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It’s got me stumped
  |  First Published: May 2005



It’s not often a lure can go through so many changes and still be considered one of the best on the market for a particular type of fishing. Most fade into obscurity and become relics of a past era, but thankfully, this hasn’t happened to one of my favourite Murray cod and golden perch lures.

The JJ StumpJumper has gone through quite a few incarnations in its 20-odd years. From timber to plastic with a fixed bib and then through to plastic with a removable and changeable bib, the StumpJumper is still on the list of essentials for every serious inland native fish angler in Australia. I am no different and rate the StumpJumper right up there with the best.

The Lure

Until recently the StumpJumper was available in three sizes and only one style, but in October last year StumpJumper released the mid-size Stumpies – three new models that fit right in between the existing models in size. There are also plans for a tropical version that will be a little sleeker and have a tighter action. All in all, StumpJumper has expanded its range very well, covering more fishing options.

Diving depths are almost immaterial these days on Stumpies because the bibs are interchangeable. You can have a lure that swims at two feet as easily as a lure that swims at 15 feet. You can turn the deep diving bib upside down and have a lure that swims on or near the surface, or even take out the bib and fish the lure straight up as a wakebait lure. Big cod, barra, queenies and GTs find this presentation irresistible in the right place at the right time.

Regardless of this expansion, it is Murray cod and golden perch where the StumpJumper made its name and continues to win over converts. Some of my most memorable fishing days have been with just one Stumpie tied onto my rod from dawn til dusk.

Without reservation I rate the No. 2 Stumpy as my favourite, followed by the tiny No. 3, then the mid-size 2.5, 3.5 and 1.5, and finally the original big cod lure – the No. 1 StumpJumper. I haven’t had the pleasure of really swimming the tropical versions yet, but straight out of the packet they look the goods and the elongation of the body will bring them more in line with what anglers expect in a tropical or saltwater lure.

In the water

Straight out of the packet the StumpJumpers swim without fail. They hold their action well and can be used with slow retrieves right up to fairly quick retrieves. They can be jerked around snags, weed beds and other structure without blowing out. What you do need to be aware of is that the StumpJumpers rise in the water column pretty quickly. This is exactly what they are designed to do, but if you are into cast and retrieve fishing, as you wiggle and jiggle the lure around your favourite stump, it will slowly rise in the water column. This is not a problem so long as you’re aware of it.

While on the subject of buoyancy, when StumpJumper changed from timber to plastic, every effort was made to maintain the same swimming action and the same buoyancy. StumpJumpers received their name because as they rise in the water, they move backwards. Under the water, this means the lure swims up and back from a snag, making them one of the most snag resistant hard-bodied lures around. Additionally, when you do get the lure under a snag and don’t react quickly enough, the lure will flip onto its back and ride over the snag with its belly and hooks facing up. The first time I saw a StumpJumper do this I was amazed and checked out my other cod lures. Not too many can perform this trick.

With changeable bibs, the lure’s diving depths, action, target species and areas are all variable. I remember using one particular StumpJumper for chasing trout in a lake by trolling with downriggers using the shallow diving bib. Then, I changed bibs over to the deep diving bib and started casting for golden perch. Finally, on a different day, I took the bib right out and used it as a surface bait for queenfish. The same lure caught all three targets!

Issues

The only problem I have found with the StumpJumpers is that occasionally the hooks are not as sharp as I’d like. Make sure you check them out thoroughly before fishing. A quick sharpen before every use is probably not such a bad idea anyway, regardless of how sharp you think the hooks are.

The hardware has never failed me because these lures were designed to catch big Murray cod. In my experience, the bodies do not blow up like some plastic lures when you leave your tacklebox in the sun, and they’re also extremely durable, even when sent into battle against tough tropical fish like fingermark and jacks or big nasty cod in the Murrumbidgee or Murray.

Retailing from about $10 through to $15, these Australian designed lures don’t compromise on anything. Regardless of whether I’m fishing in the tropics or fishing for trout in Tassie, there’s always a Stumpie or two floating around in the box. If you’re a troller or a caster, I recommend getting hold of a few StumpJumpers as soon as you can.

Facts

What’s available?

LureBibsDepth (m)
Size 11a deep diving wide action7.8
1b fast running tight action3.5
Size 1.51.5a deep diving wide action6.5
1.5b fast running tight action4
Size 22a deep diving wide action4.9
2b fast running tight action4.5
2c narrow vibrating action2.8
Size 2.52.5a deep diving wide action4.5
2.5b fast running tight action3
Size 33a deep diving wide action4
3b fast running tight action2.5
3c fast running2.6
Size 3.53.5a deep diving wide action3
3.5b fast running tight action2

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