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Earning a good reputation sometimes has its drawbacks. Soft
plastic jerkbaits serve as a prime example. The effectiveness of
soft jerkbaits in the spring leads some anglers to save these lures
for one season and ignore them the rest of the year.
this lure’s reputation for catching bass during the spring
actually deters its usage in other seasons in which it would excel.
However a tournament competitor from
A Zoom Fluke free-falling through schools of shad catches
bass during those frustrating times when the fish seem to ignore
everything in your tacklebox. “Those bass come busting up through
the schools of shad and a lot of times they don’t eat one but just
injure it. Then whenever it’s settling to the bottom they nail
it,” says Bruce Gier, Eldon, MO.
“The Fluke is the closest thing to (an injured shad)
imitation that I can get.”
The tournament competitor relies on a pearl or glitter-color
Fluke anytime he finds bass chasing shad and the fish continue to
ignore his other presentations.
The technique usually excels when shad are in the backs of
coves and the sunshine causes the baitfish to rise to the surface.
Casting to busting bass triggers some strikes, however
tossing the lure into the middle of the forage also catches fish.
“There's a bass underneath those shad. That’s just a
given,” says Gier. “If you throw it right on that school of shad
and let it deadfall, bass will bust it.” Gier just lets the lure
fall to the bottom without imparting any action, then reels in again
to cast to a busting fish or back into the shad balls.
Letting the lure fall on a tight line causes the jerkbait to
stay on top too long, so Gier accelerates its rate of descent by
keeping slack in his line. The bowed line makes it difficult to
detect strikes on the fall, but Gier knows an immediate hookset is
they hit it they won't spit it out,” he claims.
The local angler rigs his Flukes on a 5/0 hook and leaves the
point exposed since he’s fishing mostly in open water. Gier never
adds weight to the lure, so he opts for a 6 ˝-foot medium-action
spinning rod with a light tip that allows him to throw the light
bait a long distance. He
favors 8-pound test line and a spinning reel with a large spool
While he catches plenty of keeper-size bass on this trick,
Gier has also taken quality fish with a soft jerkbait in the fall.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a 5-pounder come
blowing completely out of the water in a big school of shad and
I’ll throw everything I’ve got at it and not get a bite,” he
says. “But this will work.”
Gier recommends trying this technique whenever shad activity
is present in the backs of coves. The pattern ends in late fall when
the water turns cold and the baitfish leave the coves. Gier employs
this deadfall method from September to November on the upper Osage
For information on lodging and other
facilities at the
Copies of John Neporadny's book,
"THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are available by
calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.