Often the best way to get summertime bass to intercept a hard jerkbait is to fish it like you're playing a fast-paced game of keep-away.
Rapala's X-Rap, which was specifically designed for such work, is most notable at producing the kind of erratic, slashing motion that irritates bass, smallmouths in particular, into striking.
Be it a lake or river, the high action jerkbait pattern works best when the water is clear. With a high level of visibility bass are choosy, having plenty of time to inspect a lure and turn their noses. The 2 1/2 to 3 1/8-inch original X-Raps draw bass up and out of feeding nooks by both churning out lots of energy and reducing the quality of potential scrutiny.
To maximize the energy put into the jerkbait, fish it on a medium power spinning outfit, the reel loaded with no-stretch 20-pound-test braided superline. Most anglers find it easier to produce a stronger jerk with spinning equipment, in part because it's worked with the dominant arm; braided line transmits the angler's energy into the lure. Add a 3- to 4-foot fluorocarbon or monofilament leader to add a degree of shock absorption.
Work the lure by making hard downward slashes with the rod tip while reeling in the resulting slack. Keep the slashes erratic and frequent, the pauses short. When done right your forearm will bark a bit, a discomfort numbed by the number of hooked bass.