Jerkbait vs Crankbait, which one should you throw?
If you walk through any fishing retail store or browse through the various online vendors, you will quickly see the amount of variety that is available when it comes to bass lures. It is no different with crankbaits and jerkbaits. There are a variety of different types of each on the market. Why are there so many different types to choose from? Simply put, they catch fish.
In fact, I would say it is safe to say that jerkbaits and crankbaits are two of the most popular style of baits that are available and they are responsible for catching many fish.
Oftentimes however, many fishermen are not completely sure of when to throw one over the other.
In this article, we will take a look at several tips for when and where to break out each specific lure to maximize their effectiveness when trying to land bass.
When and Where to Use Jerkbaits
Clear Water. Jerkbaits are a more visual type of lure, and their action is what elicits strikes from bass. Because of this, jerkbaits are more effective when the water clarity is several feet. Bass holding in clear water that receives a lot of fishing pressure can be a little wary. The quick and erratic movements of these lures mixed in with pauses in between jerks seem to entice bass to expend some energy to go after them. So, when it comes down to jerkbait vs crankbait, the jerkbait wins in this situation.
Cold water. During the winter months when bass metabolism has slowed to a crawl, the slow retrieve often used with jerkbaits is perfect to get a bass to move from cover or where it is holding to strike. There are not a whole lot of other lures that match the effectiveness of the jerkbait when it comes to cold water fishing. Another reason jerkbaits are so effective in cold water is that they imitate a struggling and dying shad. When water temperatures drop, shad and other small baitfish have a hard time surviving, so a jerkbait is a very accurate representation of what is happening in the natural world of the bass.
Lips, shelves, channels, and embankments. If you find yourself in a brief warming spell in between more brutal periods of cold weather, these areas where there will be vertical movement of fish looking for warmer waters is prime time for a jerkbait. While fish might still be a little sluggish, a jerkbait pulled through slowly with erratic movement is sure to get a bass riled up.
Warm Water. While jerkbaits are one of the most effective cold water patterns, that doesn’t mean you should pack them up when pre-spawn and beyond rolls around and water temperatures are on the rise. Warm waters often warrant more aggressive cadences with the jerkbait, and if you are in clear waters, a fast and erratic jerkbait is a deadly pattern and technique for hooking up on bass.
Shallow and Open Water. Jerkbaits move horizontally, and the small treble hooks under the lure make it very difficult to work through cover. That being said, working these baits around or over weed beds or around structures in shallow water is a great tactic. Even when fish are holding in cover, a jerkbait being pulled by this cover with its erratic movement is money. If you can find these shallow areas with cover throwing a jerkbait will entice bass to come out and get it.
Dirty Water. Crankbaits can be effective in clear water settings as well, but we feel they shine compared to jerkbait when there is less visibility in the water. The bumping and rattling of the crankbait are as much a trigger to bass as their visual presentation. Bumping that front bill along rock bottoms or bumping it around fallen logs and brush is more than enough to bring bass in where they can then pick up on the visual triggers that come from a fast-moving crankbait. Jerkbait vs Crankbait, the crankbait definitely takes the cake with this one.
Lots of Baitfish. Crankbaits are the golden ticket when bass are feeding heavily on baitfish. A lot of anglers associate this time with the fall where huge schools are forming, but bass will be feeding on baitfish just about any time of the year. The most important part is matching the baitfish color and depth. This type of fishing can high-octane fishing. If you want to get someone into bass fishing, a crankbait and schooling fish is one of the best opportunities.
Around Cover. Crankbaits are excellent when bumping up against structures such as downed logs and boulders. The vibrations and sudden and seemingly random movements from these bumps often generate strikes from the local bass holding in that area. For those just learning how to fish crankbaits, you will often get snagged in these areas, but as your skill level improves you will learn to bump these structures on the dive where the bill is what hits. This hit and subsequent rise in the water column is a deadly tactic of the crankbait.
Vertical(Deep Water). Crankbaits are also versatile when it comes to searching the water column for where bass are holding. Crankbaits can be very effective around steep banks where fish might be migrating up and down the water column. By adjusting the size and shape of the bill, you can quickly scout what depth the fish are holding and feeding and then do some damage. Fishing crankbaits along the bottom of these declines is one of the best methods for searching different depths of water.
Let’s go back to that question we asked at the beginning. Jerkbait vs Crankbait, which one should I throw?
As you can see from this article, they both are great baits. In fact, many times you can’t go wrong choosing one over the other. It is for that reason that jerkbaits and crankbaits will forever be a part of the bass angler’s arsenal of lures. They are tried and tested lures that can bring an angler success everytime they are used on the water when used at the right place and the right times.
The important thing to remember when choosing between the two is to listen to what the fish are telling you and don’t be afraid to adapt accordingly.
So, Jerkbait vs Crankbait, which one do you like most? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.