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Jerkbaits – The old way for the new predators

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Jerkbaits – The old way for the new predators
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I think all spinning enthusiast in Europe have already noticed a new trend in our favourite way of angling. Of course, I mean the fashion for jerkbaits and casting equipment. But not everybody knows that in fact, it is nothing new; this is simply a technique imported across the ocean, proved successful in the battle of hunting for big fish predators.

These new lures
known on the American continent for ages appeared in Europe only in the late ’90s. The first person to have described them, in one of the biggest European angling periodicals, in 1995, was a famous predatory fish hunter from Holland,  Berus Rozemeijer.

Soon after, in the magazines there appeared pictures of enormous pike and zander caught with the American jerbaits. Thus, having the everlasting American Suicks and Reef Hawgs or Bobbie Baits in one’s angler’s case became not only a sign of snobbism. Despite their quite unusual design, simple construction and strange colours, these toys really caught big predators and they did it in places where other baits managed to attract only medium-size fish. Those anglers who made some effort and obtained a few jerkbaits and knowledge how to use them started to discover their fishing waters once more. It turned out that the different-than-stereotypes work of these lures, even on the very exploited waters can work miracles. Yet, despite a good press, jerkbaits could not gather wide popularity. The reason was very simple; all the lures can be bought only from mail-order shops in the US. In those days it was practically one shop: Rollie & Helen’s Musky Shop in Wisconsin. Their prices plus shipment were so high that there were not many fanatics able to accept them. This situation did not favour the popularization of casting. Few distributors decided to try and sell rods and multiplications dedicated to this method; they were very difficult to seel. It was not until 2000, at the angling fairs EFFTEX in Lyon, when the Salmo Company from Poland presented first European jerkbaits – Fatso 14 i Jack 18. The difference between the newly introduced jerkbaits and the well-known American ones was considerable enough to gain immediate publicity and recognition among anglers. Within the following years other models joined the family, first – Warrior and then – Slider, which remains an undisputable leader in sales in Europe until now.

Very soon jerkbaits turned out to be not just a one-minute fashion but a growing trend. Other baits’ manufacturers noticed this market trend very quickly and started to chase their competitors introducing into their offers more and more proposals for the enthusiasts of jerkbaits. The trend is still in, so new lures have been launched to the market every year since then. Yet, they are mostly copies, successful or less successful, of the already existing lures.

The fascination with large artificial lures is also to the advantage to the market of new rods and reels. Sales of so far “unsellable” multipliers and short, stiff rods have increased considerably.

For most of the anglers who, out of curiosity, bought their first “jerking set” and set off to try them out, it was the beginning of a new adventure. Both young and old experienced predatory hunters yield to this fascination. I know many anglers who totally abandoned classic spinning rods and use casting method for all fish! In fact, it is nothing new. In the USA about 90% of anglers use multiply reels for the 200g as well as 1g lures. But in America it is a question of tradition while in Europe – a result of uncontrolled fascination, often without practical reasons. For example, casting is not very suitable for fishing for trout in small streams overgrown with bushes. Yet, a number of fanatics, trying to overcome all the difficulties, is still growing.

One could ask: where is this fascination from? Why do grown-up men toil over multiply reels when it is so much easier to use classic reels? At first glance the whole technique looks much more difficult and less comfortable.

In fact, only those who try will get an in-depth answer. Just the first experience from using the casting equipment can turn a malcontent into a real enthusiast of the new method. A short and stiff rod makes casting the heavy bait quite easy. Every angler for whom spinning is something more than just casting and retrieving the bait notices the advantages of the multiply reel very quickly. Bait control at this kind of reel is incredible, as if the line were wound on the hand. The best advantage of such equipment is the fact that it can be comfortably handled for many hours of dynamic and intensive use. It encourages experiments with fishing techniques. And this is where the real reason of this new method’s effectiveness lies. To find the real strength of jerkbaits, creative angling is necessary. The more control of the bait we gain, the better results we achieve. Ages of angling development have resulted in creation of optimal equipment for every kind of technique and bait type. Some of them are still evolving due to, say, new materials becoming available in production. However, in case of jerkbaits, which are undoubtedly one of the prototypes of artificial lures in general, not much has changed. The best magazine for the line was and still is a baitcaster, tit is most convenient to cast and fish with a short, stiff rod, and the whole equipment must be able to carry load much bigger that this from the weigh of lures and the thickness of lines.

