Since jerkbaits are such effective bass fishing lures, many experienced anglers build technique-specific setups for these baits. In this guide, we'll discuss the best jerkbait rods on the market and talk about the types of fishing rods that perform best with jerkbaits.
If you're just starting to collect technique-specific rods, you should prioritize investing in a jerkbait rod. This is because the rod you use changes the action of jerkbaits much more than other types of lures.
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Jerkbait Rod Qualities
You can't just straight-retrieve a jerkbait like you can other lures. To properly fish these baits, you must twitch your rod tip to make the lure weave back and forth in the water. You won't effectively mimic a darting baitfish with the wrong type of rod.
The best jerkbait rods have either fast or moderate/fast action ratings. Rod action is the most essential factor when looking for a jerkbait rod, as it dramatically affects how your lure will act in the water.
When fishing jerkbaits, you want to repeatedly snap the tip of your rod, causing the lure to dart back and forth. A fast-action rod bends farther up the blank and has the perfect amount of flexibility for this technique.
The second most important factor to consider is the length of your rod. Jerkbait rods are shorter than most and should be between 6'6" and 6'10" long.
When fishing jerkbaits, your rod will be angled down with the tip near the surface of the water. If your rod is too long, you'll likely end up hitting the water every time you jerk your lure.
Not only will this cause you to lose control of your presentation, but the added resistance can leave you exhausted after a few hours of casting. While a shorter rod does sacrifice casting distance, it's a tradeoff you must take.
You should also consider purchasing a rod with a shorter handle. Fishing a jerkbait on a rod with a longer handle takes much more effort than one with a shortened grip.
When looking for a fishing rod, make sure it has a medium to medium-heavy power rating.
While strength isn't as important as action ratings and length, these power ratings will give you the best balance between strength and sensitivity. If you're using a weaker rod with light or medium-light power, you'll have trouble fighting larger fish.
When considering the actual construction of the rod, look for a stiffer model with enough backbone strength. It's also essential to use a rod with a softer tip to get the best darting action from your jerkbait.
Many anglers are intimidated to invest in technique-specific equipment because of the high cost. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on tournament-quality equipment, you can also find exceptional jerkbait rods that won't break the bank.
In this guide, we'll review the best jerkbait rods in each price range and discuss multiple options for anglers on a budget. You don't need expensive equipment to successfully fish jerkbaits and have fun on the water!
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Best Jerkbait Rods
1. KastKing Perigee II - Best Overall Jerkbait Rod
4.5 Stars | 2,431 Angler Reviews | $50 - $70
The KastKing Perigee II is the best all-around jerkbait fishing rod, especially if you're looking for a two-piece design. We recommend the 6'7" medium power model for a one-piece design or the 6'6" medium two-piece rod.
Other brands make two-piece rods that sacrifice build quality, strength, and performance. KastKing's joints are designed with technology that makes their two-piece rods perform just as well as one-piece rods.
This rod only costs around $50, which is incredible. The 24-ton carbon fiber blank, Fuji line guides, graphite reel seats, and EVA grips alone make it worth over $200.
The Perigee II is comfortable in your hand and feels well-balanced. It doesn't take much effort to pull jerkbaits along, which helps for longer days on the water.
KastKing also uses unique power transition technology in their joints, making the power from your hand flow smoothly throughout the blank. This technology makes your movements much more efficient and increases your confidence.
This rod series has 40 different models with varying specifications. If you're starting to collect multiple types of technique-specific rods, KastKing has something for every kind of lure. Whether you prefer a one-piece or two-piece construction, the Perigee II line has it all.
2. St Croix Bass X - Most Technical Jerkbait Rod
4.6 Stars | 140 Angler Reviews | $95 - $110
If you're willing to spend a bit more, the St Croix Bass X rod with extra-fast action is an exceptional jerkbait rod. We recommend the 6'8" medium power model for the perfect darting action.
Other brands have sacrificed strength and balance in their extra-fast rod models. Even though the Bass X is one of the least expensive rods from St Croix, we've found the blank is surprisingly well-balanced with a sturdy backbone.
Bass X vs. Perigee II
You'll get the same amount of power, strength, balance, and control that one would expect from a fast-action rod. We also love the split-grip handle, which is even more comfortable than the one used on the Perigee II.
While the Bass X is slightly more expensive than the Perigee II, it's a phenomenal product. This is St. Croix's entry-level model, making it a great value for the money.
The SCII carbon blank is very lightweight and has a more professional feel than the Perigee II. We also like the cork grip and the Fuji ECS reel seat on the Bass X much more.
You also can't beat St. Croix's 5-year warranty. If you're looking for an affordable jerkbait rod from the most highly-regarded fishing rod brand in the world, the Bass X is your best option.
