Jerkbaiting in the Winter

Joel Trovillion

Well it’s winter here in the Midwest and most of the lakes are frozen over, but a few are not. So if you get the opportunity to go fishing, what lure would be your primary lure for the day? I would have to say a jerkbait. At this point in year the fish are eating primarily on shad and a jerk bait is a good imitation of a shad dying.

Where do you start out on the lake and what depth do you work? I always start out on the main lake points. I always start out by working the shallow water first and work my way out to deeper water until I can find a pattern for that body of water. If the lake has any type grass, then I will look for the points with the best looking grass on them. Other things to look at are if the wind is blowing onto points or banks. The wind will be pushing the baitfish into these areas and the fish will be more active.

What jerkbait do you use and how do you work it? Well I usually have about 5 or 6 jerkbaits on the deck of the boat to start out with to cover the different depths of water and different actions of each jerkbait. I normally start with a jerkbait that has a more erratic action first to see how active the fish are going to be. After I have tried this for a while, I will change to a different jerkbait that has less action until I find the one that is working for that day or maybe only a few hours. Also if you find grass, you will want to find a jerkbait that will run just at the top of the grass, where you can just barely move it and it will pull free from the grass. You don’t want the jerkbait getting buried in the grass to deep, because then you are not getting to cover the grass you are fishing very well. While I am experimenting with the different styles of jerkbaits, I am also trying different cadences and pauses between the jerks. Once I have found the cadence the fish want I will go back to the areas I have already fished, as long as they are similar to the areas I’m catching fish on. Now as you fish throughout the day, you have to remember that the fish can change as the day warms especially if the sun is bright.

As far as equipment I use a 6’8” to 7’ Powell medium action rod with 8 to 12lb Triple Fish fluorocarbon line. And a 6:2:1 or 7:1:1 gear ratio reel. So as you go out on the water this time of year remember to pay attention to the conditions throughout the day and keep trying different areas, baits, and cadences with your jerkbaits. You can find any jerkbait you need at and any rod you need at .

Good Luck!


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