On the pure-adrenalin scale, jerkbait fishing rates near the top. It’s hard to beat the vicious strikes that a hard jerk-and-pause retrieve so often elicits. In this gallery, you’ll find nine of the best lures to produce that sort of heart-stopping action when fishing inshore — redfish, trout, striped bass, bluefish, tarpon, snook, Spanish mackerel and more.
Designed by legendary lure-maker Patrick Sebile, this floating jerkbait, introduced in August of 2019, is shaped to glide with a side-to-side motion while producing a tight vibrating wobble. The manufacturer says it has kept the internal rattle subtle to attract fish without spooking them. Through-wire construction ensures the body’s integrity even under considerable pressure. It runs 3 ½ inches and is available in 10 color patterns. MSRP: $11.
The Long Shot relies on a wide wobble when worked in a jerk-and-pause retrieve. The lure runs 5 to 7 inches; the 5-inch model is particularly versatile, the manufacturer says. It’s available in 10 color patterns. MSRP: $7.99.
This suspending twitchbait, in the lineup since 2006, offers a profile that mimics one of the most important Southeast baitfish, the pilchard (scaled sardine). The manufacturer says that when twitched on retrieve, the lure comes alive with the flash and darting action of a baitfish. The 2 5/8-inch lure is available in 16 color patterns. MSRP: $8.49.
A stalwart in the Rapala lineup since 2004, the X-Rap remains one of the manufacturer’s most popular designs, attributed to its versatility for so many species of fish in many situations. A hard “slashbait” retrieve style produces a tight wobble. A weight-transfer system facilitates long casts. The Saltwater X-Rap is available in lengths from 4 1/8 to 5 1/2 inches and comes in 12 colors. MSRP for the 4-inch model is $11.29.
This subsurface jerk bait is fined-tuned to accommodate its 4X-strong hooks which, unlike many inshore lures, don’t require swapping out. And a through-wire system prevents hooks from being pulled out. Large internal rattles create the high-pitched sonic sounds of nervous baitfish. The 3.5-inch Twitch Reaper, new on the scene, is offered in six colors. MSRP: $9.99.
Sebile’s Stick Shadd, introduced in 2008, is a stickbait that lends itself to a hard jerk/pause retrieve. It comes in floating, suspending and sinking/fast-sinking models. Depending upon the model, the Stick Shadd may be available in lengths from 2 3/8 inch to 8 ¼ inch. The manufacturer says its patented Power Keel is particularly responsible for its dynamic action. More than 20 color patterns are available in total but fewer for each model/size. MSRP for the 4 ½-inch model ranges from $7.49 to $10.40 depending on action.
Shimano’s premier jerk baits are designed for larger, more aggressive inshore game fish. The ColtSniper uses a proprietary Weight Transfer System for long casts. A jerk-and-long-pause retrieve produces a sliding action. The floating lure comes in a 5.5-inch and a 6.6-inch version available in eight color patterns. The 5.5-inch version retails for $12.99.
This suspending jerkbait, popular with bass anglers, also works well in the salt, particularly trout and reds hang in a bit deeper water or back up in creeks during the winter. The 4.3-inch (110-millimeter) lure runs 3 to 5 feet upon retrieve. The 30 available colors offer plenty of choice. MSRP: $13.99.