Hookpoints – Soft Plastic Jerkbaits

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Atlas Jack Plate

11/1/2011 – story and photos by Jason Duran

The soft jerk bait can be used around the heaviest cover and trigger a strike where you might not be able to get a hard body jerk bait without getting hung up. It can also be very effective when thrown around schooling fish.

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The soft jerk bait is successful because it can be fished with many different techniques. Each time you twitch the rod tip the bait has a life like action. Around heavy cover 10-14-pound-test fluorocarbon line, 4/0 to 5/0 wide gap hook. Here we see 14-pound-test Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line, Zoom Salty Super Fluke in the Lightning Shad Color. The hook is a 4/0 Lazer TroKar Mag Worm TK120-4/0. Also pictured is a Wright & McGill Co. Skeet Reese Jerk Bait/Topwater rod.

W-M 621 Victory Reel
A 6.2:1 to 6.4:1 retrieve speed reel is perfect for the retrieve of a jerk bait and for bringing in those fast moving fish as they attack this bait. This Wright & McGill Co. Victory 621 reel has a 6.2:1 retrieve speed that will allow for a good steady retrieve and power and speed during the fight.

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Catching fish on a soft plastic jerkbait requires a good sharp hook. Seen above is the 4/0 TroKar TK120 Mag Worm Hook. This hook; like all TroKar hooks are surgically sharpened. They are twice as sharp as any hook on the market. Notice here the point is three sided and penetrates much faster than other point shapes, allowing for increased hook-up ratios.

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Attaching the hook to quality line like Berkley Vanish 100% Fluorocarbon using the knot of your choice; this particular knot is a Palomar Knot. Always when tying knots be sure to wet the knot before synching it up.

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After securing the hook to the line you are ready to start the bait on the hook. Be sure to start the hook in the center of the nose of the bait.

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Continue inserting the hook in to the bait to the first bend of the hook, and bringing the point out of the bottom of the bait.

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Then slide the bait up the backside of the hook shank all the way to the top.

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After bringing the worm all the way up the shank of the hook, begin turning the hook so that the hook point faces the bottom of the bait. Slide the line tie, or eye of the hook, all the way inside the worm so that the offset shank comes all of the way out of the bait.

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For the next step, keep in mind it is important to have the bait straight on the hook to avoid too much line twist. To find the spot you will insert the hook point, lay the hook alongside the bait to find the spot that you’ll need to insert the hook point.

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See here where the hook is inserted inside the pre-made slit in the bait. Lift the bait and insert the hook point at a 90-degree angle at the location you decided best fit your hook on the measuring step above.

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Push the hook point all the way through to the top of the worm, stopping when the bait is straight.

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Now, using both hands, gently push the bait forward slightly, allow the hook point to slide just under the surface of the top of the worm, and release. This is called “Tex-posing” your hook, it allows for a largely weedless presentation, but helps avoid having to set the hook through too much plastic after you get a bite. Remember that it is important to keep your bait straight on the hook when this step is completed.

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Here is the finished soft jerk bait, Cast this bait around cover, under docks or anyplace bass live. A top water retrieve can produce a strike by retrieving the bait with a quick jerk action while holding the rod tip down. This is similar to a walking the dog action of hard body jerk baits. Jerk the bait and the make a few turns of the reel handle. It helps to have a little slack in your line when you jerk. You can also allow the bait to sink for a few seconds and jerk the bait just under the waters surface with a slow retrieve. Often bites will be very active and visible on the surface, be sure to wait till you feel the fish before you set the hook.