Jerkbait smallies are very fun.
A couple of points
- a softer rod helps keep the fish pinned. I use a 7 ft extra fast medium action baitcast rod with a Calcutta 151 loaded with 30 # braid.
Sometimes switching to a medium action spinning rod with 20# braid if its windy
If there are no toothy fish around , sometimes I will use a 12# flouro leader. If pike and musky are around i will use a 50# flouro leader. If the smallies are very active , i will tie direct to 30# braid. sometimes this is a pain because the front hook gets tangled on the line especially when using the more eratic jerbaits like lucky craft amd megabass
- typically I start with a very fast retreive and cover water as quickly as possible. Trolling motor on high, jerk, jerk ,jerk with the occasional rip up. the odd rip up can cause a reaction strike. when the water temps drop like mid to late October, I will slow down considerably. Looooong pauses and slower jerks.
- Always keep an eye behind the bait as fall smallies typically school up and chase baits together.
- Always have a throw back bait ready. when they follow the bait to the boat and wont hit the jerkbait, throw a tube or grub out and you can usually pick up a couple of extra fish.
- Go back to basics......... especially when the water temps are getting very cold, smallies dont want the fancy eratic, expensive Japanese jerkbaits ( way too much action ) Standard Husky jerks and Rogues excell at this time
- Livewells can be a huge advantage at this time when they are schooled up. holding them in the livewell before leaving the school helps. released fish can spook the school making the other fish very weary. make sure you release them back to the lake !