Z-Man Jack Hammer Fishing Tips
The Z-Man Jack Hammer Chatterbait is quickly gaining a reputation as a bait that produces tournament-winning results! Jody Queen, the 2019 Tournament of Champions winner, admits that you get what you pay for when it comes to the Jack Hammer. So far, it has helped him win $40,000 in tournament payouts!...talk about putting your money where your mouth is! Jody's go-to bait hasn't always been the Jack Hammer though. After he started using it, he realized the results that it produces and has since become a must-have in his fishing arsenal. One of his favorite characteristics of the Jack Hammer, besides the fact that it puts a nice chunk of change in his pocket, is that it is so versatile! If the standard 'throw it out and reel it in' chatterbait technique isn't producing bites, you can slow down your retrieve for modified action, speed up for a 'hunting' action, or even fish it like a jig! The Jack Hammer's capabilities are endless.
So, what's the big deal? Just like countless other anglers out there, you're probably wondering what makes the Jack Hammer so special compared to other lower-priced chatterbaits on the market. One substantial difference between the Jack Hammer and other chatterbaits is its responsiveness. Once you cast it out and begin to retrieve, the Jack Hammer immediately begins vibrating, whereas other $5-6 chatterbaits take a couple of cranks before you'll start to feel the action kick in. The Jack Hammer is ready for action the moment it hits the water, instead of needing a little warm-up like other chatterbaits need to get going. There are plenty of other characteristical differences, however, Jody seems to sum it up best with a short fishing story:
"I started off using some different chatterbaits...and a buddy of mine was sitting next to me on the Susquehanna River last year and I was murdering them. And he pulled up to me and was like 'Man, what are you using?' I showed him the Jack Hammer I was using and he was using a different [chatterbait] and we sat in the same hole side by side and were casting across each other and all around each other, we were fishing the same hole, and I outfished him 3-1 with that. I gave him a Jack Hammer, he tied it on, and he started catching them. So that was the start of answering that question (referencing to what makes the Jack Hammer different)."
The proof is clearly in the pudding! Now that you know a little more about why the Jack Hammer is worth your investment, let us look into some of Jody's equipment recommendations...
Recommended Rod: Medium/heavy 7'3" fast/extra fast tip
Recommended Line: 14-17# Flurocarbon
Recommend Reel: 7.3:1-8.3:1 gear ratio
Jody admits that you don't need a 'fancy chatterbait' rod because a good 'ol 7'3" will do. Tie your chatterbait on with 100% Flurocarbon 14-17 pound test line for river and lake fishing. Also, Jody prefers to use an 8.3:1 reel when fishing the Jack Hammer in a lot of cover, because he can start his retrieve really fast and get the bait up and out quickly. Now that we're talking applications, let's look at Jody's recommendations as to where to fish the Jack Hammer...
Recommended Applications: used for both smallmouth and largemouth bass in any type of grass cover, hydrilla pockets, rocky rivers, and shallow waters (5 feet or less)
Jody's biggest piece of advance is to not be afraid to chuck it in the grass. If you're nervous about the price you paid for the Jack Hammer, just take the leap and practice in shallow waters until you get comfortable. It's not the hook that usually gets hung up, it's the head of the bait, so if you do get hung up it shouldn't be too difficult to retrieve back if you're in shallow waters. If you find a pocket back in the hydrillas, cast it back and just let the Jack Hammer sink down. Then, just keep yanking it through the grass and inevitably, if the bass are in there, they'll bite it! If you're fishing a rocky river, such as the New River in West Virginia, you'll notice that the Jack Hammer will just hop over the rocks, creating enhanced motion and vibration that will call the fish in for dinner!
The Jack Hammer produces results in lakes, rivers, and creeks (or cricks if you prefer). The only thing that you'll need to be mindful of is your Jack Hammer and trailer color selection based upon the conditions and areas that you're fishing. Here are some of Jody's recommendations...
Smallmouth Rocky River Fishing - use a green pumpkin Jack Hammer and a green pumpkin trailer. If you're fishing fast, Jody recommends using a RaZor ShadZ trailer, or if you're fishing slow use a DieZel MinnowZ.
Dark Lake Water Fishing- use a black and blue Jack Hammer with a black and blue trailer. The recommended trailer is again a RaZor ShadZ or DieZel MinnowZ based on the desired speed and targeted area in the water column.
Cold, Muddy Water Fishing- use a black and blue Jack Hammer with a black and blue trailer. Jody recommends using a large grub-like trailer to slow the chatterbait down, such as a Havoc Twin Tail or a Gary Yamamoto Hula Grub.
Florida Fishing- use a golden shiner Jack Hammer with any type of iridescent-colored RaZor ShadZ trailer.
Shad Spawn Fishing- use a green pumpkin or white Jack Hammer with a pearl RaZor ShadZ. Jody even recommends customizing your shad-imitation trailer by using a black marker and making a strip down the side and using a red marker to make small gill plates near the head.
Now that you've got the basics down and have tips from Jody Queen himself, you are ready to hit the water and give the Jack Hammer a go! Here's one last piece of advice from Jody: "Have patience, a positive attitude, and never give up!" Never get out there and Fish On!
- Erica Novak