The Skinny Jerk is often an overlooked bait for Mid-Summer. Often associated with the spring, soft jerkbaits can be surprisingly effective in the heat of the summer. Several techniques depending on where you fish can shine including; Texas rigged on a weighted hook, on a shaky head or even trimmed down and used as a trailer on a bladed jig.
1. Docks — The Skinny Jerk is deadly when fished much the same manner as a Flutter Spoon on big shady docks near structure. Rig with a belly weighted hook and the Skinny Jerk has a nice swimming or shaking action as it falls. The basic presentation is to let it fall on slack line until it reaches the bottom or the desired depth then quickly twitch the bait back making it walk underwater. Walk the Skinny Jerk underwater is especially deadly around docks in the summer. This presentation is best rigged up on a Medium Heavy spinning rod with 20lb braid, a 7 ft leader of 14 or 15lb fluorocarbon to help muscle fish from heavy cover around docks. When rigged this way, the Skinny jerk is weedless so unlike the big spoon, the skinny jerk can get in the heavy cover with virtually no hang ups.
2. Shallow Rivers — Fish are often on the outside bends of the river when the water is at its lowest and hottest. They will sit right at a current seam, ready to ambush prey. If you find yourself fishing a similar area, many times there is also overhanging cover. This is where the Skinny Jerk excels. Use 10lb mono, Fluoro, or braid to Fluoro whatever you prefer to skip with. A 3/0 or 4/0 wide gap hook and no weight is all you need. After the cast, make small twitches to make the skinny jerk look erratic underwater to draw strikes. This is an easy way to catch fish and have fun doing it!
3. Shaky Head — The Skinny Jerk has a profile advantage over a straight worm, as it has a thinner diameter making it possible to fish it on a shaky head. When things get tough and you want to fish something a little different, give the Skinny Jerk a try on a shaky head. Fish around any cover or structure adjusting the size of the head for the depth of water. This is especially deadly on smallmouth on shallow flats with sparse weeds. It is also great on mid depth structure once the Thermocline on southern reservoirs get established. The Profile of the Skinny jerk screams shad or shiner — just what the fish want.