3. KastKing Royale Select - Best Value Tournament Rod
4.6 Stars | 1,131 Angler Reviews
The Royale Select Jerkbait Rod is a great bass fishing rod that's a close contender with the top two rods on our list. It's slightly more expensive than the Perigee II model but doesn't cost as much as the St Croix Bass X.
KastKing produces high-quality fishing equipment that doesn't break the bank. This series has many technique-specific models, specifically rated for individual types of lures. The 6'6" and 7'0" Medium-Fast designs are exceptional for casting jerkbaits.
KastKing's Royale Select Series has more sensitivity and power than the Perigee II. This increase in performance makes it a great value tournament fishing rod for more competitive anglers.
The rod is constructed from Toray 24-ton carbon, making it lightweight and durable. While it doesn't have the same professional quality as the Bass X, it doesn't feel like a cheap product.
The Fuji O-ring guides also provide excellent casting distance, helping you cover water quickly, even with a shorter rod. These guides also disperse heat, making your line last longer and preventing annoying break-offs. Fuji O-ring guides are compatible with both monofilament and braided line.
Our favorite part of the Royale Select Rod is its aggressive styling. It simply looks like it belongs to a tournament angler on the FLW tour, even though it costs well under $100.
4. Dobyns Fury Series - Best Rated Jerkbait Rod
4.8 Stars | 129 Angler Reviews | $100 - $150
If you're looking for the highest-rated jerkbait rod, look no farther than the Dobyns Fury Series. It's a terrific value rod for advanced anglers with a larger budget. The Fury Series proves you don't have to spend $200 - $300 to start fishing with top-notch gear.
We recommend the 6'6" Medium-Fast model for jerkbaits. This model is rated for 10lb to 17lb line and throws lures that weigh between 1/4 and 3/4 ounces.
This rod was designed by professional anglers, and its premium components make it very enjoyable to use. We casted jerkbaits effortlessly for hours, even though they're one of the most labor-intensive lures to fish.
The rod features a high-modulus graphite blank, an excellent material for jerkbait fishing. It allows the tip to be soft and sensitive while keeping the body strong and durable. You'll feel every tap and quickly identify strikes.
A Fuji reel seat is firmly attached to blank and does a great job keeping your reel secure. You won't have to worry about your expensive jerkbait reel coming loose and messing up the accuracy of your casts.
This rod is wrapped in Kevlar, making it exceptionally durable, and the handle is made from Portuguese cork. It's likely the most comfortable and satisfying rod we've ever fished jerkbaits on.
While Dobyns puts a lot of attention into quality control and packaging, they offer reassurance against defects. When you're spending a larger amount of money on high-tech equipment, it's comforting to know the brand offers a lifetime warranty on the equipment.
5. St Croix Legend Tournament - Best High-End Rod
4.7 Stars | 18 Angler Reviews | $270 - $310
Anglers looking for the best-of-the-best should strongly consider the St Croix Legend Tournament. It may cost twice as much as other models, but it's the best high-end fishing rod for jerkbaits on the market.
The 6'6" medium-fast model has won jerkbait tournaments and bass fishing competitions across the country. Many professionals regard this premium rod as the best to use when you start collecting technique-specific setups.
St Croix uses exotic carbon fiber and advanced reinforcing technology to make the Legend Tournament Rod far stronger than it appears. This design doesn't add any weight or thickness to the blank, which makes the rod feel agile and dynamic in your hand.
The rod features St Croix's proprietary IPC tooling technology, eliminating any transition points where power and sensitivity are usually lost. You'll get more power for your hooksets and a stronger backbone for fighting big fish.
It's hard to describe the feeling you get when fishing a quality rod. The satisfaction and confidence you get while casting the St. Croix Legend Tournament can only be understood after trying it out for yourself. Overall, we've only ever heard positive remarks about its performance.
The best part about buying a rod from St Croix is that they care for their customers. Every Legend Tournament comes with a 15-year transferrable warranty. This fishing rod will literally last over a decade, or St Croix will replace it with their most recent model.
6. Ugly Stik GX2 - Best Budget Jerkbait Rod
4.6 Stars | 1,690 Angler Reviews | $30 - $40
The Ugly Stik GX2 is the most affordable option for anglers on a tight budget. Whether you've just started your technique-specific rod collection, or you know a large investment will upset your wife, the GX2 is for you.
This bass rod is suitable for all ages and experience levels. It's super easy to use, making it the most beginner-friendly option on this list. An EVA handle makes it comfortable to use and fish jerkbaits for many hours.
We recommend the 6'6" Medium Power Rod for jerkbait fishing. You can pair this model with 8lb to 13lb fishing line. The GX2 is optimal for any bait between 1/4 and 3/4 ounces, making it compatible with almost all types of beginner lures.
A combination of graphite and fiberglass materials keeps the GX2 strong but sensitive at the same time. Ugly Stik's addition of a clear tip makes it more sensitive than most other entry-level fishings rod.
