Soft Minnows & Jerkbaits

Soft Plastic Minnows work excellent for smallmouth bass. There are so many good ones to choose from that give anglers a chance to target bass shallow with a weightless rig, deep with a drop shot rig or around all types of cover with a shaky head jig.

Some of the best soft plastic minnows for smallmouth bass are in the 3 to 4 inch range, but don’t be afraid to go bigger.  At times, some of the soft plastic minnow baits in the 5 to 6 inch range will actually work great for targeting bigger smallmouth bass.

Best Techniques

Jerkbait Retrieve

Soft minnow baits look great with a jerkbait retrieve.  Use some of the bigger minnows in the 5 to 6 inch range and work them with an erratic jerkbait retrieve to target bigger smallmouth bass.

Go Vertical

A jighead and soft plastic minnow is a great setup for targeting smallmouth bass when they are deep.  Get over a school of smallmouth bass and give this bait some action and you’ll get plenty of bites.  It’s an excellent summer through fall presentation to fish vertical in deeper water for smallmouth bass.

Hop Them Along the Bottom

You can us a jighead or drop shot rig to hop these baits along the bottom as well.  Just work them along with some pauses and you can catch a lot of bass this way.

Best Rigs for Soft Minnows / Jerkbaits

Carolina Rig

Carolina rigs can be used with an erratic, jerkbait retrieve to draw lots of strikes with soft jerkbaits.  It is a very good deep water technique for smallmouth bass, especially in the spring and fall.

Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot rig works way better with the smaller minnow baits in the 2.5 to 4 inch range.  Hop them along the bottom or use the shaky technique to drive smallmouth crazy.

Florida / Texas Rig

The Texas rig will work well with the soft jerkbaits.  Add the appropriate weight or fish them weightless in the shallows.


The smaller jigheads work fine with the smaller soft minnow baits.

Stand Up Jighead

The stand up jighead will help position the tail of the minnow up off the bottom, which can be very appealing to smallmouth bass.

Swimbait Hook

A swimbait hook works great to give a soft jerkbait an erratic darting action as it falls to the bottom.  Most anglers use the swimbait hook with their swimbaits, but it can also be very effective with a soft plastic jerkbait.