By Chris Tetrick
How To Customize JerkBaits
Each year many anglers toss their stickbait boxes in the boat for the first time because they are thinking of the bait’s potential of catching big bass during winter. Each year as you begin to throw the stickbaits for the first time they might need a little adjustment to ensure they suspend and perform properly to attract big bass.
For example, if you were to go winter bass fishing in January and present the same jerkbait you were catching fish on last April, chances are this bait is going to perform differently than it did the last time you used it. The reason for the change in performance is the water is probably colder in January. The cold water in January is denser and heavier than the warmer water found in April and causes jerkbaits to perform differently. The colder the water is the more weight it takes to suspend a lure in the water. The same can be true from going lake to lake or fishing a different area of the same lake.
Some suspending jerk baits come out of the package and require little or no attention to suspend neutral in the water while others require alterations. One of the older ways anglers used to alter the suspending characteristics was to drill holes in the lure’s body and fill the inside with steel or lead weight before re-sealing the hole. This was a permanent alteration and could not be adjusted to fine tune a lure on the water. Without punching holes in your favorite lure weight can be added on the outside and taken off just as easy.
The most common and popular method is using suspend dots or strips. These stick on weights are made by Storm Lures and can be easily changed to add or subtract weight as needed. These stick-on weights will normally stay on when applied to a dry stickbait. Lead wire wrapped around the shank of one of the treble hooks is also a cheap and easy way to add weight. Small pieces of the wire may be cut off or added easily. Lead wire also gives you the opportunity to add weight without changing the color of a jerkbaits belly.
When changing hooks on a lure keep in this may change the weight because not all hooks weigh the same. Treble hooks can vary in weight due to size, wire diameter and material. Different split rings can change the overall weight and balance as well. OF-rings are another way of adding additional weight where you need it. Some anglers add additional split rings on the lure hooks without attaching them to the lures hook hangers. This allows for added weight without affecting the way the hook is attached to the lure.
In some cases anglers want a stickbait to slowly sink to get deeper in the water column and any of the previously mentioned techniques will accomplish this. Some stickbaits will sit nose down or nose up and adding weight to a specific area can help you make your jerkbait suspend level if desired. The type of line used affects bait’s action as well. Smaller diameter line makes a stickbait to dive deeper than thicker line. Also the use of fluorocarbon line causes a stickbait to dive deeper than when presented with monofilament line. Fluorocarbon line sinks while monofilament line will float.
There are many different techniques to temporally alter the performance of a jerkbait. To determine the best alterations for the current conditions, make temporary changes to your lure. Trial and error, using temporary alteration on the water, is the most effective means to alter stickbaits.
To contact Chris Tetrick for a guided fishing adventure on Table Rock Lake visit his website at http://midlakesguide.com