Due to milder winter temperatures this year, water temperatures throughout the country are beginning to rise as spring arrives in a hurry. In my own neck of the woods, the temperatures have been in the 70-80 degree range for over a week now. While the waters are still catching up, temperature wise, they’re definitely getting warmer, and it only takes a few days of bright sun and warm temperatures for the water to warm up. Any good bass angler knows that when this happens, it’s best to head down to the lake, armed with an arsenal of jerkbaits.
Why a jerkbait? Jerkbaits are able to be fished quickly and aggressively, remain in the strike zone longer, and their erratic action triggers reaction strikes from fish. Generally, these features mean that, if a fish sees the bait, it will strike.
For those fishermen who enjoy their sleep, one of the best elements of early season jerkbait action is that you don’t need to be up and on the water before the sun rises. In fact, some of the best action occurs between 10 AM and 2 PM. This is especially true on days when the sun is out in full force.
Locating fish during this time of the year can be difficult, but the beauty of the jerkbait is its ability to cover a lot of water and find fish quickly. Begin your search near bluffs and areas where bass tend to gather before the spawn. Also, try to scour areas that receive the most sunlight, such as spawning bays, points, and any banks that face north.
Bait color will vary, depending on the water clarity. When the water is clear, I’ve had good luck with bright patterns, like gold and silver. For stained water, I use colors like white, perch, or firetiger. Cast the bait out and begin jerking immediately, in order to get it down to the depth you need. In warmer waters, feel free to be aggressive, but if the waters are cooler, be sure to slow down a bit and be patient. Pause for a few seconds and then give the rod a twitch. I experiment with different rhythms and alter my approach periodically. Furthermore, if you can, try to work with the wind and the water current, even if it means casting into the wind.
Fishing with jerkbaits is a very involved technique and can wear you out after a long day on the water. It requires a lot of movement and activity, but you’ll find that the hard work is worth it. This approach is ideal for that time of the year when water temperatures spike a bit after the winter thaw, so if you’re looking to get an early start on the season, I suggest grabbing a few jerkbaits and heading down to the lake. You’ll be glad you did.