Jerkbaits For Trout: The Complete Guide On Rigging & Fishing

Jerkbaits are some of the more popular lures out there because they’re so simple to rig up and use. You don’t need to mess around with hooks and baits and that’s why I like fishing them. In this post, I’m going to be talking about my favorite jerkbait colors, how to rig everything up, and how to actually fish them for trout.

There are a few different lures out there that are pretty similar. There are some that have long bodies, some have rounded shapes, some have lips, and some don’t. They actually aren’t all jerkbaits so I’ll be explaining the differences as well and when to use each of them.

Jerkbait vs Crankbait

The two most common lures are jerkbaits and crankbaits. They are very similar but you’ll want to use them in different situations. Both can be used to catch trout though.

The main difference between these two lures is that a jerkbait has a long and thin body while a crankbait has a short and fat body. Jerkbaits also tend to have smaller bills.

Jerkbait vs Crankbait

You can also find these two lures without the bills. Basically, a lure that has a bill on it will help it dive down while one without a bill will be a non-diving lure. The way you’d tell the difference is by looking at the body.

Lipless Fishing Lure

Both of them have similar action moving through the water and are designed to look like a wounded fish. The big difference is the type of water you use them in.

You’ll want to use a jerkbait in shallow water and a crankbait in deeper water. Since a jerkbait has a smaller lip on it, it’ll dive somewhere around 6 feet deep. The larger lip on the crankbait will help it dive down deeper.

To sum things up, use a jerkbait if you’re fishing shallow water such as a creek, stream, or shallow lake. Use a crankbait if you’re fishing deeper water.

Best Jerkbait For Trout Fishing

When it comes to jerkbaits, you have three different types (sinking, suspending, floating). I mostly use a suspending lure (since it’s in the middle) but a lot of it will depend on the water you’re fishing in. If you’re fishing super shallow water or somewhere with a lot of snags, you might want to go with a floating. I use crankbaits for deeper water but you could also use a sinking jerkbait.

When I’m using a jerkbait for trout, the size I like to use is somewhere around 2.5 inches. If you want to catch the most fish possible and don’t really care about size, you could go a bit smaller. If you know there are giants around, you might want to go a bit bigger.

Best Jerkbait For Rainbow Trout

My favorite jerkbait color for trout is rainbow or anything natural looking. A lot of people spend way too much time messing around with colors and I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as some people think. Anything that looks like what’s already swimming in the water should get bit. Silver with a dark back is generally my go-to.

When it comes to what brand to use I really don’t think it matters too much. I’ve used a few different ones and they’ve all caught fish. The one I’ve been using as of late is the Rapala X-Rap. The price is fairly reasonable, it has different colors to pick from, and the quality is high. Check it out on Amazon.

How To Rig A Jerkbait For Trout

Fishing with a jerkbait is a pretty simple thing to set up but a lot of people want to know the exact gear they should be using. I’m going to be showing you the exact rod, reel, and line I use when I’m fishing for trout.

Let’s start with the reel. The thing that’s pretty obvious is that you’ll need a reel that can cast well. That narrows things down to a spinning or baitcasting reel. Both have their pros and cons but I almost always use a spinning reel when I’m fishing for trout or other smaller fish. They’re easy to use and will cast lighter tackle much better. See the reel I use here.

Now for the rod. In my opinion, you’ll want to use as light of a rod as you can get away with. I like using lighter gear because I can cast a long distance and I can really feel the fish when it bites. If you’re fishing for smaller trout such as rainbow, you’ll want to use a light action fishing rod. I like something that’s around 7 feet long. You’d want to move to a medium or medium-heavy if you’re after lake trout.

Let’s talk fishing line. Again, I don’t think this is a huge deal but there is a specific setup I use that makes things slightly easier (in my mind). You could use fluorocarbon or you could use monofilament, but I like using braid with a fluorocarbon leader. I’ll toss on 10 lb braid and then a 6 lb fluorocarbon leader (around 4-6 feet). If you don’t know how to spool braid properly, you can see our tutorial here.

I like using braided line because I can put heavier line on without sacrificing casting distance. It’s also a lot more sensitive, so I can really feel the bite of the fish. I use fluorocarbon because it’s invisible in the water (since trout have good eyesight). I’ll use the Surgeon’s Knot to attach the two lines:

After that, all you’ll have to do is attach the jerkbait to the end of your leader. You can use whatever knot you want but my favorite would have to be the Improved Clinch Knot:

How To Fish A Jerkbait For Trout

Before you think about throwing your lure out there, you should really think about where trout are likely to be. Most of the larger trout will be hiding out and waiting for something smaller to swim by. Look for areas with cover such as logs, bushes, boulders, or an eddy. 80% of the time, you’ll find trout in these areas.

Now for the fun part. The different ways you can fish a jerkbait. You could simply cast it out and start reeling and that could work. But as the name suggests, you’ll want to add in some “jerks” to get the full lure movement.

Method 1: Moving water. Figure out where you think the fish are sitting and cast into the current near it. Let the current take your lure and wait for your line to tighten up. Let out a bit more line so your lure moves past where you think the fish is. Slowly start reeling in, give your rod two small jerks, pause for a second, and repeat. Keep moving your lure past the hiding spot.

Method 2: Lakes & ponds. Figure out where you think the fish are sitting and cast past that point. Let the lure sit there for a few seconds and slowly start reeling in. After that, you’ll continue to slowly reel in but you’ll add two small jerks and then pause for a couple of seconds. Reel in a bit of the slack and repeat the process. You’ll get the majority of your bites on the pause.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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