Power Fishing Suspending Finesse Jerkbaits
(Jiande, eastern China)
By Bertrand Ngim, Ph.D. | July 3, 2015
Power fishing suspending finesse jerkbaits offers an excellent opportunity during the spring transitional period, a time when bass in pressured fisheries can be ultra-finicky.
Finesse jerkbait fishing is a technique that most anglers are somewhat familiar with. If you’ve trout fished, then you’ve likely thrown a couple of those on light line and spinning tackle. Sounds like a boring way to fish? Not really, if that’s about the only way to capitalize on conditions when bass prefer small, natural looking baits over more conventional presentations.
Why throw suspending finesse jerkbaits?
Before you purchase some of those for next spring, you might ask: “why throw a finesse jerkbait?” Senkos or finesse worms have the ability to tempt finicky bass, deep or shallow, literally anywhere in the world. So, what’s the deal with suspending finesse jerkbaits and its relevance? For me, the suspending finesse jerkbait is one of the most effective baits for staging bass during that early spring transitional period, especially in clear water reservoirs with bass averaging 2lbs or less. It covers a lot of water in those high percentage depth zones and plays a huge role in how I fish reservoirs in eastern China.
What is it?
Depending on make and model, suspending finesse jerkbaits aren’t precisely scale down or reduced proportion clones of what I call regular size jerkbaits so to speak. Though most 3” or even 4” jerkbaits may look proportionally similar, that design template doesn’t however translate into 2-3/4” or smaller jerkbaits, especially Japanese jerkbaits. Take a closer look and you’ll find those subtle but distinct features on small jerkbaits that aren’t always present on larger ones. In my opinion, the key feature that differentiates suspending finesse jerkbaits is its tight profile bill. For instance, Duel of Japan produces hard jerkbaits with offset, spearhead shape bill which gives it that tight wiggle action of balsa wood jerkbaits.
The key to having success with suspending finesse jerkbaits in spring is variety. However, if you aren’t intending on spending a small fortune, go with the Duel Hardcore series jerkbaits. Available on online shops in Japan, it’s one of my favourite suspending jerkbait for clear water, finesse fishing situations, and an immensely underrated hard jerkbait.
Don’t be fooled by this minuscule jerkbait because it casts like a bullet, even on windy days, thanks to its tungsten-magnetic weight transfer system. It dives to about 6’ on 8lb test fluorocarbon line. That is pretty impressive for a finesse lure.
It’s important to know where and when to throw suspending finesse jerkbaits. A key feature to look for on reservoirs in eastern China is shore angle. Look for near 45-degree angle banks, especially those with emerging vegetation and isolated hard bottom features.
I like finesse jerkbaits with weight transfer system that I can throw a long way and cover a ton of water. I start by working the bait to a desired depth, then pause it momentarily. I twitch the bait with a slight amount of controlled slack in my line. Ideally, you want to work your bait in that high percentage depth and let it suspend for a few seconds in between twitches.
I usually work a jerkbait from deep to shallow water along 45-degree sloping bank from where my boat is positioned, between the entry point of the lure and shoreline paralleling the bank. I prefer to fish deeper areas with jerkbaits and shallower areas near banks with finesse spinnerbaits, switching between those two baits according to prevailing conditions.
An important aspect of jerkbait fishing is wind. When the wind blows, it produces current in some form that’ll either disorient or fire up a school of baitfish. When the wind blows, you don’t even have to be near a creek or river to find current. To find current, look for areas with depth change or where there’re funnel effects in the landscape.
Understand local baitfish activity
Another important aspect of jerkbait fishing is water temperature. When I was in Jiande in early April, water temperature was pushing 57°F and the shad-like, native cyprinid baitfish schools that I’d found were still moving rather slowly, I think that’s one reason bass eat a jerkbait slowly during that time of the year. In fact, most of the bites that I had were mushy and sluggish. Because of that, matching the hatch is an exceedingly important aspect.
Realism is one of the reasons Dual Hardcore series jerkbaits excel in the predominantly clear water reservoirs in eastern China. Swimming action aside, Hardcore series jerkbaits suspend at an angle just, just like a dying baitfish. I keep color selection really simple. So far, I’ve had the best results with natural, shad-like colors such as NWS and GSSE. To a bass, a finesse jerkbait is a lot less aggressive than larger jerkbaits I’ve fished in similar conditions. To up the odds of getting bitten in pressured waters, avoid baits that look or swim aggressive.
You can be sure that bass will be biting suspending finesse jerkbaits throughout the spring transitional period. Look out for subtle clues and keep your jerkbait and color selection simple. Learn how and when to vary your pauses between retrieves and use the lightest line possible to get down to that high percentage zone. Though jerkbaits aren’t springtime staples in eastern China, you’re going to have fun catching fish defying local bass fishing norms.
Thank you for reading and I hope you find this article interesting. Stay tuned for more news and exiting articles on theBBZ. Fish hard, fish well and god bless.