Jitterbugs are one of those lures that absolutely warrant a second glance in the topwater aisle at your local retailer. Those who’ve never seen one before or have never heard of them will undoubtedly wonder how the crazy-looking bait will work, let alone catch fish. Such questions will be answered today, as we explore the anatomy of jitterbugs to shed some light on how these seemingly odd lures work wonders on the water.

To some, the term “jitterbug” reminds them of a dance move, which really makes it a fitting name for the lure, as it dances and causes quite a stir on the water. The most obvious feature of the lure is the bent metal fin/bill that protrudes from either side of the front. This bill creates a resistance on the retrieve that not only makes a lot of noise, but enables the jitterbug to skitter from side to side. All this noise and water displacement makes the jitterbug a favorite nighttime lure among bass anglers.

The jitterbug’s body consists of a torpedo-like shape and is normally equipped with a pair of large eyes to attract fish. The lure can come in a variety of colors—perch and frog among them—as well as a few different lengths, but the most popular model is the straight black jitterbug. Like most topwater hardbaits, the jitterbug is also armed with a pair of treble hooks that create solid hook-ups time and time again.

While the original model is the most popular jitterbug of choice, the lure is also available in jointed and weedless models, which can create a different presentation or open more possibilities for anglers. The jointed model is a bit longer and features an independently moving rear end, while the weedless model includes only one double-bladed hook that rests within a skirt at the rear of the lure’s body, making it a more streamlined lure.

One of the best features of the jitterbug is its affordability. Costing just over $6, the lure is easily affordable for any angler and more than pays for itself in effectiveness on the water.

At first glance, the jitterbug’s large, bent bill may seem awkward, but its noise-making design has enabled the lure to become a favorite among the bass community over the years, especially those who fish at night. If you count yourself a bass angler, do yourself a favor and pick a few of them up the next time you’re shopping for tackle. After a few casts, you’ll be glad you did. 

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