Jerk Rig Care and Use
Instructions for Care and Use
Thank you for purchasing our Mo’betta Jerk Rig! With proper use and care, it should put ducks “feet down” in your decoy spread for many seasons. Before you go out in the field, please be sure to read the following information to make sure you get the most out of your purchase, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. Happy Hunting!
Your Mo’betta Jerk Rig is made from quality components and designed for hard use in tough conditions. But just as there is certain maintenance that must be performed periodically on other piece duck hunting gear; there are things you can do to make sure you get the most use out of your new jerk rig. The general rule of thumb is to treat it like you would a wooden call or a shotgun with wood furniture. This means:
- Do not do not soak the handle of your Mo’betta Jerk Rig in water for prolonged periods. This may cause swelling or splitting.
- Do not leave your Mo’betta Jerk Rig on the dashboard of your truck or sitting out in the sun on your tailgate. Drastic and rapid temperature changes may cause swelling or cracking.
- Do not leave your Mo’betta Jerk Rig in the bilge area of your boat.
- Do not run over your Mo’betta Jerk Rig with your truck.
- Do not give your Mo’betta Jerk Rig to your retriever for a chew toy.
- Do not set your Mo’betta Jerk Rig on fire.
Oil your handle at least once before and after a season, or whenever you notice the handle seems a little dry. It is not possible to over-oil your handle, but you can under-oil it! We recommend wiping it down with a good quality Teak Oil. Teak Oil is made with marine/outdoors use in mind and is cheap and easy to apply simply by pouring a little onto a rag and rubbing it into the handle. Remove the string and bungee before application and reattach it once the oil has had time to soak in and the excess has been wiped away. If you cannot get Teak Oil, Tung or Linseed Oil will work.
Do not stretch the bungee as you wrap it around the handle for storage. Doing so will over time decrease the amount the bungee stretches and shorten the life of the bungee cord. You can stretch the cord on the last wrap in order to secure it by looping it over a finger of the handle, as shown in this manual.
The brass snap-bolt will require periodic oiling to ensure proper performance. A drop or two of light oil where the bolt slides in the frame will suffice. Ronsonol or Zippo brand lighter fluid is a good lubricant that does not leave a heavy film. Heavy lubricants will attract dust and can gum up in cold weather, impeding function.
We choose to finish our handles with oil instead of varnish or polyurethane because it is easy to touch up and refinish in the event of a nick, scratch, or dent. If you damage your call, perhaps by dropping it on the concrete boat ramp, you can sand the handle with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper to remove the blemish, wipe with a damp towel, and oil.
If your handle should develop a crack, a small amount of quality, waterproof wood glue such as Titebond 3 can be applied to the crack and worked into it with a toothpick. Wipe with a damp cloth, and for large cracks clamp in a padded vice until the glue sets. Excess can be sanded away once dry.
Your Mo’betta Jerk Rig will arrive with 4 decoy clips that allow you to quickly secure decoys anywhere on the jerk line with minimum effort. You can order additional clips if you desire, or add additional decoys without them as explained in the “Pro Tips” section. We highly recommend attaching the clips to whatever decoys you wish to use with the rig before the hunt. No other rigging is necessary on the selected decoys. For maximum visibility to ducks, we recommend selecting decoys that are either very dark (black ducks), have lots of white highlights (pintail), have lots of contrasting colors (drake wood duck) or feeder (butt-up) decoys. Once this is done, you are ready to hunt.
While the Mo’betta Jerk Rig is the most effective and versatile way to add motion to your spread, it is not magic! No products, not even good ones, kill ducks. Good hunters who know how to use good products properly kill ducks. There are 3 critical factors to duck hunting success that are often overlooked. For the Mo’betta Jerk Rig to work, you must remember the following 3 Rules to Successful Duck Hunting:
- Be where the ducks want to be. You cannot kill ducks in an area that does not hold any ducks, and the closer you are to the “X” the easier it will be for ducks to “buy into” the illusion you are creating with your decoys. Ducks want to rest and eat in peace. Remembering this simple truth and focusing your scouting and hunting around finding food and low-hunter-pressure areas will bring you more success than any tool or toy you can buy.
- Be hidden. A good spot instantly becomes a bad spot if the ducks see you there. Birds have remarkable eyesight and a flock of waterfowl can contain hundreds of sharp eyes scanning for threats as they consider a resting place. Wear proper camouflage, stick to the shadows, break up your outline, stay low, and keep movement to a minimum when hunting. Try to set up so that ducks looking at the decoys are not also looking at you. This generally means you want ducks to approach from left-to-right or right-to-left.
- Make it easy for the ducks to land where you want them. Think about how ducks will approach and land in a spot. In open conditions larger species of ducks will generally circle and land with the wind in their faces, but small ducks and birds in narrow or thick conditions will often come in with no regard for wind and however they are able. They may drop through a hole in the canopy of flooded timber created by a fallen down tree, or utilize a straight stretch of a small creek to land. Watch as many ducks land as you can, and whenever you set up in an area try to image how ducks are going to want to land. Then, set your decoys up so that they give the ducks the courage to do what they already wanted to do.
Once those basics are taken care of, it’s time to set your spread. While magazines and TV shows often focus on private hunting areas where hunters can afford and use hundreds of decoys, most hunters will have to work with a much smaller spread. Paired with a Mo’Betta Jerk Rig and good scouting, 2 dozen decoys is usually more than enough to create the illusion of a happy and safe flock of birds, and it is possible to kill birds with just 2 or 3 decoys in some situations!
