Jerkbait Setup Guide
Throwing and twitching jerkbaits takes a particular type of setup if you are trying to get the best motion possible out of the lure and still have some decent feedback through the pole.
The standard jerkbait setup is a baitcasting combo spooled with roughly 10 lb - 12 lb flourocarbon.
However, a spinning combo can also be used to great affect and in certain scenario's it may even be superior.
A good jerkbait rod combo strikes a balance between putting plenty of life into the lure, decent casting performance and still allowing you feel what is going on.
Jerkbaits are all about adding a little ation by twitching the tip so the choice of pole is crucial to getting the best out of them.
A good jerkbait setup would have the following specifications:
- Type - casting or spinning, with casting being the more popular
- Length - either a 6'6" or 7'
- Power -light/medium or medium depending on the size of the jerkbait
- Action - fast action
As mentioned above the most popular types of setup to use is a casting combo.
However, a spinning combo can be used in the right circumstances:
- Windy weather - on very windy days a spinning reel for bass can get you much better casting performance and will be less prone to wind knots.
- Light lures - when using very light jerkbaits a spinning reel is usually the better option. Baitcaster can cast much further but they do need a lure that has a bit of weight in them to get the spool moving.
Jerkbaits require that you put the action into them when twitching then forwards. This motion should not be done by turning the reel instead you should always use the rod to pull the lure forwards towards you with a small sharp twitch of the tip.
The reel is then used to pull in any slack line and the motion is repeated again after a brief pause.
A shorter pole will give you a lot more control and finesse over how you twitch the lure. Longer poles of over 7'6" would feel too awkward and clumsy. Plus the extra length would also be more tiring if you were using it in this way all day.
Power and action are commonly confused. Power is usually matched to the size of the fish you are targeting and the weight of the lures that you will be using. It will also dictate how heavy a line you should be using.
With jerkbaits you have the option to use a spinning rod for bass when using smaller lighter lures, that should still have a medium or a medium/light power rating.
You should be using roughly a 10 or 12 lb line so that would pair well with a medium power rating.
Action is where on the blank the natural bend will start. Rods are designed to have different actions for different techniques.
A fast action once loaded will start to bed in the top one third of the blank. This is the right choice for a jerkbait fishing setup. You want a responsive tip that allows you to put some life and action into your lures.
A slow action will not be the best bet when trying to do this.
As mentioned earlier you can opt for a spinning reel if you are using lighter jerkbaits. But if you are using heavier ones the baitcaster is probably the better bet.
A lower profile reel will make gripping the reel and pole in a nice neutral position. This is important as you will be working the tip all day and it can get a little tiring. Any advantage that allows you to hold the setup a little more comfortably especially for the wrist is a massive bonus especially when the hours are long.
Most fishermen will choose a reel that has a high gear ratio meaning you can pick up the slack line quickly especially if a strike happens just after you have twitched the lure.
Flourocarbon line is easily the most popular choice as a line for jerkbaits. It has very low stretch when compared to monofilament and it is usually a little bit more visible so it can act as somewhat of a strike indicator.