One of the best winter bass lures is the jerkbait. It is sure to play an important role in the upcoming Bassmaster Classic, on Grand Lake, Oklahoma. Selection of size and color can be significant, but the speed and rhythm of the retrieve is the most important part. In particular, the pause.
Although it may resemble any number of long-profile, minnow-looking crankbaits, this time of year, you don’t just crank in this lure. As the name implies, it is jerked or twitched all the way back. But here is the tricky part: once that lure reaches that key depth, by either diving or sinking, stop.
Think working a topwater lure, but underwater. Twitch, twitch, twitch,… then let it set. Imagine several seconds of imaginary underwater ripples receding.
“See how I’m working it?”
“You’re not doing anything.”
2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman, executing a “Grand Pause.”
Mark Zona may wait 20 seconds between twitches of a jerkbait. That’s a long time to wait, especially in the cold. But a little bit of success goes a long way during the winter and if this technique is not in your repertoire, you are missing bass. Jarrett Edwards also employs this technique for winter striped bass on Lake Powell in Arizona.
In cold water, bass simply are not eating as much. However, if you can get their attention, it may trigger a reaction bite. A vital part of music is not just the notes played, but also the rests between. And the next sound or movement immediately after a well-timed “grand pause,” (where every sound stops), can be more than a lethargic bass can tolerate.