The history of jerkbaits (or “stickbaits”) can be traced back to a single bait, which has more than likely been in every angler’s tackle box at some point: the Original Floating Rapala. This simple, but very effective balsa-wood bait was designed to mimic a minnow in the water. Anglers quickly learned to harness the power of the jerkbait by varying its retrieve according to the activity level of bass. Since then, it has been one of the best baits on the bassin’ block.
Suspending jerkbaits have become the go-to lure for many bass fishermen during the cold-water periods of early spring, but it’s a well-rounded bait that can be employed all year. That’s because you can fish a jerkbait numerous ways, and you can keep it in the effective strike zone for an extended period of time.
There are several ways you can run a jerkbait, all of which have a time and a place to help you put more bass in the boat. One way is to cast it out (let it sink if it’s a suspending jerkbait), deadstick it, and then slowly reel it in and repeat. Depending on the water temperature and prevailing weather, the bass—although hungry—might be sluggish, and a jerkbait just sitting there will tempt them into biting.