More on Jerk Bait, from Sept. Angler's Almanac:

Hook Choices

Wait, the soft jerk bait options don't end there. Anglers still face a daunting choice for hooks: Texposers, Hitchhikers, Twistlocks and more.

When saltwater anglers started using Texas-rigged soft plastic jerk baits, they fished them without additional weight on standard bronze offset plastic worm hooks from Daiichi, Eagle Claw, Gamakatsu, Mustad, Owner and other manufacturers, plus Lunker City's Texposer. The system has a potential weakness: you must make sure the lure body goes onto the hook absolutely straight to keep it from spinning and to allow it to dart randomly. My friend Garrett Pensell, who runs Tidewater Marina in Havre de Grace when he isn't fishing the Susquehanna, suggests "presenting the hook to the lure," laying it alongside the body to visualize how the body should lie with the hook impaled through it. Rig the lure onto the hook accordingly. Doing it properly takes practice.

Ten years ago, T.J. Stallings, Daiichi's intrepid Director of Marketing and Crazy Ideas, thought of snapping a small coil spring onto the eye of a 60-degree jig hook, creating the Hitchhiker. It's much easier to screw the Hitchhiker's coil into the head of the lure straight and then insert the hook's point and bend in the proper part of the body. Owner offers a stainless steel variant called the Twistlock, which has a centering pin inside the coil, making mounting the lure's head even easier.

All of the hook manufacturers have begun to offer corrosion-resistant black nickel variations on worm hooks and Hitchhiker types, and many build these hooks in sizes from 1/0 to 7/0 with molded weights of 1/16- to 1/2-ounce to improve casting and allow the jerk baits to swim deeper (frequently classified as "swimbait hooks"). Mustad's Ultra Point Power Lock Plus hooks employ weights that can be moved up and down the shanks to fine-tune their lures' sinking attitude. DOA offers Pinch Weights (on Daiichi Hitchhiker hooks they're called Butt Draggers) and Bass Pro Shops XPS Hook Weights crimp onto the hook shank wherever needed to provide the right balance. Lunker City Belly Weights use rubber O-rings.

Sound confusing? Don't worry, you're not alone. Fishing soft plastic jerk baits can be like eating an elephant. You have to do it one bite at a time. Start by visiting a local tackle shop or browsing a catalog like Barlow's Tackle to buy a standard soft plastic such as a 5-inch Bass Assassin, some 4/0 and 5/0 offset worm hooks, and maybe some weighted swim bait hooks of the same size. Experiment this fall wherever you fish in the Chesapeake. See if you don't soon feel like a very successful puppeteer.



Lure Manufacturers

Bass Assassin: www.bassassassin.com
Bass Kandy Delight: http://basskandydelights.hypermart.net
Bass Pro Shops: www.basspro.com (both freshwater and saltwater fishing)
Berkley Gulp Alive jerk baits: www.berkley-fishing.com
Case Salty Shad: www.caseplastics.com
DOA Jerkbaits: www.doalures.com
Lunker City Slug-Go and Fin-S Fish: www.lunkercity.com
Mann's HardNose Jerkbait: www.mannsbait.com
Old Bayside Shadlyn: www.lindyfishingtackle.com
Strike King Redfish Magic Zulu: www.strikeking.com
Zoom Lures Super Fluke: www.anglersupply.com/zoom.htm

Hook Manufacturers and Dealers

Barlow's Tackle Express: www.barlowstackle.com
Cabela's: www.cabelas.com
Daiichi (TTI Blakemore): www.ttiblakemore.com
Eagle Claw: www.eagleclaw.com
Gamakatsu: www.gamakatsu.com
Jann's Netcraft: www.jannsnetcraft.com
Lunker City: www.lunkercity.com
Mustad: www.mustad.no
Owner: www.ownerhooks.co