By Barry Stanley
March 15, 2012
As some of you know already, a soft jerk bait is a fish-catching son of a gun. It will catch fish almost any time the water temp is above 60 degrees, but what if I told you that you can use the new D-Shad below 60 degrees?
What more can be said about a soft jerkbait that hasn’t already been said? We all know it can be rigged Texas style, weightless, on a belly hook, on a drop-shot, and Carolina-rigged. It’s even used as a trailer on a scrounger head or chatter bait. Well, I prefer the D-Shad Texas-rigged with a 1/4 to 3/8-oz tungsten weight.
You’re probably wondering how I’m going to get it to dodge and dart or shimmy like a Hula dancer rigged like that. I wondered the same thing up until a recent trip to Falcon Lake in Zapata, Texas.
You’re going to have to trust me on this one: it works when nothing else will. If you’re throwing a jig and it looks like the fish are bored or have moved on, give this a try. When you feel the bite slowing, try something different in the same place before you move on to new water. No bites on deep cranking? Try a worm. No hits on your spinner bait? Throw a Senko. If your top water bite slows down, go to a spinner bait or a shallow crank. You get the picture. This rig is great change-up.
I fish the D-Shad in the same places I would throw a jig and I fish it similar except with less lift. Dead sticking can be the best way to fish the D-Shad. It’s no different than jig fishing; you have to try different bait movements to see what they want at that particular time. I adjust the weight to the depth I am focusing on, but keep in mind most of the bites come on the bottom.
What I mean by that is, don’t go too light and waste time getting the D-Shad down to where they are. I like to use the biggest EWG hook that I can get by with so when Mr. Bass sucks the D-Shad in, that big hook finds a home easier. I always use fluorocarbon line and select the pound test to the size of fish and terrain I am fishing.
When it comes to color selection, I tend to go with the “match the hatch” principal. There are times when a bubble gum D-Shad is the right thing to throw but only trial and error will tell. I try to never get locked in on any favorite color because it could keep me from hitting a bonanza. My first go to color on practice days is either 958 (smoke shad) or 194J (watermelon). If I get bit, I will experiment with others until I am sure which one they prefer. Then on tournament day, I go with the chosen color but also stay aware of changing conditions that could affect my day. Never leave before trying a few colors just in case ol’ Mr. Big wanted that bubblegum instead of what was initially offered.
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Additional Top Secret Information
I’ve got a few more little secrets about the D-Shad I’ll share with you but you really need to keep this to yourself: Flip the D-Shad into a tree or brush pile, let it fall, but be ready for that sudden tap, or even be aware that it didn’t make it to the bottom. Either way, SET THE HOOK. This presentation is something a bass doesn’t see every day in those places.
For you guys that flip tullies, NEVER, NEVER throw this bait into tullies. It could be hazardous to your health! You will have to keep horsing those donkeys out and you could easily blow a muscle. How would I feel then? The words “justified and satisfied” come to mind.
Just so you don’t think I have lost all my marbles, I want to remind you that the better known traditional presentations which I mentioned at the beginning are still some of the best ways to utilize the D-Shad. Keep in mind that on any given day, any one or all of these presentations will work. It’s up to you to explore which is better for that day’s conditions. By adding this alternative rigging option, it just might be the thing that brings you a fish of a lifetime or a needed tournament win.
Last item, please buy plenty of D-shads for your next fishing trip. GYCB isn’t paying me to say this, I have an alternative motive for this request. If we keep using this size, just maybe, Gary will see the opportunity to expand the line. I would love to see a 7” model and a 4” also. I’m also hoping they’ll add color 323 to the lineup as well. This is a great color when baitfish is the prey other than shad. Something about that gold flake that bass, especially smallmouth, can’t resist. With those three sizes and the color selection we have, no bass would ever be safe again.
*In closing I would like to ask everyone to consider the greatest gift someone can give another, the gift of life, organ donation. Please take a moment and go to www.donatelife.net It really could be a life-saving experience.