Jerkbaits: Hard Or Soft?

There aren’t many baits out there that are better at imitating a baitfish than a jerkbait. They are minnow shaped, have a darting action, and come in a variety of different minnow patterns.

There are also two different types, those made of soft plastic and traditional lipped jerkbaits, made from balsa or hard resin. They share some similarities, but also a lot of differences. Here’s the scoop on how and when to use each for maximizing your on the water success.


Soft Jerkbaits

(Zoom Super Fluke, Yamamoto D-Shad, Bruiser Baits Rad Shad) have a minnow profile, usually feature a hook slot, and produce an extremely enticing erratic action when twitched. Because they are soft, they can be rigged a number of ways, anything from Carolina or Texas rigged, on a jighead, or even weightless.

The biggest advantage soft jerkbaits have is that they can be rigged weedless, which makes them excel around grass, wood, or pads. They also feature a slow fall, which can be deadly for schooling bass during the dog days of summer.

Hard Jerkbaits

(Rapala X-rap, Sebile Action First Star Shiner) also have a minnow shape, but are made from hard plastic or balsa and feature a plastic lip that makes them dive and gives them their action. The majority of hard jerkbaits also suspend when paused – which is why they are so effective when the water is cold. Baitfish will often twitch and suspend while in their death throws in the winter, and it doesn’t get any better than a hard jerkbait for imitating that action.

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