What is the Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing?

Best Jerkbait for Saltwater Fishing

Jerkbaits are very effective saltwater fishing lures. However, there are a wide variety from which to choose. So, how does an angler know which is the best jerkbait for saltwater fishing?

The best jerkbait for saltwater fishing is the Rapala X Rap Saltwater lure. The Rapala X Rap comes in this version designed for saltwater fishing with stronger hooks and hardware. It is available in several sizes and many different color patterns. The Rapala X Rap Saltwater has tremendous action and most importantly, catches a lot of fish!

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jerkbait description

Jerk baits are long and slender lures that have a very erratic action when jerked sharply, that is how they get their name. Most of them float on the surface and then dive down several feet when retrieved. The lip on the plug causes the lure to dive. The design and shape of both the body of the plug and the lip determine the action. Like most productive saltwater fishing lures, jerk baits were first used by freshwater anglers fishing for bass, walleye, and other species.

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

The Rapala X Rap comes in several different sizes, all of which dive two different depths. The # 8 X Rap is about 3 1/2 inches long and will dive down three or 4 feet below the surface when retrieved. Sizes #10, #12, and #14 are 4 inch, 4 3/4 inch, and 5 1/2 inches long respectively. The larger the plug, the deeper it will dive, with the size # 14 getting down to 10 or 12 feet.

Choosing the correct jerkbait

Anglers should choose which jerk bait they are going to used based on several factors. The most important component in the decision is matching the forage that the game fish are feeding on. Where possible, anglers should best match the size and color of the lure to the bait fish that are in the area.

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There are times when the size of the lure will be extremely important. When game fish are keyed in on bait fish of a certain size, a lure that is either significantly larger or smaller will often times be ignored. False albacore in particular can be very fussy in this regard. However, predator fish will often strike a lure based on the vibration in action, even if it does not realistically mimic the bait fish that are available.

White is an excellent all round color for a saltwater jerk bait. Rapala calls their white color “Ghost”. It works very well in clear water and any time that silver or light colored bait fish are in the area. In most saltwater environments, sardines and herring are present. In these situations, white is a very productive color.

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Darker colors work well in stained or dark water as well as when bait fish with a darker profile are present. Gold is an excellent color pattern when fishing in tannin or stained water. Olive is a great color choice that is very versatile as many bait fish have a green or olive back in a white belly. Plugs that mimic small mackerel are a good choice when bluefish and striped bass are feeding on small mackerel.

Jerkbait fishing techniques

Fishing the Rapala X Rap is fairly straightforward. The lure is cast out towards structure, over submerged vegetation or bars, or towards breaking fish. With the rod tip held low, the lure is jerked sharply using the rod tip. The angler then quickly points the rod tip back towards the plug, putting slack in the line. This is a crucial element to working a jerk bait! The slack in the line causes the lure to suspend there motionless for a moment or two. This is often when the strike occurs.

Tailwater fishing tips

After the bait is allowed to sit motionless for a few seconds, the angler reels up the slack and then repeats the process. These lures work best with a fairly aggressive and erratic retrieve. However, there are times when fish are feeding less aggressively. This usually happens after severe fronts move through and when the water gets cooler. Under these conditions, a less aggressive retrieve may be more productive. Anglers can even try a slow steady retrieve.

Rapala X raps are extremely productive when trolled as well. This is another aspect of the versatility of saltwater jerk baits. This is a very easy technique that anglers can use to quickly locate fish. With the boat idling along, the lure is let out 100 feet or so behind the boat. The angler then idles around over structure breaks or near schools of bait in search of fish. Anglers can put the rod in a rod holder or hold it and give the bait extra twitches while being slowly trolled.

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Best tackle for fishing with jerkbaits

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Anglers can choose either spinning or bait casting tackle when fishing jerk baits. Spinning tackle is the best choice when using smaller jerk baits as these lures are fairly light. A medium action spinning rod that is 7 feet long with a limber tip into matching 3000 or 4000 series reel is an excellent combination.

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Bait casting tackle can be used effectively when casting jerk baits as well. In fact, these outfits have one advantage over spinning reels when it comes to fishing with these lures. Due to the nature in which they are fished, there tends to be a fair amount of slack line to deal with. Conventional, or bait casting reels do a better job of managing slack line than spinning reels do.

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A medium heavy a casting rod between 7 feet and 7 1/2 feet long with a stout butt any fast taper is an excellent rod for casting saltwater jerk baits. A fairly stout rod is required to work a large jerk bait properly. It can actually be a fairly fatiguing way to fish. However, it can be an extremely productive technique.

fishing line options

Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line; fluorocarbon line and braided line. Like most things, each has advantages and disadvantages. Monofilament line is less expensive but has a stretch component. Some anglers actually prefer to have this stretch of the line when fishing jerk baits. Braided line is more expensive, but casts farther and lasts longer. It really just is a matter of angler preference.

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Leaders are used with jerkbaits

Most anglers fishing in saltwater use some type of leader. When the water is clear, a shock leader is usually the best choice as a heavy wire leader will drastically diminish strikes. A 24 inch to 30 inch piece of 30 lb to 50 lb fluorocarbon leader is a good all-around choice. Anglers fishing in stained water or when toothy fish such as bluefish and mackerel are around will often go with a short wire leader.

More effective jerkbait choices

While the Rapala X Rap is the best jerk bait for saltwater fishing, there are several other manufacturers that offer quality jerk baits. Two of the best examples of this are the bomber Long a in the Yozuri Crystal Minnow.

Bomber Saltwater Grade Long A

The Bomber Saltwater Grade Long A is a saltwater jerkbait that has been around a long time and has proven itself to be very effective. It is 6 inches long and weighs almost an ounce. It is a very sturdy lure with excellent action. It is available in around 18 different color patterns. Gold and red and white are two of the most popular color patterns.

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Yozuri Saltwater Crystal Minnow

The Yozuri Crystal Minnow is another excellent saltwater jerk bait. It is most known for having excellent prism finishes on the lure. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, from two and three-quarter inches to 5 1/4 inches long. It is also available and around 20 different color patterns.

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In conclusion, this article on the best jerk bait for saltwater fishing will help anglers catch more fish using these extremely effective fishing lures!