that the clearer the water is, the farther you will draw the bass in striking the lure.”
Nardus does a couple of different retrieves then changes to a deep diving suspended jerkbait to target the deeper water. “Now and then a slow steady wind will work but the jerkbait didn’t get its name from just casting and retrieving it. You must go out and experiment and find that triggering retrieve of jerks or twitches and pauses that drives a fish crazy enough to strike.”
When it comes to fishing suspending jerkbait in cold water you need to work on the bass’s reactionary and the teasing appearance of an easy meal all in one cast. Nardus
reveals his favourite retrieve to start off with. “I like to start with very slow wind to get my jerkbait to depth. Then I use a jerk-jerk-pause-jerk-pause-jerk-jerk retrieve. The pauses in between the jerks can between 10 to 30 seconds. Jip you have to be patient sometimes and let it sit still there in full view. The bass will move closer to the bait, watching it and with the slightest movement will grab it without you realising it. Most of the time when the bass are a bit more active they will react on the jerkbait when you jerk it and if they are less aggressive they will strike on the pauses.”
Nardus use this indecision to adjust his retrieve, more or less jerks or twitches, or longer and more pauses depending on what the bass wants.
“I prefer a 6’6” medium-light action rod for getting the right snap on the bait”, Nardus explains.
“Eight- to ten-pound test fluorocarbon line is perfect; especially with suspending jerks and I like a slower 5.1:1, or 5.2:1 ratio reel for achieving the right rhythm.”
Many of today’s jerkbaits have weight transfer systems built in that helps to get the maximum casting distance out of them. “You need to start off with a very long cast; as far as possible. I will then crank the bait down four or six turns and brings the bait to life with my favourite twitch-pause action.” “It’s mostly a cold-water technique so think ‘slow’”, Nardus offers. “Once I get it down, I like a twitch… long pause… twitch, twitch… long pause… twitch… long pause… twitch, twitch… long pause stroke.”
Nardus prefers a softer twitch and longer pause when the water is at its coldest. As the water warms up above 14ºC, the twitches become more erratic and the pauses become shorter.
When Nardus gets confronted by post front conditions he relies on jerkbaits because they can really out fish many
other baits. “Because bass will be slow to feed, I will look for bass that suspend around flooded timber, rocky drop offs, or brush piles. I will then try to get the baits to the proper
depth prior to getting to the cover and then let my bait soak in the proper depth right next to the cover. In my view the bass that are suspending around cover after fronts and they are very vulnerable to this presentation. It all depends on what structures are available in the venue.”
One very important fact to remember when using jerkbaits is to pick the correct rod tip. Don’t fool yourself by thinking just because the there is a bill on the jerkbait that you can fish it like a crankbait. Your reel should only be used for taking up slack line. “It’s important to twitch a jerkbait with slack in your line”, Nardus said. “If you fish these lures on a tight line, you’re limiting the lure’s action. The erratic action is what makes the fish attack it.”
Working the bait with slack line is also helpful when you consider that the bass are in a sluggish winter mood. If the lure is moving too far forward when you jerk, you’re probably discouraging nearby bass from biting.
Don’t let the cold weather force you to stay home, pick out a couple of your favourite jerkbaits and hit your favourite venue. You might be surprised at what you catch.