Jerkbait Fishing for Summer Smallmouth

Jerkbait Fishing for Summer Smallmouth

Many anglers put away the jerkbaits once the spawn is over. As the water warms and the fish move deeper, they feel that these baits are no longer effective. However, jerkbaits, also known as minnow baits, can be a great way to trigger summer smallmouth to bite. Anglers who choose to put them away once the spawn is done can miss out on some great opportunities with these versatile baits.

Anglers who report great success with jerkbaits in the summer tend to use them under the same conditions they would use a top water. Deep jerkbaits at this time of year are a solid alternative to drop shots for suspended Smallies. They can also often entice a strike from a bass that won’t chase a crankbait. Jerkbaits in clear water have been known to draw big Smallmouth up as much as 20 feet.

Minnow Baits Four SizesWindy conditions, with a bit of chop on the water, are best for deep jerkbaits in the summer. When the water is too calm, it give the fish more time to study the lure rather than to just react to the movement. They are primarily a clear water bait, but a slight bit of murkiness to the water can be good, too. It disguises the bait a bit more and the fish are reacting to the movement of the lure as it jerks through the water.

Anglers who use jerkbaits in the summer months like to use them any time they see bait fish feeding on the surface. A jerkbait, when worked properly, will mimic a sick or dying bait fish. With that being said, cadence is very important in jerkbait fishing. Long casts are necessary to get the deep jerkbaits down where they need to be. From there, snapping the tip of the rod on a slack line, much like one would with a “walk the dog” style topwater will cause the same action as a topwater, often drawing more strikes.

Cadence in the summer months can be much faster than in the spring. Where springtime often calls for pauses that seem to take a lifetime, summertime jerkbaiting cadences can be quicker. It is best to use a retrieve that is not the same all the way through. Vary the amounts of jerks and the length of the pause between jerks. Pay attention to when the fish strikes and try to remember exactly what you were doing at the time. This if often a good clue as to what the fish want.

Color can be important in clear water, too. Clear water calls for natural colors, but the exact colors will depend on what forage is available to the Smallmouth in that body of water. It is important to match the color and size of the bait fish on which the Smallies are feeding. While a jerkbait bite is mostly a reaction bite, matching the forage as closely as possible is a good way to get more fish in the boat.

Finding suspended schools of fish with good fishing electronics is the first step in enticing the fish to bite. Anglers should keep in mind that when they are fishing school of suspended Smallmouth, these fish school by size. If an angler starts catching 2-pound Smallies from a school, chances are that all of the fish are about that size. Also, the bigger the fish, the less of them will tend to school together. Once a school is found, anglers should try to match the size and color of the available bait fish, and then vary the retrieve cadence, paying close attention to what the fish want. Fishing deep jerkbait in summer for Smallmouth can be a great way to generate some awesome fishing action on clear water lakes.

Yellow Bird Products
1803 Holian Drive
Spring Grove, IL 60081

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