Jerk, Twitch, Pop and Chug
Jerk, Twitch, Pop and Chug
Spring and early summer are good times for surface and sub-surface type baits. These are exciting baits to fish because you can see what's happening when a bass hits the bait.
An "oldie but goodie" is the Tiny Torpedo or regular Torpedo, that used to be utilized as much or more than any other topwater bait. What makes this bait so nice is it's so simple to use. You just cast it out, and reel it in. The prop does all the work. Chrome/blue is probably the best all around color.
The chugging or popping type baits such as a Chug Bug, Pop R, Spit' n Image and others are also easy-to-use baits and can be very effective. With these baits, cast it out, let sit until the rings disappear in the water and with a twitch of your rod tip, cause the bait to chug or pop. This action is caused by the cupped face of the lure each time you twitch your rod and take a half turn on your reel handle, working the bait back to the boat. Select colors that are close to the type of bait you are trying to imitate.
Buzzbaits are another easy-to-use lure with built in action that can be fished in heavy cover or thick grass. They come in several varieties. One type has a wire frame with one or two prop-type blades that gives a buzzing, gurgling sound as it comes through the water, and a skirt on the back to give it color and bulk. Another type is an inline buzzbait like the Top Prop. Just cast it out and start reeling as soon as it hits the water, keeping the bait on top of the water. You can cover a lot of area quickly with this bait. Good colors are white, chartreuse, or a combination of both.
Casting spoons like the Johnson, Arrowhead and Timber Doodle are great fished through vegetation. Although it is a spoon-shaped bait, made of metal, it does rise to the surface of the water if retrieved at the right speed. They usually have a weed guard that keeps them from hanging up and the metal gives off a flash something like a spinnerbait blade does. You can even add a trailer to change the color.
There are several soft plastic baits, like the Mann's Ghost, Scum Frog, Snag-Proof and other frog and mice baits. These usually come with hooks and swivels built in and are designed to be weedless. You can throw them out over hydrilla, moss, lily pads or other vegetation and retrieve them in a jerky action or steady retrieve. White, chartreuse, frog, and gray or brown mouse colors are some effective color choices for this bait.
Trick worms are a great bait to fish. They come in bright, and unusual colors such as hot pink, (a personal favorite) fluorescent chartreuse, lime green, yellow, merthiolate and also standard colors such as watermelon. There are lots of ways to rig these baits. A couple of standards are to put the hook through the egg sack area of the worm, with the hook exposed, called a wacky rig, and then there is the standby Texas rig, weedless style. Just cast it out, using the rod tip, twitch, and wind back to the boat giving the bait an erratic action.
Other soft plastic twitch and jerkbaits are the plain stick type baits like the Slug-Go, Slimy Slug, Phantom's Pfish Stick, and baits like the Shad Assassin, fluke, RT Slug, Jerk Shad and Fin-S Shad. With these baits you need to use a wide-gap hook, typically a 3/0 to 5/0 size, because the thickness of the bodies, and also to get a good hook set through the body of the bait. The hook also adds to the weight of the lure for casting purposes. These are true twitch baits because when you cast them out, and use a twitching action, with your rod as you reel it gives the lure a darting, wounded baitfish action. Colors should be the same as the baitfish in the area you are fishing.
The hard-body type stick baits like the Rapala, Twitch' N Minnow, Rattlin' Rogue and Storm Thunderstick come in both a short bill and long bill version as well as floating or suspending models. These baits are typically lightweight and are hard to cast in the wind. Underhanded, or pitching type, casts work best with these baits. After you cast the bait out, you work it back to the boat using your reel, which gives them a darting jerking action, which is where they got the name jerkbait. Use baitfish colors with these lures.
The Zara Spook is one of the oldest topwater baits around. Its action is called walking the dog, which is a side-to-side action created by pointing the rod tip to water and twitching about six inches with a steady rhythmic action as you crank your reel a half a turn per rod twitch. Kind of like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. It takes practice, but with the right rhythm, the Spook will dart to the right and then to the left with a steady action as it comes back to the boat. This has always been a big bass lure.
All of these baits can be used around vegetation, stick-ups, laydowns, trees, and stumps with excellent results. Expand your lure selections. Try to use some of these baits on your next trip to the lake.
Reprinted with exclusive permission from Honey Hole Magazine, Inc.
by Bonita Staples