By Ron Johnson
As the temperatures start to cool off from the long summer and the leaves slowly begin to change, I can’t help but get excited to bust out my fishing gear and head to the lake. The weather transition helps cool the water temperatures and puts the sluggish summer bass into a fall feeding frenzy!
The Jerkbait is the perfect lure to throw in early fall and all the way into winter. My lure selection of choice is the Yo-Zuri 3DR or 3DB Jerkbait. It’s the perfect shad imitator and just what bass are looking for as they begin to feed heavily on baitfish this time of year. The Yo-Zuri Jerkbaits come in various colors and sizes, and they have the most realistic finishes that really help get more strikes.
Start by looking for shad at or near the surface which is a dead giveaway to the location of bass. Many times, you will see bass feeding on the shad at the surface throughout the day so keep an eye out and be ready to move fast and often. Other areas to look for will be steep contour lines, points, or areas where bass can push shad from deep to shallow quickly. Bass tend to school up and work together during the fall essentially corralling the bait making it easier for them to feed. “Find the bait, find the fish” is a good rule to follow, especially in the fall. Shorelines or banks where the wind is blowing are always good areas to look for shad as the plankton they feed on gets pushed into these areas by the wind.
When locating an active school of bass, cast into or just beyond the feeding fish and retrieve with a jerk. Then pause the retrieve. The Jerkbait is great to mimic a dying or injured baitfish, making it an irresistible easy meal. When in search mode or making long casts into deeper water, you will need to experiment with a deeper diving Jerkbait that suspends such as the Yo-Zuri 3DR Longbill MR or 3DR Shad.
Retrieve with a jerk or several quick jerks, followed by a longer pause when in deeper water. Keep in mind that when fishing in deeper water, the longer pause will allow a bass extra time to locate and come up to the lure. Keeping it in the strike zone longer can draw strikes from aggressively feeding bass, and those not so aggressive fish as well.
I prefer throwing my Jerkbaits on Florocarbon line such as Seaguar Invizx in 8lb to 10lb test. Florocarbon line is not only invisible, but it also sinks which helps me get my Jerkbaits down to their optimal designed depth. When casting in open water, I prefer to use a 7” Medium Duckett Spinning Rod paired with a Lews 200 Series Speed Spool spinning reel. This combination will allow you to cast full size and smaller Jerkbaits with ease, especially in windy conditions. In addition, the Duckett Fishing rod allows for long casting, and delivers the perfect action upon retrieval. It’s important to have the right power and action in your fishing rod so that you get the perfect hookset without tearing the smaller hooks out of the mouth when fighting your fish.
Remember to stay versatile by changing the size of your Jerkbaits and by experimenting with depth and lure color. This is a great time of year to catch those transition bass and one of the most exciting ways to fish.