John's Journal...


Jerkbaits for Smallmouths in the Fall

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Longtime pro fisherman Roger Stegall of Iuka, Mississippi, has guided fishermen on Pickwick Lake on the Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee border for over 17 years. Here's some of his tactics for catching big smallmouth during the month of November.

Yet another lure that's overlooked for smallmouth fishing at this time of year is the jerkbait, but I've been catching a lot of fish in recent years fishing a Wild Shiner made by Strike King. This year Strike King is introducing a new color in the Bleeding Click to enlargeBait Series that I really like - crystal gizzard shad. As the weather cools down, the shad will start to die. Cold weather kills shad quicker than any other fish in the water. When the shad die, they don't have quick deaths. As they start to die, they twitch, flutter and begin to fall to the bottom. If you'll notice the shad's gills when it's going through this dying process, they will be really red, the same color of red that you'll see on the crystal gizzard shad in the Bleeding Bait Series. Because this bait has red eyes, red hooks and red around the gills and imitates the action of a Click to enlargedying shad, this bait will probably be my favorite colored jerkbait to use when the weather starts to cool down and those shad start dying. A dying shad that can't run away from a predator fish like a smallmouth offers a really-easy meal to those ole brown fish.

I fish the Wild Shiner by casting it out, reeling it down two or three turns, stopping the bait, pulling it with my rod tip and finally letting it sit. Then I take up slack, pull it again with my rod Click to enlargeand once more let it sit. You don't have to fish this bait nearly as slowly in the fall of the year as you do in the early spring when the water's much colder, and the bass are in their prespawn mode. I like to fish the Wild Shiner when the water temperature in the 55-65 degree range. Although most fishermen consider the jerkbait a prespawn, early-spring lure, the Wild Shiner is extremely deadly in the fall when water temperature reaches the 55-65 degree range.

To learn more about fishing below the dam at Pickwick, contact the Hardin County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at, call 731-925-8181 or 800-552-3866, or visit Pickwick Landing State Park offers fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming and golf. Lodging includes the lakeside inn with over 100 rooms, cabins that sleep eight and a campground that contains 48 sites with grill and electric/water hookup at each site. A restaurant at the park offers delicious southern cuisine. Call 731-689-3135 or 800-250-8615 to learn more.


Check back each day this week for more about HOW TO CATCH SMALLMOUTH NOW WITH ROGER STEGALL

Day 1 - The Crankbait for Smallmouth
Day 2 - New Redfish Magic - Perfect for Smallmouth
Day 3 - Buzzbaits in November Will Help You Catch Smallmouths
Day 4 - Jerkbaits for Smallmouths in the Fall
Day 5 - The Truth About the Quad Shad Spinner Bait



Entry 274, Day 4