When it comes to fishing jerk baits for pike, I have already written quite a lot of info about this topic in the past few years, yet I found it was time to write a newly updated article on some products I have been testing and fishing for a while now which game me some tremendous results on the water. writing about anything that has something to do with terminal tackle never gets old and one can never write too many articles about this. The end game is what’s most important when it comes to fishing for pike and any other predatory fish because eventually it all comes down to one end and that is the leader that is used to carry your bait into the water column, so in this article, I’ll dive deeper in this topic and tell you my experiences!
I have a thing or two for fishing with jerk baits and for a good reason. My personal best was caught on one and they are one of the most versatile baits to fish. The past few years have been really difficult to catch fish weather-wise, and sizing down has been more common than not. For some reason the bite has totally collapsed on my waters, and instead of giving up and searching different spots and locations I decided to switch my approach. Where I usually only fish jerk baits during the colder water months this year I switched to fishing jerk baits also in the warmer months and this decision has been quite good to me. Although it has still been a struggle to get fish to bite, the amount of bites came by anyway, and every now and then a good bite in terms of size. So it’s safe to say that jerk baits have really made a difference for me so far.
Specifically Glider Style jerk baits and Hybrids moved in slow motion on a lighter setup proved to be key here. When it comes to gliders the ”swim” style Savage Gear Deviator Swims are a personal favorite. They are super easy to fish and move through the water on an S curve when only being retrieved, but when the action kicks in from jerking with your rod tip these baits literally come to life. In one way or another, they can also be fished as hybrids because when cast out and retrieved with slow pulls of the rod tip they will dance through the water. Moving fast, up and down, flanking from side to side, the soft wobble makes fish crazy.
Also fishing the Deviator Swim just as any ordinary jerk bait can really set this bait on fire underneath the water. You can either choose to fish it with half a crank of your reel handle, or simply by moving the rod tip in a slow but constant motion. Switching things up is crucial here and you will find that there is no wrong way to fish the Deviator Swim. Just like mentioned earlier, this glider-style jerk bait can also resort back to being a hybrid because it really moves differently in the water column each time. It is ideal to be fished alongside the weeds in shallower water, but when cast out you can also let it sink down a bit and fish it in the 3m or 10ft range. Varying the action is key and you can really become a master of this bait trying out different retrieves and showing the pike a variation of presentation every single time!
I also tried a different approach regarding leaders. Anyone who has been following me knows that I’m all about Shark Leader Cable from AFW and I’ll always be, but for the past year now I have switched my presentation to the use of fluorocarbon. I’m not going to lie, I have absolutely hated fluorocarbon in the past and until now haven’t found the quality that would match my style of fishing. I’m very critical when it comes to the use of leader material and probably will always be, because it is the last end of terminal tackle that’s attached to your line, and also to your bait, and I’m often targeting big fish for days, or perhaps weeks in a row without any bites and then suddenly the water explodes. As an angler, I want only the best and nothing but the best. Black Bay Fishing Gear from Italy has released a new 100% fluorocarbon leader of which they send me some samples last year, and after being critical I have to admit, this leader material is truly as tough as nails. And what better way to get convinced of something new than fishing a designer jerk bait, in this case, the Hybrid Pike from Dutch builder Murky Lures on the end of my line I really had to burn it into my mind that this fluorocarbon leader was safe, and after multiple smaller fish but also several bigger ones I was that this type of fluorocarbon for me has proven to be the ultimate leader to use while casting.
Fishing with jerk baits is all about balance. most of them have their own walk in the water and eliminating the amount of resistance in the water can truly increase your chances of catching fish. Finding the right balance in your leader is key here and especially when it comes to fishing custom-made Hybrid jerkbaits such as the Hybrid from Murky Lures balance here plays a great role. I have to say I have experimented a lot to find the right action and hang time of this bait with various leaders and terminal tackle because hang time or should I say enabling the bait to be suspended in the water column is what really made the difference for me so far. The fluorocarbon leader that I use here is as mentioned earlier from Black Bay. I take around 40 – 50cm of leader wire and put a 90kg ball bearing swivel on one end, to enable maximum rotation when fighting fish and movement of the leader in the water, and on the other end the New XXX Screw Snap from Pikecraft Fishing. I wanted to size down as much as I possibly could without having to give in on performance fighting big fish, in the end, I am still targeting monsters every time, and equipment failure is a no-go.
I have always resorted back to the use of ball-bearing swivels as they are one of the toughest in the industry and have never let me down. Snap wise I have always been a fan of stay locks and still am but the XXX Screw Snap from Pikecraft Fishing has really opened the way for anglers to be more versatile on the water without facing metal fatigue due to opening a snap all the time. The XXX Screw Snap is simply a type of corkscrew that makes it easy to attach your bait to and makes the eye of the bait click into place when it reaches the end. The screw is very durable and made of the best quality out there. with 130lbs it is more than enough to fight the biggest fish and will not open. A 1.5mm double barrel sleeve finishes off each end and holds everything in place!
Presentation is key when fishing jerk baits and also having the right rod and reel setup makes all the difference. Personally, I resort to using the Abu Garcia BEAST PRO 862 XH Power Pike in 50-150gr in combination with a high-speed Revo Toro Beast and 102lb Berkley X8 Sick braid. This combo has been very good to me when fishing jerk baits of all kinds, and the higher gear ratio of the reel disables slack in your line while you always have direct contact with the lure. Especially when fishing hybrids this is crucial but also when fishing a Savage Gear Deviator Swim you want as many slack in the line reeled in as you possibly can.
In the end, it is all about casting and casting all over again, finding structure with weeds in summer, and in the colder weather months edges and dropoffs where big fish are hiding. You’ll never know what may show up next to your boat when retrieving your bait. This 123cm pike in the picture below was caught literally boatside and without the setup mentioned above, I would have never caught it. the take was so brutal and sudden, the hybrid jerk bait from Murky Lures was completely inhaled fishing big waves in high winds.
When everything falls into place regarding material, presentation, and being at the water at the right moment magic can happen and it certainly did on this day. keep on casting no matter what and know that what you use is the right thing and having deep trust in your setup can make your day. burn it into your mind that whatever you are doing is the right thing and go for it over and over again. sure thing that the magic will happen for you also!
Good luck on the water!