Most hard jerkbaits mimic wounded baitfish just below the surface, but some baits will actually dive down a little further. They have the name jerkbait because you must jerk them to give them their action. One of the biggest differences between crankbaits and jerkbaits is that jerkbaits generally suspend when pause and diving crankbaits will float to the surface when paused. Jerkbaits don’t have the same action as the typical crankbait if you reel them in with a steady retrieve, although, some anglers do wind jerkbaits in with a slow and steady retrieve. An erratic stop-and-go jerk retrieve usually works best. Bigger fish love an easy meal and a wounded baitfish is as easy as it gets. Jerkbaits work well for bass, walleye, northern pike and many other species of game fish.
Rod, Reel & Line
Hard Jerkbaits are usually fished with a baitcaster with heavier line and a heavier rod. 10 to 20 pound test line is the norm, although, you may go lighter or heavier depending on the situation. With the bigger jerkbaits, you may be using line in the 30 to 50 pound class when targeting big fish such as northern pike and muskie.