Skinny Jerk, my #1 lure for May Fishing!
Slightly longer (6 inches) and skinnier than other popular soft jerk baits, the Culprit Skinny Jerk has many performance advantages. Better action, same casting distance, more accurate skip casts, and perhaps most importantly – better hooking percentages – making the Skinny Jerk my preferred soft jerk bait. Typically fished on spinning gear, but also easily cast on bait casting gear, the Skinny Jerk is perhaps the best overall lure in my boat in the month of May.
May typically has most of the bass population in the shallow area in any given body of water, both protecting beds and feeding. The Skinny Jerk catches both protective and feeding fish.
When bass are feeding they are usually after blueback herring (if your lake has them) just after they spawn. It will still be some time before bream become a major target, since the shad and herring become easy targets as they hit the banks spawning themselves.
I fish the Skinny Jerk differently depending on water clarity and types of bait they are after. If the water is stained or they are after shad, then I fish slower. But if the water is clearer or the target is blueback herring, then my retrieve is really fast – sometimes even comically so.
On the slower retrieve, I twitch it to make it swim erratically, but not too much, I want it to look like an easy meal for a lazy fish. The key is proper setup. You’ll want to use braid on a spinning rod for best action; straight braid can be used if not a bother to the fish, but if you believe they are shying away from the braid, then a fluorocarbon leader is recommended. The lighter the leader the better the action, but since I’m usually casting into heavy shoreline cover, I sacrifice a bit of action for strength.
You’ll want to add a touch of weight to the bait as well. You can either use a Tungsten nail weight or put some lead weight on the shank of the hook. The only time I do not do this is when the bass are in one foot of water. The remainder of the time, I want it lower, but still above the fish. With the weight, you can fish faster if you need to in search of productive water. A heavier gauge hook also adds to the weight. The Skinny Jerk can be a bit touchy, but once you get the weight right and your equipment right, you won’t want any other.
You can even fish it on a heavier belly-weighted hook and it has really seductive shimmy on the way down – 3/32 oz. seems to be the perfect weight for this action. I often use that setup when fish are suspended or get deeper off points after the morning feed.
On the fast retrieve, I’m using a bait caster, a nail weight and lead tape for longer casts. After a long cast, hold the rod tip high and reel fast with small twitches of the rod, basically skipping the bait on the surface back to the boat; the weight is only used for distance. You still want as little as you can get away with since the skipping action is better with lighter weights.
When the action slows, I rig up the Skinny Jerk on a Carolina rig and fish it on the end of long, flat points. Bass position there to be ready to ambush the next wave of shad or herring that spawn.
Albino, White and Tennessee Shad are the best colors for the shad and herring spawn.
Now if you venture into some protected coves, some bass will probably still be bedding or guarding fry. You’ll want a slow retrieve around beds or fry that will make bass angry that it is in their area. In this scenario, I often use the Raw Chicken color, since it just seems to make them mad. I’ll also mix in Albino, Green Pumpkin (with dyed chartreuse tail), and of course June Bug if in Florida or any tidal rivers.
This May, try the Culprit Skinny Jerk for some great fishing!