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Fall Jerkbaits – Shawn Overton

Category : BACK DECK

One of the most overlooked lures during the fall transition is a jerkbait. Fall is a great time to get on the water and chase schooling bass. When the water temps start to dip around the 60 degree mark, I’ll tie on a jerkbait. When everyone else is throwing reaction baits, like topwater walking baits, spinnerbaits, or even lipless crankbaits, a jerkbait gives the fish a different look. Don’t underestimate the productivity of the jerkbait in the fall. It’s not just an early spring bait.

These baits are well known in the angler community but I don’t think most anglers use them to there fullest potential.

When bass are in the fall transition, they spend their days roaming looking for schools of bait. Nothing mimics an injured or confused baitfish like a jerkbait. With there tight wobbling action and the stop-and-go retrieve, you can mimic any baitfish the bass are keying in on.

photo (1)When chasing fall bass, you might be looking for bass that are on points and around bluff walls before they head back into the creeks. When bass are roaming around bluffs looking for baitfish, they like to suspend in the water column; this is when a jerkbait shines. When fishing around bluffs, I make long casts all the way to the walls and work the bait back to the boat. The water around bluff walls is typically clear so the bass will travel longer distances to eat it. Sometimes the bass can be very hard to trigger into biting. This is when you need to experiment with your retrieve. Just because a twitch, twitch, pause worked on the day before dosen’t mean it will work today. So experiment with your retrieve. Let the fish tell you what they want.

The Livingston Lures Stickmaster, a favorite of Shawn's.
The Livingston Lures Stickmaster, a favorite of Shawn’s.

When the water reaches the 60 degree mark, I’ll usually start by throwing a floating model. You can work the floaters faster and cover more water with them. When the water is this warm, you can make fast twitches with short pauses with positive results. Once the water temps dip down to 50 degrees and below, I’ll start throwing suspending models, or I’ll add suspending dots to the floating baits. The colder the water, the longer the pause. When the water is still in the 50’s I get most of my bite’s with a 3-5 second pause. Once the water drops below 50 degrees, you really have to be patient. Some days, I can make a full 10 count before I get bit. Your cadence really depends on the fish and how they are reacting to the bait. With the colder water, more subtle twitches have better results.

When fishing points, especially points with pea gravel, I’ll make long casts into the shallower water and work my bait back to the deeper water. This way I can make the bait scrape off the bottom before it gets into deeper water; this just drives them crazy.

Your equipment is also very important when throwing jerkbaits. I prefer a shorter rod with a softer tip, like a 6’6″ Medium action, that way when you hook up, you don’t tear the hooks out of the fish. I like my jerkbait to reach the 6-9 foot range. To accomplish this, I use fluorocarbon because it sinks. Mono floats so you won’t be getting your bait down to the strike zone completely.

Fishing jerkbaits in the fall can produce some of the best days ever experienced. So tie one on and get out there.


Circuits fished:  Flw Rayovac, Flw BFL, and local club events

Years co:  Two years in the BFL and one year in the Rayovac

Favorite technique:  Flipping a jig

Hobbies:  Spending time with my family and playing hockey

Sponsors:  Livingston Lures and Chit Chat Chaw Resort

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