One of the simplest rigs in all of bass fishing is also one of the most realistic and least intimidating; the soft plastic jerkbait. When it comes to fall fishing, realism and stealth are the name of the game.
Though there are several baits that fall into this category, the bait that it’s most widely associated with is the Zoom Super Fluke. And though Zoom certainly refined the bait to near perfection, some would say the original soft plastic jerkbait title belongs to the Slug-Go, the presumed conceptual father of both the Fluke and the Senko.
Soft Plastic Jerkbait: The Perfect Shad Imitation
Regardless, this style of bait rigged weightless on a 5/0 hook creates the perfect imitation of a struggling shad, with it’s side-to-side walking action and shimmying, slow fall. As the shad become ever more present along the surface and in the shallows, this is one bait that you don’t want to overlook.
Whether it’s offshore over deep water or in the back of a pocket on a shallow flat, I like to have a soft plastic jerkbait rigged up anytime I’m fishing around schooling fish. The only limiting factors to when I’ll employ it are range and necessity.
However, a Fluke is to these two baits what a shaky head is to a deep-diving crankbait; the perfect cleanup bait.
If I’m continuously seeing bass boil on bait in close proximity to the boat but they refuse to commit to a topwater or respond to a lipless crank, I’ll then move to the Fluke.
Soft Plastic Jerkbait: How I Like to Fish It
There are two basic ways to work a bait like this, quick along the surface with a little side-to-side motion and spitting action or slow and low with a wider walking action and a brief pause between twitches of the rod tip to let the bait shimmy a little.
There’s also a third technique that only seems necessary when the water has cooled significantly (below 40 degrees) and the shad are starting to die off and the bass have gorged themselves and become lethargic. During times like this, I can sometimes still pick up a few fish shallow by dead-sticking a Fluke. Let the bait fall all the way to the bottom and then twitch it periodically and let it lie there again for a few seconds. But if I’m forced to fish a Fluke this way, I usually just change to something else like a finesse crankbait, shaky head, or a jig.
Soft Plastic Jerkbait: Rigging and Line Selection
When rigging a Fluke, you want to be sure to leave a little bit of a bend in the back of the bait instead of making it perfectly straight.
This will give the bait considerably more action. One difficulty that will occur when fishing a Fluke, which can sometimes be magnified by this bend in the back, is the very annoying line twist.
After fishing a Fluke for about 30 minutes, you’ll start to notice your line developing loops and tangles when it goes slack. For this reason, most anglers throw a Fluke on braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. And most use a spinning rod.
I do use a braid-to-fluoro setup, but I prefer a baitcaster. For those of you familiar with my strengths and weaknesses, I grew up on a baitcaster and didn’t begin to utilize spinning equipment until later in life. So I’m actually better and more comfortable fishing even light baits like this with a baitcaster. But for someone starting from scratch, the spinning setup would definitely be the best to acquaint yourself with as it will allow you to do more over time, like skip docks and make longer casts.
Shaye’s Soft Plastic Jerkbait Gear:
Bait: Zoom Super Fluke
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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