Today's J-Plug® is even better-built and
more effective than its predecessors as it's made of super-strong materials
and designed for maximum action and strength. Another big difference is the
availability of special J-Plug® finishes designed specifically for deep water
trolling and low light conditions such as the special "Glo" patterns
which pick up surface light and give it off down deep. There is a special
J-Plug® finish available today which will fit any fishing situation, whether
you're after salmon, lake trout, stripers, brown trout or other large game
BASIC MINNOW IMAGE
J-Plugs® are fast-action, darting plugs
ideally suited for trolling. They are effective because they project a basic
minnow image in the water which all fish relate to in all water conditions.
This is a basic, wounded minnow, fast darting action which comes from a
combination of special swivel chain rigging and lure head chamber design. The
precisely engineered tolerance between the rigging and head chamber allows the
swivel chain to shift and reposition itself within the chamber. This
constantly changes the plug's attitude and direction in the water and creates
its fish-catching, erratic, darting action.
The swivel chain rigging also allows a
direct rod to fish connection after the strike as the plug body will slide up
the line, free of the chain and hook assembly and away from the fish. This
eliminates head-shaking leverage against the plug body that causes many fish
hooked with solid body-to-hook plugs to break free. Because the J-Plug® is
buoyant and separates from the hook assembly, it will float to the surface
where it can be retrieved in the case of a line break or bottom snag.
The J-Plug® is a trolling lure and can
be fished successfully with a variety of techniques. Trolling is a most
effective fishing method, particularly on big waters, as you can cover the
greatest amount of water in the shortest time allowing you to locate
concentrations of fish quickly and easily. Following are recommended J-Plug®
With the surface or flatline technique, the plug is tied directly to 12- to
20-lb. test main line. No additional weights are used or, at most, a small
1/8- to 1/2-oz. keel-type sinker six feet up the line from the plug. The lure
is let out behind your moving boat 50 to 100 feet (anglers fishing for lake
trout or brown trout sometimes let out as much as 200 feet of line as these
fish can be very skittish of the boat wake) and the troll started. This
technique is effective when stripers, lake trout, salmon or brown trout are
feeding near the schools of baitfish close to the top or when there is an
obvious abundance of other surface activity.
With the addition of a standard keel sinker four to six feet up the line from
the J-Plug®, shallow to medium depths can be trolled effectively. Sinker
weights, depending on the depth desired, for this kind of trolling usually run
from 1 to 8 ounces with main line testing from 12 to 30 pounds. Note: Always
attach a swivel chain-rigged keel sinker with the single swivel end knotted to
your main line and the swivel chain end back to the plug. As in flatlining,
let out 50 to 100 feet of line behind your moving boat and begin the troll.
One effective way to get a plug deep without excessive lead weights, or if you
don't have a downrigger, is with a diving sinker such as the Deep Six®, Pink
Lady® or directional Dipsy Diver®. Standard rigging is with 4 to 6 feet of
leader between plug and diver and 20- to 30-lb. test main line to your rod.
Set the diver to diving position, or in
the case of the directional Dipsy® set both the depth and side angle desired,
let out 50 to 100 feet of line behind your moving boat (slowly to ensure that
no tangles occur) and begin the troll.
J-Plugs® often are fished off a downrigger, by themselves (the most popular
way). With a downrigger you will be able to work all depths and will have the
advantage of no weights between you and the fish once hooked. Anglers who
troll J-Plugs® by themselves behind a downrigger often prefer 10 to 20 feet
(some as much as 40 feet) between the line release and plug. The longer
lengths add to the erratic, darting action of the plug.
Dodgers can be used as attractors in
conjunction with a #3 J-Plug® behind a downrigger with good results. Size 0
or Size 1 Jensen Dodgers are recommended. Be sure to allow at least six feet
of line between the dodger and downrigger line release so as not to inhibit
the dodger's action. Allow 20 to 30 inches of leader between your plug and
dodger (shorter leaders impart faster plug action and longer leaders slower
LARGE PLUGS / LARGE FISH
Larger fish do prefer large plugs. Big
fish will spend the least amount of energy necessary to catch a meal . . .
larger baitfish mean less energy expended to fill up. So, if you're after big
salmon or lake trout, use the larger J-Plugs®. But, remember that smaller
fish often will not attack a large plug so the use of larger plugs, although
great for big fish, may prevent you from catching smaller ones.
Standard J-Plugs® are popular because
they are especially effective in deep water trolling situations, although, as
indicated, they may be successfully used in medium or shallow water as well.
The J-Plug® features a basic minnow design with a darting, erratic,
free-swimming action which all fish relate to. These plugs are easy to fish,
require no tuning and the direct hook-to-rod connection prevents fish from
obtaining leverage against the plug, resulting in more landed fish per number
of strikes. J-Plugs® also come in a variety of sizes and finishes (rattle
models are available) to fit every fishing situation and are versatile as they
can be trolled either fast or slow, depending on the fish species you're
Some other features and additional tips
on fishing and using J-Plugs® include: Keep them either in the water or in
your tackle box. Extreme heat can deform a plug's shape and direct sunlight
can cause the finish to fade. Before placing your plug in the water, check the
swivel chain dacron harness for wear and to ensure the knot is cinched tight.