The rod has updated Ugly Tuff guides that are more durable than previous models. They're also compatible with all types of lines.
This rod isn't as light as others on this list, but that's expected for the price. Most anglers won't be bothered by the heavier and slightly bulkier design unless you're used to fishing with high-end gear.
The reel seat is solid and keeps fishing reels firmly in place. While it doesn't cast quite as far as professional-level rods, the casting distance is impressive for the price.
The Ugly Stik GX2 is an excellent value for the money and has become extremely popular. It has over 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, and anglers say it has been reliable for decades.
7. Okuma Serrano - Best Technique Specific Series
5 Stars | 50+ Angler Reviews
The Okuma Serrano Series is an entire line of specialized bass fishing rods. Each rod is designed for fishing a different type of lure. These rods were made to be tournament-quality without being as expensive as traditional tournament rods.
A few years ago, anglers had to spend hundreds of dollars for professional-grade technique-specific rods. This series changed bass fishing as we know it since most anglers can now afford specialized equipment.
Okuma's jerkbait model is the SRN-C-6101M, which is linked above. This rod is 6'10" long with a medium power rating.
The Okuma Serrano is made from a 24-ton carbon blank, so it has a strong backbone while remaining lightweight.
Okuma also utilizes Ultimate Flex Reinforcement technology, which makes the tip softer than usual. This design makes it ideal for fishing jerkbaits and helps you achieve a better darting action.
This rod also incorporated multiple types of carbon fiber, making it far stronger than comparable products. The Serrano Series has 4x the lifting strength of other rods with similar designs.
The Fuji K-Concept guide frames reduce wind noise as you cast, and Fuji Faz-Light inserts greatly increase casting distance. We also like how comfortable the butt of the rod is, and the length of the split-grip handle is easy to manage.
8. Favorite White Bird - Most Versatile Rod
4.7 Stars | 87 Angler Reviews | $69 - $79
Some anglers want a Jerkbait rod that also fishes other lures well. The Favorite White Bird is a phenomenal option if this sounds like you. Specifically, we love the 6'6" medium-heavy fast-action model.
Typically, a medium power rod is the most versatile for jerkbait fishing. However, the Favorite White Bird Rod has tons of power and still has the flexibility to cast lighter baits.
The soft-tip makes it feel like a medium power rod when casting. However, the strong backbone gives you more strength to fight fish and cast heavier baits.
Favorite Rods uses comfortable cork split grips, making it easy to fish this rod all day. It also features multi-layer structuring technology that alternates the direction of the carbon fiber. This is what gives it better torsional load resistance and overall strength.
SiC line guides make for great casting accuracy and distance. The rod has an elegant white coating and aggressive styling that visually stands out from others.
Jerkbait Rod FAQ's
A specialized jerkbait rod will help you catch more fish. There are many decent jerkbait rods that we couldn't feature on this list. As long as you find something with medium to medium-heavy power that's between 6'6" and 7' long, you'll be in good shape.
Rods that are too long are difficult to fish. The tip will slap against the water or show every time you pull your bait along. When it comes to power, rods with Medium ratings will give your jerkbaits the best "darting" action.
Spinning vs. Casting Rods
While you can use either spinning or baitcasting setups for fishing jerkbaits, most anglers gravitate towards baitcasting setups.
Casting rods have a steeper learning curve and are more challenging to use as a beginner. However, they offer faster and more accurate casting and are worth learning how to use.
Spinning rods and reels are more sensitive and usually perform best when paired with smaller and lighter lures.
Rod blank and backbone strength
The best jerkbait rods have different qualities than your traditional bass rod. You want to avoid super-soft blanks, which are far better crankbait setups. A pole with more backbone and rigidity will help you achieve an aggressive presentation.
However, you don't want to sacrifice tip sensitivity. A soft-top will give you more control and allow the bait to pause in the water periodically. Overall, the best jerkbait rods are well-balanced, performance-orientated products.
Angler height and rod length
As we've discussed, 6'6" to 6'10" is the best rod length for jerkbait fishing. Another important consideration to make when choosing a rod is your height. Taller anglers can fish longer 6'10" rods without hitting the ground, while shorter anglers will benefit from smaller 6'6" rods.
Rod strength and proper technique
The best jerkbait technique is to pull straight down during your retrieval. Many beginner anglers will pull their rod to the side, which is bad form. You'll quickly wear yourself out if you haven't mastered the vertical retrieve technique.
If your rod's too powerful, you lose the side-to-side retrieval motion. On the other hand, Medium-Light or Light rods won't give you the strength to drive your jerkbait's treble hooks into the bass's mouth.
One final tip we have is to make sure you're jerking your bait on a slack line. The best way to fish a jerkbait is to pause for a moment in-between your pulls. You should wait for your line to go slack before jerking the tip down again.