Tips for jerkbait tinkering

Winter through early spring finds jerkbait anglers fine-tuning their lures for perfect suspension or varying sink rates because everything’s moving much slower and fish often hold at a specific depth, with little interest in chasing even a vulnerable bait.

Trash that notion during the fall.

Bass are eating, and all those in-depth calculations of lead dots, extra split rings, wire coils and various hook sizes are simply overkill.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin VanDam changes stock hooks to his Mustad KVD Triple Grip trebles because of his confidence in their holding power.

For quick hook changes, VanDam starts by opening one end of a split ring and sliding the existing hook between the coils. This props open the ring and allows him to grip the replacement hook with pliers and slide it onto the ring’s open end.

Essentially, he pushes on the new hook while pushing off the original hook with a single, efficient move.

Regarding hook options, Johnston recommended that, even if you like your bait’s hooks, you should swap out a new set — along with a new set of split rings after a busy run of jerkbaiting.

“After you catch 30 to 40 fish, you spring those hooks and rings by pulling them with your pliers when you remove the bait from a fish’s mouth,” Johnston said.

Lastly, use feathered treble hooks to coax bass after a cold front, as the “breathing” action you get from jerks and pauses adds a lifelike element.

However, Johnston pointed out that feathers can limit a bait’s action by adding water drag.

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications