Fishing with a jerk!

By: Jim Root , 1:01 AM GMT on April 21, 2014

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After a long cold winter in the Northeastern United States the ice is finally melting off most of the lakes in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. With temperatures climbing near 80 on some sunny afternoons, it can be a great time to get on the water. But go too early in the morning, and the cool 30 degree air will quickly remind you that it's still early spring. Bass are still deep. It'll be another month at the least before they begin the spawning process (breeding season). For now, the water remains in the 40s, but despite the cold water this can be a tremendous time to catch cold-water bass on jerkbaits.

Jerkbaits have been around for years. Their appearance resembles that of another fish and when it's cold they're retrieved in an erratic darting motion that imitates a dying fish. This technique can be absolutely deadly on both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass in early spring and late fall. There are uncountable color patterns, sizes, and brands to choose from. My personal favorites are Lucky Craft or Rat-L-Trap, and my favorite colors are shad colors or silver with a black back. Reel them slowly, and twitch them often or seldom, depending on what the fish want. You'll find what works best. I'd probably start in 10 feet of water and work my way out deeper. Here are some shots from some of my friends who've had great luck from NY to California over the past week. All of them love a jerk.

Good luck!


Kate Dattilo with a big largemouth!



Matt Sweeney with a nice smallmouth bass


Zack Elrite with two beautiful largemouth


Say AHHHHH, said Andrew Martin


Brian Campbell refuses to choose between green and brown!


The smile of a lifetime!

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7. NNYer
5:23 PM GMT on April 28, 2014
Quoting 5. JimRoot:



Haha. Good points.
Cold water being relative. But being that I'm in NY, I can only go by what I'm told in Northern Cali.
As for advice on the latter: try to tell yourself that at least you're fishing. 😏

NNYer: let me know how you make out!


Posted a followup in your trout blog.
Member Since: April 15, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 17
6. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:09 PM GMT on April 27, 2014
JimRoot has created a new entry.
5. Jim Root
3:37 PM GMT on April 26, 2014
Quoting 4. BarryFreed:

From NY to California, you say, Jim? Well, I'm from the latter, so please gimme the skinny on these cold-water bass spots therein.

Also, "Fishing With a Jerk" as a headline may cause some potential readers to assume you are offering advice about dealing with awkward situations in which you find persons whom you happen to be fishing with to be jerks. Which, let's face it, is gonna happen sooner or later somewhere. Just sayin.'

And kidding. Excellent column, keep up the great work.




Haha. Good points.
Cold water being relative. But being that I'm in NY, I can only go by what I'm told in Northern Cali.
As for advice on the latter: try to tell yourself that at least you're fishing. 😏

NNYer: let me know how you make out!
Member Since: September 30, 2013 Posts: 41 Comments: 23
4. BarryFreed
10:31 AM GMT on April 25, 2014
From NY to California, you say, Jim? Well, I'm from the latter, so please gimme the skinny on these cold-water bass spots therein.

Also, "Fishing With a Jerk" as a headline may cause some potential readers to assume you are offering advice about dealing with awkward situations in which you find persons whom you happen to be fishing with to be jerks. Which, let's face it, is gonna happen sooner or later somewhere. Just sayin.'

And kidding. Excellent column, keep up the great work.

Member Since: April 25, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
3. NNYer
2:34 PM GMT on April 24, 2014
Can't wait to get out on the water. It's been too windy lately. Heading up to Lake Placid this weekend - I live about an hour away. Planning on fishing for trout on the way home.
Member Since: April 15, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 17
2. Jim Root
10:54 AM GMT on April 21, 2014
Quoting 1. whitewabit:

Haven't heard of any nice catches yet but there are always several large big mouth caught here in central Illinois each Spring ..


Post the pics when you can!
Member Since: September 30, 2013 Posts: 41 Comments: 23
1. whitewabit (Mod)
2:03 AM GMT on April 21, 2014
Haven't heard of any nice catches yet but there are always several large big mouth caught here in central Illinois each Spring ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 366 Comments: 32033

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About JimRoot

Bringing the science of weather to the sport of fishing. I'll discuss how weather affects what the fish are doing and how to catch them!

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