How to Make and Use a Duck-Decoy Jerk Cord

Add life to a dead deke spread with a DIY jerk cord. The ducks won’t be far behind

decoy spread
A duck hunter works his decoy spread in the timber.Bill Buckley

Stationary decoys sitting atop a flat-water surface create no ripples, no movement, and no attraction to real ducks. A spread like that screams Stay away! Fortunately, there's a low-cost solution to this frozen-soldier dilemma: the jerk cord. Simple to make, easy to operate, and downright deadly, a jerk cord can often translate into a heavy duck strap.

1. Your Gear List

Here’s what you need: a 1 1⁄2-pound folding grapple anchor; 24 inches of bungee cord, which gives the rig “bounce”; two hose clamps; a 3-inch brass dog-lead clip; 100 feet of p-cord; and three water-keel decoys.

2. How to Rig It

Pass one end of the bungee cord through the clip on the grapple anchor, make a loop, and cinch it with a hose clamp. Clamp another loop in the opposite end. Secure the dog clip to one end of the parachute cord.

3. Set the Spread

Attach the dekes by passing a loop of p-cord through each tie-off point on the keel. Bring it over the block and cinch tight. Clip the lead to the free bungee loop, then drop the anchor. Set a few decoys near the jerk line.

4. Make It Move

Give the p-cord a good jerk—but not so strong that the dekes look unnatural—then release. You want to create ripples that’ll move the adjacent decoys, and signal to birds overhead that this is where they need to be.

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