Home » What Is Jerkbait? An Ultimate Guide

What Is Jerkbait? An Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by Donnell Henderson

A jerkbait is a type of fishing lure that is designed to resemble a small baitfish. The jerking motion of the lure imitates the erratic swimming movements of a wounded or distressed fish, which can trigger a predatory response in larger fish like bass and salmon. Jerkbait lures are available in various sizes, colors, and designs and can be fished using various techniques. While they are most commonly used to target largemouth and smallmouth bass, jerkbaits can also be effective for various species, including pike, walleye, and trout.

How to Fish with a Jerkbait

Kayak fishing with a jerkbait can effectively catch bass, especially during the colder months when fish are less active. The bait’s design, which resembles a struggling minnow, can trigger a predatory response in bass, prompting them to strike at the bait. Jerkbaits are usually 3 gto 6 inches long and narrow, with three treble hooks dangling from the underside and tail. They also have a bill protruding from the front, which causes the bait to dive when reeled in quickly or jerked hard on the line.

When fishing with a jerkbait, it’s important to be patient and avoid overreacting, as this cause the bait to come flying out of the water. Instead, pause briefly after each jerk to give the fish time to take the bait before reeling it in slowly. Following these tips can increase your chances of landing a big bass next time you head out on the water.

Why Is Fishing with Jerkbait Popular?

what is jerkbait

Fishing is a popular pastime for many people, as it can be both relaxing and rewarding. There are a variety of different techniques that can be used to catch fish, and each has its own advantages. One of the most popular methods is jerkbait fishing. Jerkbait fishing involves using lures that simulate the movements of small prey fish. This type of lure is particularly effective in targeting bass, as they are often opportunistic feeders that will strike at anything that resembles their natural food source.

Jerkbait fishing is also popular because it can be very versatile, as the same lure can be used in various ways to produce different results. For example, a jerkbait can be fished slowly and steadily to produce a subtle wobbling action, or it can be jerked erratically to create a more erratic presentation. As a result, jerkbait kayak fishing is popular among kayak anglers of all experience levels, from beginners to experts.

Best Places for Jerkbait Fishing

Any avid fisherman worth his salt knows there’s more to kayak fishing than just getting on a good fishing kayak, casting a line, and hoping for the best. The location where you fish can be just as important as the type of bait you use. Jerkbait is a versatile lure that can be used in a variety of locations, but some spots are better than others.

Around Docks

Docks are always a good bet, as fish often congregate near these structures in search of food.

Near Sand and Grass

Sand and grass flats are also prime locations, as they provide ample cover for fish.


Rocky shorelines, points, and mid-lake structures are another good option, as these areas tend to attract larger fish.

Ledges and Drop-Offs

Finally, ledges and drop-offs are good places to fish with jerkbait, as the deep water is a challenge for even the most experienced anglers.


Assemble a Jerkbait Arsenal


Bass is one of the most popular freshwater fish to catch, and for a good reason. They’re feisty, have a good fight, and are relatively easy to find. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to bait. Jerkbaits are often the best choice, and sizes between three and five inches are typically the most effective. That said, don’t be afraid to experiment with longer baits if you’re hoping to land a trophy bass. These fish are known to smash pike and muskie jerkbaits, so it’s always worth trying something new. Who knows? You might just end up with the catch of a lifetime.


When fishing in shallow cover, buoyancy can be a useful tool. By pausing and letting the bait rise, you can swim it over an object without getting snagged. A floating jerkbait can also be effective in mimicking a struggling minnow.

You can create ripples that attract fish by retrieving them just beneath the surface with a snap-pause-float. Using these techniques, you can make the most of your fishing in shallow water.


Many different types of materials can be used to make jerkbaits, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.


Plastic is a popular choice because it is durable and can be easily molded into different shapes. This gives manufacturers a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing jerkbaits with different profiles and features.

Another advantage of plastic is that it is relatively inexpensive. However, plastic jerkbaits can be more difficult to cast than those made of other materials, such as metal or wood.


Metal jerkbaits are often heavier than other materials, making them ideal for long-distance casting. They are also less likely to be affected by wind gusts. However, metal jerkbaits can be more expensive than those made of other materials, and they are not as durable as plastic jerkbaits.


Wooden jerkbaits have been used for centuries and are still popular among many anglers today. Wooden jerkbaits are typically lighter than those made of other materials, which makes them easier to cast. They are also generally more buoyant than other types of jerkbaits, making them ideal for fishing in shallow water.

However, wooden jerkbaits can be more expensive than those made of other materials and are not as durable as plastic or metal jerkbaits.

Running Depth

One of the great things about jerkbaits is their versatility. By changing the depth at which you fish them, you can target fish at different levels in the water column. In the spring, for example, you might fish shallow jerkbaits to target fish that are congregating near the shoreline.

As the summer progresses and the fish move out into deeper water, you can switch to mid-depth or deep-diving jerkbaits. This allows you to maintain a consistent presentation even as the fish move around in search of food. So whether you’re fishing for bass in the spring or summer, make sure to have a variety of jerkbaits on hand to cover all the bases.


