Best Jerkbait Rod – Buying Guide & Reviews (Updated 2018)

So, you’ve decided to move away from Powerbait, salmon eggs, and worms to try your hand at jerk bait fishing. Running a jerkbait rig means that you are looking to use a fish decoy to catch other fish. The difference with jerkbait fishing is that instead of using the reel to make your lure dance, you are using the rod in quick “jerking” motions to mimic the quick and erratic movements of a minnow or other small fish. To get the job done, you need the best jerkbait rod and not just any old rod will do.

To help speed you down the path to successful jerkbait fishing, I’ve done the research to give you ten options for selecting the best jerkbait rod for you. 

1. St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rods

St. Croix’s triumph spinning rods are made from SCII graphite that is designated as being mid-modulus. This is a technical way of saying that the Triumph is made of strong graphite that has mid-range flexibility, which is great for jerkbait fishing.
The medium power and fast action of the Triumph gives you the quick response and rigid flex that you need to make your lure dance through the water naturally without looking like you and your bait are having a synchronized seizure. The rod is able to support 6 to 12-pound line and is good for casting lures weighing between 1/8 ounce to 5/8 ounce.

The rod itself is 7-feet long, but the Triumph series offers rod lengths of 6-feet to 7-feet 6-inches in a medium powered rod with fast action. The availability of sizes makes this particular rod accessible for a wide range of comfort and experience levels for jerkbait fishing.

What we liked

  • Good rod for beginners
  • Comfortable rod to handle
  • High quality
  • Good sensitivity

What we didn't like

  • Rod balance is a little tip heavy
  • Reel seat can loosen with long use

2. Fenwick Elite Tech Bass Casting Fishing Rod

Fenwick has made its name by providing a consistently well performing line of rods across almost all types and price points. The Elite Tech Bass is no different. Fenwick stands out from rod that are similar with its “hidden handle” design that sits the reel seat a little bit recessed into the handle so when you grip it you are grabbing the handle instead of the seat. This goes a long way to increase comfort when fishing with rod, and it reduces hand discomfort because you are able to firmly grab the handle where it is meant to be grabbed.

Fenwick offers the Elite in sizes between 6 and 8-feet. This range exceeds the expert recommended range for jerkbait fishing. The 6 to 7-foot rods are more favorable because they offer the medium power and fast action that jerkbait fishing required. The longer lengths are medium-heavy to heavy which makes the rods a little bit stiff for manipulating your lure.

What we liked

  • Great casting power
  • Good sensitivity in the medium powered rod
  • Great backbone power for fighting
  • Good action for setting the hook

What we didn't like

  • Grip is a little long for going after smaller fish
  • Tip is a little stiff

3. Duckett Fishing Ghost Medium Heavy Cast Rod

Duckett is not a brand that I am overly familiar with, but their cast rod has some impressive performance specs. Duckett designed this rod to be the lightest, strongest, and most sensitive rod possible. They really were aiming for the “perfect storm” of rods. The result is an incredibly light and strong rod that weighs less than 5-ounces. That weight is less than your average McDonald’s cheeseburger.

The power of the rod is a little more than what you ideally want for jerkbait fishing, but the fast action and high sensitivity of the rod make of for it. This rod feels everything going on around your lure, so you can quickly adjust how strong you jerk the rod, based on the feedback you receive from the rod.

What we liked

  • Strong and accurate casting rod
  • Super lightweight
  • Great sensitivity
  • Weight is well balanced through blank

What we didn't like

  • Tip will bend with heavy baits
  • Line guides wear quicker than similar rods

4. Abu Garcia Ike Signature Series Casting Rod

When designing the Ike Signature series, Abu Garcia stepped out of the labs and asked professional fisherman what they wanted to have in a quality rod. The result is a rod that elite tournament fisherman Mike Iaconelli is willing to put his name behind. The rod is made from 36-ton graphite, which means that the graphite is right in the middle of graphite density. It also means that you will have a rod that is a reliable part of your kit for many seasons to come.

Abu Garcia offers the Ike in the ideal medium power at lengths from 6’4” to 7’3”. Depending on how much casting power you are looking for, and your comfort level relative to rod length, the Ike series has a rod that will likely match what you want in a quality jerkbait rod. The fast action and medium power are surprisingly more sensitive and manageable than the medium power would indicate.

What we liked

  • Great backbone for bringing in the fish
  • Good sensitivity and feel
  • Short butt gives more control for jerkbait
  • Great weight balance front to back

What we didn't like

  • Rod is thinker and heavier than similar rods
  • Rod guides are a little flimsy, but Abu Garcia has a great warranty

5. Shimano Sellus Casting Rods

The Shimano Sellus is the first budget option for your jerkbait rig. I like to throw these options out there because they are a great option for young and in experienced anglers. They are sturdy enough to be forgiving for mistakes, but if something happens, you aren’t out your good expensive rod.

The Shimano Sellus rod is a 6’8” rod made from 24-ton graphite. This means that this rod is lighter and more flexible and makes it a great learning rod. The power is medium heavy and has fast action for control of the lure. The power is a little higher, but for novices it will give them a little extra strength in the fight to bring a fish in on the line.

