Jerk-baits are just the ticket

2013-02-09 00:00

THE bass fishing has been rather frustrating of late. We have been plagued by some severe heat, which has not made catching fish any easier.

When I say the fishing has been frustrating, I think “inconsistent” is a more accurate word. The fishing has literally been changing from day to day — catching them one day does not necessarily ensure that you will catch them the next. I had some great reports coming in from all three of our major impoundments, namely Albert Falls, Inanda and Midmar, and then had reports just a few days afterwards, full of questions about what to do.

I made a trip to Albert Falls on a disgustingly hot day and even though anglers had enjoyed good results two days before, I struggled to put any reliable pattern together.

Even though the bite has been erratic, some anglers have been able to set the right factors in motion to exploit the situation. One such angler is Mark Schmidt, who has been on a good run lately, landing a fish in excess of five kilogrammes on a recent outing to Albert Falls. It is the largest fish that I know of coming from Albert Falls in a good while, and is a great sign that some giants still frequent the hot spots.

Jerk-baits seem to be the most common denominator at the moment and have always been a favourite of mine, especially when the fishing is tricky. This category of baits is almost endless and the combinations of brands, colours, sizes and actions can complicate most anglers’ minds. I prefer to keep my choices simple and stick with what I know. I have three favourite brands and so should you. The Smithwick Rattling Rogue, the Rapala X-Rap and the Spro Mcstick are all that you will find in my jerk-bait selection.

You will need a combination of floating baits, as well as suspending baits, and a selection of colours. I stick to two main colours, the first being “Clown”, which sports a red head and chartreuse body, and then a natural, shad-type colour, which covers the other side of the spectrum. If I am fishing a shallow bank down to about 1,8 metres, I opt for the floating bait, and when fishing off-shore areas or deeper gradient banks, the suspending models will do the deed. The natural hues in your bait selection will be better suited to cleaner water and the “Clown” colour is a killer in stained water. This does not mean that the brighter colours will not work in cleaner water, so be prepared to switch colours if you are not achieving results.

As the name suggests, a jerking action is the ticket for drawing strikes. An erratic twitching motion on a slack line will get the bait down and result in an irregular side-to-side dance from the bait, which draws some serious attention. Five or six twitches will do, and should be followed by a pause in the action before you kick it back into gear, which more often than not is when the attack comes. When you pause the bait, be sure to take up your slack in preparation for the bite or you could miss it. Jerk-baits are the ticket for covering water fast, and they force lethargic fish to bite even when they don’t really want to.

Give them a try and trust me, you will reap the rewards. So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at

Catch em’ up.

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