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I watched Chris Lane in action and thought, “What a jerk!”

Don’t get the wrong idea; Lane was a top-notch guy in my book long before winning the Bassmaster Classic in 2012. Among his many polished skills is his jerkbait prowess, and he’s mastered many a crafty cadence.

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“The reason a jerkbait is so successful this time of year is that the bass are feeding on balls of shad and they’re suspended, trying to find the warmest part of the water column,” Lane said. “To be successful with a jerkbait, you have to get the cadence right–how many times you jerk, how long you pause it.”

The best way to figure that out? “Let the fish tell you which way they like it. You have to keep changing it up and when you catch one, remember that cadence.”

The other key piece, Lane said, is color selection. His box of Luck-E-Strike jerkbaits boasts a plethora of options, but in this early winter period, he keeps it simple with these four picks:

1) Silver shad
Basic silver sides, black back and black gill dot—this one’s a dead ringer for the real McCoy in the deep south and a great choice when cold spells leave lots of dying shad fluttering in the water column.

2) Tennessee shad
Silver sides with brown back matches the shad look common in the Tennessee River lakes.

3) Shad pattern with chartreuse belly
The vivid color often triggers aggressive strikes in really clear water. Conversely, the chartreuse tends to stand out in dirtier water, so this color pattern boasts a twofold appeal.

4) Chartreuse belly and purple back
This is a flashy look that may not match the hatch, but past success has given Lane the confidence to pull out this bait when the bite’s tough.

Diversity enables Lane to cover his bases, while varied retrieves help him close the deal.

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