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Seth Feider holding Rapala Shadow Rap jerkbaits

Types of Jerkbaits Explained

Jerkbaits have surged in popularity in recent years due to their versatility and consistency in catching fish. But the term can be confusing since there are so many different varieties and options. We'll guide you through the whole product category.

What Is a Jerkbait?

A jerkbait is a slender “stick” style lure, with a bill and treble hooks. It's one of the oldest lures designs, developed in 1936 by Lauri Rapala, who at the time just needed to develop a lure to help him catch more fish in order to feed his family. He had no idea that 87 years later he would have been the originator of the most iconic lure in the world, “the original floater minnow.”

Today, jerkbaits can be floating, sinking, or neutrally buoyant depending on where in the water column they are desired to be fished. Mimicking a dying shad, or minnow style baitfish, this lure is intriguing to almost any predator fish that swims. jerjerka

Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait held toward the camera

What's the difference between a jerkbait and a crank bait?

Crank baits are also billed, diving lure with trebles but are meant to vibrate and wobble in the water as they are steadily retrieved after a cast. The "jerk" in jerkbait comes from the unique retrieval cadence, which is driven by jerking the rod. The goal is to achieve an erratic action of a baitfish in trouble. The slender profile and body shape in a jerkbait helps it respond to this jerking action more effectively than its crank bait counterpart.

Different types of Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits come in so many varieties because there are many ways to fish them.

6th Sense soft jerkbait held in hand

Soft jerkbaits - Fluke style baits that are soft plastic and can be fished like a fluke or on a jighead. Great for fishing around vegetation without hanging up. Some softbait options are infused with scents as an attractant.

SEE: How to choose a soft jerkbait with Bob Downey

Hard jerkbaits - Durable baits that can be cast a mile and excel at covering shallow water. Optional features include rattling action, and different buoyancies to allow for floating, sinking or suspending.

Hard-bodied, suspending jerkbaits are some of the most popular, exemplified by the Megabass Vision 110. This slow sinking jerkbait has a distinct rattle when fished and meticulously created colors.

Megabass Ito Vision 110 Jerkbait

Elegy Bone / 4 1/3"

Color: Elegy Bone

Aka Tora
Elegy Bone
French Pearl OB
French Pearl US
GG Deadly Black Shad
GG Perch OB
GG Pro Blue
GG Threadfin Shad
Gill
Gillkko
GLXS Spawn Cherry
GP Chart Back
GP Pro Blue
GP Pro Blue II
GP Pro Perch
GP Sexy Shad
GP Skeleton Tennessee
HT ITO Tennessee Shad
HT ITO Wakasagi
Mat Ayu
Mat Deadly Black
Mat Emerald Shad
Mat Perch
Mat Pro Blue
Mat Shad
Mat Skeleton Shad
Mat Stain Shad
Mat Tennessee Shad
Northern Secret
Perch
Table Rock SP
Sexy Ayu
Wakin React
Size: 4 1/3"

Stock: 5+

$24.99

Quantity:
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Integrated into the 110 body, tungsten ball bearings add weight for casting while allowing the bait to continue to suspend evenly in the water.

Cross section of Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait

Within the Vision 110 family, there are additional size options like the Vision 110 Jr, the Vision 110+1, and a Vision 110+2. These different versions allow you to choose the depth you would like your jerkbait to dive to depending on where in the water column the fish are feeding or the depth of water you’re fishing in. Smaller sizes like the 110 Jr will dive around 2 feet shallower than the base model, while the plus 1 and plus 2 will dive deeper.

Megabass may be the class of the category, but their jerkbaits do not come cheap. There are a variety of alternatives, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and price points, to give you more to choose from.

Strike King KVD Elite 300 Deep Jerkbait

Phantom Bluegill / 4 3/4"

Color: Phantom Bluegill

Phantom Bluegill
Pro Oyster
Pro Phantom Perch
Pro Shizzle
Pro Siren
Pro Table Rock
Pro TN Shad 2.0
Sexy Shad 2.0
Size: 4 3/4"

Stock: 4

$14.99

Quantity:
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Rapala Shadow Rap Shad Jerkbait

Blue Ghost / 3 1/2"

Color: Blue Ghost

Blue Ghost
Bud
Clown
Ghost
Haymaker
Olive Green
Purpledescent
Silver
Yellow Perch
Size: 3 1/2"

Stock: 1

$10.29

Quantity:
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SPRO McStick 110+1 Jerkbait

Blue Bandit / 4 1/3"

Color: Blue Bandit

Blue Bandit
Clear Chart
Deadly Black Shad
Gray Ghost
PM Twilight
Size: 4 1/3"

Stock: 5+

$15.90

Quantity:
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Add to all this the color options available for each product and you've got a giant jerkbait pool to draw from. Once you've found one that works for you, chances are it will become your new confidence bait!

RELATED: Using the Megabass Vision 110 on the water