UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Jerkbait Actions and Cadences

Jerkbait Actions and Cadences

In my opinion, the technique of jerkbait fishing is one of the most challenging methods in fishing to master today.

The variables and details are long, but in this article, I’d like to address what I feel are the most difficult and important parts of jerkbait fishing: action and cadence.

One of the reasons jerkbait fishing is difficult is that, unlike many other lures, jerkbaits require the angler to impart the strike-generating action. Therefore, the success you experience with this bait is directly affected by your skill in imparting action and cadence.

Each jerkbait on the market has a different inherent action based on its size, profile, lip design and weighting system. Understanding how your jerkbaits respond to imparted action is critical.

As many of you know, I fish exclusively with Megabass jerkbaits, and I have a deep understanding of how each Megabass jerkbait model responds to manipulation.

The first thing to consider when trying to determine what type of action and cadence to use is to understand the “personality” of the fish.

Jerkbait fish are affected by water temperature, water clarity, wind and sunlight conditions. As well, largemouth, Kentucky and smallmouth bass all set up in different ways.

Like any other technique, there are no absolutes that produce 100 percent of the time. But the key is to develop a starting point, then modify based upon success or lack of it.

Here’s some advice on action and cadence that I’ve learned in more than 40 years of jerkbait experience across the country.

 

Randy Blaukat

Rod Selection

Your rod is a key element in getting the right cadence and action. I like a 6-foot, 10-inch Megabass Orochi spinning model. It’s long enough to make a lengthy cast, yet the rod is short enough to allow quick wrist snaps. Unlike many anglers I use a spinning rod 100 percent of the time for jerkbaits because it allows me to cast jerkbaits better in windy situations, and because I believe a spinning rod gives me better feel and allows me to impart a wider range of actions and cadences. I can also use lighter line, which I feel is critical to jerkbait fishing.

 

Line options

Line is important. I use fluorocarbon: Seaguar Tatsu or InvizX. The reduced stretch of fluorocarbon allows a crisp response to each jerk. Also, I like that fluorocarbon sinks. This helps me keep the bait suspending perfectly or sinking, if that’s what I’m after. I never use a braid-to-fluoro-leader application on jerkbaits because the braid floats.

The diameter and strength of your line as a result of its pound-test rating will also affect the action. Lighter line reduces the amount a bait can dart, while heavier line makes a bait dart harder.

 

Water conditions

The type of action I want on my jerkbaits is determined by water temperature and water clarity. A good rule of thumb to start by is the clearer and warmer the water, the more action and harder twitches you want to impart. When the water is murky and cold I’ll use very little action, and I’ll focus on keeping the bait in one spot for a long time. Most of the time you’ll be fishing conditions somewhere in between those two extremes, so the action you impart will be in that middle ground.

 

Cadence

Cadence is closely related to action, but there is a crucial difference. Action is imparted throughout the entire cast, and has to do with the force in which an angler jerks the rod tip. Cadence is when the bait is in the “sweet spot.” The sweet spot is that part of the cast where the bait is at its deepest point. This is where the strikes are most likely to come, especially from bigger bass.

Once my jerkbait is in the sweet spot, my cadence is the action I’m putting on the bait with repetition – the sequence of the action. Since the sweet spot is usually less than 20 feet long, I really focus on the bait at this point. My average cadence is twitch/twitch/pause. This is what I start with. I’ll vary the number of twitches and the length of the pauses depending on water temperature and visibility – more and harder twitches with shorter pauses in clearer, warmer water, and softer and fewer twitches with longer pauses in stained and colder water. In between those two extremes, experimentation will have to be done until you find the cadence that gets the best response from the fish.

 

Randy Blaukat

Jerkbaits

The type of jerkbait you use is also a consideration. The Megabass jerkbaits I use the most are the Vision 110, Ito Shiner, 110 Magnum and X-80. Large jerkbaits like the Ito Shiner and the 110 Magnum will draw more strikes with an aggressive cadence and action, while the Vision 110 and X-80 sometimes produce better when fished with more subtle actions and cadences. As well, sound plays a role. With silent jerkbaits like the newly introduced Megabass Silent 110, fishing it with a lot of action and a fast cadence in clear water works well to trigger a visual strike. The Vision 110 and X-80, with weights and balancing systems that create noise, will usually generate more strikes when fished with less action and a subtler cadence.

 

Randy Blaukat

Always experiment

While these are some general tips that will help your success, the main thing I’d like to stress is the importance of experimentation. The actions and cadences that generate strikes are not absolute. You must listen to the fish. Pay attention to how well they are eating the bait, or if they are just following it in. Change up your cadences until you find the one that triggers the strike. That can change from day to day or even hour to hour, if conditions change.

I you would like to learn more and go further, sign up for one of my instructional jerkbait fishing trips on one of the Missouri lakes by visiting my website blaukatinstructionalfishing.com, or go on my Randy Blaukat Professional Angler Facebook page.

