Jerkbait Line: Monofilament or Fluorocarbon
There is much debate on what is the best line for jerkbaits. Monofilament might be the choice when you want your jerkbait to suspend. Fluorocarbon might be the line of choice when your fishing clear water and want to get your jerkbait down deeper. Here is a few options based on a few situations explained in this article.
WHEN TO FISH A JERKBAIT
As the summer winds down and the days get shorter baitfish will slowly begin migrating to shallow water for more oxygen as well as food. Baitfish, shad being the most common, will cruise rip rap in search of algae growing on the rocks. This all happens earlier than the major migration most bass anglers are familiar with. When a white spinnerbait will often catch enough bass in the back of bays to cause that happy pain on the drive home. You know the one where your shoulder is killing you but you know the reason why.
Bass also move shallow in the fall and early fall has them prowling those same rocks in search of a struggling baitfish to make an easy meal of. While there is fewer shad dying during this time when you have massive balls of shad there is always a few that die naturally or have become weak in from their tough lifestyle. Because there are fewer dying shad during early fall getting a lunker bass to bite can be easier than when hundreds are dying in the colder water of late fall. Early fall means fewer opportunities for the bass but more for the angler.
There is one lure that comes to mind when this is going on. The jerkbait. The jerkbait isn’t just the logical choice to mimic the prey in question, but it’s also loads of fun. Nothing much better than an aggressive take from a hungry bass on a cool evening with the setting sun as a backdrop. A jerkbait is the perfect bait for fishing those steep banks where bass are lurking in wait for a struggling baitfish. While there are many jerkbaits to choose from.
MONOFILAMENT FOR JERKBAITS
The best line for jerkbaits has long been monofilament line. The choice of many bass anglers and for good reason. Monofilament stretches and bass are notorious for swiping halfheartedly at a jerk bait and this stretch helps keep from ripping those needle-sharp hook points out of the bass resulting in either a lost fish as you fight it or more times than not a missed strike as the hooks pull free upon the hook set.
The stretch of monofilament can also contribute to the action of the jerkbait giving it a very erratic action as you jerk your rod tip. Sometimes the violent side to side action is what the bass want and monofilament can really help create that presentation.
Monofilament floats and there are times when monofilament will help keep your jerkbait suspended in the water column. A perfect example of this is when making short casts with a jerkbait over shallow grass. Monofilament can help you keep your jerkbait just above the grass enticing bass to come up and strike. You can even use heavier line to adjust for the proper depth of your presentation, it’s all experimentation and what the bass is telling you they want. There is an exception and that is when making long cast over shallow grass and I explain this below.
Monofilament line has been the number one choice among diehard jerkbait anglers for many years. When I am looking for a very erratic action and need my bait to suspend for long pauses or rise above certain cover on short cast monofilament is my choice of lines, but as usual as fishing evolves, we are introduced not only to new products but ways to incorporate those products into our presentations and there is a time when fluorocarbon gets the nod.
FLUOROCARBON FOR JERKBAITS
Fluorocarbon is all the rage these days. It takes precedence over monofilament and for good reason. But should it always be? As mentioned above monofilament has been the best line choice for jerkbait anglers for many years and rightfully so. However, there are times when fluorocarbon is the better choice.
Fluorocarbon has nearly the same refractive index as water, which means it doesn’t distort the light passing through the line and for the angler this means nearly invisible line and when the water is clear fluorocarbon gets the nod and will get you more strikes. This is just one example of fishing technology and its applications.
Another great application for fluorocarbon when fishing a jerkbait is when long casts are needed. Often you need a long cast because the water is clear or the bass wants to look at your bait a little longer before striking and this is normal in clear water situations. While fluorocarbon does cast well this isn’t the reason for using it on long casts. The real reason for fluorocarbon on long casts is its next attribute, low stretch.
With fluorocarbon, you get less stretch in the line. This is important when setting the hook on long casts. Oftentimes bass will bury themselves into heavy grass. When the grass is just too thick to get in there where they are fluorocarbon might be the best line for jerkbaits at this time. This is a time when a shallow running jerkbait will lure that big bass out of the grass. When this happens, long casts are needed not only to get your bait to more productive sections grass but to also cover a lot of water. This will increase your chances of running across a good limit of bass. The low stretch of fluorocarbon will help you get the bass out of there.
Fluorocarbon is known for its ability to sink much faster than monofilament. This makes it tough to keep your suspending jerkbait ticking the tops of that grass. This is when a floating jerkbait will be the choice. The floating jerkbait will offset the sinking of fluorocarbon. This allows you to fish those grass flats with a jerkbait. Experimenting will help you find a floater that barely overcomes the fluorocarbon. This will help you work the jerkbait slower over the grass.
The best line for jerkbaits depends on many factors. It’s your choice.