If the harness need replacing you may obtain one from a dealer. The dacron
harness is 80-lb. test doubled. The hooks that come with the harness are high
quality, 4X strong and plated to resist corrosion.
J-PLUG® FINISHES / COLORS
One of the big reasons today's J-Plugs®
are effective is because of the wide variety of finishes and colors available
. . . one to fit every angling situation. Following is a rundown on a few of
the more popular finishes and what each represents and accomplishes in the
METALLIC: Highly reflective metallic
finishes match the flash and colors of baitfish. Silver, Silver Cut Plug and
Silver/Blue Top feature the reflective look of baitfish.
GLO: J-Plugs® are offered in Glo/Blue Top Ladderback and Glo/Florescent Green
Top Ladderback finishes. These are designed specifically for deep water
trolling because they contain phosphor pigments that give off light down deep.
Note that these finishes contain light-sensitive pigments that can be burned
and which will turn gray if exposed to strong, direct sunlight. It's best to
keep plugs painted with Glo finishes either in the water fishing or stored
away in your tackle box so overexposure doesn't occur. For a quick and easy
"glo charge" try Luhr-Jensen's handy Power Flash unit which can
double as a camera flash attachment.
SPARKLE: Several new sparkle extra-attractive sparkle finishes are now
available on J-Plugs®. These include Sparkle Chartreuse/Fire Tiger, Sparkle
Chartreuse/Green Tiger, Sparkle Mother-Of-Pearl and Sparkle Fire Tiger. These
highly-reflective finishes provide additional strike-enticing action.
J-PLUG® TROLLING TIPS
• Trolling a straight line between two
points is the least successful path you can take, once fish have been located
in an area. By trolling in zig-zag patterns or in "S" curves, you
will impart regular changes in depth and speed to a trolled plug, creating the
impression of a wounded, in trouble baitfish which fish will view as an easy
• Vary your speed. While slow is the password, this does not mean slow all
the time. A lure running through the water at a constant speed, at a constant
depth and giving off the same vibration pattern will not catch many fish . . .
there's just nothing there to indicate an easy meal is available or that
something is in trouble. Slowly, yes, but adjust your speed every few minutes
to change the lure's speed and vibration pattern.
• Troll Slowly. Big fish will not expend any more energy than necessary to
catch a meal. Also, most lures will not perform correctly at fast speeds. The
best advice is to troll slowly — the slower the better.
• Use a solid knot for connecting your plug to your line or leader such as
the improved clinch (see illustration on page 2) and always use a premium
quality monofilament line such as Trilene XT which has superior knot strength,
small diameter in relation to pound test and is abrasion resistant.
• Purchase a quality depth sounder such as one of the Bottomline units which
will help in locating fish as well as prime underwater fishing structure which
can't otherwise be seen.
• Undoubtedly one of the easiest and least complicated things you can do to
improve your fishing results is to make sure all hook points are sticky sharp.
The majority of lost fish can probably be traced to dull hooks which prevent
proper penetration into the fish's mouth. A small file, such as the Sharp Hook
File is the absolute best tool available for sharpening fish hooks. Hold the
file parallel to the hook point and, with gently one-way strokes, remove a
small amount of metal from at least two sides of the point to obtain both a
super-sharp point and a knife-like cutting edge.
• Keep your plugs above fish as they can't easily see downward. On sunny
days fish will be deeper as their eyes are sensitive to strong, direct
• When trolling plugs in salt water you'll find the optimum feeding and
fish-catching times during low light periods and from an hour before, during
and an hour after a tide change. Fish areas where birds are working on
baitfish schools and troll the clean side of rips.
• In fresh water such as in the Great Lakes, the time of day isn't nearly as
critical as the depth and the location of the preferred temperature level for
the fish species you're seeking . . . the thermocline. Lakes stratify into
three separate layers of water in the spring and stay that way until cold
weather hits in the fall. The middle layer of water, where there is a large
concentration of dissolved oxygen, baitfish and therefore predator fish, is
called the thermocline and can generally be found from 10 to 80 feet down.
• The peak feeding and optimum temperature for coho and Chinook is 54° with
an active range from 54° to 54° For lake trout the peak feeding and optimum
temperature is 54° with activity from 54° to 54° Fish will rarely venture
out of these zones once stratification has taken place, except to catch a meal
and then will quickly return to it. One thing to remember when fishing
temperatures layers such as the thermocline is that it can change from day to
day in terms of depth because of wind and/or wave action. It may be several
feet deeper or shallower one day from the next so you'll have to locate it
each and every time you go out.
Those are several of the tips and
techniques which will help you successfully fish J-Plugs® in your favorite
waters and for your favorite fish species. Remember to experiment, troll
zig-zag patterns or otherwise constantly change the plug's action, Keep hooks
sticky sharp and go prepared with a variety of finishes and sizes . . .
there's a J-Plug® for every fishing situation.