Getting Started: Jerkbait Tackle - What To Use by Derek Macdonald
To reach the lure's full potential a fairly stiff actioned rod around 6' - 6'6" in length is ideal, I can hear you saying "why so short". Traditional 9' or 10' spinning rods are too long and too soft for this method, absorbing much of the action you are trying to achieve as they flex, the downward rod strokes would also hit the water.
In my opinion there is only one jerkbait reel, the Ambassadeur 6501 left hand wind, it's also available in a right hand version. These reels have stood the test of time and are more or less bullet proof! The Ambassadeur holds an adequate amount of 50/80lb braided line, however a useful tip is to put a small amount of mono on the reel before loading your braid, this prevents any line slipping on the spool. Although multipliers can be difficult to master, once you have they're a joy to use. Beginners tend to get a lot of birds nests, so another tip worth mentioning is to use your spool tensioning knob, having this set fairly tight will minimise your over runs.
Two choices here, braided or mono. Braided line differs greatly from mono as it has virtually no stretch at all. For the lure fisherman this has been one of the best developments in years. Braid allows us to detect even the slightest takes, thus enabling us to hit every strike. Due to the sensitivity of braid we can actually feel the difference between fish, weed or bottom. For jerk bait fishing I tend to go for 50/80lb breaking strain, people seem to get confused into thinking this is for bullying fish into the net! The real reason for heavier braid is to compensate for the lack of stretch (shock absorbency), try using a heavy jerk bait with 20lb braided line, "you'll crack off".
Finally traces. I prefer a solid leader 12" in length, my choice of wire is 175lb breaking strain stainless steel trace, with a 150lb swivel and finished off with a 175lb snap link. This set up will resist the heavy punishment of casting heavy plugs, may be as many as 1,000 casts a day! Another advantage of these traces is that they prevent tangles as the bait shoots forward running over the trace, a flexible trace must be at least 60lb breaking strain to avoid this problem. Recently I have moved over to 100lb breaking strain Titanium traces as they give improved performance and lifespan.