October welcomes the first good cold fronts of the year and gets the bass feeling lively and out of their late summer funk. One of the best overall baits this month is the Culprit Skinny Jerk, fished in three very different ways.
1. Weightless Texas Rig. This is the most common way to fish the Skinny Jerk. If you have water with a couple feet or more of visibility, this is a strong choice. Fish will be targeting baitfish and the Skinny Jerk worked in a jerk/pause manner will trigger those fish to bite. If you see schooling fish, or live near a lake that has blueback herring, the Skinny Jerk is deadly. The standout feature of this bait is its great hook-up ratio compared to other soft jerk baits. The thinner body was tested extensively to not impede casting distance, yet allows easier hook-sets. A 4/0 wide-gap or off-set hook and 8- to 14-lb. line works well with this bait. Fish with light line if spinning rod used and up to 14 lb. line on a medium to heavy casting rod – whichever is your personal preference. With this bait, I often look for secondary points with sparse cover like a small rock or a stump. If you find one of the relatively featureless points with one piece of cover it is a magnet for any bass in the area and a great place to fish the Skinny Jerk.
2. Spinnerbait Trailer. In the fall, fish crave shad. If the water is a bit stained or even muddy, the spinnerbait is a great choice. Choose a baitfish-colored bait with matching Skinny Jerk trailer and you will see your bait come alive in the water. The skinny tail pulsates like no other on the back. Use this bait around shallow cover or slow roll around shallow creek channels and you are sure to tangle with some big fish. Fish on 16-20 lb. line and medium-heavy rod.
3. Drop Shot. The Skinny Jerk is a bit long right out of the pack for drop-shotting, but cut one in half and you have the perfect size, color options, and action for this simple technique. The key with drop-shotting is to not get too fancy. Use light line (6-8 lb.) with 3/16- to 3/8-oz. weight and you are off to the races with nearly any depth of water. I tend to fish the bait in clear water as a backup or small targets I see for fish unwilling to chase a weightless bait or spinnerbait this time of year.