Be a Jerk for Northern Pike

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Ask any muskie angler and they will tell you that the jerkbait is a highly effective
lure for targetting large pike. In the late summer and fall months it is a common
technique to use these large magnum sized jerkbaits to coax a monster pike from its deep
water drop offs and ledges. Back in the 80's and 90's it was a common fact among anglers
that the odd oversized northern would hit these lures while fishing for the elusive muskie.

Being two distinctly different species it began northern pike enthusiasts into thinking
that maybe size does matter when searching out these hard to find fish.

Jerkbaits come in floating and diving models and are manufactured of either plastics or
wood. Many times they will resemble popular baitfish such as whitefish, perch and cisco.
Modern paint finishes can bring these lures and almost lifelike appearance and are
highly realistic.

Working a jerkbait consists of repeated sharp jerks or pulls one to three feet apart
(henceforth the name jerkbait). Using the tip of your rod you can control the amount
of distance between each jerk. This is a technique that doesn't take much to master but
will vary with each different type of jerkbait lure. For diving jerkbaits the lure should
ideally be around 3 to 4 feet under the surface of the water. This technique is chosen
to mimick an injured baitfish as it attempts to dive to the depths.

Jerkbaits can be used in almost any situation when pike fishing, Emerging weedbeds, dropoffs,
shoals and structured bottoms are the ideal places to work this lure. For diving jerkbait
models it is important not to let the lure hit the surface of the water. Jerkbaits are
definate producers on overcast and windy days are are highly effective in choppy water.
For optimum perfrmance a short stiff heavy action pike or muskie rod is preferred and a
reel with a high ratio (6.2:1 or better) is also the choice of many seasoned pros.
Braided line suck as Fireline is also ideal for working a jerkbait. Some anglers prefer
to use leaders with jerkbaits to minimize the effect of biteoffs but others attest that
a leader will dampen the natural movement of the lure. The choice is yours and the debate
still rages on.

Either way the choice is yours and remember to be a Jerk the next time you hit the water
in search of monster northern pike.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips .

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