So here I sit, watching it rain on the last day of 2012…thinking about one of my favorite upcoming fishing strategies cold water early spring jerkbaits. So if you have a minute kick back, get yourself a cup of coffee and read a minute I would like to share a few tips and techniques that have helped me be successful at this awesome pattern!
First off is jerkbait selection, I use everything from the old Smithwick rattling rogue to the Mega bass 10+, lucky craft pointer are among a few of my favorites! I will use them all the way through the cold water of winter through warmer water mid spring to late spring!
There are a lot of color selections to use in this very wide-open technique and I will cover a few for you beginners that will keep you from buying a ton of these baits that you can jerk until your arm falls off and not get bit on them! First suggestion is “match the hatch” as some put it. If your main forage is shad go with more natural shad colors, if you have a lake with a lot of herring then a blue back silver side might be for you! A little stain in the water brings out a fire tiger or white and chartreuse. I have never had great success throwing jerk baits in muddy water but I think it depends on the fish, and where they are staged! You can sometimes get creative, but I have found natural is the way to go!
This brings us to the question people ask me about…where do I throw this and what do the fish need to be doing, how do I know the time is right? Well this is a simple thing that requires a water temperature gauge and a good graph! You look to your electronics heavy this time of year because your target fish using jerk baits are suspended! Now the Ideal time to throw this bait is when you are out on the water…that is right any time you are out there! Pick it up and throw it!
Now then, where to start throwing it? I have a simple solution to this equation, the banks on main lake that warm first and maintain the most sunlight are the ones the fish will be more active on, main lake points with trees and riprap are also good places to get your arm jerked out of the socket by the ferocious bites from a cold water bass! These banks need to be close to if not on creek channels because bass get on these and stage thru the winter and into the spring!
Next, we will go with how to throw them and the tackle I use to fish jerkbaits through the cold months! Rod and reel selection, I like to throw my suspending jerkbaits on a 6’6” medium heavy rod with a shorter handle, this keeps you from getting warn out from a 7’ medium heavy from long days of twitching! Also, you want a fast tip to insure a good hook set and violent shakes when you get hooked up! A 6:1 to 1 reel is plenty filled up with your favorite monofilament in 8lb to 10lb is a good selection as far as reels go!
Next on the agenda, have you ever heard of cadence? No that is not your snotty little nephew that you want to choke at family functions…it is how you retrieve the bait when you are making twitches and pauses! Now this will be the most crucial part in the whole equation due to water temp, clarity, and position of winter/spring bass! Let’s begin in January, when the water is in the high 30s and mid to upper 50s. SLOW, Slow, slower and then slow down some more! Bass don’t want to move in the cold water and only have to eat once every 3 to 4 days so a fast twitch or long pull will get your bait ignored by the bigger of the bass species! It will drive you crazy sometimes but you have to be slow and patient! I cannot stress this enough to everyone reading this SLOW twitches I will do a two three four, one two three two three four presentation with a 3 to 5 second pause all the way up to 30 seconds! Only move the bait a couple to four inches every twitch! Now when my bait initially hits the water with my rod in the downward 6 o’clock and reel about 6 to 8 turns hard on the reel handle to get the bait to optimum depth I am looking for!
Well this one has got me thinking about the lake and twitching a cold water jerk bait! Think I will go try to do some damage on a bass or two! I hope these tips will help you gain more confidence and catch more fish on suspending jerk baits in the cold winter months! Thank you for reading and feel free to come look me up on Face book under Jason Cossey I love to meet new friends and help people! So from Northwest Arkansas Have a great spring and hope to talk to all of you or see you on the lake!