We made it, folks! After three seasons of jerkbait tips, we’re rounding third and being waved home as we bring the series to a close. You’ve read a bit on how to use the lures in the cold winter, the three phases of spring, and the torrid summer months, and today we end on a high not, as autumn is one of the best times of the year to use jerkbaits. Keep reading to learn how you can use a jerkbait to capitalize on the action in the fall.
When the first few cold fronts make their arrival towards the end of summer, bass will start to shift to their typical fall behavior. This means their instincts cause them to begin feeding in preparation for the winter, and return to where they spent their time during the spawn. Flats and creeks will be prime locations to seek fish this time of year, as bass will follow the baitfish, which will be traveling in schools. Such collections of baitfish mean prime action for a jerkbait.
The reason jerkbaits are so great in the fall is that they’ll suspend on the pause at a specific depth. Jigs, crankbaits and other lures often end up below the bass, whereas the jerkbait will appear to be a stray, injured, or confused baitfish that the bass cannot resist hunting down. Bass can and will chase roaming schools of baitfish out into open water, deep or shallow, so a jerkbait will imitate a wayward morsel perfectly and keep the enticement in the strike zone. The key to triggering strikes in this situation is a good retrieve. You really have to make a lot of erratic movement with the jerkbait to trigger a reaction strike, so use a presentation that keeps the bait coming toward the boat fairly quickly.
Both floating and suspending jerkbaits will be effective during the fall, since you’ll find bass in the shallows and in deeper creeks, where both models can be used. Pay careful attention to the size of your jerkbait and stick with natural colors to get the maximum efficiency from them.
When it comes to fishing with jerkbaits in the fall, remember one thing: find the baitfish. Jerkbaits are designed to imitate them perfectly, and finding schools of roaming baitfish means deadly action on the water with jerkbaits. I hope this series has provided you with some useful tips for using the jerkbaits in your tackle box. Use them year-round and I’m sure you’ll have no trouble pulling fish to the boat consistently.