I love to learn about new baits. I recently discovered Tim Rundle talking about and catching lots of bass on the JaKKed Baits SKKaterbait. So I reached out to Tim about this vibrating jig. Tim gives us a lot of detail about why he loves the SKKaterbait and how he fishes it.
How long have you been fishing JaKKed Baits and specifically the SKKaterbait?
I have been fishing JaKKed products for about 2 years now and have been a regional team lead for about a year. The SKKaterbait was the first JaKKed product I ever fished. I’ve been a huge fan of vibrating jigs for a long time so I was immediately drawn to the SKKaterbait. It has an extremely erratic vibration that I have yet to find from any other vibrating jig. You constantly feel like you are in communication with the bait at the end of your line. It runs very true, but the blade makes it move all over the place on the retrieve.
Do you consider this seasonal bait?
I’m pretty stubborn with the SKKaterbait. I never go fishing without it tied on regardless of the time of the year. This is because it is so versatile. I probably have the most success on it during the spring, but I fish it all summer, fall, and if I’m lucky enough to find water in the winter.
Time of year and water temp really dictates my retrieve. I prefer to give a straight retrieve because I can cover a ton of water. But there are some days when a yo-yo style is super effective. I’ve always fished it like a standard jig and dragged it across the bottom. That little bit of flash as you drag it can really trigger some mean strikes.
What are your favorite largemouth bass waters to throw the SKKaterbait?
My absolute favorite body of water to through the SKKaterbait is the Potomac River. I love ripping it through the grass during the pre-spawn. My other favorite small, private lake in South Central PA called Lake Meade.
One of the big advantages of the SKKaterbait is its arkie style head that is similar to the JaKKed DoKK RoKK. This allows you to skip it way back under docks or overhang that you can’t get to with a lot of moving baits. I like to pop the SKKaterbait through laydown branches, too. It’s something a little different and that quick flash does a good job of mimicking a baitfish.
I am taking a guess but it looks like you may have been fishing the SKKaterbait on my home body of water the Susquehanna River. What are the keys to success to using the SKKaterbait for river smallmouth?
A vibrating jig for Susquehanna River smallmouth bass fishing is one of the greatest treasures in life. If you haven’t done it yet you need to. The day you are referring to I boated somewhere between 60 to 70 smallies in muddy water mostly using the “Rivermonster” color. For reference, my partner was fishing a different vibrating jig and did not have nearly that success.
I was mostly targeting eddies and slower water behind rocks. Most strikes came within 3 to 5 turns of the reel. I like to target areas like that where there is likely a fish nearby waiting for baitfish or other food to get swept by for an easy meal. Again, if you haven’t fished the SKKaterbait for smallmouth, you really need to.
Which sizes do you fish?
I think size really comes down to preference. With the slightly heavier 1/2 oz version you’ll get a slightly quicker fall. Since I rarely fish the sKKaterbait in super deep water I go to 3/8 oz more often than not. I think that is the perfect size for any bladed jig. I think that has more to do with what I’ve had success with rather than any scientific backing.
What rod and reel combo are you throwing the Skkaterbait?
I use a 7’1″ MH Halo Twilite Series rod and pair it with a 6.4:1 casting reel. I like that rod because the MH gives me enough backbone to get a good hookset especially in grass without being overly stiff to the point that I can’t feel the full vibration of the bait.
Length is important for a SKKaterbait. I wouldn’t go any longer than 7’1″ and ideally I may even drop it down to a 6’11” rod. This allows you to be a little more accurate with your cast which is important when targeting docks and laydowns. For the reel, I like the 6.4:1 gear ratio because it allows me to vary my retrieve easier. Going up to a 7:1 makes it tough for me to slow it down enough and vice versa for a 5:1.
How about line choice?
I have almost always thrown the SKKaterbait on 12 to 15 lb flurocarbon line. The lakes and rivers I fish are generally rocky and relatively clear. I think the fluro does a good job of hiding itself and is more resilient to abrasion. It also sinks faster which is good for getting to the area in the water column that I want to fish a little bit faster.
However, I’ve had some friends recommend braid and I’ve given it a try. I’ve considered going to it full-time. Braid has super low memory which can be an issue with fluro because of how much action the SKKaterbait has.
What are your favorite colors of the SKKaterbait?
Like any bait, color selection goes directly with water color. In clear waters I’ll use chartreuse and white, badgill, KentuKKy kraw, and smoKKed shad most often. In murky to dark water I’ll use blakk/blue and rivermonster. I also take a lot of notice of any forage when selecting colors.
What trailers are you using with it?
My two go-to trailers are the Lake Fork Trophy Lures Live Magic Shad and Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw. They are two trailers that have a lot of action by themselves. When you pair it with the SKKaterbait it gets to a whole new level. I most often use the Live Magic Shad, but if I see crawfish or notice that the fish’s gill plates are red I’ll switch to the Vibe Craw. That is always a good sign they are eating craws.
What other JaKKed products do you love to fish?
JaKKed has some incredible products. I really do trust them all. I am a huge fan of the Flash JaKK underspin, 413 ShaKKers, and our DoKK RoKK.
This year I am really looking forward to adding our new KP Pow-R Finesse jig to my arsenal. This jig is hand designed by BASS Elite and MLF Pro Keith Poche. He has put a lot of time and effort into perfecting this bait. It has a super unique head with two flat sides that help it skip very well and standup. If you are interested in testing any of our products be sure to use my code Rundle1 at checkout to save yourself some money.
Who are your other sponsors?
I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great companies the past couple of years. Most of which I first got associated with through fishing with the Penn State club. A couple being Adam’s Custom Lures, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Rod Sox, and last year I began fishing Halo Rods. They’ve given me opportunities to discover new products that I have high trust and confidence in. As an angler, confidence is key.