Anticipation was at an all-time high as I recently got my hands on the new Rattlin Sting suspending jerkbait by Salmo.
I had a great initial impression of the bait as I opened one from the package; they come with an amazing finish and are equipped with high quality Mustad triple grip hooks. The baits have a chamber filled with ball bearings that are sure to make noise and draw some attention in addition to helping with casting distance, especially in the wind.
We launched on Rainy Lake mid-day on Sunday with smallmouth being the target species. Water temperatures were hovering between 58 and 60 degrees on the main lake which told me that fish should be transitioning towards their spawning grounds.
The search began on main lake rock structure adjacent to spawning flats and it didn’t take long to contact fish. The Rattlin Sting is a 3.5 inch bait which I would classify somewhere in the lower end of the size spectrum when considering jerkbaits designed to target smallmouth bass. I opted to throw the bait on a 6’ 3” medium spinning rod with a 2500 series reel. I always spool my jerkbait reel with hi-visibility braid and a fluorocarbon leader. I consider hi-vis braid to be a must as nearly all strikes will happen on the pause and detecting strikes is that much easier with the line jumps being more obvious.
The Rattlin Sting is heavier than it looks, so I found that I could get away with a heavier leader than I would normally use and get the same action; I chose to use 10-pound test, but 12 would work just fine. I also find that I can get more action out of a jerkbait of this size on spinning gear, but that’s personal preference.
I noticed on the very first cast that the bait flies like a bullet and casts a country mile. By working the bait on slack line, it dances erratically, and I was able to make it spin nearly 180 degrees, which is exactly what I look for in a jerkbait.
Anyone who fishes a suspended jerkbait knows the importance of watching the lure for trailing fish. When a follower is lurking below and not committing, there is a technique that I’ve found effective to tease them over the edge; stall the bait and let it sit motionless. Watch the fish and read their mood.
Give the bait a subtle twitch and see how they react. At times they’ll immediately pounce on it, other times they’ll just watch it or begin to saunter off. Now for the right hand cross; snap the lure on slack line and make the bait turn 180 degrees and stare at the bass. If the fish has any intention of biting or even thinking about biting, it’s usually game over.
What I immediately noticed with the Rattlin Sting is that on the pause, the bait has completely neutral buoyancy which is critical. On Sunday however, when I employed the technique, the fish we’re nipping at the bait but not slamming it. I could also feel fish nipping the bait throughout the cast and witnessed it firsthand boat side several times.
The mood of the fish dictated that it was time to make an adjustment. I figured that if the fish wanted to nip, to give them something to nip at. I changed out the back treble with a feathered one and had immediate success. Trailing fish ate the feathered treble and several fish caught at the end of the cast were brought to the boat by the rear hook.
As the day wore on and water temperatures rose, the mood of the fish improved. There were times that a fish inhaled the lure so hard on the pause, the line would jump several feet and I had to speed reel to catch up to them!!! As the mood of the fish improved, the cadence I worked the lure also increased. It’s important to pay attention to the fish and let them tell you what they want when it comes to cadence.
I found that the feathered treble was the perfect one-two punch that mopped up everything within striking distance. The day turned out to be “one of those days” and is what dreams are made of. I boated more 3.5 to 4-pound smallmouth than one could count, several nice walleyes and a bonus 44-inch gator.
I’ve been fishing suspending jerkbaits for a long time and it is a bait I have a ton of confidence in. I am very particular when it comes to size, finish and action. To be honest, I’m skeptical when I tie a new jerkbait on, but I can say that The Salmo Rattlin Sting has permanently earned a spot on the deck of my boat and for good reason. They flat out catch everything that swims!! Check out the Salmo Rattlin Sting and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!!