It’s true that Jitterbugs produce good action during the day and that other lures produce good fishing at night. Those facts acknowledged, few anglers would argue that no single lure is more often associated with night fishing than an Arbogast Jitterbug.
History and tradition play a part in that. The Jitterbug was released in 1938, so anglers have been throwing Jitterbugs for nearly 80 years. If a Jitterbug was Grandpa’s favorite lure to take to the pond on a summer night, It is likely something you discovered when you were young.
That said, the tradition of using a certain lure only continues if it includes a tradition of catching fish, and a Jitterbug fished under the stars absolutely produces fish.
Major predators like pike and bass commonly feed at night, and it’s understandable that they’d be apt to attack surface lures, which they can find by sound. Why a Jitterbug so often out-produces other surface lures is somewhat speculative, but chances are good that the slow steady gurgling sound and wobbling action produce so well because bass can hear the lure from far away and can easily hone in on it before attacking.
Whatever the reason, a Jitterbug works fabulously at night, and slow and steady is usually the best approach. Cast it out, reel it back steadily, moving it just quickly enough to keep its wobbling surface action engaged, and remain ready for a strike.
Some fish will suck the lure off the surface and barely make a sound. Others will attack violently and scare you half to death. Either way, keep reeling until you feel the fish so you don’t jerk the lure away from the fish and send a lure with multiple hook points flying dangerously through the darkness. If you can resist jerking when a fish misses, there’s a very good chance that fish will come back almost immediately to hit again and that the follow-up strike won’t miss.
Solid-bodied Jitterbugs come in four sizes that range from 2 to 4 1/2 inches in length. Jointed Jitterbugs come in 2 1/2 and 3 1/2-inch sizes. Some sizes also come in clicking and non-clicking versions. The best model of Jitterbug depends in part at least on the size of the forage and the fish you are likely to catch in an area. Often, though, the fish’s mood is the main controlling factor, and finding the best Jitterbug to throw calls for experimentation.
Black, which offers a bold, solid silhouette that maximizes visibility at night, is easily the most popular color for nighttime Jitterbug fishing. All models are available in Black