Due to their relatively long and slender profiles, soft jerk bait style baits are excellent imitators of sand eels or any pint sized bait for that matter, including juvenile squid- all of which find their way into the diet of just about every blue water game fish in our waters.
Once deployed, Soft jerk bars are great for creating a tight bait ball effect, giving pelagic species a reason to join you, with all that “protein” behind your boat. Furthermore, the soft baits dancing in the water look particularly real. Their slender design is so similar in profile to a sand eel or small squid while their flexible movement in the water is more natural than a traditional skirted lure. I also enjoy the fact that soft jerk bars are so easy to rig, modify, change and/or repair which makes them very adaptable to changing conditions.
Why Soft Bait Spreader Bars?
- Easy to match the hatch with small baits
- Less drag to pull
- Effective at wide range of trolling Speeds
- Easy to rig and re-rig.
Generally speaking, they larger the bait, the fewer I’ll attach to the bar. Overloading the bar will result in poor swimming action and increased tangles. One of the many advantages of soft plastics is the availability of colors, so try any you like. I stick to the basics: Black, Bone, Amber and Chartreuse.
Part 1: Getting Set Up
First, lay out the bar. Size up soft baits accordingly and note how many inches between crimps so that the baits won’t overlap too much. I’ll use a Sharpie to mark each spot. Spacing will vary based on the size soft baits you’re using. (In this diagram, we’ll be using the 10″ Hogy, so we know spacing will be about 10-12″ between baits.)
Part 2: Build Flanks (28″)
- Start from the bottom and work your way up. Begin by attaching first first hogy bait-keeper to the terminal end of the flank line with crimp-sleeve and crimpers
- Slide 3 double barrel crimps down the running line and close the flank line by attaching it to the bar. (Optional) A short piece of chaffing gear will protect the connection.
- Making sure the crimps are properly spaced, attach your 6” Mono pieces so that the tag end is pointing towards the bar. (This design allows the baits to swim more freely and also minimizes tangles)
- Attach Hogy Bait keepers and (Then attach Soft Baits to each Keeper.)
- Repeat for other flank line(s)
Part 3: Build Stinger Chain (Basically a Daisy Chain) and Attach
- Start from the bottom of the stinger line and work your way up. Begin by attaching your stinger with crimp-sleeve and crimping pliers,
- Slide 3 double barrel crimps down stinger line. Attach stinger line to the bar. A short piece of chaffing gear will protect the connection to the bar.
- Note: Bars will vary in how they connect to your fishing line.
- Making sure the crimps are properly spaced, attach your 6” Mono pieces so that the tag end is pointing towards the bar. Attach Hogy Bait keepers and Hogys to each mono piece.
- Troll on your favorite outfit!