By Adam Oberfoell
The Jake is one of the most versatile crankbaits in the industry. It has been a long time favorite of mine. Beginning in the spring, my clients and I throw lots of Jakes in the 6” version. It is an awesome twitch bait for working the shallows for finicky post spawn muskies. The size and action perfectly imitate the many panfish that frequent the shallow this time of year. Simply find the warmest water, new weed growth and panfish and you will be into muskies in no time!
In the summer when water temps are high, I like to troll the 8 and 10” versions looking for suspended muskies. I prefer to match the forage with perch, crappie and bluegill patterns. If you keep the Jakes tuned properly, they have no problem running around 4mph without blowing out.
Fall is by far my favorite time of year to use Jakes. The 8” Jake is my favorite throw back bait on a musky that has followed another lure but didn’t strike. I have found that many muskies simply have a hard time passing up a well twitched Jake. I do have a trick that really makes twitching more effective. I add bell sinkers to the split rings that hold the hooks on the bait. The 8” version only requires one weight added to the front hook split ring. The 10” version requires three weights to be added to each hook split ring. Ideally you want the bait to stay horizontal in the water when you pause the bait. The Jake is very buoyant by design, adding weight allows the bait to suspend and hang without leaving the muskies strike zone. This is especially effective in the late fall when water temps are cold and muskies want an easy meal. Also, a straight wire leader will allow the bait to turn sideways with far less effort than a thicker fluorocarbon leader.
Finally, my very favorite technique for using Jakes is late fall structure trolling. Although the 10” version is probably known as one of the very best fall trolling around, I really like to the use large 14” version when targeting trophy muskies. The large profile will get big muskies to move the extra distance to intercept this bait. This bait matches the size of many whitefish and cisco very well. The Jakes design is far superior for making contact with structure. The lip is extremely durable and will really take a pounding when digging into the rocks. This lip design is critical to avoid snagging up when trolling rocks. The buoyancy of this bait is very important for this type of fishing. If you are trolling tight to structure and find yourself getting a bit too shallow you can simply back off on your speed to allow the baits to rise up very quickly to clear the structure before hammering back down on the throttle. (This is a great trigger!)
Jakes are a staple bait in my boat due to their versatility and solid design.
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