RAPALA HUSKY JERK
Three beat-up, used and abused Rapala Husky Jerks in (from
the top) gold, silver, and Tennessee Shad.
For me, 1997 was the year of the Husky Jerk. I used a
small one in the spring to load up on white bass (Oconee River), a medium-sized
Husky Jerk on shoal bass and spots (Upper Chattahoochee), and a large one to
catch largemouths (Middle Oconee). These are just the trips that come to mind
years later. Basically, I fished mainly a Husky Jerk the entire season and
hooked fish of all types, including a striper in the Lower Chattahoochee that
may still have my lure!
The Husky Jerk is a suspending jerkbait made by Rapala
that comes in a variety of beautiful finishes and an assortment of sizes. It is
relatively new to the fishing scene, and Rapala first began marketing the Husky
Jerk with the slogan "How to make water boil at 52 degrees".
Tournament fisherman use the Husky Jerk in cool water to tempt bass by twitching
and stopping it in front of their noses.
The Husky Jerk is a minnow bait that dives to depths from
one to three feet with that enticing wobble Rapala seems to have a patent on. It
also has an internal rattle, as if it were not already sexy enough. To make
matters worse for bass, the Husky Jerk does not float back to the surface when
paused during a retrieve. It just sits there. Right in front of their noses.
Until they have to hit it.
BEST SEASONS AND SITUATIONS
Georgia River Fishing recommends the Husky Jerk for
all species of black bass and linesides (whites, hybrids, and stripers). Husky
Jerks of the appropriate size are great from March through May, or whenever the
lineside species decide to make their spawning runs. This usually occurs when
water temperatures are anywhere from 58 to 68 degrees or when the dogwood trees
For black bass, I like to use the Husky Jerk once the
water warms up to at least 60 degrees in spot and redeye waters and about 65
degrees when largemouth are the quarry. Shoal bass absolutely love Husky Jerks!
Lake fishermen use the Husky Jerk year round, but we river fishermen have
current to deal with, and prefer bass to be a little more active when fishing
the Husky Jerk. Why? Current is constantly moving the Husky Jerk downstream, and
river bass normally have to move a little bit to catch the bait. When fishing in
cold water, I prefer lures that sit on the bottom (like Texas-rigged plastic
worms), minimizing the effort inactive bass must expend to catch the lure.
This nice shoal bass succumbed to the temptation of a Husky
Jerk on an early spring trip to the Flint River. The Flint's weedy shoals can
present hangup problems for the Husky Jerk, but as you can see the benefits
greatly outweigh the hassles.
Husky Jerks make noise and put off a good deal of flash,
so they are a good choice in stained water. They also run well in any type
current, from dead still to really moving. The only problem with the Husky Jerk
is that since it runs at depths up to three feet, it is fairly easy to hang up
on unseen limbs and snarls. This is the only reason I donít fish the Husky
Jerk more often than I do, and I still fish it an awful lot!
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Husky Jerks come in a variety of beautiful finishes, so
picking one out can be a tough choice. Two words: Tennessee Shad. Iím sure all
the other colors catch fish and Iíve experimented with most all of them, but
for my money the green/silver/orange Tennessee Shad pattern is the best for most
situations. I own a couple other patterns, but hardly ever use them because the
Tennessee Shad pattern rarely lets me down.
For linesides, the best retrieve to use is a moderate,
steady retrieve. White bass in particular will chase a lure all the way back to
the boat, and often will miss a jerk-and-pause retrieve. When the whites are
really on and chase the Husky Jerk back to the boat without hitting, I have seen
them caught by anglers dropping the lure into the water and swirling it in a
figure-eight pattern right by the boat (musky-style)!
For black bass, use a jerk and pause retrieve after
casting tight to likely cover. Experiment with the intensity of the
"jerks" and speed of the retrieve until you find what the fish want. Iíve
found that slow is normally better. Setting the hook with this type of retrieve
can be tricky. Bass almost always hit when the lure is at rest, so many times
the angler will not feel the strike. A good rule of thumb is to set the hook
when you feel any resistance. You may not hook a fish, but chances are good you
will hook something!
While the Husky Jerk is great in most situations, it
really shines when bass are hunkered down underneath a fallen tree and wonít
budge. Position yourself directly upstream from the log and cast to the point
where the log and bank intersect. Jerk the lure down a couple feet and open the
bail of your spinning outfit. Presto! The current will carry the Husky Jerk back
underneath the log, right into the bassís kitchen!
Remember to use a Husky Jerk that fits the size of the
fish you happen to be pursuing. I like the smallest size for whites and in small
North Georgia streams when I will mostly catch redeyes and small spots. Use
progressively larger lures as the size of your quarry increases. If you have
never tried a Husky Jerk or any other type of suspending jerkbait, you need to.
Maybe this year will be your "Year of the Husky Jerk"!