In the north, spring and early summer can be some of the best smallmouth bass fishing all year. Some of these fish can be at their heaviest weight of the season and this could be your best chance at a personal record, but when the water is clear, cold and fish are at varying phases in their spawning cycles, it can be challenging to catch them.
During this time, one of the best ways to get these fish to bite is with a jerkbait. Don’t miss your chance at the fish of a lifetime by overlooking them.
Here are Five Key Jerkbaits for early season smallmouth:
1. Megabass Ito Vision 100
The Megabass Ito Vision 110 runs between 3 and 6 feet and has a moderate slashing action and suspends with a pronounced wobble when paused. For fish that are fairly active and in shallow water, this is an ideal starting bait and staple to have tied on.
When fish are reluctant, sometimes being more aggressive can work to trigger them to bite. This is also true for extremely cold water. The Lucky Craft Pointer 100(SP) is a great choice when you want a hard-slashing bait that suspends and stops quickly. The Pointer 100(SP) has a pronounced walk-the-dog action when twitched that, coupled with pauses, can entice fish where baits with more subtle action aren’t triggering strikes. This bait can be fished shallow to mid depths effectively.
When fish are in mid to deep and unwilling to come up for the Vision 110, the Megabass Vision 110+1 is a perfect option. This bait was designed to dive between 3 and 6 feet deeper than the original Vision 100 and has the same slashing action with noticeable wobble on the pause. As a rule of thumb, the colder the water, the longer the pause on the retrieve.
The Lucky Craft Staysee 90 ver.2 is designed for fish in deeper water. Easily running 9 feet, the Staysee can reach fish that are not willing to swim up or chase. The Staysee 90 suspends with the nose down, giving it a vertical position on the pause and also helps it to dive on each pull. This bait excels with a sweeping pull and pause retrieve.
The Rapala Shadow Rap 11 has a unique action compared to traditional suspending jerkbaits. The sides of the bait are more flat than other styles, which reduces the forward movement of the bait when twitched. This allows you to keep the bait in the strike zone longer. The other key difference is that the Shadow Rap has an internal weight system that causes the bait to slowly sink on the pause, imitating the actions of a dying baitfish.
When fish are extremely reluctant or have already been pressured with other jerkbaits, giving them a different action can make the difference.
During this time of year, the fish can be reluctant and selective day by day and even throughout the day as conditions and water temperatures change. It will often take a bit of experimenting each day to learn what the fish are willing to bite, but armed with these baits, you will increase your chances of having an amazing day on the water and catching more fish.