For better understanding of the advantages of casting equipment designed for jerkbaits, let us take a closer look at its elements. Thus,

First of all: the rod.
We are discussing typical jerkbaits for big predators; we will cast heavy baits: 35 – 120 g or even bigger. Jerking is a very active and dynamic technique. Considering this, the rod must have an appropriate casting weight to prevent it from breaking. Secondly, appropriate action, which will allow comfortable casting and effective jerking when big fish strike. Thirdly: the appropriate length. Moreover, a typical casting rod has a handle of special construction. It is the so called “gun handle”. The characteristic trigger on it helps to grip it firmly and operate the whole set actively.

A long rod will be a big mistake. It can only result in complete fatigue, a bad technique and, finally, discouragement. The optimum length for fishing from a boat, and in most cases when we fish from land, is 180 – 230cm, tip action and casting weigh between 50 and 120 g. It is best to have two rods – for lighter (35 – 50g) and heavier (55 – 120g) lures. If you have to decide on one of them – I advise to take the latter.

Europejski wędkarz po wzięciu do ręki takiej wedki opisanej „action – heavy” zwykle traci na chwilę mowę! Bardziej przypominają one bowiem kije od szczotki niż narzędzia wędkarskie. Taka konstrukcja ma jednak uzasadnienie. Jest to po pierwsze związane z tradycją. Nie ma w USA zwyczaju „bawienie się z rybą”. Stąd hol wielkich muskie, które są najczęstszą zdobyczą fanów jerkbaitów, trwa krótko i jest niezwykle dramatyczny.The American typical baitcasting rods are a little different. Usually these are rods with tremendous supply of power.

Ponadto należy wziąć pod uwagę kaliber stosowanych tam przynęt. Ogromne jerkbaity czy przynęty miękkie uzbrojone w kilka kotwic 5/0 to bardzo skuteczna broń na wielkie drapieżniki pod warunkiem, że jesteśmy w stanie naszą wędką wykonać skuteczne zacięcie. Przesunięcie takiej przynęty w najeżonej setkami zębów paszczy olbrzyma jest możliwe wyłącznie przy użyciu „kija od szczotki”. Amerykańskie wędki na muskie są też z reguły dłuższe od europejskich. Chodzi tu oczywiście o lepsze rozłożenie sił podczas rzutu, zacięcia i holu ryby. Jest jednak jeszcze jedno uzasadnienie dla długości rzędu 2,4 – 3 m. Jest to technika połowu muskie zwana „figure eight”. Ten prosty dość trick pozwala łowić muskie, które swoim zwyczajem przypływają za przynętą do samej burty łodzi do końca nie mogąc zdecydować się na branie. Polega on na maksymalnym wydłużeniu ostatniego etapu prowadzenia przynęty poprzez wykonywanie szerokich ruchów wędką zanurzoną do połowy w wodzie. Szczytówka wędki może kreślić figury przypominające cyfrę 8 albo 0. Bardzo wiele drapieżników daje się w ten sposób skusić do brania nawet po takich kilku “ósemkach„. Większość doświadczonych łowców muskie właśnie tak kończy każdy swój rzut. Łowiąc krótką wędką musieliby więc schylać się w kierunku wody narażając plecy na niepotrzebne zmęczenie. Długa wędka pozwala na precyzyjne wykonywanie „figure eicht” bez konieczności schylania się.

Jak wiadomo nasz szczupak nie daje się raczej nabrać na żadne ósemki i zwykle reaguje ucieczką na sam widok wędkarza. Poza tym nasze jerkbaity są jednak nieco mniejsze od amerykańskich. Stąd też, stosunkowo szybko zaczęły powstawać na naszym rynku nowe konstrukcje, będące „odchudzonymi” modyfikacjami amerykańskich.

Dość szybko jednak, bardziej ambitne firmy stworzyły swoje własne linie wędzisk doskonale dopasowanych do potrzeb europejskich wędkarzy. Konstrukcje te będące wypadkowądoświadczeń amerykańsko – europejskich a ostatnio również japońskich, wciąż ulegają modyfikacjom. Powstają więc wędki o niezwykłej dynamice, świetnej akcji a do tego lekkie i bardzo ładne.

