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Best Jerkbaits Reviewed: Top Picks for 2022

Written by: John B
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Jerkbaits are known for their pre-spawn and late fall magic, and in cool, clear water, they’re probably without equal. Popular on the tournament trail even in warmer water when bass are schooling and actively feeding on masses of baitfish, jerkbaits are a staple every angler should learn to fish well.

If you’re not sure which jerkbait you should be throwing, we’d like to help. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites, as well as some advice about color, depth, and hook selection. 

Quick glance at the best jerkbaits:

Best Jerkbaits Reviewed

Rapala X-Rap XR10 - Best All-Around Jerkbait

Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait 10 Fishing lure (Silver , Size- 4)

Amazon 

Length: 4”
Weight: 7/16 oz.
Depth: 4 to 6’

Rapala’s X-Rap is simply legendary as the do-it-all jerkbait that’s ideal for most situations. Available in a range of sizes, from a diminutive 1 ½-inch model to a 4 ¾ inch beast, our favorite is the 4” XR10.

With a variety of patterns to match your local hatch or stand out against stained or murky water, the X-Rap comes armed with two hooks, a #4 and a #5. Of course, you'll also find its immediately recognizable dressed tail.

Both mean business, and I’ve never felt the need to swap them out until they dull.

Diving to between four and six feet, this is an excellent shallow water jerkbait that creates erratic turns when worked jerked on the pause with a slack line, darting left and right to mimic a wounded baitfish. 

On the pause, the X-Rap is neutrally buoyant, so it’ll suspend, encouraging a reaction strike.

Of course, as with all jerkbaits, a steady retrieve or paused retrieve are also options some anglers consider, but there’s no question in my mind that the real strength of jerkbait is the pause and jerk, and that’s certainly true of the X-Rap.

Pros:

  • Legendary real-world performance
  • Excellent color choice
  • Superb hooks
  • Excellent action when jerked with a slack line

Cons:

  • A rise or fall on the pause is probably slightly better than suspension for triggering a reaction strike

Rapala Shadow Rap - Best Shallow Jerkbait

Shadow Rap 11 Blue Back Herring

Available at Bass Pro

Length: 4 ⅜”
Weight: 7/16 oz.
Depth: 2 to 4’

We’ve written about the deadly Rapala Shadow Rap before, covering all its variations and virtues in depth. And if you want the complete run-down, take a look at this article.

Suffice it to say, we’re impressed!

The 4 ⅜-inch Shadow Rap is the shallow-running crankbait I’d fish, especially when I know the bass are suspended higher in the water column, hunting shallow water, or staging for the spawn.

Why?

Well, in addition to an excellent color selection and three razor-sharp VMC black nickel round bend #6 hooks, the Shadow Rap has action that can only be described as amazing.

In contrast to sometimes lazy twitches of lower-end jerkbaits, the Shadow Rap turns sharply as it’s jerked, making a series of right and left turns that send its nose across roughly 180 degrees.

Sending both sound and vibration to supplement the flash and motion of its mimicry of an injured baitfish, this darting, erratic turning also keeps the Shadow Rap confined to a tighter area, allowing you to work high-probability strike zones for longer.

The Shadow Rap has another trick up its sleeve, too: it sinks slowly on the pause.

That’s a trick that lures fish into a strike, mimicking the dying motions of injured prey.

In the cooler water common to pre-spawn and late-fall, that tells lethargic bass that they won’t be in for a chase to get this meal, encouraging a strike.

The result is deadly.

Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

Pros:

  • Legendary real-world performance
  • Excellent color choice
  • Excellent hooks
  • Amazing action when jerked with a slack line
  • Falls on the pause

Cons:

  • ???

Strike King KVD 300 Deep Jerkbait

Strike King KVD Deep Jerkbait 300 3 Hook/Clearwater Minnow, 4 1/2 in.

Amazon 

Length: 4 ¾”
Weight: ½ oz.
Depth: 4 to 7’

Strike King’s KVD 300 Deep Jerkbait is a great mid-depth lure that can draw bass from 15 to 20 feet depth or even deeper.

The secret to that summoning power is a potent combination of color and patterns that are just incredible, as well as an erratic darting action on the pause and jerk.

Just take a look at this video:

That combination of flash, vibration, and motion rings the dinner bell. And like the legendary X-Rap, this lure suspends on the pause, a feature some anglers prefer. It’s certainly useful for keeping the KVD 300 at the desired depth the entire time you’re working it.

Built with an effective weight-transfer system, this lure casts like a dream, letting you stand off those hot spots and work them without spooking the bass that are hunting there.

I’d say that my only complaint about the KVD 300 is that the hooks could be better quality.

My recommendation is to swap them out immediately for three #6 Gamakatsu trebles and never look back!

Pros:

  • Excellent color choice
  • Amazing action when jerked with a slack line

Cons:

  • Suspends on the pause, and a sinking or rising action might be better for triggering reaction strikes
  • Hook quality is suspect

Megabass Vision 110 - Best Color Options on a Jerkbait

Megabass Vision 110

Amazon 

Length: 4 ⅓”
Weight: ½ oz.
Depth: 4 to 6’

If you’re looking for the best paint jobs to mimic the hatch, as well as nearly unmatched balance and action, search no further than the Megabass Vision 110.

Everything from the dramatic shape to the realistic down-turned eyes has been thought through, and this is a real bass killer, no doubt. And one thing that sets the 110 apart from the competition are the colors and patterns: there is nothing that comes even close.

They’re that good.

A tungsten weighting system lets you get the most from each cast, and you’ll be surprised by both the distance and accuracy you’ll be capable of.

This is one jerkbait that I can recommend for a constant retrieve, especially if you can run it over or along a weedbed in cooler water. Because the colors are so good on the 110, the slow roll that a steady retrieve creates really flashes, triggering less aggressive fish to come in for a closer look.

