Special Rods for Very Special Lures
- by Steve Daniel
A few years ago I was introduced to a type of lure that would change the style of my fishing forever. That lure was a hard jerk bait, a bomber long A. At the 1996 F.L.W. event on Lake Okeechobee, I would learn a lot about the way bass behave during a severe cold front and what it takes to trigger a bite from a bass that is as inactive as they can get. All this came about by accident. After winning the event, I received a call from a prominent outdoor writer with a question that would change my fishing forever. That question was "how did you catch all those bass under such bad conditions when all the guides fishing in the same area with live bait could not even catch a single bass?".
That question got me really thinking about what I did and why the bass would bite my lure when they were so inactive. After thinking and reliving the situation over and over in my mind, I realized that there were things I could do to get the interest of a bass, which is a cold-blooded predator, and make them actually chase and bite my lure. I soon learned that making my jerk bait act like a very injured minnow would be the only thing that would get the bass to come out of that slow state that they would be in during a cold front and be caught even when live bait or a small scaled-down lure fished very slowly as we read about in all the bass books would not work. After a lot of thought and experiments with my cats which, on the other hand, are warm-blooded predators, I learned that no matter how inactive a predator is, you can do things to bring them out of that inactive state.
With the cat it was easy. I would find the cat in an inactive state after it had been out all night and sleeping on a rug and pitch a worm without a hook near the cat and see what it would take to get it to attack. Reeling the lure slowly in front of the cat would hardly even get it to open one eye, but if I would get his attention and reel very fast, the cat would chase it almost every time. The only difference in a cat and a bass is the cat is a warm-blooded animal and the bass is a cold-blooded animal.
Fast over slow works best in both cases when they are inactive. After understanding this and proving it once again in the F.L.W. event on Okeechobee in 2000 when I was able to catch bass all day on a no. 14 husky jerk when all the other competitors in the top 5 were unable to even catch a limit proved I was onto something that would work and not many would even think about.
All the books say during a cold front to scale down and fish slow - this was proven to be false. The only thing that you have to have for this jerk bait to work is clear water; they have to be able to see the lure in order for it to excite them in to chasing and hitting the lure. After using the rapala husky jerk on many different lakes and having my best success on tour when I had the husky jerk in my hands, I soon learned that there was something very special about this lure. Even on days when the bass would only chase the lure, I would learn many secrets about what to do to make the lure get the bass to actually hit the lure. The rapala husky jerk is a large jerk bait and that is, in my opinion, one of the things that makes the lure so effective. There were many days in tournaments I would give my partners the very same lure and I would nearly always catch all the fish.
This wasn't by accident. After watching my partners work the lure I would notice they were not getting the same action from the lure and I believe it was because their rods were much lighter than the one I was using.
I began experimenting with different rod blanks and weights with John Nutter from Nutter Rod and Reel in White, Georgia. After building many rods and experimenting with his ability to add weight to the rod tips, we realized we could make a rod that would revolutionize the art of fishing a jerk bait. The rod with the weighted tip made it possible for any fisherman to get their baits to work and act just like the ones I use. One thing we all know is getting the jerk bait to move from side to side is the key to catching those bass that no one else can catch - this is huge when fishing in bass tournaments.
One more thing we learned while using the jerk bait rod with the weight on the tip was that it made casting those very light lures that are very popular on tour right now. The weight on the tip helps load the rod during the cast without the weight of the lure a very pleasant surprise when we were testing the new rod.
I still use those feather light rods for some of my bass fishing but when it is time to use that big jerk bait or throw one of those small crank baits that Rick Chunn is making very popular, I pick up a Steve Daniel Jerk Bait Special.
If anyone is interested in improving their jerk bait fishing or casting those small crank baits, you can get the very same rod that I use by contacting John Nutter at 770-386-3978 or online at www.nutterrodandreel.com.
This is something that can definitely give you the edge over the competition when you are in those tough conditions when it takes something special to be a winner.