Any time you’re fishing a body of water where there are Shad, Smelt, Alewives, Gizzard Shad or other baitfish, a Soft Jerkbait should be part of your arsenal.
Soft Jerkbait lures like the Kalin’s Jerk Minnow are very versatile and can be used while fishing in open water or heavy vegetation, and in just about any depth of water. This makes these types of lures a prime baitfish imitation when targeting Bass or other gamefish.
Below are a few ways I recommend rigging a Jerk Minnow trying when targeting bass:
A weighted Spinhead style of lure is a great way to cover water quickly. I often use this setup as a search lure when I see lots of activity on my fish finders, or where I may see fish chasing bait. The great thing about Spinheads or bladed jigheads is that they are available in one-quarter to one-ounce sizes, allowing you to fish in just about any depth with a varied speed when retrieved. The blade will produce additional vibration and flash which will certainly get the attention of a feeding bass.
Tipping with a Darter Head Jig is one of my favorite techniques when fish are close to or lying near the bottom. Snap Jigging this will be the best way to retrieve. The Darter Head will cause the lure to pop off the bottom and fall in an erratic fashion which imitates an injured or dying baitfish that any fish just cannot resist. When Snap Jigging, make a long cast and allow the bait to make contact with the bottom. The best technique is to keep the line tight, snap your fishing rod quickly in an upward one to two feet and allow the lure to fall again to the bottom. Repeat this all the way to the boat and be ready for some aggressive strikes.
I have found that a #4 or #5 EWG (Extra Wide Gap) hook is best for a weightless presentation. When fishing around heavy vegetation or shallow water, this technique can be deadly. This is also a great presentation to use when you want to cover water quickly. Rigging this weightless and weedless makes this tough to beat when fish are cruising the shallows in search of prey, or when they are hiding in the grass. This presentation is cast and retrieved with a steady reel and twitch cadence, followed by a pause. Your pause should last two to ten seconds. Then repeat, depending on the conditions and depth. It’s a great way to fish over thick grass and vegetation. With a longer pause, the bait will fall naturally into the holes in the grass where bass may be waiting for an easy meal to fall down to them. This is one of the most popular ways to fish the Jerk Minnow because when retrieved properly, it really appears to look like a baitfish in distress.
Scrounger Head is another weighted jighead with a clear bill in front. The bill causes vibration and for the Jerk Minnow to swim side-to-side in a very erratic motion. Most people fish this just
like a crankbait with a steady retrieve after casting. I recommend you vary the speed. Don’t be afraid to fish this like a casting jig, with a pump of the rod retrieve as well allowing the bait to make contact with a structure or the bottom. The Scrounger Head will do all the hard work for you giving it all the action it needs.
When Fishing thick Hydrilla, Lilly Pads or other vegetation, the Texas Rigged presentation once again excels. When rigged behind a bullet style weight, and rigged weedless, the Jerk Minnow can be pitched into heavy cover, or cast, and worked through the thickest of vegetation without getting hung up. When Bass are feeding on Bluegill or other baitfish, fishing this much like a Texas Rigged Worm usually pays off.
Hopefully these Soft Jerkbait techniques work well for you too!