Jerkbaits are just one of those go-to lures to keep in the tackle box. They allow you to cover a lot of water and their erratic action will trigger reaction strikes from bass time and time again. Another great quality possessed by jerkbaits is their year-round versatility. Today marks Part One of a series on seasonal jerkbait tactics, starting with winter. Keep reading for a breakdown of the jerkbait patterns, techniques, and locations that work best during the winter months.
Even during the colder periods, when fish are inactive and more vertical, jerkbaits can be super effective. Generally, during this period, bass will be found in areas with the more vertical depth breaks, like main lake dams and points, along with areas in coves and creeks where the banks are steep.
During this time of the year, I like to go with three models of jerkbaits: a sinking or countdown model, a suspending model, and a suspending spoonbill model. With these three, I can effectively cover water down to about 15 feet. Use the suspending model and the sinking model for depths around 10 or 12 feet, and the spoonbill for anything deeper than 12 feet.
I’ve used baits that range in size from as little as three inches to as much as eight inches long. The main factor to consider when choosing bait size is the size of the baitfish or forage your’re trying to match. For instance, are you trying to imitate small shore minnows, medium size dying shad, or giant yellow perch? You should also consider the depth when choosing bait size, as the larger model jerkbaits tend to dive deeper, which may not be what you want.
The next factor is color pattern. As always, try and pick a color that most closely resembles the forage that the bass are eating. Whites, silvers, chartreuse, firetiger, and gold are great options during this time of the year.
As crucial as all the tips outlined above may be, perhaps the most important factor during the winter is your retrieve. The rhythm at which you work and twitch the bait will play a huge role in the effectiveness of your jerkbait, and to get it perfect, all you’ll need to remember is one word: slow. Bass are going to be lazy this time of year, so giving them time to be interested, investigate, and strike by using a slow retrieve will help put fish in the boat.
If you’re able to hit the water this winter, hopefully the tips outlined above will help you maximize your jerkbait action when you do so. Be sure to stop by again for the next part in the series, where I’ll breakdown some jerkbait tips for the spring, which is right around the corner!