How Does A Jerkbait Work

How Does A Jerkbait Work?

How to Work A Jerkbait

  • A jerkbait is a great representation of baitfish that largemouth bass and other species love to eat.
  • Jerkbaits have long been a great lure for cold water, but as a very versatile bait the jerkbait can be utilized all year long.
  • A jerkbait works in many different ways from topwater presentations to deep diving applications.

Jerkbait for Topwater Presentation

I have personally used a jerkbait for topwater applications going to my early years fishing farm ponds. The jerkbait twitched on top can entice hungry summertime largemouths. It can also trigger strikes from giant smallmouth coming from deep, clear water in the winter. The ways that jerkbaits work are more diverse today than ever before. Manufacturers have created jerkbaits and adjusted and tinkered the way that a jerkbait works in the water. There is a jerkbait out there for your fishing style and the way you like to work a jerkbait. There are many modifications you can do to make your jerkbait work the way you want. From added stick on lead strips to adding split rings to the bait. You can add a single split ring to the front or back hook hanger and adjust the way the jerkbait works in the water.

Subsurface Jerkbaiting

Working a jerkbait just under the surface can be an important presentation when the surface is calm. Without a ripple on the surface a bass is reluctant to come up to strike your bait. Bass instinctively know that they’re vulnerable to predators from above. They can also see your jerkbait clearly. They will refuse to strike if it’s just a little off. Working the jerkbait quickly just beneath the surface can be just enough sense of security. The lack of clear visual reference triggers a strike from those reluctant bass.

Jerkbait Fishing

Jerkbaits today offers all sorts of variety in colors, size and depths to which they will dive. The depth is determined by the bill and also other factors like size and type of line you use with the jerkbait. Sometimes bass key on baitfish at a certain depth and refuse to leave that depth to crush one 10 feet above if it’s on the surface. The bass might however come up from 20 feet to crush a jerkbait twitched 10 feet above them in the water column. This is where the diving jerkbaits rule the day. Getting a jerkbait down 10 feet can be just what’s needed to fill the livewell.

Countdown Jerkbaits

A countdown jerkbait is a jerkbait that is weighted to sink at a fairly rapid rate. A countdown jerkbait can actually be fished at any depth you like, within reason. Counting down the depth to where you believe the bass are feeding can be crucial. When the bass are keying on that depth and won’t move far to strike. Sometimes bass have a small strike zone. Counting down your jerkbait to that depth will catch bass you wouldn’t otherwise catch.

Jerkbait Modifications

There are many modifications you can do to make your jerkbait work the way you want. From added stick on lead strips to adding split rings to the bait. You can add a single split ring to the front or back hook hanger. This will adjust the way the jerkbait works in the water. Adding a split ring can adjust the way the jerkbait sits in the water. Nose up or down. It can also create just the right buoyancy for your jerkbait making it perfectly suspend in the water column. Or maybe you want it to barely sink or rise.

3 Popular Jerkbaits On The Market Today

The Yo-Zuri 3DB Jerkbait is a suspending jerkbait with a realistic minnow shape. The 3DB is the only jerkbait with flat sides. A flat-sided jerkbait makes it ideal for stop-and-go retrieves. The flat sides on this jerkbait make it a very responsive jerkbait, especially when your rod tip is jerked. A holographic tinsel tail flashes and pulsates to entice even the most pressured bass. 3DB Series lures boast a patented ribbed belly that creates multiple and distinctive wave-motion vibrations. They also produce a flash created by internal prisms that are 3d. Each resembles an injured baitfish swimming erratically and sends out a flash of reflected light from its scales.

  • Suspending Jerkbait
  • Flat sided
  • Mylar tinsel tail for realistic action
  • 2 round bend nickel treble hooks
  • Stainless steel nickel split ring hardware

Strike King KVD Deep Jerkbait


When it is time for a jerkbait and you need to get a couple feet deeper in the water column, reach for the Strike King KVD Deep Diving Jerkbait. Expertly designed with an extended lip by legendary angler Kevin VanDam. This deadly jerkbait puts the perfect combination of roll, flash and wiggle, in front of fish holding in deeper cover or cruising deep vertical structure. Internal weight transfer system allows for more accurate and longer casts. Equipped with realistic 3D eyes and premium nickel hooks. KVD suggests cranking this Strike King original down to the proper depth, then simply working it as you would with any jerkbait. Pauses, slack-line twitches, and an irregular cadence will bring any bass over to investigate.

  • Designed by Kevin VanDam
  • Extended diving lip to get deeper in the water column
  • Superior action
  • Great over deeper cover or vertical structure
  • Internal long cast weight transfer system
  • Realistic 3D eyes
  • Premium nickel hooks


The Berkley Skinny Cutter 110+ Jerkbait offers a slimmer profile than the standard Cutter jerkbait. This could mean all the difference in getting bit. Designed by Dave Fritts and other pro anglers, this premium suspending jerkbait boasts an artfully handcrafted wood design. A detailed painted finish promises both durability and irresistibility. At 7/16 oz, the Berkley Skinny Cutter 110+ Suspending Jerkbait provides the perfect combination for long, precise casts while a coffin shaped bill delivers maximum darting action. Anglers at all experience levels will appreciate the versatile action. The 3 premium stainless steel treble hooks will ensure that when the bass strikes it will remain hooked up all the way to the boat.

  • Premium suspending jerkbait
  • Expertly painted body
  • Designed by Dave Fritts
  • Great for long and precise casts
  • Versatile action
  • Coffin shaped bill provides max darting action


About Ken McBroom 215 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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