Are Hard and Soft Jerk Baits Confusing You?


How Many Does It Take to Catch a Fish?

bass fishingJust one. But which one depends a lot on where and when you are fishing. Jerk baits come in many colors, sizes, and shapes and the point of them all is to mimic the bait fish the bass are feeding on at the time. With so many to chose from, you may need some advice on which ones to pick and when. Here are a few basics to get started.

How to Narrow Down the Choices

Jerk baits come in over forty different models made by ten different manufacturers. They are sometimes referred to as jerk baits and at other times, rip baits or slash baits. Each name sounds exciting and all of them are fun to fish. The best known makers of jerk baits areLucky Craft Lures, RapalaSebile, and Jackall Lures. Lucky Craft makes 17 different models and Rapala makes 7. When looking for the Rapala models, also look for minnow-style baits which come in the traditional floating or sinking types. If you include the minnow baits in the Rapala line, you can count on an additional 19 different models there. Rebel is another great manufacturer of inexpensive rip baits.

Only Two Types Make The Choices Easier

Jerk baits are all quite popular because they work so well at hooking bass. Bass tend to prefer these long and skinny jerk baits at certain times. When you study the various jerk baits, you will find that there are essentially 2 major divisions within the hard jerk bait lines:

  1. One type designed for suspending, often called neutral buoyancy lures,
  2. The other is designed for floating.

Neutral buoyancy is the more accurate description, which is the term used by Rapala. Most neutral buoyancy jerk baits are designed to run at a depth from 4 to 6 feet. In addition, there are deep diving jerk baits such as those made by Lucky Craft. Those are designed to swim at depths from 5 to 7 feet. Extra deep-diving versions swim at depths around 8 feet. The size of the bill is actually what dictates the depth. The bigger the bill, the deeper the jerk bait will swim. The smaller bills make the baits swim shallower. Suspending baits will remain at, or near, the depth they are at when they stop, allowing you to stop all movement and have the bait dwell motionless around hot structure, giving bass time to move to it to investigate, and eat! Floating baits are great when you want jerk baits to float slowly back to the surface, often a great technique, PLUS if you break off a bait it will float back up allowing you to retreive it.

Rapala CountDown

The Depths of Fishing Jerk Baits

People who want to fish the depths might want to try the original Rapala Countdown, the largest being the #11, at 4 3/8 inches long. The Countdown is a sinking minnow bait, which can be counted down to the depths you actually want because it sinks predictably. Counting down by the seconds will allow you to seek the depth you wish to fish and then it will stay at that depth so you can fish the deeper waters.

How Big Are Jerk Baits in English?

Oddly, the many sizes of jerk baits are actually sized in metric (25 millimeters = 1 inch). They are probably a little larger than you might first expect when seeing the pictures. The smallest ones are about 48 mm (just a sneeze under 2 inches) and range in sizes up to 127 mm (just a couple of hairs over 5 inches).

How to Fish with Hard Jerk Baits

Hard jerk baits are very flexible and forgiving about how you use them. The floating style can be twitched along as if it were a topwater lure. Later, as you begin reeling it in, you can change the pattern to work under water as the depth of your fishing hole increases. That allows you to cover a couple of different depths in one cast. The floating variety also makes excellent and effective topwater baits.

The suspending style of jerk baits is usually used when you want to focus on a specific depth. Primarily, these jerk baits can be worked very quickly, simulating a fleeing bait fish, or slowly, where it can sit up to 30 seconds in the same position. That technique allows bass to creep up slowly and look it over. Often, as soon as you twitch the bait, the bass attacks and grabs it. That is a pretty exciting thing to see because they will actually park an inch or so behind the bait and watch it waiting for it to twitch. This method works best when the fish are more lethargic and prefer a slower moving target – when they aren’t in the mood to go chasing things.

Fishing with Soft Jerk Baits

Zoom Fluke

Soft jerk baits come in 12 different models from 5 different manufacturers: Zoom FlukeZoom Super FlukeZoom Super Fluke JuniorZoom Fluke Swimmin Super, or the Bass Assassin line are by far the most popular. Primarily, these soft jerk baits are used Texas rigged or nose hooked and weightless. They are very light and, therefore, slow sinking. Fish it with a twitching motion which makes it dart up, down, and sideways giving it a life-like random movement. Generally, they are fished at shallow depths.

One transitional type of jerk baits worth mentioning can also be worked as a swimbait: the Sebile Magic Swimmer . The Magic Swimmer come in a both the hard and soft versions. The Magic Swimmer is located in the swimbaits collection on our website.

Free Shipping and Free Advice

Don’t forget, all your orders of $50.00 or more receive FREE ground shipping. All staff at Fisherman’s Choice Pro Shop are professional and tournament fishermen and we love talking about fishing. Whenever you need help deciding or choosing, give us a call, toll-free, at (866) 993-1139 or in Arizona, (602) 993-1139. Check the featured products on our home page, as well, because we are always featuring the new and cutting edge products at terrific prices.


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