The soft jerkbait — known generically to most anglers as a fluke — might be the best all-around bass lure for late spring and early summer bass fishing. It can be rigged in a variety of ways to address the given angling situation.
For those unfamiliar with the lure, basically it's a minnow-shaped soft lure in the 4- to 5-inch range. Most companies that market soft plastic baits offer a version of the soft jerkbait.
Examples include the Zoom Fluke and Super Fluke (four and five inch respectively), Yum Houdini Shad, Case Sinkin' Salty Shad, and Winco River Darter.
Typically, the baits are loaded with a degree of salt, meaning they sink without added weight, the rate of which is determined by the density of the salt loading.
During spring months, find bass in some phase of the spawning period, which means shallow-water fishing.
An unweighted or lightly weighed soft jerkbait twitched over shallow flats often coaxes bass to rise to engulf it, particularly effective over emerging weeds and close to wood cover. In the sparse weed cover of late spring simply nose-hooking the bait with a 1/0 octopus style hook often works best.
As weed cover increases as spring moves into summer it's often wise to switch to Texas-rigging, using the hook slot found in the bait to protect the point of the hook to minimize weed fouling. A 4/0 to 5/0 hook teams nicely with a 5-inch bait. Use belly-weighed wide gap hook if you want a faster sink rate, such as allowing the fluke to sink down in open pockets within the weeds.
Mid to late summer often finds bass in deeper water. A soft jerkbait, especially the smaller versions, are great offerings to present with a drop shot rig to tackle this scenario.
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