My Lucky-est Choices: Lucky Craft Jerkbaits
August 12, 2008
(Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part story on Lucky Craft hardbaits. Part 1 covers 12 great crankbaits, including lipless selections. Part 2 presents 6 of Lucky Craft's best jerkbaits. Part 3 floats 4 of the finest topwater options. Those are my 22 lucky-est choices among Lucky Craft USA's 75 bass models. I hope you'll find a bait or tip or two here that may be lucky for you too!)
Lucky Craft Pointer 100
Lucky Craft Pointer 100 DD
Model: Pointer 100 DD
Okay, here we go. The Pointer 100 is the king of Lucky Craft's whole product line. It's the best-selling Lucky Craft lure model in the USA. So if you wanted to know, what is the best Lucky Craft bait? This is it.
Compared to the Pointer 78, the Pointer 100 is a bigger, bulkier suspending jerkbait. This is the perfect size jerkbait. It is easy to use, easy to cast even on heavier gear. That ease of use, due to its bigger, heavier size, makes it the most popular Lucky Craft jerkbait in the USA today.
I tend to use it on a heavier rod and at least 12 lb test or heavier, for targeting better than average bass - or for snubbing up on and controlling fish close to bad cover. The heavier gear lets me wrestle a stuck lure or a wild hog away from snags. I can pull just a little harder with the Pointer 100. It's a solidly-built jerkbait. I estimate the Pointer 100 runs 4 to 5 feet deep on 12 lb line.
Pointer 100 DD
Compared to the Pointer 78DD or Staysee 90, the Pointer 100DD is a bigger, bulkier suspending jerkbait. The fact that it's brawny size makes it easy to handle, that makes the Pointer 100 DD popular. The deeper-diving Pointer 100 DD isn't nearly as popular as the standard Pointer 100, but it's no slacker either.
I tend to use it on a heavier rod and at least 12 lb test, for targeting better than average bass - same as with the standard Pointer 100, except the 100 DD gets deeper.
I estimate the Pointer 100 DD runs 6 to 8 feet casting on 12 lb line. It can get down even deeper by burning it back in at a blurring speed. Burning the Pointer 100 DD works best when you jerk and give slack to let it stand still every twenty feet during the retrieve, which is when most strikes occur. Fish will race along behind it while you burn it as fast as you can for twenty feet, and tend to react by striking when it darts and suddenly stands still. That's just one unorthodox retrieve that works. However, it is very versatile. One of the best of the brawny, power fishing jerkbaits on the market.
Top down: Pointer 78, 100, 78DD and 100DD.
Lucky Craft Pointer 78
Model: Pointer 78
Lucky Craft Pointer 78 DD
Model: Pointer 78 DD
I must say, of all Lucky Craft lures I have fished, the Pointer 78 has the most life-like action. Something in the design of the Pointer 78 gives it an occasional irregular action which is very special because it approximates the mindless dalliance of a real bait better than the mechanical metronome of most other baits.
Truly a treasure, the Pointer 78 is absolutely perfect for subsurface twitching, jerking or ripping tactics all season long! It works from subsurface down a few feet.
Keep in mind, the Pointer 78 is a small bait and cannot be thrown on heavy tackle. It is at its best with lighter tackle - 10 lb test gear or less.
Pointer 78 DD
Nearly as good as the original Pointer 78 - and deadly, deadly, deadly in the deeper 4 to 7 foot range that the Pointer 78 DD is designed to plumb.
Bassdozer says: "Lucky Craft was really the first company in the USA to offer high quality suspending jerkbaits right out of the box. Before Lucky Craft, anglers had to add weight (lead wire, slugs, SuspenDots and so on) to existing jerkbaits in order to get them to suspend properly. Lucky Craft did away with the need to jury-rig jerkbaits. As precise as they are, there are still a few weighting tricks to tweak Lucky Craft baits! The Pointer 78 and 78 DD have fixed weights (no moving weights or rattles) that center the lure balance right at the belly hook hanger. Adding three SuspenDots stacked on each other over the hook hanger of the 78DD will cause the 78 DD (bottom) to truly suspend. Without the SuspenDots, the 78DD floats up when paused. Adding the same to the 78 (top in photo) will cause it to fall perfectly horizontal when paused, with a body quiver remindful of a Senko."
Three SuspenDots stacked on Pointer 78 (top) and 78 DD (bottom) fine-tune the action.
Lucky Craft Staysee 90 ~ Deep-Diving Jerkbait
Model: Staysee 90
Type: Suspending, Deep-Diving
Weight: 7/16 oz (12.5g)
Length: 3-1/2" (91mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 10 feet (on 10 lb. line)
Of all Lucky Craft lures I have used, be they crankbaits, lipless, jerkbaits or topwaters, the Staysee 90 has one of the most life-like actions.
When it comes to jerkbaits, they can be divided into two broad groups:
Lights: Where smaller bass abound, or in clear water, or with lighter gear, I am basically going to cover the water column with the smaller, lighter range of jerkbaits: the Pointer 78 to get a few feet deep, the Pointer 78DD to get six feet deep, the Bevy Shad 75 to reach about 8 feet deep, and the StaySee 90 to dredge even deeper to about ten feet down.
Heavies: Where bigger bass are found, or in snaggy cover or with heavier tackle, I will go to bigger jerkbaits such as the Pointer 100, 100DD and others in the 100+ size range. Here still I will use the Staysee 90 to delve deeper than the others.
