UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Hartwell

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 

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Josh Douglas and his wife, Bri, created this baller recap video from Sam Rayburn and the first Pro Circuit event of 2020. In the video, which includes footage from practice and the tournament, Josh dishes on how he used his practice time to eventually uncover a productive trap pattern that helped him earn a 42nd-place finish, which is a big improvement on the 114th he posted at Rayburn in the 2019 FLW Tour event. READ MORE »

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

In tournament fishing, you can beat yourself up for days with the “what if” scenarios that cause you to second-guess your gut. Well, in this case, I guessed wrong. I finished the Lake Champlain event in 145th place. It knocked me all the way down to 60th in points and out of Cup contention. READ MORE »

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

People talk a lot about the offseason in professional bass fishing, but when you do this for a living you pretty quickly realize there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Why I Chose FLW

Why I Chose FLW

My name is Richard Dunham, but most people know me as Dicky D. I currently live in Palm Harbor Florida where I work for the Folsom Corporation, one of the largest fishing distributors in the country. In 2020 I am fishing as a boater in Southern Division of the FLW Series. READ MORE »

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the (not so) calm before the storm before the tournament season kicks off down south in January. READ MORE »

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Growing up on Lake Okeechobee, Jared McMillan loves to flip for big fish when the opportunity presents itself, but he’ll be the first to tell you that mid-November can be one of the best times to be on the water. READ MORE »

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

Following a great season in 2019, I just signed up for the FLW Pro Circuit for 2020. Foremost, I’m excited about the opportunities that are being provided by MLF and FLW. I see overall growth in the platform as we strive to be a bigger and better industry. READ MORE »

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

For the past several years, the FLW Foundation has been working diligently on a mission to introduce young people to their local natural resources. One strategy employed by the Foundation is to host free youth fishing derbies across the country. READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

One of the easiest and most controllable ways to save time and be efficient on the water is to keep tackle organized and accessible. Hard baits are easy to organize in Plano boxes, but soft plastics can sometimes cause a bit of a headache. Here are some tips for doing it based on how I go about tackling the issue.  READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

How to Land More Bass

How to Land More Bass

My technique for fighting a bass depends significantly on the equipment – my Dobyns rod, Ardent reel, Seaguar line and Cornerstone Baits – that I’m using at the time. READ MORE »

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

Jake Lawrence thinks the line-thru swimbait is more versatile than many tournament anglers realize. The Kentucky Lake and Pickwick guide and 2018 Costa FLW Series Lake Barkley champion frequently chucks one any time bass are shallow to not only put big fish in the boat, but to catch five good ones in a day. READ MORE »

God, Grace, Grit

God, Grace, Grit

Life isn’t always easy, and we all find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. But with God, grace and grit we have not only persevered, we have risen. And we are continuing to rise together, and can commit to uplifting one another along the way. No matter what you are going through on or off the water, know that with God, grace and grit, but most of all God, anything is possible. READ MORE »

How to Prepare for Big Water 

How to Prepare for Big Water 

As many of you know, fishing big water for giant smallmouths is my favorite type of fishing. Competing on the Great Lakes, 1000 Islands, St. Clair, Champlain and other big Northern fisheries is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it gets rough, which is why it’s critical that you have the correct equipment and understand how to use it. READ MORE »

How to be a Pro Angler 

How to be a Pro Angler 

I get a lot of questions from young and old anglers alike about the steps to becoming a pro. I guess maybe sometimes I take it for granted. The process seems somewhat obvious to me. How to execute on it might not be simple, but the steps you need to take really are. There are only a couple of ways to get into this sport, and they all start at the grassroots level, in $200 and $300 tournaments.  READ MORE »

Introducing Myself

Introducing Myself

I want to start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. I grew up fishing for whatever would bite with my grandfather and in middle school I had a friend who started taking me with his dad down to the Chesapeake Bay. That was my first time ever on a bass boat, and I was immediately hooked! READ MORE »