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How to Make a Jerk String

Easy-to-make jerk strings add movement to any spread
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  • photo by Chris Foshee
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Story at a Glance
  • Ducks are attracted to natural movement on the water, and nothing is more natural than a duck making some ripples while it swims. 
  • Jerk strings are one of the oldest forms of adding movement to decoy spreads.
  • Building a jerk string yourself can be done by following these easy steps.
  • Be sure to test your new jerk string in a small pond or pool before heading to the field.
By James Card

Ducks are attracted to natural movement on the water, and nothing is more natural than a duck making some ripples while it swims. How do you get this natural movement in your spread? Rig some of your decoys with a jerk string. With one tug of the line you can add realistic motion that brings in the ducks. All you need is some decoy line, an anchor, a bungee cord and snap swivels. 

The Main Line

Use decoy line or a dark-colored braided nylon cord. How much line you will need depends on the distance of your blind to your decoy spread. A good starting length is 100 feet—you can always tie on more line. 

The Anchor

Your jerk string must be securely anchored to the bottom or you may end up pulling your decoys right into your blind. You can use a small boat anchor, a coffee can filled with concrete, or any heavy object that you think will do the job. Another anchoring method in shallow water is to sink a metal rod into the bottom of the marsh.

Putting It Together

Attach one end of the bungee cord to the anchor and attach the other end to the decoy line. The bungee cord stretches when you pull the line and retracts to bring the decoys back to their original position, creating movement and ripples.

Estimate how close your blind is to the first decoy in your spread. That's where you want to attach the first snap swivel on the jerk string. Space the other swivels at intervals of your choice. Usually hunters space them three to 10 feet apart. Attach the swivels to the keel on each decoy, which helps keep the line from getting twisted and tangled.

Test your rig at a nearby pond this summer and see how it works, and then make any necessary modifications. By the time the season comes around you should have a good feel for how to use one of the most effective decoy tools known to waterfowlers. And best of all, you put it together yourself.

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