The European anglers usually loose their tongue for a while after they have held in their hands such a rod, described: “action – heavy”! No wonder; they are more like broom sticks, not angling equipment. But this construction is justified, first of all, by tradition; in the US it is not customary to “play with fish”. And thus the fight with great muskie, which most frequently fall prey to the jerbaits fans, is very short and exceptionally dramatic.Another thing is the size of lures used across the ocean. Huge jerbaits or soft lures with a few 5/0 hooks are very effective for big predators provided that we are able to do an effective hookset with our rod. Moving such a lure in the toothy jaws of a giant is possible only with the “broom stick”. The American rods for muskie are usually also longer than the European ones. The issue here is, of course, better distribution of forces during the cast, jerk and hookset. But there is another reason for using a 2.4 – 3 m rod. It is the muskie fishing technique called “figure eight”. This relatively simple trick allows to fish for muskie, which are in the habit of following the lure to the very boat, without attacking it. The trick is to extend the last stage of the lure retrieval through making vast movements with the rod half in the water. The rod tip can draw figures similar to “8″ or “0″. Many predators are tempted even after a few such figures. Most of experienced muskie hunters finish their cast in this way. Fishing with a short rod they would have to bend towards the water giving their spine unnecessary fatigue. A long rod allows the angler to do a precise “figure eight” without having to bend.

As it is widely known, our European pike is not deceived by any “eights” and usually darts at the sheer sight of the angler. Besides, our jerkbaits are slightly smaller than the American ones. Therefore, new designs being the “skimmed” versions of the American lures relatively quickly appeared on our market.

More ambitious companies created their own rod designs perfectly adjusted to the needs of the European anglers. These designs, the product of American – European and recently also Japanese experience, are still undergoing modifications. And thus, new rods, light and good-looking, of unusual dynamics and great action are produced. The second essential element of baitcasting equipment it is, of course-

A multiplier with a good braided line.
I have already mentioned how much the multiply reel “turns up” the equipment sensitivity. The classic spinning reel, especially when it comes to the heavy bait, requires taking the line on the finger at every cast. After a few hours even battle-hardened finger tips are damaged. In the casting reel, the line is released when the thumb’s pressure is removed from the spool. In the same manner we can control the jerkbait’s flight. It is much more comfortable way, and safer for our hands, than blocking the line going out of a reel with a fixed spool with our index finger.

Another advantage of multipliers is their greater strength for dynamic load, which is inseparable part of jerking. Generally there are two types of casting reels available for sale: low and high-profile (round).

The first type is more delicate and is intended for smaller lures (15 – 35g). For “heavy artillery” it is recommended to use classic round multipliers. In addition to more solid construction, they also have spools of bigger capacity, which can hold 100 m and more of a thick braided line.

Another important thing is the power of our reel’s brake. If we fill in a thick braided line onto a delicate reel and tighten up the brake, it will be damaged sooner or later.

To make our casting equipment complete we need a good quality braided line. We can, of course, experiment with the monofilament line, but it is like preaching to the converted. Apart from better strength parameters, the braided line has almost zero stretchness. It allows the angler to feel the lure’s work perfectly and react immediately when the fish strikes.

While fishing with 15 – 35 g jerkbaits, it is sufficient to use a 10 kg braided line (ca 0.18 mm), which can be wound onto a low-profiler. However, for the baits above 35 g, I recommend 14 – 20 kg braided lines (0.23 – 0.27 mm). Very often “normal” anglers tap their fingers against their foreheads when they see such a “set”. For a layman, it makes no sense to use the “catfish” braided line to catch the pike. True, it is not about the strength needed to fight the fish; it is about the technique. Fishing with jerkbaits, especially the big ones, is quite remote from classic spinning. It involves heavy baits and very dynamic performance. Undoubtedly, a big advantage of this technique is the possibility to explore places overgrown with weeds and reeds. Consequently, we have frequent “weed catches” that can be released with one jerk. After many such actions even a strong line sooner or later wears out. This is the reason why it is necessary to have a “strength margin”, allowing us to retrieve without being anxious that a theoretically strong line will break at the twitch of a small fish. Everyone who, at least for a few hours, was trying to work against this rule, changed their minds right away, usually after they had lost a few precious lures. Personally, even if I am using the 20 kg line, I change the knot every few hours, just in case.

