Practically everyone knows that a hard, suspending jerk bait is a good bait in early spring. In the spring, most anglers know to watch the water temperature. Anglers will start looking for water temperatures in the mid to high 50’s making the bass’s mind turn to staging for the spawn. And one of the very best and my very favorite search type baits for this time of year is a suspending jerk bait. Being a big fan of Bagley Balsa baits, I use the Bang O Lure; however, they have to be slightly modified to turn them into suspending baits. The jerk bait’s greatest attribute is the ability to stay in the strike zone better than any other bait in my opinion.
The first place to target pre-spawn, early-spring bass is the North- Northwest side of a lake. Lake temperatures on the North side of a lake will typically be 2-5 degrees warmer than the Southern side of the lake. Pre-spawn fish will begin moving into the shallower water quicker on this side of the lake. Jerk baits are a great way to target these fish. Pre-spawn is when the water is 45 to 51-52 degrees. During the early pre-spawn when the bass are a little deeper, I like to target the farthest structure from shore such as the deeper buck brush and lay downs, close to the farthest out drop off points. The bigger fish will stage on these first, this is the situation when a jerk bait comes into its own. Throw it out as far as you can, then jerk it down and let it sit there — for 20 seconds or more. Then give it a couple of big, hard jerks and let it sit there again. You're trying to antagonize these big sluggish bass. The longer you let the bait sit the better the chances of a hook up. Due to the cold water, contrary to all my expectations the bite is seldom violent. The bite is usually more of a simple feeling of the bait stopping in mid motion, then a heavy feeling on the line. Use a sweeping hook set instead of a hard jerking motion. After all on the Bagley Bang O Lure (my personal favorite), there are two to three sets of treble hooks depending on the model, so there is no real need to jerk on the bait. There are plenty of hooks to catch the fish. Tools to fishing a jerk bait include your rod and reel, line and the jerk bait itself. Let me explain my choices for you. As I stated earlier in this article that I use Bagley Bang O Lures P5 in a gold with a black back ninety percent of the time in the spring. I slightly modify the Bang O Lure by adding suspend dots until I like the way the bait suspends in my mother in law’s swimming pool. I typically make up a bunch of these at a time and keep them on hand. Second is the rod and reel you fish a jerk bait on. This is one my favorite times to use a spinning rod and reel. I feel with a spinning rod you don’t have the typical curling of line that you get with a bait casting reel and the memory is a lot less as well. I use a Quantum Tour Edition TES 703M 7foot in a med/medium lite action with a fast tip speed. I match that with a Quantum Energy PTi E20PTi spinning reel with a 5.3:1 ratio. I typically use a 10-12 pound test XXX P-Line or Berkley Transition in clear water. The P-Line gives awesome protection from the abrasions of shallow water cover. Remember to keep a suspending jerk bait tied on during the pre-spawn to spawn and you will be able to find some really good fishing.
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