I’ve been throwing jerkbaits for 20 years, going back to when I first started fishing by myself as a teenager. I was a predator fisherman then, I was targeting giant pike and musky, trying to live up to the standard that my grandfather set when he broke a West Virginia State Record for Tiger Musky that stood for over 50 years. Going after fish over 4 feet teaches you a lot about presentation, bait selection, and timing. When fish get that big they become much more cunning. Their behavior becomes less reactive, and more opportunistic based on their perception. They don’t call musky “The fish of 1,000 casts” because they want to see your bait 1,000 times while they decide if they want to eat it or not. It’s about you, as an angler, learning how to choose a bait that a giant fish can’t resist, and how to present the bait the way they want it when you’re near them. Jerkbaits were my number one big fish bait back then, producing several fish in the 50" range. And while I don’t target those giant toothy critters anymore, the lessons I learned from them taught me a great deal when it comes to jerkbaits and how to choose them and what action to look for. With all that in mind, I have spent the last 9 months throwing the Vision series of jerkabits from Megabass and if you like to throw a jerkbait you’re going to love this. The three Megabass jerkbaits I’ve grown to love the most are the Vision Jr, the ONETEN, and the ONETEN + 1. Which one to use depends entirely on the forage and time of year.
The Vision ONETEN Jr is the smallest of the three. It dives to 4 feet, weighs just under a half ounce and is the shortest of the three. When I first got this bait I thought that I would give it to some kids in one of my youth fishing clinics, but someone stopped me and asked why. I said that I didn’t think there was a need for a small jerkbait. That big fish that eat small jerkbaits would eat big ones, and that the bigger jerkbaits would get fewer strikes from little fish. The guy told me there would be days when the big fish only wanted this one, and to throw it a few times before I gave up on it. As much as I hate to admit it, he was right. There are times when big fish want this smaller profile bait. The Vision ONETEN Jr is just a touch under four inches long, and because of that you really should throw it on a spinning rod. This will allow you to get the maximum distance on your cast, and get the best action out of the bait. Smaller jerkbaits like this need shorter movements. That’s the biggest mistake people make when they throw this bait is that they work it like they do a six inch jerkbait. Smaller baits make smaller movements, and the spinning rod will help you do that. But unlike other jerkbaits this size, the ONETEN Jr is a little heavier and has a great weight-transfer system derived from interior tungsten weights to get incredibly long casts. This will allow you to get the bait down into the proper depth faster, and stay there longer. This is a great bait to use when bass are targeting schools of baitfish.
The VISION ONETEN is the big brother. It’s a little longer (4”⅓), a little heavier (½ oz), and dives a little deeper (6’). This is what people think of in the sense of what a traditional jerkbait is in terms of size, shape, and weight. But this is not your granddad’s jerkbait. This is a monster magnet, that’s been designed to have more flash, more realistic sound, and more erratic movements than any other jerkbait. The color designs have been selected to mimic the baitfish that bass thrive on, and the patterns come to life when the bait is submerged in water. Known simply as the “110”, is has become known as the best jerkbait on the market. This is one of the best baits to throw when the water temperature is between 38 and 70, which is pretty much all year in most northern states and Canada, and it is deadly around docks.
The Vision ONETEN +1. This is the big dog, my main man. I have thrown this since day one, mostly because it does everything I look for in a jerkbait as a smallmouth angler. It’s the same size as the ONETEN, but it dives to 9 feet (3 more than the ONETEN), which is key for targeting smallmouth in current because there are times when the water is moving so fast that you can’t get to 6 feet without a 9 foot diver. That’s the biggest advantage to this bait is what I do. Being able to get deeper when I need to overcome obstacles like current, waves, or wind, that are preventing it. Other jerkbaits that run 9 feet have over-exaggerated bills in the front that fish can pick up on. This bait looks real, feels great, sounds great, and has tremendous casting distance.
The one thing all these baits have in common that I’ve really grown to appreciate is they all have 3 treble hooks. This really helps to keep the fish from shaking off the bait, but it also helps to balance it. This is just another example of how very aspect of the bait has been meticulously designed to eliminate all the flaws of the traditional jerkbait, and to simultaneously take all the strong points of jerkbaits and exploit them to make them even greater.