Righteo.. back to business.
Firstly, what makes a good jerk bait lure as opposed to a lure that you just jerk? Balance!, balance!, balance!
Here are some basic principles;
The new Mutt Junior has not only filled these prerequisites but in a relatively short time proven to be my go to jerk bait with an amazing strike rate on barramundi this winter. A true testament to a master lure maker and craftsman. Dave has in my mind created a lot of trouble for the barramundi population wherever these little weapons are used.
The Old Dog kennel has another jerk bait which is already in production, the timber Eyecon. This lure needs little introduction and is a dynamic lure in its own right.
When to use jerk baits for Barramundi? The simple answer to that question is anytime, but they really shine in the cooler months. Whenever you get your lure in front of a barra you have a chance of it getting bit. However when it stops, suspends and jerks and stops in front of a barra, there is a instinctive prey drive reaction that takes over..well it's a bit like a Persian making eye contact with a strange Bull Arab dog. The cat stops, raises its back and hisses at the ticked off dog, starts to run and stops again to repeat the antics..hehe, something is about to happen and it won't end well for the puddy cat!! Better hang on to your rod...don't be like Brian!!
When the water temperature cools and the Barras tend to school up in deeper holes in the creeks and rivers is the optimum time to start targeting them on jerk baits, especially suspending jerk baits. In winter they will suspend and come up in the water column to find the slipstream of comfort they prefer. Normally, temperature and pressure related as to how high they suspend, although good electronics these days makes them easier to locate but you still have to get them to bite.
Dave has made it easy with these Jnr Mutts and the deep Eyecons. The Jnr Mutts cast like bullets due to their body shape and being weighted with the moulded belly weight allowing an easy long cast past your target. By referring to my Lines and Leaders for Hard Bodies blog earlier in the year, you can start putting the picture together on how everything is related to presentation and balanced gear. Experiment with different speed and pause times to work out what is best for the day.
As a barramundi's metabolism drops in late autumn/winter a good suspending/slow rise jerk bait will activate reaction bites and is probably the best way to get the school of barras lit up in cooler water. As the water starts to warm their metabolism rises, the barras start to move and feed more and are more likely to chase down crank baits trying to escape their awareness bubble in winter you can still have good fishing on the flats and mud drains in the real shallows. The shallow Eyecon with its buoyancy is a terrific twitch/jerk bait/slow roll (I prefer lures that aren't one dimensional) on mud, rock bars and shallow cover at the start or the death of water on the flats.
Up the creeks where the banks are slightly steeper and the drains pour out into deeper water, the shallow Junior Mutt shines with its suspending/slow rise attitude. It has been a standout on every occasion used in these applications. Another appealing aspect of this little lure is how many good jacks (and barras) it catches on a straight retrieve up the creeks casting at bank side snags..jerk, jerk, jerk, start winding into the boat and whammo, jack attack! Again multitasking at its best..it catches the hell out of the barras in slightly shallower water than the Junior Mutt deep as well...rock bars with colour changes out a bit from the bank and high tide flats fishing has also had great results of this lure..
This lure will brain em up the top end...
In a earlier blog called Rods for Hard body Lures, I have covered the gear and techniques for the application of jerk baits, but I will reiterate the most important aspect of using this style of fishing is the retrieve. Be sure to give the lure slack at the end of the jerk by pointing the rod tip back up the line a little. This gives the pause and presence we talk about with jerk baits as it hangs in the strike zone. During the retrieve you must not wind the lure with the reel too much, its only to pick up the slack as you jerk, twitch, stab or sweep the lure in. It is on a pause that you usually get hammered, Some strikes are quite violent, so hang on, don't be like Brian! Once you find your rhythm, this type of fishing is addictive, very addictive!
Lastly, following the tradition of an already stellar line up of fish catching designs, Old Dog has unleashed these little beauties into the fray with all the toughness and expertise one would expect from Dave and Judi. Cast or troll them with the confidence and satisfaction of a true Aussie designed and made fish catching machine.
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