Jerkbait fishing, especially when the water temperature drops, can be hot! The jerkbait is the perfect bait to take on the bitter cold and put a bend in your rod!
One of the most common mistakes anglers make when fishing a jerkbait is not twitching on a slack line. A jerkbait excels when it is sitting still absolutely still. So the rule of thumb is that you should always move the jerkbait with your rod tip, never with your reel. If you follow this rule, your bait will suspend just like a dying baitfish.
Feel the rhythm
Jerkbait fishing is all about the cadence. Experiment with different pause lengths between twitches, (twitch…pause.twitch). Also try twitching multiple times, (twitch, twitch…pause…twitch). Once you catch your first fish of the day, make a mental note of what your lure had been doing prior to the strike. Generally, the colder the water, the longer the pauses. Sometimes, the fish want pauses as long as 15-30 seconds!
Use the right line
Small diameter fluorocarbon line is a must for jerkbait fishing for a number of reasons. First, since jerkbait fishing is largely a clear-water technique, and since fluorocarbon is difficult for fish to detect, it is the perfect choice. Also, while it is true that fluorocarbon sinks, you can minimize this effect by using the lightest fluorocarbon possible. Plus, it is better than the highly-buoyant monofilament alternative. Finally, it is more sensitive, which comes in handy for light biting winter bass.
Watch your line
Speaking of light biting bass, make sure to watch your line! Oftentimes a strike will occur when the bait is sitting completely still. And since you should have a slight amount of slack in your line, you will not always see the strike. If you see a subtle twitch, or your line begins to move, set the hook!
Find the windy banks
Seek out windy banks when you are tossing a suspending jerkbait. A little (or a lot) of chop on the surface makes it more difficult for upward looking bass to distinguish the bait from the real thing. This is a good thing!