The last but not least element of equipment is the leader of appropriate strength. Unfortunately, there is too much trash on the market, elaborately but untruthfully described by their manufacturers. It is advisable to test the strength of the purchased leaders, and as for the equipment recommended for casting, it is simply a necessity. The simplest test is to make a knot on the line and the leader that you want to use. Then you must load the whole thing with sufficient weigh. The weakest element of the set SHOULD be, of course, the knot on the line. However, you will be surprised to learn how often it will be the leader end, snap, or swivel at the end of the leader. It is not worth to make your successful landing the fish dependent on leaders’ manufacturers.

Still many anglers choose traditional spinning rods of 2.4 or even 2.7 m in length for fishing with jerkbaits. They do their fishing and are convinced they do not need any other equipment. Of course, it can be done this way. It reminds me of fishing with a 3-meter-long rod under the ice. Surely, it can be done, but what for? Even if they use smaller baits, like Slider 7, 10 or Fatso 10, they do not realize how much information coming from the other end of the line escapes their attention. And when it comes to the “real” jerkbaits of 45 – 120 g, they can only dream! So, a strong spinning rod is a good start but casting set is a step further into the magic circle.

When choosing your first jerkbait equipment, you should take into account the following attributes of such a set, composed of a short stiff rod with the trigger, multiply reel and braided line.

  •   possibility to employ the most ergonomic thus the least tiring technique of angling with the rod directed towards the water,
  •   excellent control of the bait,
  •   ability to perform a strong and fast hookset
  •   possibility to use the shortest possible drag time, which is the safest for the fish.

 

Of course, the new sensations provided by perfectly selected equipment are not the only attributes of casting technique. It also gives us the possibility to catch the fish that used to be out of reach. In the fisheries where all the anglers use small or medium-size spinner baits or soft plastics, jerkbaits are deadly effective. I found out about it myself during a few large lure competitions and everybody who has not given up at the first failure will surely confirm it.

How does it happen? Where does this magic power come from? To understand it, let us have a closer look at these strange lures and think about the origin of these

Strange lipless wobblers – jerkbaits.

In fact, not only lipless baits belong to this family. The name of this group derives from the angling technique, not their construction. This technique is most accurately characterized by the verb: “to jerk”, and one may “jerk” not only with jerks but also with wobblers, soft baits or even good old spoons. Yet, each of these lures, even guided very monotonously, keeps moving whereas the classic jerkbait, without intensive work with the rod and reel, stands stock-still. Only a conscious action of the angler can awake the force able to lure the dream-pike out of the depths. The most beautiful thing about jerkbaits is that sooner or later practically everyone discovers new techniques of using them, effective in particular conditions. Every jerkbait, even of the same type, only slightly different for example in buoyancy, is like a new chapter of a fascinating novel the pages of which are written with our own hand on our angling expeditions. For me, jerkbaits are a major discovery and great adventure. In their simple construction I can still find a primal magic force that makes me focus and stimulates my imagination. I think that this type of bait was the prototype of all the artificial lures. Where could the first of them appear? In North America or in Europe? I guess we will never know. One thing is sure, though: the rod as we know it today, the reel and the advanced lure designs have been created as a result of the first “angling” experience of our fur clad ancestors. The first “human-made” lures must have resembled fish and been made of the kind of material that was easy to shape – wood. At first they were probably used as “teasers” to lure big predatory fish to come near the boat where they were killed by a hunter with an arrow or spear. So these “lures” were classic jerkbaits, only without hooks.

We may never learn the truth about the first jerkbaits, but it is not the most important thing. What is important is the fact that in spite of their primitive construction and often not very elaborate appearance they still catch big fish on both sides of the Ocean, leaving behind nice and shining spinner baits and realistically looking silicon lures.

However, in order to

Fish with jerkbaits effectively
the angler needs to show more invention and commitment than with other lures. A well-prepared casting equipment. At least superficial knowledge of techniques for fishing with various kinds of jerkbaits. Of course, an ideal learning situation is when an experience fellow-angler is willing to share his knowledge. With such help, practically everyone is able to learn necessary basics during the first fishing trip.

It is essential to know that every jerkbait works and so attracts predators in an optimum way when it is guided properly. The role of the lure presentation is well-known in all aspects of angling. However, with jerkbaits it is particularly important.

