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Obviously Jump’n Jacks look like a baitfish, so it seems reasonable that you will likely be
trying to imitate a baitfish when you fish it. But that doesn’t tell the whole story since there
are many species of minnows and baitfish around the world in fresh and saltwater, both in
which you will find the Jump’n Jack Spinner to be at home. In fact, you will also find that
the Jump’n Jack Spinner can make a great imitation of crustaceans like crawfish, crabs, and
shrimp in both aquatic environments. That substantially expands its effective range of use.
Perhaps the best way to help you learn to fish Jump’n Jacks is to assist you in developing a
system of rigging and fishing techniques to apply to your fishing conditions. Jump’n Jacks
come in a range of styles, sizes, and weights. The optimum rigging and fishing strategies
are detailed below for each Jump’n Jack Spinner.
Fishing Techniques for Jump’n Jack Spinners
Just what the name implies, this is fishing in a very slow retrieve; deep, near, or on the
bottom depending on what you are trying to imitate or accomplish. That fact is you can’t
fish a Jump’n Jack slow enough that it won’t spin. That means you can imitate a very
slowly moving baitfish or perhaps even a crawfish, salamander, crab, or shrimp moving
slowly along the bottom. This is primarily a slow-moving or still body of water technique.
If a slow roll is attempted in fast moving water it will obviously not work as the Jump’n
Jack would likely ride to the top as soon as it is swept down stream.
We used a slow-roll technique when fishing in the Gulf of Mexico off Venice, Louisiana, for
redfish a while back. We were at the mouth of the Mississippi River in about 15 feet of
water over a sandy bottom with a few rocks. It was one of our most exciting days of
catching redfish with fish running between 15 and 30 pounds. The Jump’n Jack of choice
was white in color, and the massive and powerful jaws of the fish did not manage to tear up
a single Jump’n Jack all day long.
There is another deep technique that I have used successfully for trout and bass in swift
streams that is worth a try. By casting the Jump’n Jack upstream and allowing it to drop to
the bottom, it can be bounced along on the bottom as it drifts downstream. That means
that the Jump’n Jack will tumble, spin, and generally gyrate its way along the rocks and
bottom like a drifting, injured or dead baitfish. That makes a particularly attractive and easy
target for a fish. I have used this technique in the Ozarks for smallmouth bass and trout,
and also for trout on the San Juan River in New Mexico.
The strike will be sudden, not that different from hanging on something, but the fish will
likely hook itself and you will immediately know you are into a fish. Yes, you may
occasionally hang on a rock or twig, but not often since the tail of the Jump’n Jack tends to
fend off such obstacles. This is still “fishin’” after all, and hangs are just a part of the
game. A single, instead of a treble hook, will frequently help if the river has a lot of snags,
and I have found no difference in the hookup-to-strike ratios.
One other important aspect of this kind of fishing is the equipment itself. I will detail much
of the equipment requirements below, but one important factor that may not be readily
apparent is the length of the rod chosen for this kind of drift fishing; the longer the rod the
better. A long rod allows you to reach high and keep as much line out of the water as
possible. That stops drag on the casting line and improves the feel as the Jump’n Jack
bounces along. Strikes will be more easily felt. Also keep in mind that as the cast swings
downstream and the line straightens that the Jump’n Jack will rise from the bottom and
begin spinning quickly. Strikes will frequently come as the lure swings across the current
to a point below you. If you make the mistake of allowing your rod tip to follow the lure
downstream, and a fish strikes it directly below you, the fish is likely to be lost along with
your lure. Most downstream strikes are violent and it is important to have your rod
positioned so that the flex of the rod can absorb the force of the downstream strike. A rod
with a little more flex is desirable for this kind of fishing.
This is a deep water technique that I have used successfully for bass, crappie, and other
fish that sometimes hold deep in a lake. It is simplicity itself, and the action of the Jump’n
Jack is dramatic enough that it will always draw strikes if the fish are there. Other types of
deep water jigging lures will pale in comparison when you watch them side by side. Jump’n
Jacks are specially balanced so that when they fall through the water attached to a line, they
will spin and swim around with a mind of their own. It seems that each individual Jump’n
Jack has its own “spin” on this action, so to speak.