On the jerk, this lure really shines, darting and dancing like an injured prey item looking to get away. It’s simply amazingly effective, something you need to experience to believe.

The Megabass Vision 110 comes armed with three Katsuage out-barb treble hooks that are as sharp as any you’ll ever use.

So what’s the downside?

Cost! These are expensive lures, and when you lose one, you’ll really feel it.

Pros:

  • Amazing color choice and attention to detail
  • Probably the best jerkbait to work with a constant retrieve
  • Amazing action when jerked with a slack line
  • Awesome hooks

Cons:

  • Suspends on the pause, and a sinking or rising action might be better for triggering reaction strikes
  • Expensive!

13 FISHING - Loco Special - Best Deep-Diving Jerkbait

13 FISHING - Loco Special - Jerkbait - 4.25' - 9/16oz - 3-5ft - Golden Retriever - LS35-10

Amazon 

Length: 4 ¼”
Weight: ⅗ oz.
Depth: 3 to 5’ or 6 to 9’

13 Fishing is a name better known on the ice than the open water, but they’ve recently branched out into the lure business, and let me tell you, they know what they’re doing!

Take the Loco Special, for example. A 4 ¼-inch jerkbait offered in two depths, three to five feet or six to nine feet, it’s got the action bass crave.

Just check out this video:

When ripped with a bit of slack in your line, the Loco Special darts and turns, flashing enticingly and sending irresistible vibrations to draw torpid pre-spawn bass in for a closer look. And as the water heats up, this is a real go-getter, as the erratic turns trigger reaction strikes like crazy.

Armed with three Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip Trebles and the usual weight-transfer system to ensure great casting, this is a tough jerkbait to beat.

Personally, I prefer the deep diver on this model, as there’s just too much premium competition for the shallower range.

Pros:

  • Excellent color choice and attention to detail, especially “Golden Retriever”
  • Excellent action when jerked with a slack line
  • Awesome hooks

Cons:

  • Suspends on the pause, and a sinking or rising action might be better for triggering reaction strikes

What We Look for in a Great Jerkbait

No fouls or tangles

Big jerkbaits typically wear three #5 or #6 treble hooks, and as any angler can testify, they want to grab your line the women snatching at a tossed wedding bouquet. And whether they foul on the cast or on one of the initial jerks, it’s game over for that round.

I hate that, and I know you do, too.

Each of the jerkbaits on our list has been carefully crafted to avoid just that. Honestly, I’m not sure what the engineers at the lure companies do to cut down on tangles and fouls - but it works.

Always look for a jerkbait that can avoid fouling; otherwise, you’re just wasting your time casting.

Color and pattern

Pretty much every fisherman knows that bass can be finicky about color choice, and just as the right color and pattern can lead to catch after catch, the wrong choice can leave you feeling like you’re casting into a swimming pool.

Jerkbaits are typically shallow water options best used where visibility is good. And since bass rely on sight as their primary hunting sense, clear water and jerkbaits are a perfect match.

You should know that as you move deeper in the water column, colors begin to fade, starting with reds and oranges, then yellows and greens, with blues and blacks holding their own in deep water.

That’s why so many popular worm colors include dark purples and blacks.

But in shallow water, colors are bright and clear - and for jerkbaits, that means every option is on the table, from natural hues that match the hatch to bright golds, silvers, coppers, and reds that grab attention.

As always, matching the hatch is a solid bet, but the erratic action of a well-worked jerkbait also allows for scale-mimicking flash. That can make bright metallic hues a solid option, as with 13 Fishing’s Loco Special in “Golden Retriever” or the Megabass Vision 110 in colors like “HT ITO Tennessee Shad.”

That’s why I like to keep a few bright jerkbaits in my tacklebox alongside options like the KVD 300 in “Yellow Perch.”

I recommend you do the same. 

Action

This is what we really buy jerkbaits for, and for those of you who might not know the real difference between jerkbaits and crankbaits, we’ve got you covered.

While jerkbaits do create a subtle wobble as they're retrieved steadily, and while this can be an effective technique over and beside weed beds, the real magic of a jerkbait is the in the erratic darting and turning that you create by ripping them with a bit of slack in your line.

That will send a good jerkbait dancing like a wounded baitfish, and the best of the bunch will make 90- and 180-degree turns once you’ve practiced with them a bit.

Not only is that as close to irresistible as it gets, but it also allows you to work a hot area without needing to cast every few seconds. And staying where the bass are biting is always a good thing.

Each of the lures on our list has great action when worked with a jerk and a slack line.

Casting

Weight-transfer systems are a must in light lures like jerkbaits.

These are just steel or tungsten balls in a small channel. They move to the rear of the lure as you load up and slide forward on the cast, adding momentum and lengthening distance quite a bit.

You want a jerkbait that casts like a rocket, allowing you to stay back and avoid spooking wary bass in shallow water.

Hooks

Strong, sharp hooks that lock up and hold like superglue are essential, and most of the lures on our list come with premium options.

The only jerkbait we reviewed that I’d swap hooks on immediately is the KVD 300, and with a new set of Gamakatsus, it’s ready to go.

But keep in mind, with a stiff rod and a firm drag, you can bend or break a hook on jerkbait, so be sure to loosen your drag a touch and lighten up on the hookset. There are typically enough barbs at work that positive hooksets are all but guaranteed.

Final Thoughts

The closest thing to a jerkbait for every situation is the legendary X-Rap, and if you’re only going to buy one, that’s probably the one you should pick up.

But in truth, there’s no one jerkbait for every situation, and each of the options on our list has something special to offer that the others don’t.

And one thing’s certain: whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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