By Kevin VanDam
Have you noticed I’ve been throwing a jerkbait in tournaments year-round?
Yep, even in summer when the bass move off the flats, especially when I see them suspended in deeper, clear water.
When I go into northern Michigan, where the water is ultra-clear, I can pull fish out off the bottom in 20 feet to hit a standard jerkbait. But that’s not the norm for most of the nation.
That’s why I helped Strike King develop the KVDj300D that gets down to 10 feet or more on 10-pound fluorocarbon line.
Deeper jerkbait versions are overlooked by many natural lake anglers during summer when the fish are relating to the outside edge of weedlines. Most anglers reach for crankbaits, but I’ve encountered days when fish won’t react to a crankbait as well as they will jerkbaits that stay in a depth zone longer.
One of the reasons I encouraged Strike King to build a deep model was to provide an alternative to crankbaiting when the fish are deep.
To get any jerkbait deep, you have to be able to cast it far and into the wind. The Strike King model has an internal weight system that casts like a rocket, has a good dive angle and stays balanced when you jerk it hard.
The KVDj300D has good side-to-side erratic action to trigger those bites. Also, it doesn’t pull as hard as some deep jerkbaits.
Another difference between our deep bait and the standard model is it suspends with the nose down that helps add to the action when twitched or jerked.
How to fish it
The key to being a good jerkbaiter is to utilize slack line when pulling the bait. I pop a jerkbait 1-3 times but always let the rod recoil back to the lure so I’m starting each jerk with slack line.
When the water is cold, say around 40 degrees, I will pop it hard but let it sit longer between twitches. As the water warms, I fish it harder, snatching it with the same force I would if setting the hook on a Texas-rig worm.
I fish it on my Quantum KVD Tour 6-10 medium-heavy rod and a high-speed KVD reel. I use the rod, not the reel, to move the bait; the faster reel allows me to take up slack as needed, especially when I get a strike.
So think about deep jerkbaits this summer if the water is clear. They can give you another presentation for reaching depth zones that standard jerkbaits can’t achieve and catch fish that won’t react to more traditional presentations.