One of my most successful strategies with this technique was utilized while lake fishing for
bass during the full moon in July on Beaver Lake in Arkansas. We located bass in a
submerged tree that were suspended in about 30 feet of water. We used the silver 1/2 oz.
Fat Shad model and dropped it into the tree on 12 pound test mono. The action was steady
and a number of nice spotted bass came to the boat.
The technique is to lower the Jump’n Jack into the midst of the fish and then raise the rod
tip, letting the lure swim back down when the rod is lowered. The fish typically hit it on the
fall and when the rod is next raised the fish will be hooked. If a tree limb is hooked it is
generally freed easily by jigging the Jump’n Jack against the hook until it releases. This is
much the same technique as releasing a hooked spoon except that the Jump’n Jack tends to
hang up less frequently, again because of the fending action of the Jump’n Jack tail.
This is a particularly exciting and very versatile technique with a number of variations
depending on the setting and the fish you are after. It works in streams, lakes, and in the
salt. The unique shape of a Jump’n Jack and the way it spins so easily will allow it to stay
on top and water will spray in every direction. This works best with a long rod and
requires good control of your reel. By immediately using the draw from the rod tip and
immediate engagement of the reel you can easily keep the Jump’n Jack on the surface of the
water . . . and once there it doesn’t have to be retrieved rapidly to keep it there.
One exciting buzzing technique is on small streams for smallmouth and largemouth bass. If
you have spent much time on such small streams you will frequently see small baitfish
fleeing from the unseen maw of a smallmouth or largemouth bass. Sometimes you will
witness quite a chase scene until the baitfish is ultimately caught or gets away. I have
simulated this by casting the small size Jump’n Jack to a likely spot along the bank and then
quickly buzzing it back toward me with the rod tip until I let it drop beneath the water.
Many times I have taken smallmouth as soon as the buzzing action stops and the Jump’n
Jack drops into the water. With a little more vigorous draw from the rod tip you can even
make the bait skip a time or two. This is a particularly difficult action for a bass to ignore.
Buzzing is also very effective in lakes and along the shore lines of bays on the ocean. By
using a steady retrieve you can either keep the bait on the surface throwing a spray of
water, or you can allow it to just drop beneath the film to create a wake. Both techniques
have been effective for me on lakes for bass and we have taken speckled trout, redfish,
snook, ladyfish, and other species in saltwater. There can be no more exciting way to draw
a strike since the fish usually crashes to the surface and immediately hooks up!
I briefly mentioned this above, but to expand on it a little; this can be a very exciting
strategy in all types of water. In fresh water it is a common site to see bass, white bass,
stripers, and wipers chasing shad across the surface. There will be frequent moments
when the baitfish will be airborne trying to flee their pursuers. The more they jump, the
more excited the game fish seem to get as they chase them down. This is also common in
saltwater with game fish of all species chasing herring and mullet. It will be easily imitated
with a Jump’n Jack Spinner. Again a long rod with good reel and line control are the ticket
since you need to keep as tight a line as possible to get a good hook set. I have taken many
fish in both fresh and saltwater with this exciting technique. One day stand out in particular
when I would frequently cast through standing dead timer and skip the Jump’n Jack back
through the tree limbs. The bass were frantic to catch it and hookups were frequent.
While this sounds more mundane, it is usually everything but. It is simplicity itself to just
steadily retrieve your bait back to the boat or bank at a steady rate. A number of features of
the Jump’n Jack make this a good fishing strategy. Not mentioned up to now is the fact
that the Jump’n Jack creates sort of a holographic image of a fish when it spins, so it looks
like the real thing. That effect is because the reflection is duplicated each time it spins and
reflects the ambient light. It has the appearance of a baitfish and the depth of a baitfish
body. It also sends out exciting vibrations that are seemingly impossible for a game fish to
resist. I have drawn more strikes from fish with Jump’n Jack Spinners than any lure I have
ever fished and sometimes all I have to do is just cast it and retrieve it steadily back to my
Regardless of the strategy you choose for your day or night of fishing, if you are casting a
Jump’n Jack Spinner, you are doing the right thing and it will work for you. There are a
number of considerations for choosing the right Jump'n Jack Spinner and rigging it to your
|Fishing Strategies and Techniques
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