Jerkbait Fishing

Jerkbait Fishing for Post-Spawn Bass with Chris Zaldain

Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Chris Zaldain is one of the most proficient anglers in the world at jerkbait fishing. We sat down with Zaldain to talk about what changes he makes to adapt a jerkbait to post-spawn bass fishing.

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What’s the Difference Between Jerkbait Fishing in the Post-Spawn Versus the Pre-Spawn?

In the pre-spawn when the water temps are in the 50s, it’s a jerk, jerk, pause deal for slow, fat, and lethargic fish. In the post-spawn when you’re dealing with 60 and 70 degree water, you have to speed that joker up. It’s more of a rapid set of jerks followed by a short pause. Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk, quick pause, jerk, jerk, jerk, pause.

I use the same rod, reel, and line setup but instead of the original Megabass 110 jerkbait I love the 110 Magnum. Basically it’s about an inch longer and has a wider stride to it, a lot like a soft plastic jerkbait. It has a more lateral movement and I believe in the post-spawn that wider, almost underwater walk the dog technique drives those big fish nuts and triggers them into biting.

Post-spawn fish are exhausted and don’t want to go out of their way to track something down. So, this really fast moving jerkbait with real wide glides is moving a lot of water but not moving forward. That quick, lateral movement is what you want.

With that 110 Magnum you stay in the strike zone a lot longer. If you jerk the original 110 10 times, you’ve moved that bait 10 feet or so from whatever you’re targeting. With that Magnum you’re getting twice the lateral movement and only moving the bait maybe 5 feet in 10 jerks.

Jerkbait Fishing the Post-Spawn: What do you Target?

I like to target any windblown bank near where they’ve just finished spawning. I’ll start at the spawning flat and go to the first point coming out and eventually make my way to the main lake points.  

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Docks and shade are also really important in the post-spawn.

These fish have been in the sun for weeks looking for bedding areas and bedding. So, a lot of times they hang on that first big piece of shade like a dock or a laydown for a week or so. If you add a little wind to that then you have the perfect post-spawn scenario to throw that Magnum 110 into.

The bass are also guarding their fry in these shady areas after the spawn and a jerkbait is a great bait for triggering those bass who are trying to protect their fry from bluegill and other predators.

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Do you Relate This Style of Jerkbait Fishing to Fishing a Glide Bait in the Post-Spawn?

Absolutely. I get questions about glide bait fishing a lot. A glide bait is just an oversized jerkbait. The beauty of a glide bait, no matter if it’s the spawn, pre-spawn, or post-spawn is that it triggers those big bites with that super wide glide. It stays in the strike zone two or three times as long a crankbait or spinnerbait.

Do You Use a Jerkbait to Catch Fish Relating to the Shad or Herring Spawns Jerkbait Fishing the Post-Spawn?

For sure. That’s another great way to use a jerkbait in the post-spawn. You hear a lot of people talking about how bad the post-spawn is and how hard the fishing is but there are a lot of things going on in the post-spawn that can really give you an advantage, like targeting that shade or like fishing shad spawns and herring spawns or even a bluegill spawn.

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So, a jerkbait matching the profile of all those bait fish is the perfect choice to capitalize on those baitfish spawns. Photo Credit: Garrick Dixon

Jerkbait Fishing: Zaldain’s Post-Spawn Gear

Megabass Ito Vision 110 Magnum

Shimano Metanium 6.2:1

Seaguar InvisiX 12 or 15 pound

Megabass Destroyer Oneten 6’ 11”


This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Shaye Baker

ABOUT Shaye

Shaye Baker started fishing with his dad in Alabama as soon as they could find a life jacket small enough to fit him. Competing with his father in local tournaments, Shaye quickly found a hunger for competitive bass fishing. He furthered his fishing career at Auburn University helping to establish the Auburn University Bass Fishing Club. While at Auburn, Shaye served as the President of the club and qualified to fish on the traveling team amassing six Top 5 finishes including two 3rd place finishes in consecutive FLW College Fishing National Championships. While beginning to dabble in the world of outdoor journalism, Shaye continued to fish semi-pro events finishing in the Top 5 in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costa Series and BFLs. Finding himself at a crossroads, Shaye chose to put down the rod and pick up the pen and camera to focus on his career in outdoor journalism. Shaye has had work featured in Bassmaster Magazine, FLW Outdoors Magazine, B.A.S.S.Times and the Japanese bass fishing magazine Basser. Shaye has also had work featured on ESPN and Wired2Fish.com, FLWfishing.com and Bassmaster.com. While working with B.A.S.S., Shaye initiated and spearheaded their GoPro division which brought more video coverage to the fans than had ever been done before in competitive fishing. After his tenure with some of the best companies in the business, Shaye identified a need for competitive fishing where participation didn’t cost a fortune. By founding UPLOADED, the Online Fishing Series, Shaye established a free tournament series where anglers could film their fish catches and upload their videos to compete against other anglers for prizes.

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