In order to understand the lures of presentation of these mysterious lures we shall look at their basic types. Some of them require rather sharp jerks of the rod, others require delicate pulls, others act even when pulled uniformly. It should be remembered, though, that an action as varied as possible is usually the most effective. This is achieved by mastering cyclic pulls and jerks connected with immediate elimination of any line slack. Pauses between subsequent moves are extremely important as well. In order to learn the perfect combination of those elements for a particular lure, one should practice in more shallow water with a high transparency. Our lure is supposed to imitate a sick, weakened fish, which is trying in vain to dive deeper. The speed and strength of rod movements is a question of training. Many jerkbaits tend to catch the line with the belly hook when jerked too strong. These should be treated in a more delicate way. Of course, we work differently with floating and swimming jerks, even of the same type. Finally, having achieved a certain degree of expertise, we know which lure from our collection to choose and how to present it even when standing by the water.

Let’s start discussing the use of jerkbaits with the most classic models. These are lures such as:

“Suick”, Musky Mania “Burt”, Fudally “Reef Hawg” and Salmo “Jack”

When guided uniformly they show not even the slightest tendency to move. That is why many anglers after the first casts rashly consider them to be angling toys, which perhaps are effective out there in America, but not here. Nothing could be more mistaken. Each of those lures has caught an unbelievable amount of Esox specimens. Everybody knows that big pike are hardened cannibals. This is one of the natural ways of the population number control.

I think that the secret of their effectiveness lies in its near-perfect imitation of small pike movements. Probably everyone once saw what is characteristic of these movements. They are more like slow shifting in the water or forward and sideways leaps rather than “normal” fish swimming. That is also the way in which our lure should be presented.

Because of the lack of a swimming lip the resistance of all jerkbaits is minimal when the line is being reeled in. Because of this the angler’s constant attention and control of their action is of the utmost importance when fishing with these lures. The classics mentioned in the title – Suick, Burt or Salmo Jack are extreme examples, even in the entire jerkbait family. They tend to glide far towards the angler after even the slightest jerk. They rarely turn sideways at the same time and their trajectory can be described as “saw-shaped”.

It is extremely important, and at the same time difficult, to maintain at least minimal stress on the line. Without it is impossible to carry out a jerk during a strike. In effect jerks are usually slightly delayed and many fish unfortunately “fall off” during the first seconds of hauling.

When presenting a fishing technique with these lures, one should pay attention to the difference in using floating and diving models. Floating jerkbaits are usually used in 0.5-3m deep places and diving when it is 2 – 5m deep.

Jack 18 manufactured by Salmo will be used as an example for discussing the technique. After casting the lure should be sunk with a few fluent pulls. Their number depends on the depth of the fishery. The Jack reaches its maximum diving depth – approx. 1 meter – already after two or three moves. On 0.5 m shallows one move is enough, after which the lure can even be allowed to surface.

The length of the pulls should depend on the depth of the fishery as well. Maximum depth is reached through working the rod between the hip level and the surface of the water. Sometimes it happens so, that in order to guide the lure out of reeds or slip between surfaced plants with precision, one has to hold the rod up, jerking just below the surface. Then, as the depth increases, the rod tip should be lowered towards the water. After every pull the Jack dives from time to time, deviating slightly from its course or jumping up towards the surface. At the same time it sways slightly when freezing head down for a moment.

If the average depth of a fishery is greater than 2 metres, it is better to use a diving version. The action of the diving Jack differs only slightly from the floating one. It slides forward more “eagerly” but delicate vibrations during stops are very similar. In those moments the lure sinks slowly, constantly slightly swaying from side to side. For large pikes it is like a proverbial red rag to a bull.

When fishing near the shore, where the bottom falls sharply 4-5m under the boat, the fact that the lure dives should be used. After casting one should wait for it to reach the proper depth and start a series of long, calm pulls, paused with stops, during which the lure sinks.

Everybody knows what a great pike fishery the edge of deep reeds is. If they are not too dense it is worth a risk to cast the lure as far as possible and wait literally 1 or 2 seconds. Then, jerking with the rod tip high up starts. After guiding the lure out of the reeds it should be gradually lowered, allowing the Jack to dive deeper.

