Fishing Jerkbaits for Bass



1.Shallow diving jerkbaits

2. Medium diving jerkbaits

3. Deep diving jerkbaits

power of a jerkbait is a “game changer” in the eyes of a bass
fisherman. The flawless motions of the jerkbait slicing through the
water column in effort to put on a play as an injured or dying
bait fish is an art. The beauty of one motion with your rod creating a
multiple motions with the bait calls the bass like it’s their last
meal. The ability to be within the school of bait fish but still stick
out like a bully means that if you don’t use a jerkbait often for bass means you’ve got some things to learn.

The one thing that a jerkbait imitates is a fish, more specifically a bait fish that bass
target. Knowing what bait fish to imitate at what time and where is
crucial. It’s necessary to learn the kinds of bait fish in the lake
you plan on fishing and the density (amount) of that bait fish before
fishing the water. If you are fishing a lake up north than the shad
population will not be as dense as it would down south due to
bluegill, sunfish, perch and other pan-fish. Though there are a few
common widespread shad species like gizzard shad and multiple varieties of herring. It is a good idea to carry those two patterns in your jerkbait arsenal.

How to fish all jerkbaits:

  • With some slack in your line holding your rod out to the side / down, than give it a quick jerk to knock that slack in the line and to twitch the bait
  • Try repetition (jerk, jerk, pause, jerk, jerk pause): this is a two count. Try a two count or a three or even a four count
  • in warmer water fish a jerkbait with little pause in between jerks, in cold water give it a few seconds (3-10 second) pause in between each jerk. experiment with the speed to find what’s working best in the moment

What colors to use:

  • Experimentation is the only answer to finding out what colors the bass in that lake seem to prefer but its good to go into the experiment with a (general known selection): In clear waters use a natural bait fish color like the translucent colors and silver to grey, chrome will also produce a nice flash in sunny conditions.
  • Use brighter and more distinct colors with low clarity like white, chartreuse, blue etc. depending on weather conditions bass can be more or less finicky and picky than usual, which can lead you to go with an unusual color for water clarity.

If there’s one man out there to inform you on jerkbaits, its Kevin Vandam:

Diving Jerkbaits


  • Anywhere from 3 to 5 feet of water and little to no vegetation is prime for a shallow diving jerkbait. Rocks and boulders can also be used as deflection objects

use a shallow diving jerkbait:

  • Once the water temp rises into the 64 to 69 degree range most shad will move into the shallows and spawn. This is during / after the bass spawn so those bass are already there waiting for the shad to come up. Find schools of bait fish on your graph in the shallows and seize the moment with a shallow diving jerkbait because you will most likely also see some nice bass on that graph.
  • Once you enter the Falltime season than those shad and other bait fish will move up in the shallow warm waters because they are known to be sensitive to minor temp changes, and so bass follow them up shallow in the faltinme to get fat for the winter. This is when a jerkbait can shine


  • Once that water gets in the mid 60 degree range
  • Once you see a school of bait fish in the shallows in bass territory
  • Also in mid to late fall when bass are chasing around shad in the shallows

gear to use:

  • Rod: A shorter rod is important like a 6’6” to 7’ rod. Power: Medium, Action: Medium to fast
  • Line: 20-30lb braid to a fluorocarbon leader(8-12lb) / or straight fluorocarbon 10-12lb

Diving Jerkbaits


  • Anywhere from 5 to 7 feet of water and little to no vegetation is prime for amedium diving jerkbait. Rocks and boulders, can also be used as deflection objects

use a medium diving jerkbait there:

  • Once the shad are done with the spawn they start to spread out from each other and move with the water temp. On hot days the shad will be down a little deeper on humps and drop-offs (and the bass will follow). A medium diving jerkbait is good for those hot and sunny days when the shad are a little deeper and holding tight to cover.


  • When shad hold tight to cover at the mid depth range
  • When you see bass suspended in those areas waiting on bait fish from 5 to 7 ft of depth

gear to use:

  • A shorter and stiffer rod is important like a 6’6” to 7’ rod
  • 20-30lb braid to a fluorocarbon leader(8-12lb) / or straight fluorocarbon 8-12lb

Diving Jerkbaits

The same rules and tips apply as medium diving jerkbaits, just use a deep diving jerkbait when the bass and bait fish are just out of reach for the medium diver and you need those extra few feet.


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