The reaction strike. That’s what a jerkbait is all about. These hard-bodied lures come in a variety of profiles, finishes, colors and actions, but they’re all designed with the same goal in mind – to trigger the instinctive attack response of a predatory game fish. Many of the most popular jerkbaits on the market today fall within the “mid-depth” category, and there’s a wide selection of these 3- to 5.5-inch lures to choose from. Some of these lures stand out among the pack, however, for their uniqueness, historical significance and ability to get big fish to bite. The pro staff at Fishhound.com, the Web’s fastest-growing angling community, got together with veteran outdoor writer and bass-fishing authority Mike Pehanich, compared notes, and identified 10 jerkbaits within this category that merit attention for these very reasons. Here’s the “must have” list they came up with:
Livingston Lures Stick Master
Livingston took the good ol’ jerkbait concept and incorporated proprietary high-tech innovations to create the highly productive Stick Master. Along with closely mimicking the look and action of natural forage fish species, this 4.5-inch bait boasts an electronic chip that simulates the sound of an injured baitfish and rattles for added attention. Click here to learn more.
Megabass Vision 110 (4.35 inch, ½-ounce suspending)
This bait has had a cult following for years, but expect that cult to blossom into a full-blown culture as the Japanese lure manufacturer expands its U.S. presence this season. Designed by the legendary lure maker Yuki Ito, the Vision 110 earned the tagline “The Money Bait” as a “secret weapon” of pro bass anglers, many of whom still regard it as the standard against which they measure other jerkbaits. Click here to learn more.
Sebile Stick Shadd SU and SK
The renowned globe-trotting angler and lure designer, Patrick Sebile, calls the Stick Shadd one of his favorite lures because he can “twitch and jerk it fast for a reaction bite and then, on the next cast, fish it finesse style.” He demonstrated its effectiveness on bass in a central Florida lake. Then, as if that was not sufficient testament to the Stick Shadd’s performance, showed this lure’s versatility by catching a 50-pound plus cubera snapper on an upsized rendition four days later. Click here to learn more.
Jackall Squad Minnow
There’s nothing like a Bassmaster Classic victory to put a lure with a quiet “insider” reputation under the spotlight! Cliff Pace built a cushion over his competitors during the first two days of the 2013 Classic on Grand Lake of the Cherokees with Jackall’s Squad Minnow and a deeper-diving Jackall jerkbait, the Soul Shad. How good was Pace with the Squad Minnow? He culled his livewell fish with it and jerked his way to a giant seven-pound, two-ounce bass on day two. Click here to learn more.
Smithwick Suspending Rattlin’ Rogue
Some baits start off hot and just never cool off. That’s the case with the Suspending Rattlin’ Rogue, arguably the most popular offering in the Smithwick Rogue family. Bassmaster Elite angler Jason Christie rode this jerkbait, along with the new deep-diving cousin of the Rogue that he designed – the Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue – to a seventh place finish on Grand Lake. According to Christie, this bait, which has been around for years, is a real “fish catcher” with a slow dying shad action so realistic that opportunistic predators just can’t pass it up. Click here to learn more.
Damiki Striker 90
Korean lure maker Damiki Craft International has introduced a family of deadly jerkbaits that includes a silent version (Tokon 90) and new deep divers like the Hummingbird 70 and 55 and the Abyss. “But the Striker was the first and it is still my favorite,” says Daniel Kim of Damiki. Kim calls the Striker “a finesse jerkbait.” We call it the “strong silent type.” Unlike many other jerkbaits, the Striker has a fixed weight, no rattles, and remains balanced during its pause. Its balance and silence, along with its natural finishes, explain its success with finicky fish. Click here to learn more.
Lucky Craft Pointer 100SP
The pointer’s significance goes beyond its considerable fish-catching ability. It’s one of the baits that made Lucky Craft synonymous with Japanese lure making and the quality standards that have elevated the entire industry since. Today, the Pointer remains one of the most admired and coveted jerkbaits anywhere. It’s an extremely effective walk-the-dog underwater lure. The bait has a low center of gravity, and its brass weights cause it to wobble even at rest (Hold on during the pause!) Its colors and finishers continue to dazzle, and it spawned an entire Pointer family of unique and handsome relatives. Click here to learn more.
Spro McStick 110
The primary reason Spro recruited Bassmaster Elite Series angler Mike McClelland to its pro staff was to get the “stickbait” specialist working a superior jerkbait. And Mac gave Spro just that when he designed the McStick 95 and 110. “The 110 is a bait targeted at cold water jerkbait fishing,” explained McClelland. “It has a tight wobble, and it has as good a suspending characteristic you could put into a bait to make sure it doesn’t sink.” Click here to learn more.
If any lure in recent memory has done more to ignite the jerkbait craze and spark the whole category than the X-Rap, bring it on! Videos of the erratic, darting action of the X-Rap are among the most heavily viewed underwater segments in tackle history. The bait captures the frantic movement of an injured baitfish as it darts, dashes and drops nose down for each last dying escape surge. The feathered tail seems to hover tantalizingly and hang just enough within a bass’s reach to draw a strike. Click here to learn more.
Kopper’s LIVETARGET Rainbow Smelt Jerkbait
Kopper’s has set the standard for realism with its line of LIVETARGET lures, which come to life once again through the Rainbow Smelt Jerkbait. Sizes are 2.75, 3.62 and 4.5 inches. All come in handsome, subtle baitfish finishes. The five shallow and one deep diver in the jerkbait line are individualized baits, unique in depth and action. They appeal to a wide range of game fish. “All our baits are completely different. They aren’t just the same bait painted in a different pattern,” says Tom Chopin of Kopper’s. Click here to learn more.
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