You could write a book on the various rigging options and techniques of soft jerk baits, but for time sake I’ll stick to shallow weightless tips for now. I have always stuck by Zooms super salty Fluke, it’s soft, durable, and has enough weight to be cast a mile weightless. I throw my flukes on a medium heavy rod paired with 10lb fluorocarbon line
on most lakes and 12lb on the Delta and Clear lake. I like to use the fluke Texas rigged with a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook in both light and heavy wires. Many will say a round bend hooks helps increase hook up ratio, but I haven’t noticed a significant difference between the two and prefer the EWG. The light wire hook will give a great soft jerk bait presentation, working just under the surface. I use that presentation in winter and when the bite is tuff and I’m going more finesse.
Just like a hard jerk bait the fluke will pull fish from a long way, but because of its soft bait action it tends to draw more bites than a traditional hard jerk bait. I use the heavy wire hook during most of the year. Despite it being a heavier hook it actually makes the bait want to jump out of the water. The majority if the hooks weight is in the back of the bait and points the head at the surface. It creates a blend between soft jerk bait and top water. It will jump out of the water if given a hard twitch during the retrieve. Its possible to do a top water presentation with out a heavy wire hook. It just takes much more work on the anglers part and isn’t typically as controlled. When fishing heavy cover I like to skip the bait in to it and immediately start retrieving it breaking the surface. After a few pops I kill it and let it set for a few second. Ninety percent of the time as soon as it stops is when it’s going to get bit. In open water or on rock bluffs and spars cover I make a long casts past my target. I don’t want the fish to see or hear the baits entry. If my target is close to the bank, I cast on to the bank and pull the bait in silently. I work the bait to my target with the typical twitch twitch pause. When I get to my target I start jumping it out of the water followed by a brief pause. I try to mimic the conditions if bass are chasing bait I try to be erratic, on calm days or if it’s slow I use a more slower retrieve throwing in little busts of breaking the surface. With colors I throw two, albino white and baby bass. Most of the time I throw white because I can easily track it and most bait fish have some white on them. During post spawn or if the water is really clear and the sun is bright sometimes I’ll switch to baby bass. Like all jerk baits the fish are most times just instinctively swiping at it. Sometime they are completely missing it or just grabbing the tail. To combat missing and losing fish, I always try to wait to feel the fish before setting the hook. Most times if they don’t get it and you don’t rip it out of there with a hook set they will immediately come back for it on the next pause. Easier said than done when they violently exploded on it, but loosing or missing fish will quickly reinforce it. I almost always have a soft jerk bait on my deck, it’s a great search bait for covering water as well as follow up bait for a fish that missed top water baits such as Spooks, Frogs or Whopper Ploppers. I hope this helps, and good luck out there!