Successful Rigging and Fishing Techniques for Soft Jerk Baits

Posted on March 20, 2008

Guest Article by Al Winco

The Jerk’n Minnow from Winco’s Custom Lures is the ultimate soft jerk bait that attracts and catches smallmouth bass with one of the best natural sink rates available today. They are poured with harder plastisol to give that important darting, side-to side retrieve, without going around in circles (like softer models have the tendency to do), plus they have a good re-use rate. Better than live bait. Salt, sand, and scent impregnated.

5″ Model Hooking Recommendations

1- horizontal nose-hooked w/a Gamakatsu #2 octopus circle hook or 1/0 owner mosquito.
When rigging this way, I personally like to use a Spro #2 Power swivel 8-12″ in front of the hook to eliminate most of the line twist cause by horizontal nose-hooking. In heavy or deep current, I’ll place a 1/32-1/16 water gremlin bull shot in front of the swivel. Placing a weight against the nose of the soft jerkbait will eliminate the fish attracting spiral on the pause that attracts strikes.

2- You can also Texas rig the 5″ Jerk’n Minnow SR with a Gamakatsu 4/0-5/0 EWG hook. This is my favorite way to rig this bait for lake largemouth bass in weeds and wooden cover. Pull the bait backwards slightly after rigging weedless Texas style and let the tip of the hook go into the plastic, ever so slighly. This is refered to as “skin-hooking”and will give you the ultimate in weedless action. One dab of Pro’s Soft Bait Glue keeps the head and eye of the hook in place, inside the bait. Simply apply on the hook eye, then immediately pull the hook inside the bait and rig Texas style.

3.75 ” Model Hooking Recommendations

1- Horizontal #4 Gamakatsu Octopus circle#1-1/0 Owner mosquito hook. I prefer this method for open water smallmouth bass fishing in creeks and rivers.

2- This bait can also be Texas-rigged with a 2/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook which will eliminate most of the line twist if rigged straight. The same aforementioned recommendations apply for the weighting and use of a swivel. Both the 3.75″ and 5″ models are impregnated with salt and sand for a great natural sink rate with spiraling swimming action and are very easy to cast unweighted. The 5″ model casts extremely well on casting tackle.

A Productive Type of Retreive

Cast out and try to hold your fishing rod parallel to the water and work the bait from your left or right side. If you are standing in a boat, I recommend working the rod straight down toward your feet. In river and creek situations, cast up-current of likely looking pools, eddies, and sub-surface boulders. After you’ve casted, take up your slack immediately and be ready! Many times, especially with smallmouth in thin-water flows, they will inhale the bait on the initial “splash-down.” Take up your slack and complete the following sequences moving the Jerk’n Minnow 6 to 12 inches each jerk.

Jerk-Jerk pause…Jerk-Jerk-Jerk pause.

Vary your cadence with quick or slower jerks between pauses. The fish usually hit on the pause, so set the hook immediately if you feel any resistance after the pause. Many times, smallies move directly at you after hitting and you must react very quickly, picking up the slack while setting the hook. Braided line with a fluorocarbon leader will increase your hook-up ratio due to zero line stretch and a quicker reaction time in detecting strikes.

Many anglers are opposed to using swivels, but I find an aggressive, horizontal, open hook stop-and-go retrieve produces line twist. The Texas rigged method does not produce as much line twist if rigged straight. Except for a solid ring, sampo ball bearing swivel, the Spro Power swivels (#2 & #4) do the best job of eliminating 80% of the line twist. I also prefer the horizontal opened-hook nose rig when weeds and wood are not a problem, especially with smallmouth bass. When additional weight is necessary for strong current and/or deeper holes, I recommend weighting the baits as illustrated to maintain the important spiraling action on the fall. Placing a weight against the nose of the bait will cause it to nose dive, eliminating that “fish-attracting” spiral on the fall.

Here’s a pic of the 5″ series Jerk’n Minnow rigged with a 12″ leader, Gammy #2 O.C. hook, plus a Spro #2 Power swivel and then Texas-rigged with a 5/0 gammy EWG hook:

This pic shows the 3.75″ series, first rigged Texas-style with a Gammy 2/0 EWG hook and then horizontally nose-hooked with a #4 Gammy O.C. hook, 8 inch leader, Spro #2 power swivel, and a Water gremlin 1/32 oz bullshot weight.

Compare the Jerk’n Minnow’s natural sink rate, action, durability, and colors with any other similar baits on the market. You will be pleasantly surprised!


Copyright © 2008 Al Winco
Published on with permission.

Al Winco is the owner of Winco’s Custom Lures and produces hand-poured soft baits and custom wooden topwater plugs. Al can be reached at his website


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