Whether you use the bigger 'power' jerkbaits (the 100's) or the smaller 'finesse' ones (like the 78's), the Staysee 90 fits in with either group, and the Staysee dives the deepest of all. When the jerkbait bite is on, I am basically going to use the Staysee to reach deeper than any other Lucky Craft jerkbait.
A tip from Lucky Craft pro Gary Dobyns is to affix a couple of SuspenDots under the chin, where the bill joins the body. This lets the Staysee reach another foot or two deeper down to 12 feet.
Affixing the next size bigger trebles to the Staysee beefs it up tremendously. With upsized hooks, it becomes a great, great deep-diving jerkbait. It has not gotten the full attention it deserves, but that's okay by me.
Staysee 90 with one size bigger short-shank hooks.
Lucky Craft Bevy Shad 75 ~ Hybrid Crankbait/Jerkbait
Model: Bevy Shad 75
Type: Suspending, Deep-Diving, Hybrid Crankbait/Jerkbait
Weight: 3/8 oz (10g)
Length: 3" (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 8 feet (on 10 lb. line)
The Bevy Shad is kind of a hybrid jerkbait/crankbait. I don't think it's ever become popular. Uncertainty over what the Bevy is, confuses many anglers.
The Bevy Shad has a more crankbait-shaped bill and a more crankbait-shaped body than most other slim minnow jerkbaits. Is the Bevy Shad a jerkbait? A crankbait? Two baits in one? Does how a lure looks define it, or does the suspension system inside it define it? Or does how you fish it (crank it or jerk it) make something a crankbait or a jerkbait? Disturbing as such questions may be, should we really care?
Bottom line, the Bevy Shad is a great fish-catcher. It's versatile, letting you offer different presentations with one bait.
It can be used 100% of the time as if it is a jerkbait, and that's how I favor it in the cool weather months - or it can be cranked.
The Bevy Shad is not a big lure. It's approx. the same size as a Pointer 78 or 78DD, except the Bevy has a deeper belly and dives a little deeper.
The Bevy Shad (bottom) is approx. the same size as a Pointer 78DD ( top).
The Bevy Shad has a fast, tight wriggle like a swimming shad. It darts widely like a disoriented shad when paused and twitched. It works deeper than most any other jerkbait (except the Staysee 90). It's effective working depth is about 8 feet down on 10 lb. line. When it comes to 8 feet deep, there is hardly any other jerkbait that get down there.
The Bevy Shad is internally balanced to swim with a nose-down angle until it reaches its maximum depth where it will level off and swim on a horizontal plane. Its nose-down nature and arrow-shaped bill is good for bouncing the hooks away to deter snags in cover or on bottom, and then suspend and twitch it after it bounces off bottom or cover. When suspended, it dips its nose down into a feeding posture which often infuriates following bass to strike. In shallower water, the Bevy Shad sinks slowly as opposed to suspending as in deeper depths. This nose-down dip and settling towards bottom in a feeding posture is awesome over shallow spring spawning sites.
As shown, I often fish the Bevy Shads with feather tails. I have experienced high catch rates with feathers on Bevy Shads. I am not one to indiscriminately hang feather tails on all my hardbaits. In the Bevy Shad's case, however, this feather tail seems to enhance the lifelike allure of the Bevy Shad. Add a long thin feather tail and watch as the feathers makes the Bevy Shad come alive! It adds a kind of fluid squiggle to the Bevy's wiggle. This trick, adding the feather tail, has been bevy, bevy good to me!
Jerk it. Crank it. But above all use it.
Lucky Craft Jerkbait Color Considerations
Jerkbaits often work best in clear or lightly-stained water, and you suspend or pause a jerkbait motionless underwater. Fish swim up and decide to eat it while it sits there perfectly still, often taking a good look at it first. For these reasons, many of the best jerkbait colors tend to be natural baitfish colors, including silver- or gold-sided, pale white-bellied or semi-transparent 'ghost' minnow patterns. Not too gaudy. Of course, there are always exceptions, but that's a safe rule when it comes to jerkbait color selection.
It's no coincidence that Lucky Craft is legendary for it's artful, natural baitfish colors, especially for jerkbaits. Lucky Craft colors tend to be muted, diffused, subtle, softer colors that blend into each other and blend into the underwater environment.
The four most popular natural baitfish colors produced by Lucky Craft are:
Chartreuse Shad (color #250) is said to be 'the' most popular Lucky Craft color. If you had to limit yourself to just one color, Chartreuse Shad is it.
Ghost Minnow (color #238) is considered the most popular clear water color currently in the Lucky Craft line-up.
Aurora Black (color #052) is flashy, yes, but not nearly so flashy as MS American Shad. Aurora Black is much more subdued and subtle.
MS American Shad (color #270) is one of Lucky Craft's (or any other vendor's) most beautiful colors. The 'MS' means 'Magic Scales'. It is a high flash color for when fish want a lot of flash in a lure. Yet it is still natural. It is truly a special experience to fish with it.
MS Herring (color #254) is another of the most beautiful of all Lucky Craft colors. It is similar to MS American Shad in that they are both high flash colors. However, MS Herring does not come in every jerkbait model.
Listed below are two relatively unknown jerkbait colors that have produced many, many bass for me. These colors don't come in every jerkbait model:
Golden Shiner (color #239) has always been a favorite and most productive jerkbait hue for me.
Misty Shad (color #284) is another uncommon yet highly productive jerkbait color.
~ End of part 2 (of 3) ~
My Lucky-est Choices: