6 Proven Jerk Bait Rigs

Use these top jerk baits to catch more fish.

Fish caught using a jerk bait
Jerk baits remain versatile stand-bys for inshore fishing.Dave Lear

Soft-plastic jerk baits are—or should be—in every coastal angler’s tackle bag. Inexpensive yet deadly in a variety of colors and sizes, these ballyhoo or needlefish imitations will fool most game fish. Best of all, jerk baits can be rigged multiple ways. Here are the top configurations:

A collection of jerk baits
1. Swim Bait Hook: The weight molded onto the hook shank provides the same action as a jig head. The hook point nestles groove in the plastic or lays flat along the top for a clean presentation through floating grass or when fishing heavy cover. 2. Circle Hook: A thin-wire circle hook through the nose is offers quick rigging and effective presentation. Run the hook point through the lower chin and out the head of the bait. The design increases hook-ups: let the fish eat and wind the reel when the line comes tight. A circle hook rig is also largely weed-less. 3. Live Bait Hook: A stout live bait hook run sideways through the nose of a jerk bait offers long distance casting and darting action on the surface with a loop knot connection.SWS File
A second collection of jerkbaits
4. Worm Hook: A thin-wire worm hook allows snag-free presentations. The hook point goes through the chin, the shank rotates and the point goes back through the belly before laying flat or into the grove on the back. The point can be "skin-hooked" barely into the plastic for the ultimate streamlining. A loop knot connection imparts the most action with a reel-and-twitch cadence. 5. Jig Head: Use a Lima bean or shad-head jig to cover more of the water column. Go as light as possible on the head weight depending on the depth. Cast, pause and twitch the rod tip for bouncing action. 6. Head Caps: Plastic caps can be added to the head/nose of jerk baits before the hook is inserted. With rounded or cupped designs, caps pro-vide durability, color contrasts and noise. The additional layer of plastic helps to keep the hook intact after violent strikes.SWS File