Monday, March 7, 2011

FLW Beaver Lake: Why Wasn't I a Jerk?

Megabass Vsion 110
Learn how to catch them like the FLW pros.
Story and photos by Luigi De Rose

Contestants at the FLW Tour stop at Beaver Lake were met with challenging conditions. Casting a jerk bait became the technique of choice. Jerk baits, a long, slender minnow plug, have universal appeal to all game fish. Originating with the Rapala, it is one of the most familiar lure profiles on the planet. This week on Beaver Lake in Arkansas, jerk baits ruled.
The Ozarks are the home town of many fishing super stars but it is also the birth place of weighted jerk baits. For decades, anglers have tinkered with their neutral buoyancy. When modified correctly, these baits will hover horizontally in the water column exactly like a stunned minnow.  The best time to cast a weighted jerk bait is now. Especially anywhere along the Missouri and Arkansas boarder. Early pre-spawn, when the water temp is climbing out of the 40 degree F range. Cold nights and warming days will keep the shad kill high and bass capitalize on the free meal.

With long casts, the bait is worked in a series of downward jerks or in last week’s case sharp pulls and very long pauses to create an illusion of a crippled minnow. Minnow baits sports sets of treble hooks help pin light biters. It’s not an easy technique to master. It requires smooth execution especially for four continuous tournament days. Without the correct equipment, wrists, elbows and arms turn to mush.

Gravel points, bluff banks, secondary points in large bays are all home to bass. Mix in standing timber for added security and you’ll find bass. During this past weekend, the water temp was rising trying to shake the shackles of a long winter. Anglers were faced with changing weather conditions and reluctant bass. Trying to temp more bites, anglers dropped down to thin Fluorocarbon or mono lines to ensure the bait stayed deeper in the strike zone throughout the entire cast.
Megabass, Lucky Craft and Live Target (L to R)
Over the last 15 years, the Japanese lure companies have raised the bar on quality to near perfection. This week, most of the top ten anglers credit the Megabass Vision 110 even though many are sponsored by other lure companies.

Looking to stock your tackle bag with a few new baits? Consider the following: Bomber Long A, Daimki Slim Jack, Team Diawa minnow, Ima Flirt, Jackall Squirrel, Live Target Smelt, Lucky Craft pointer, Megabass Vision 110, O.S.P., Rapala, Spro McRip, Storm Thunderstick, Strike King Minnow, Swithwick Rouge, Xcalibur Twitch bait and Yo-Zuri minnow. 

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