What we liked

  • Good rod for beginners
  • Good sensitivity
  • Good action

What we didn't like

  • Experienced anglers will notice a lack of performance

6. Lew's Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick Freshwater Triggerstick Casting Rod

Lew’s rods are among some of the favorites for experienced anglers thanks to their high quality and performance without the high-performance price tag. The TP1 Speed Stick is a single piece rod made from IM8 graphite. IM8 is like the 35-ton rods on the list that offers a medium amount of flex while maintaining a strong and durable blank.

The TP1 is a medium-light rod that has a little more flex, and combined with the fast action, you will be able to get good lure movements with shorter and quicker rod jerks. The grip is in a split grip setup that is a little much for maneuvering the lure but is a nice ally to have as you fight bigger and stronger fish. The split grip also makes the rod effective with different types of fishing techniques.

What we liked

  • Good control
  • Very responsive
  • Good backbone for long fights

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t cast as far or accurately
  • Will have to adapt technique due to lower power 

7. Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 705CB

The Dobyns rods are a good choice for jerkbaits because this rod is a little bit heavier than some of the other rods on the list. This rod can handle up to 17-pound line and will support a lure weight ranging from 1/4-ounce all the way up to a full ounce. This allows you to use this rod for larger species.

The medium-heavy power of the Fury series gives you additional fighting for those more aggressive fighting fish, even though it isn’t as responsive for making your lure dance. The moderate fast action still gives you enough tip flex to make up for some of the stiffness of the rod’s power.

Where the Fury series really shines is in the power and durability. The thicker IM8 graphite and Kevlar and cork grips make this rod a long-lasting piece of equipment that very well may out last you.

What we liked

  • Comfortable to handle and manipulate
  • Lightweight and string construction
  • Surprisingly sensitive
  • Short butt gives more control

What we didn't like

  • Short reel seat threads

8. Eagle Claw W&M Skeet Reese Tournament Jerk Bait

The Eagle Claw Skeet has a unique S-Curve design that is engineered to give you a little more power to pull your fish up out of the water. The butt of the rod is thick to give you more torque and control over the rod as you tackle the serious game fish, no minnow snagging with this rod.

The Skeet has a length of 6’8” with medium-fast action that has enhanced casting ability thanks to zirconium line guides that let the line slide smoothly and straight. The combination of features makes this a strong performing budget rod that is designed to give you and edge with jerkbait fishing.

What we liked

  • Lightweight
  • Good sensitivity
  • Good power for wrestling larger fish

What we didn't like

  • Low end of split grip is a little uncomfortable

9. St. Croix Bass X Casting Rods

The St. Croix Bass X has been specially designed to give bass anglers a powerful edge when they hit the water. For starters, the SCII graphite blank and aluminum-oxide guide rings provide just the right amount of smoothness and flexibility to give you consistently long casts with your jerkbait. This will let you get the lure far away from your boat or the shore so you have plenty of room to make your lure dance through the water.

The length of the Bass X is 7’1”, so right where you need it for the best jerkbait rod length. I prefer the medium power and fast action version, but you can also pick this rod up in medium-heavy and heavy power ratings, as well as medium-fast action to tailor your rod choice to fit the way you like to move the lure.

What we liked

  • Handles well
  • Split grip for more torque and power
  • Good sensitivity
  • Tough and durable

What we didn't like

  • Flexible tip loses casting accuracy

10. Daiwa TXT701MRB Tatula XT

The Daiwa Tatula XT is just flat out a good-looking rod. The black blank finish makes the rod look seriously tough yet sleek. The construction isn’t bad either. Daiwa has built their Tatula rods using X45 bias construction that is engineered to prevent the rod blank from twisting while you are casting and moving your lure. The result of this method gives the Tatula more strength, durability, sensitivity, and makes it more responsive when setting the hook in a fish’s mouth.

The 701MRB model of the Tatula provides medium power and moderate speed in a 7-foot rod. While the speed is a little outside the best, the Tatula still has the response and control you need to lure the bass without scaring them away or ripping the lure out once they bite.

What we liked

  • Good for casting jerkbaits and crankbaits
  • Strong backbone for hooking tough fish
  • Lightweight with good rod balance

What we didn't like

  • Action is a little slow for good lure movement

Key features of jerkbait rods 

Power

The power of your rod is the rating of the flexibility, and a measure of how sensitive the rod is to a fish pulling on your bait. When jerkbait fishing you want to use a rod that has medium to medium-heavy power. This range will give you enough flex and fight to wear down your catch without tearing the hook clean from the mouth.

Action 

Action is how fast the rod flexes and then returns to its start point, and where the rod starts to bend. Faster action rods will flex and return quickly with the majority of the flex occurring closer to the tip of your rod. When using jerkbait, you want to be sure that the action of the rod allows your bait to look like a little minnow floundering around. When you crank the reel, you want the rod to act and react quickly, so I would recommend going with a rod that has fast action. This will also put less of the rod into flex when you are jerking the lure and increase your control.

Length 

The length you choose for your jerkbait rod really comes down to your comfort with the rod. Generally, you want to be between 6 and 7 feet long. A longer pole will give you longer casting ability, but if you aren’t comfortable with a 7-foot or longer rod, then it really doesn’t matter how far you can cast.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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