I hope these tips helped, and stay tuned for my next FLW article on how to find the best wintertime jerkbait fishing areas.

Best of luck.

Tags: jerkbaits  fall  randy-blaukat  blog 

Fall Means Topwater Time

Fall Means Topwater Time

The one thing I look forward to the most in the fall isn’t the beautiful views, eating turkey or watching football, instead I’m a fan of watching fish crush topwater baits. READ MORE »

Buck’s Tent Camping Tips

Buck’s Tent Camping Tips

When not on the road for tournaments, my wife and I love to travel, fish and camp together. Our favorite destinations are Oneida Lake and the 1000 Islands in New York, in search of giant smallmouth, as well as National Parks around the country. READ MORE »

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Coming into the final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament event on Lake Erie there were so many things riding on it. Obviously, it was a chance to make a paycheck, but more importantly it was the last chance to earn enough points to qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Not long ago, with support from many sponsors, I had a blast hosting a very successful first-annual Youth Fishing Derby at Green Lane Park in Pennsylvania. READ MORE »

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My plan going into the Mississippi River event is pretty simple. I’m going to have four rods on the deck of my boat: Two flipping sticks and two frog rods. In my experience in western Wisconsin, that’s what will work the best for me to get big bites. READ MORE »

Guiding and Mentoring

Guiding and Mentoring

Now that we are back on track with fishing, and hopefully developing some normalcy to our lives again, I am excited to keep going with what I started talking about at the beginning of the year – mentorship of young anglers. READ MORE »

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

There’s a big change coming to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and I’m really excited to be a part of it. READ MORE »

Fishing with Confidence

Fishing with Confidence

This year, I’ve chosen to home in on trusting my gut, even with tough practices. I’m happy to share that I rarely have a practice that’s worth writing home about. It’s just the way it goes, and I’ve learned to not let the discouragement affect the tournament. READ MORE »

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Like everyone else, I had concerns about when we would be able to resume our 2020 season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Probably a bigger concern was what the rest of the season would look like. READ MORE »

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. For the first time in my pro career, I’ve been home for much of the spring, and while it was great to fish local waters and get some projects done around the house, I’m ready to get back to fishing tournaments. READ MORE »

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Recently announced changes to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit have me extremely excited to get the season back under way. Specifically, a good number of the Major League Fishing anglers will be fishing the remaining three Pro Circuit Super Tournament events with increased payouts. This makes these truly the most lucrative five-fish-limit events in the country, with potentially half of the tournament field being paid $10,000 or more. READ MORE »

My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

Pollen is in the air, on the water and covers my boat on a daily basis. When this happens, it means one thing to me – the bass are on the bed. Now, most people are all giddy about sight-fishing, but that’s not my deal. I can count on two hands how many fish I’ve caught truly sight-fishing. What comes to my mind during this time is swimbait fishing, but more specifically, one kind of swimbait in particular – a line-thru swimbait. READ MORE »

Making the Most of Quarantine

Making the Most of Quarantine

At the beginning of this year I was excited about the opportunity to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was most excited about fishing the spawn in March and April on some of my favorite lakes. When the schedules for both circuits were first released I was feeling very confident about doing some sight-fishing on Santee Cooper, Eufaula and Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »

The Real Reason I love Spring

The Real Reason I love Spring

Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that. READ MORE »

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining

From spending some quality time with my wife, Katie, and my dog, Doppler, to organizing my life and fun fishing, there are numerous ways that I have been able to take advantage of our current social responsibility to participate in “social distancing.” READ MORE »

Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didn’t have the outlet to the outdoors that a lot of our youth enjoy while growing up. It often takes hours to travel out of the city due to traffic, and there were no lakes within walking distance from my house. So it’s not like I could swing by the pond after school. READ MORE »

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

When selecting a new rod, I consider several elements: action, power, length and components.  Different rods will fit the role, depending on the type of lure, cover and fish species you are targeting. READ MORE »

Always Go Down Swinging

Always Go Down Swinging

Greg Bohannan's late father, Kenny, taught his sons to never take a third strike looking. "If you take the pitch and don't swing, you never give yourself a chance," he'd say. With that lesson in mind, Greg took his cuts at Lake Martin and gave himself a shot to win. Even though it didn't work out, he knows that at least he went down swinging. READ MORE »

How to Catch Your New PB

How to Catch Your New PB

Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life, four have come on a ChatterBait, including my personal best – a 9-pounder I caught this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. READ MORE »

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Without a doubt, during a tournament day I always get a question from my Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Marshal about why I have both left- and right-handed Abu Garcia baitcast reels. I get comments about the same thing from multiple social media followers if I post a picture that shows my reels. The remarks originally surprised me, but not any longer because of how frequently I see them. READ MORE »