Jerkbait Rods – The Ultimate Guide

9/19/23

Choosing the right fishing rod, whether building or buying, is key to mastering different techniques and lure types. One such specific type is the jerkbait rod. In this article, we will look into what makes a good jerkbait rod and what you’ll need to build one if you so choose. If you’d rather buy, we’ll analyze some top-brands so that you know what to look for when you’re in the marketplace. 

 

What Makes A Good Jerkbait Rod

When determining what to look for in a good jerkbait rod, there are many design elements one must consider. Action, power, rod length, components and more all come into play. To understand how all of these elements work together we recently sat down with Bernie Schultz on the Mastering Rod Building podcast to learn his thoughts on what makes a good jerkbait rod. Bernie is a veteran Bassmaster Elite pro with 59 Top 20 finishes in B.A.S.S. tournaments and has been competing at the highest level for over 30 years. Jerkbaits have been a key component in his success over the years. 

 

Jerkbait Rod Setup

One of the first decisions a buyer or a builder must make is spinning vs casting. There is no one answer, as each has its use case. “It is both, but many times comes down to personal preference or the size of the lure. Generally speaking, a bigger jerkbait will go more commonly be thrown on a baitcaster. When you start dealing with featherweight jerkbaits, distance and accuracy becomes an issue,” Bernie said. 

“A spinning reel is a lot better for distance and accuracy with lighter or smaller profile jerkbaits. That’s a basic rule of thumb, and it can come down to physique or angling skill. Some people are more comfortable with a spinning reel that’s under slung rather than a baitcaster above the real seat, and then others are the other way. I do both, I employ both. Kevin VanDam, the winningest angler of all time woke a lot of people up when he started jerkbaiting with a spinning rod. I’m not sure that it’s true for everybody, but a baitcaster can be less fatiguing. If you’re going to be fishing a jerkbait for eight hours, you might want to take some of that fatigue factor out if you can. But both can work.” Bernie added. 

 

Best Rod Length For Jerkbaits

The length of the rod is largely a personal choice, but most jerkbait enthusiasts agree that a rod between 6.5 and 7 feet provides the best balance of casting distance, control, and maneuverability. Bernie had this to add about rod length choice. “A lot of this [choosing rod length] is depending on your physique. If you’re a smaller person, you know, maybe a 6’6” rod might be better for you. I’m a six-foot tall person, a couple of hundred pounds, So I usually like a seven-foot rod.” 

rod

Jerkbait Rod Action

As with most types of rods built for specific lure styles, there will always be exceptions to the rule. For jerkbait rods, moderate to fast action is desirable. This means that the rod will bend in the top half or third of its length. This type of action provides a good balance of casting power, sensitivity, and hook-setting capability, all of which are crucial for successful jerkbait fishing.

 

What Power Rod For Jerkbaits?

Power relates to the rod’s resistance to bending. For jerkbaits, a medium power rod is likely the most versatile. This provides the sufficient backbone for solid hook sets and controlling fish, but it still has enough flexibility to cast light baits effectively. The specific conditions you’re fishing in, including the size and type of fish you’re targeting, may require adjustments in rod power. For example, if you’re targeting larger species, you may need a medium-heavy power rod to effectively handle the fish and present larger jerkbaits.

 

Buying The Best Rod For Jerkbaits 

If you’d rather buy than build, there are a ton of great manufacturers who build quality rods at various price points. Here are some picks to help you on your search. 

 

Best Jerkbait Spinning Rods

G. Loomis IMX-PRO 812S JBR Spinning Rod

g loomis jerkbait rod

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Pieces: 1
  • Length: 6′ 9″
  • Line(lb): 8 – 15
  • Lure(oz): 1/4 – 3/8
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast

 

Falcon Coastal Clear Water “Jerkbait” 7’0″ Medium Heavy Spinning Rod

 Falcon Coastal Clear Water "Jerkbait"

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Pieces: 1
  • Length: 7’0″
  • Power: Medium Heavy
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Line: 10lb-20lb
  • Lure: 1/4oz-3/4oz
  • Guides: 8 

 

Best Casting Rod for Jerkbaits

St. Croix Victory Casting Rod 6’8″ Medium The Jerk | VTC68MXF

St Croix Jerkbait Rod

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Pieces: 1
  • Length: 6’8″
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Extra Fast
  • Line Rating (lb): 8 – 20
  • Lure Rating (oz): 1/4 – 5/8
  • Handle: 1
  • Rod Weight: 3.1oz.

 

Megabass OROCHI XX F4.5-611XX Jerkbait Special Casting Rod

 

MegaBass F4.5-611XX JERKBAIT SPECIAL

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Pieces: 1
  • Length: 6’11”
  • Action: Fast
  • Lure: 3/8 – 3/4oz.
  • Line: 8-20lb.
  • Handle: Full Cork
  • MPN: F4.5-611XX

 

Final Thoughts on Jerkbait Rods

Choosing the right jerkbait rod boils down to understanding the specific requirements of fishing and how different rod characteristics meet those needs. Whether you’re building your rod or buying one off the shelf, pay attention to the rod’s specs, components used, and the reputation of the manufacturer. With the right rod in hand, you’re well on your way to more successful and enjoyable jerkbait fishing.