A very effective and proven method is adding a delicate wrist movement to the arsenal of jerks and pulls, which should end every movement of the lure. Every pull is carried out with movement of the arms – from hands to shoulders. At the end, however, a slight move of the wrist adds some more vigour to the lure. This works quite well with both versions of the Jack. Both versions have high requirements for the angler in terms of line slack control.

So, effective fishing with classic jerkbaits such as: Salmo Jack, Burt, Reef, Hawg or Suick consists in the perfect mastery and synchronization of rod movements and reel action eliminating slack on the rope after every jerk. These are the most difficult to “operate” artificial lures. However, the effort put into learning is amply rewarded. It is worth to sweat a little to finally see a giant maw close on our Jack on the spot, where everybody always caught 1-2kg small pikes.

Another group of jerkbaits are lures which do not require the jerks to be too sharp. Delicate and not-very-long pulls are enough to achieve good results. These are the so called

Pullbaits
The Swedish “Zalt”, American “Believer” or Polish Salmo “Fatso” or “Warrior” may serve as examples.

It is hard to outline the border between classic jerkbaits and pullbaits. It is important to personally develop an arsenal of pulls and jerks and adjust them to specific equipment. After some time one is able to classify one’s jerkbaits as different subgroups or perhaps even create completely new lure families. When discussing pullbaits, I will use a Salmo invention introduced into the market in 2001. It was a pullbait named “Fatso”, which immediately earned great recognition and renown among European predator hunters. As shop owners in Holland claimed, it was the first lure in several dozen years, after which queues were formed! This peculiar hybrid of a jerkbait and a wobbler quickly proved that in spite of its large size (14cm), it could tempt not only large pikes but also giant zanders into striking.

The Fatso fishing technique is very simple. Thanks to its unique construction, this lure works well even when pulled uniformly, rocking from side to side like a large spoon. Sometimes such economical action turns out to be the most effective. We called it “Moniek style” from the name of the technique’s inventor – Moniek Rozemeijer.

However, a combination of the “Moniek style” and soft pulls usually works the best. It makes the Fatso flash deceptively with its sides, attracting the attention of predators. The resistance of the Fatso is slightly stronger than Jack’s, but constant control of the line tension is equally important. Depending on the used version and the depth of the fishery, one should either start reeling the line after the cast, or wait a moment for the lure to sink to the proper depth. Then the pullbait should be guided with the above-mentioned technique. The crucial point of the jerking technique composed of cyclic pulls and jerks made with the rod tip are momentary pauses between subsequent movements of the rod. From one point of view, definitely the most strikes take place during those moments. From the other, it is the most difficult to effectively jerk an attacking fish because of the difficult to avoid line slack. This problem arises with varying intensity and depends on the angler’s experience, but also the conditions on the fishery. Fishing from an anchored boat in windless weather is ideal. It has long been common knowledge, though, that a lack of wind is the worst weather for predators and the most effective tactic is to check potential spots from a boat adrift. The wind blows from the side at such occasions, making the line additionally more difficult to observe and the lure difficult to control. That is how a pullbait fishing technique came to be, which makes it possible to greatly reduce the number of empty strikes and improve their quality. It consists of keeping the rod in line with the line and avoiding rod tip movement. The necessary action acceleration is achieved simply by increasing the reeling pace. The effect is identical and dangerous moments of control-loss are avoided and the range of a possibly strike is increased. A predators attack is noticed even as a vibration or a sudden slack of the line. Therefore line observation, especially during pauses, is very important.

Sticking large hooks in isn’t easy. Even if a short, stiff casting rod and a braided line are used, the strength of the jerk shouldn’t be ignored. Even one is fishing in the classic way and the strike takes place when the rod tip pull is about to be finished, there is little room for a jerk. Fishing with the mentioned technique definitely increases the available jerking angle.

The so called “Speedy Gonzales” is a slight modification of the technique. It is worth trying when the pikes are not showing any interest in other methods despite our efforts. One should simply increase the reeling speed to as much as one can afford! Then the reeling should be stopped for 2-3 seconds and everything should be repeated. It is difficult to explain, but sometimes such a simple effort has an incredible effect of aggressive strikes. It is visible then, how fast a predator is, when it decides to catch its prey. It is often visible how it chases the lure for a few metres before striking near the very side. It is impossible to learn all the predators’ secrets and perhaps this is the most beautiful thing in angling!

