For many kayak bass anglers the ice is just finally disappearing from local lakes. For others the water remains very cold as spring approaches. There are many cold water bass techniques that work but having a diverse set of options will increase your success. When the water is between 41 and 55 degrees you’ll find me throwing a suspending jerkbait more often than not. With the right presentation suspending jerkbaits are a deadly cold water option. Once you become skilled using a jerkbait you’ll have the right tool to turn to when nothing else produces.
If you're a big bass fan, watch as Hobie Fishing Top Gun Kevin Workman spills the secrets on fishing with suspended jerk baits. #bassfishing #kayakfishingPosted by Hobie Fishing on Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Some anglers avoid bass fishing in cold water but the truth is it can be very productive. The big females need fuel for the eggs they are carrying. I’ve caught bass on a variety of plastics in cold water, jigs work too… so does slow rolling a spinnerbait or bladed jig along the bottom.
There are many other options as well but when the bass are slow and lethargic the suspending jerkbait is in my opinion one of the best baits out there. The ability to fish the lure very slowly and keep it in the strike zone is key. You need to develop a cadence with your retrieve. I generally start with three quick jerks to activate the bait in a slashing movement then I’ll pause it. The pause is crucial… most bites occur at this time. Sometimes you’ll let the bait sit for a few seconds, sometimes for over a minute. Let the fish’s response make the call for you.
There are variety of ways to tweak your presentation. I’ve found that a slowly sinking bait that mimics a dying fish generally gets more bites. Different brands sink at different rates and water density plays a role too. You can customize your bait by adding Suspend-O dots, a product that allows you to add weight to the lure. This way you can test the fall rate and get your bait to have the nice slow sinking effect you want.
There are many brands that make excellent jerkbaits. Don’t be afraid to try the largest models available, you would be surprised how effective the longer models can be even on smaller fish. Also, there are deeper diving models available which can be key when bass are suspending a bit deeper than you can reach with a normal bait.
Selecting the right gear is also important. I like using fluorocarbon because it makes my favorite jerkbait have a nice, even, slow sink and I can get my bait down a little deeper. Monofilament works well though too; the stretch allows treble hooks to stay pinned. I generally use 10- 12-pound line but I’ll even knock it down to 8 sometimes. A moderate action casting or spinning rod is needed. The ability to use the rod to cast a lighter lure long distances is very key to a good presentation.
As a general rule of thumb, jerkbaits are a clear water bait. A light wind also is a plus for jerkbait fishing. Look for south facing bluffs and warmer, well oxygenated water in early spring. If you can locate baitfish which are often near the mouths of creeks at this time you will usually find suspended bass as well. Use your MirageDrive to position yourself into the wind and bring your bait across the suspended fishes’ faces. Watch your slack line while the bait is paused, any small twitch or movement will indicate you’ve been bit. With a little experimentation you can add a crucial tool to your cold water bass arsenal.
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