Hank Cherry: Change Pace for Fall Jerkbait Success

When it comes to catching bass on a jerkbait in the fall, throw out every rule you think you already know about jerkbaiting.

That probably sounds a little extreme, but it’s really not: a jerkbait like the Team Livingston JERKMASTER 121 with Electronic Baitfish Sounds (EBS) MultiTouch™ technology is a great way to catch fish in October, but you really have to refocus the way you fish a jerkbait as bass make that transition from late summer to fall.

Hank Cherry fall jerkbait blog header

Fish are on the move: The big difference between a winter jerkbait bite and a fall jerkbait bite is that the fish are constantly on the move this time of year. It’s a lot different than the winter, when bait is grouped up. As we get into October, and conditions continue to change – the amount of daylight changes, the water temperature changes, the location of the bait changes – fish just become more active. They move around a lot.

That means that you also to be more active to find them, and that’s why I like the JerkMaster 121 in the fall: I know I can get out there, let the EBS™ technology do its job, cover a lot of water, and have some really productive days.

Change your pace: Fall jerkbaiting is all about the pace. Whenever I take people fishing this time of year around my home in North Carolina, I always tell them “Don’t take your foot off the gas.” What I mean by that is “Once you start working that bait, don’t stop. Don’t even slow down.”


And I mean exactly that. Set the JerkMaster 121 on EBS Shad™, cast it as far as you can, and once that bait hits the water, start jerking it and keep doing it until you get it back to the boat. No pause at all! That’s a whole lot different than the “jerk, jerk, pause” retrieve I tell people to use in the winter. Don’t pause. Fish are actively feeding this time of year, and they’re much more apt to hit a moving bait.

Finding fall fish: Bait will be very visible on the water this month, and I don’t think it makes a difference if the wind is blowing at all. Fish are feeding up, so unlike in the winter – when your best jerkbait bites happen when it’s breezy – you don’t need the wind to blow.

When I’m searching for active fall fish, I always start on the biggest point on a major creek, and work my way back into the creek. That’s how the fish will move: they’ll start at Point A and transition back to Point B, and you can follow them right in.

Best fall colors: I throw the JerkMaster 121 in shad colors 99 percent of the time: Real Shad, Clearwater Shad, XXX Shad, etc.

My jerkbait setup: I fish the JerkMaster 121 on a 7-foot medium fast Abu Garcia Villian rod and a 7:0-1 reel spooled with 15-pound P-Line fluorocarbon.
-Hank Cherry


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