Gliders
Gliders are the most friendly and easy to use jerkbait family. If you are about to begin an adventure with jerkbaits, he should start with a glider. There many lures of this kind in the offers of manufacturers around the world.

The name of the family comes from the English word “to glide” and describes the action of these lures very vividly. Thanks to their unique construction and balance gliders glide left and right, in turns, after every jerk of the rod tip. Some of them (regardless of whether they are going up or down) rock from side to side delicately during pauses. It is an additional attribute of only the best gliders. It increases the effectiveness of the lure unbelievably, especially in periods of lessened predator activity. Another beautiful thing about gliders is that one can fish with them in very many ways and none of them is wrong. This means that none of the techniques stands out exceptionally in terms of effectiveness.

However, in order to fish with a glider fully consciously, one should try to master the basic or classic technique as well as possible. In America this technique is called “walking the dog”. It consists of guiding the lure in alternating glides, separated with pauses of varying length. The amplitude of the slides is controlled through either shortening or lengthening their time-span. The longer one allows the lure to glide, the longer it has a chance to float away. Of course, the distance the glider floats is directly proportionate to its size – the bigger it is, the further it can glide. Maximum use of these abilities usually shouldn’t be allowed. In such cases it is easy to lose control of the lure and miss a strike in effect. One should decide the length of every glide personally, ending it with a subsequent jerk. Once again, it is all about maintaining control over the lure in the best possible way. It is especially important during pauses in reeling, when the lure is going up or down. In favourable conditions (no wind) such a dive may last as long as between ten and twenty seconds and depths unachievable with constant guidance of the lure are reached. In such a case it is best to keep the rod high up and watch the tension on the line carefully. The figure shows the use of this method in fishing around an underwater

Roughly knowing the depth in the place where we cast and the diving speed of the lure, one should allow it to go down using a simple countdown method. After that the lure should be guided towards the boat with the mentioned classic long pause technique.

The so-called broad arc technique is much simpler, although, contrary to appearances, it also requires a lot of concentration. As the name implies, the lure floats in a zigzag pattern, going round in wide right and left arcs. Such action is achieved with long, gentle pulls of the rod. After every pull one should “catch” the lure with the rod tip as quickly as possible, of course, and eliminate the line slack. Unfortunately, even with a high degree of concentration, it is difficult to avoid empty strikes. If the predators attack takes place when the rod tip is leaning back after a pull, it is exceedingly difficult to carry out an effective jerk.

Undoubtedly the easiest, but sometimes a most effective technique is a modification of the mentioned “Moniek style”. It consists simply of reeling the line slowly and evenly. This may be incredible, but sometimes this very action turns out to be lethal in certain conditions.

In most cases, however, a mixed technique – encompassing a few fishing styles – is the most effective. It is worth to merge a few of them even in one cast. Especially in a new fishery when the preferences of local predators are yet unknown.

Most gliders are available in floating and diving versions. Many anglers think that it is enough to have the diving model to fish effectively in all circumstances. Fishing in spring shallows (0.5 – 1 m) has proven many times though, that in such places the floating model is many times more effective than the diving one!

Floating gliders should be chosen for fishing in 0.5 – 2 m deep places. The sinking ones should be used between 1.5 and 5 m.

The principle of fishing with the two versions is different. When fishing with the floating model the maximum depth (0.5 – 1m) is achieved with a positive and quick action (rod tip down, of course). In order to dive deeper with the diving model a slow and smooth action is needed, giving the lure time to sink. Guiding both versions near the surface is easier. Of course, the floating version is irreplaceable when fishing in shallows. By guiding the glider on the surface, stopping the reeling after a few glides (for example in the vicinity of a larger clump of water lilies) and allowing it to lie even for a few seconds in the spreading circles it is possible to lure even the most lazy predator out of the thicket. By the way, such strikes are remembered for a very long time!

Finally, I would like to wish everyone perseverance in discovering new lures, and angling techniques. I assure you, that it’s worth it! I am sure that everybody, who is not discouraged by the first failures, will sooner or later become an admirer of this predator fishing method, still largely unknown here. You will rediscover known fisheries with jerkbaits and catch fish, you didn’t know existed. It will be like a discovery of a new, fishing continent. Unfortunately there is a danger of becoming a casting fanatic. This kind of fanaticism, though, seems to be rather harmless and pleasant!

Piotr Piskorski

 

 

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