Jigging with jellies – the rubber revolution

Anglers keen to catch fast predatory species on the lightest tackle are proving that colourful jelly lures’ offer advantages over more common artificial baits. Mostly innovations from America, they can be just as successful this side of the Atlantic for bass and pollack, as they are for species in sun-drenched blue water.

Soft and squidgy

Jelly lures come in every imaginable colour and a never-ending array of twists and shapes, which glitter and flutter invitingly as they are worked through the water. As the name implies, the body is made of very soft oily plastic, which feels almost alive when handled. Wriggly, twisty, flexible and mobile, it is easy to see why they appeal to fish which expect their meals to move.

Some jelly lures have the sophistication of a weighted head, often with bright eyes painted on – but whether these increase catchability is unproven. They certainly have the kind of look that increases the confidence of the angler casting it out.


Using jelly lures with built-in lead heads has several important advantages over other artificials. There is no need for up-trace leads or booms, so they rarely tangle; because the hook points upwards it is much less prone to snagging; and most fish are hooked in the more secure top jaw.

Mister Twister — perhaps the best known type – is among the top three lures in the world, and has an incredible track record throughout America, Australia and the Caribbean. Indeed, wherever there are hungry fish, in both salt and freshwater, this lure will catch.

Using Mister Twister

Casting and retrieving are key elements when using weighted jelly lures. Medium

If the fish does not take the lure fully, allow it to drop back, then restart the retrieve, again using the same jerky motion. This usually results in a more ^ determined take.

Using unweighted jellies

Unweighted jellies are threaded on to the hook — usually a long shanked fine wire Aberdeen – in much the same way as a natural worm bait. Although they can be spun or fished on a long trace in a fast tide, they do not seem to be quite as effective in these situations as the conventional ‘working tail’ artificial bait.

However, unweighted jellies are very successful in deep water wreck fishing, when used on a tough paternoster. Fish them in tandem on short snoods, jigged just above the sea bottom. If you get snagged, they cost much less to replace than most types of artificial sandeels. spinning gear with fines no heavier than 12 lb test is ideal for working a Mister Twister or similar lure from a small boat. Bass and pollack are the usual quarry. They often hunt for small fish in disturbed water close to a rocky shoreline.

Cast into this disturbance, allow the lure to sink a few feet below the surface and then retrieve with a jerky sink-and-draw action. The predator’s instinct to attack is stimulated by this sudden irregular movement. It looks like a small frightened fish trying to escape – an easy meal for the hunter.

Keep the worms shaded as they quickly die if left exposed to the sun. If you are going to use them the same day, just keep them in a bucket with a little mud. If you are going to use them a few days later, rinse them as best you can in sea water and put them in shredded newspaper or some of the fine