Here’s a little technique secret that MLF Select angler Keith Poche let out of the bag during dinner-table conversation in Hot Springs, Arkansas: “I throw a jerkbait in places where other guys wouldn’t even dream of throwing it.”
Poche, fresh off an Elimination Round victory in which he rang up 19 pounds, 1 ounce on Lake Ouachita, employed a Luck-E-Strike RC STX jerkbait in tandem with a Zara Spook to pick apart Ouachita’s flooded brush and trees. While most of the other competitors in that round relied on a flipping bite, Poche relied on the broader attraction radius of the jerkbait to pull fish out of the deeper flooded brush.
“That fish is sitting there in the brush and a jerkbait goes by, he thinks ‘Well, I haven’t seen that before!’,” Poches says. “Chances are, he’s going to respond to it. Everybody else is flipping a craw, and those fish have seen that a thousand times. A lot times when they won’t hit a flippin’ bait, they’ll come out after a jerkbait.”
Poche’s process is simple, in theory: he’ll trolling-motor his way around a brushy bay or backwater, making precise casts between visible pieces of cover. He upgrades his line to 16-to 20-pound braid to account for occasional hang-ups, which he says are just part of the game.
“Most guys think they can’t throw a jerkbait around flooded brush like that because they’ll get hung up so much – and you DO get hung up occasionally,” Poche admits. “But I run bigger braid so if I do get a little hung up, I can jerk it out. That actually triggers fish occasionally, they’ll react to that sudden flash of the bait coming out of the brush.”
Precision is the key: Poche tries to place his jerkbait as close as he can to the center of the brush without it hanging up.
“You have to be accurate,” he says. “It may take a few casts to get comfortable with throwing a bait with three treble hooks up between two bushes, but you want that bait to run right down the side them. It’s all about making the right cast and working the right angles, but if you can pull that jerkbait through all that, fish will respond to it.”