Jerkbaits the ticket for spring bass fishing

There was a time in my teen years when I counted every bass that came aboard the boat. I was interested in catching big fish, of course, but hooking and landing as many largemouths as possible was even more important.

I wanted to be able to say I caught 59 or 81 or 97 bass for the day. Looking back, it sounds pretty silly. Who cares? At the same time, it’s somewhat instructive now because most of the days when I really caught a lot of fish were during the first couple of weeks of the season. And if I caught 97 bass on a particular day, it’s safe to say that probably 90 of them bit on a jerkbait.

During the spring, jerkbaits in the 3- to 5-inch range work best. I’ve never been super-concerned about color, though I’ll take something natural over something gaudy 99 percent of the time (especially when the water is clear, which it often is in the spring).

Tie the jerkbait directly to 8-pound line. I use a spinning outfit with a rod that’s at least 6 feet long.

The beauty of a jerkbait is you can use it just as easily in super-shallow water as you can over middepth flats. If you’re fishing reeds, make casts to the edge of them, or over the top of them, if they aren’t to the surface. As you jerk the bait back to the boat, try to tick the tops of the reeds, but don’t jerk so hard as to cause the bait to dive into them.

When you’re fishing relatively clean shorelines, or away from the shore, getting hung up isn’t so much of a concern. Don’t be afraid to jerk hard and impart erratic action on the bait, but don’t jerk constantly, either. Most bites occur when the bait is still or rising in the water column.

When you find a retrieve that’s working, stick with it. 

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