Rattling jerkbaits are effective for bass fishing for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that the rattling noise they make helps to attract bass, especially in murky water or when the fish are spread out. The sound of the bait also triggers strikes from inactive or pressured fish that might otherwise be uninterested. In addition, the rattling can help to cover more water, making it easier to find fish. However, silent models can also be effective, particularly when fish have seen a lot of rattling jerkbaits and are less likely to be attracted by the noise. As a result, it pays to own both types of baits.


Colors are an important consideration when selecting bait for bass fishing. Natural patterns like shad, shiner, and perch are usually good choices, as they closely resemble the types of fish that bass typically eats. However, anglers should also have some gaudy patterns like a clown or chartreuse-heavy baits in their collection. At times, these bright colors will rile up the fish and make them more likely to strike. Ultimately, it pays to have a variety of colors in your tackle box, as you never know when a particular color will produce results.

Tricking-Out Baits

Any fisherman worth their salt knows that the key to a good catch is using the right bait. While there are many commercially available options, sometimes the best bait is one that you’ve made yourself. By adjusting a bait’s buoyancy, you can create a lure that is tailored to your specific fishing needs.

One way to do this is by adding stick-on weighted lead dots or strips to the belly or lip of the bait. This will cause the bait to sink more slowly, making it ideal for jerkbait fishing. So next time you’re at the tackle store, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with making your own baits. You’re sure to find the perfect recipe for success with a little trial and error.

Tips and Tricks for Jerkbait

Fish your jerkbait in cold, static water.

Many anglers have a love-hate relationship with jerkbaits. They are notoriously difficult to fish and often produce fewer bites than other lures. However, they can be deadly when they work, drawing explosive strikes from even the most finicky fish. If you want to make the most of your jerkbaits, it is important to fish them in the right conditions. Look for cold, static water where the fish are likely to be lethargic.

In this type of environment, a slow-moving lure like a jerkbait can be incredibly effective. The fish will be less likely to swim away from an easy meal and more likely to strike out of sheer boredom. Of course, finding these ideal conditions is often easier said than done. But if you put in the time and effort, you just might be rewarded with the jerkbait bite of a lifetime.

Use the jerkbait in clear, unclouded freshwater.

When most people think of fishing, they picture a peaceful day spent waiting for a bite on a sunny dock. However, fishing can be an active and exciting sport, especially when using a jerkbait. A jerkbait is a type of lure designed to mimic a fleeing baitfish’s movement. To be successful when jerkbait fishing, it is important to find the right conditions.

The ideal conditions for jerkbait fishing are clear, unclouded freshwater with moderate vegetation. In these conditions, the jerkbait will be visible to fish and able to entice them with its lifelike motions. In addition, the vegetation will provide cover for fish and make them more likely to strike at the bait. You can enjoy an active and productive day of jerkbait fishing by finding the right conditions.

Try the jerkbait in open, vegetation-free water

In order to fish with a jerkbait effectively, it is important to find the right conditions. The best results will be achieved in open water, where there is no vegetation that can interfere with the bait. Additionally, the jerkbait should be used in areas where there is a good chance of finding bass. By following these tips, anglers can greatly improve their chances of success when using this type of lure.

Cast over bass in deep underwater channels

If you’re looking for ideal conditions to fish a jerkbait, one of the best places to start is in deep underwater channels. During the day’s heat, bass tends to congregate in large schools in these areas, making them easy to target. Plus, the movement of the bait will attract their attention and trigger a strike. However, it’s important to note that underwater channels can occur in both natural and man-made lakes and reservoirs. So, be sure to do your research before heading out to fish. Once you’ve found a good spot, you’re sure to have success using a jerkbait.

Let the bait sit for another 20 to 30 seconds

Once you’ve baited your hook and cast your line into the water, it can be tempting to immediately start reeling in your line when you don’t get a bite. However, it’s important to be patient and wait for a fish to take the bait. Depending on the type of fish you’re trying to catch, it may take a few minutes for them to bite. During this time, it’s important to let the bait sit in the water so that the fish have a chance to find it. Once you feel a tug on the line, then you can start reeling it in. Following these tips will make you more likely to catch a fish the next time you go fishing.

My Personal Opinion

Jerk bait is a great way to catch bass and can be used in salt and fresh water. Lipless crankbaits are my personal favorite, but there are many types of jerk baits, such as floating jerkbaits, sinking jerkbaits, and suspending jerkbait. The key to using a jerk bait is to use a rod tip and reel in the slack line as the bait is jerked.

The action of the bait will cause the fish to strike. In cold water, the fish will be slower to strike, so it is important to give the bait time before reeling it in. I like to use a lipless crankbait when fishing in deeper depths because it quickly gets to the fish. The diving depth of the bait is also important, as you want the bait to be in the fish’s strike zone. When fishing for largemouth bass, I like to use a suspending jerkbait. The bait will suspend in the water column, and the bait will dive down when a fish strikes. This is a great way to catch bass that is feeding on baitfish.


Jerkbait is a great way to catch bass and can be used in salt and fresh water. If you’re looking for a new technique to try out on your next fishing trip, consider giving jerkbait a try. And if you want to learn more about using this lure, check out our other blog posts on the subject. Thanks for reading!

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