Some people prefer to set their decoys in a “C,” “V,” or “U” shape. This works well if you have enough decoys and are hunting ducks that have “read the playbook,” but pressured ducks apparently do not read many duck hunting magazines and articles. Most of the time if we are hunting with a smaller spread we set decoys out “randomly,” since that generally mimics real ducks and is easy to do. Do not clump decoys together too tightly! Tightly clustered ducks are usually uneasy ducks. Watch a flock of birds on the water and you will notice that just before they take off after being spooked they will bunch together. Relaxed and contented ducks usually form loose flocks. Allow 5-6ft between decoys at a minimum. Many jerk rig manufacturers put their decoy clips too close together, which is unnatural. We let you choose the spacing.
Also, we recommend if possible that you set your furthest decoy in the spread 10 yards inside the maximum range you are comfortable shooting ducks at. If you feel good about a 40 yard shot, set your furthest decoy 30 yards out. This way you know that if birds are coming down into the decoys, they are in range! The main advantage of a decoy spread is not the ability to call birds from far away into places they don’t want to be, but to “fine tune” them and coax them exactly where you want them to be.
Generally we set jerk rigs in one of 3 ways:
- With the decoys in a loose flock and the jerk rig anchored on the far end of them, attach enough decoys so that they are distributed throughout the flock and spaced far enough to create circular ripples that overlap and create fractal patterns. This is perhaps the most basic and common way to set a jerk rig. Ideally you want to be able to put the expanding rings created so that they cover all the decoys and give the illusion that everybody is moving. This interlocking circular pattern is visible from very far away and from very high up. Wildlife officials conducting aerial population surveys commonly report that this is the first thing they see when flying over marshes.
- You can also mimic a small group of birds that have just touched down on the edge of the main flock and are swimming in to join it. Anchor your rig in the flock or on the far edge of it. Place decoys so that when the jerk rig is relaxed the leading one is just on the edge of the flock. Stretch the bungee all the way out to put distance between the jerk rig decoys and the main flock. We make our Mo’betta Jerk rig with more bungee than the competition so you can get a good, long, swimming path. You can work the jerk rig as you normally would with tension applied. When ducks circle close to inspect the decoys, release the cord and let the decoys swim towards the main flock. This is a very realistic scenario that usually triggers birds to pitch in to follow the decoys as they swim. It also allows you to stop all motion in the blind at the critical moment when birds are deciding whether to commit.
- Many times the best hunting is in areas where you can get the job done with just 2 or 3 decoys. On heavily-hunted properties, being willing and able to walk in a long distance or paddle a small kayak to get to small flocks of very wary birds can lead you to success where others struggle. Many of our favorite hunts have involved nothing more than 3 decoys, a jerk rig, an early alarm, and a long trek into a small honey hole. This “spread” can be set in just a couple of minutes and taken down just as quickly. Anchor the jerk rig and walk back to your hide, clipping your decoys onto the line in the desired landing zone as you go. Pull in several feet of line and hold the tension, and when birds are sighted jerk on the rig to make a commotion. When they swing closer and lower, release the line to let the ducks swim. They will create an extremely realistic V wake that will not flare even the spookiest ducks. Once you get the hang of this, it will amaze you how 2 or 3 decoys moving realistically can outperform large spreads and trendy electronic contraptions.
- Our clips are quick and convenient for attaching decoys to the line, but sometimes you might need more decoys on the line than you have clips for, and not all decoys have holes in good places for clipping into. Maybe you’re hunting with your buddy and using his decoys, or maybe the mounting hole on one of your decoys broke through. Whatever the circumstance, if you need to quickly get a decoy on the line and don’t have a clip, you can do so by grabbing a section of line, putting a a few twists in it to form a loop, sliding that loop over the keel, and applying some tension to the line. This can be done in a matter of seconds with any decoy rigged any way.
- If you keep several feet of tension on the bungee cord, when ducks approach you can let go of the line, allowing the decoys to swim very naturally. This way you get motion on the water without having to move when birds are close. It also frees up your hands to grab the gun!
- One of the wonderful things about a jerk rig is you can SNATCH the jerk cord to make the decoys thrash and make lots of commotion, or you can barely pop it to make ripples similar to a pulsating feeder decoy. General rule of thumb is to keep it realistic and fairly subtle on pressured birds or days when visibility is high, but to dial it up for new birds or under conditions where visibility is low. But if the first few flocks don’t seem interested, experiment! “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” And, “Rules are made to be broken.”
- Work a jerk rig similar to how you call. You may have heard to “call on the corners,” or “call at their butts.” In a similar way, with a jerk rig you generally want to make lots of commotion when birds aren’t directly looking at your spread and dial it back when they give it a look.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
You may at some point experience frustration while using your Mo’betta Jerk Rig, just like you have probably experienced frustration with your calling. The Mo’betta Jerk Rig is a wonderful tool. However, it is not set-it-and-forget it or “plug-and-play.” Like a duck call, it is only as good as the person using it, and the more you use it the better your results will be. You have probably blown sour notes on your call or called at the wrong time and flared birds. The call didn’t mess things up, you did! Similarly, you will in all likelihood flare a few birds if you have never or rarely used a jerk rig before. You may spook birds that saw you pulling the string, or think to yourself, “I could have shot those birds if I would have had my hands on my gun instead of that darned jerk rig!” Remember Rule #2 (get hidden), set up so that incoming birds aren’t looking straight at you, and learn to make motion that birds will see “out the corner of their eyes.” With enough practice this will all become 2nd nature and it will amaze you how easily birds can be coaxed into the killing zone with your Mo’betta Jerk Rig.