STUMPJUMPER

STUMPJUMPER

John Ellis is 74 years-old and in good form. Many anglers will not have heard of John, but anyone who knows the history of the StumpJumper lure will know that John was the creator. Born on the Victorian banks of the mighty Murray River in 1986, the first wooden StumpJumpers fitted the local cod fishing environment perfectly. They dug down deep, had great buoyancy to help them jump over the stumps (hence the name) and were as tough as nails. John says when he started making StumpJumpers he never intended selling lures to the public. The inspiration to design the lures came from the fact that most lures were imported and there were limited options in terms of style and colours. “Anglers took what was available, and I thought I’ve got to have a go to make something better,” he said. “I wanted a lure that would swim deeper, and I wanted it in our own colours.” The first StumpJumper was sold in 1987, and until 1990 all the lures were manufactured from timber. By 1991, freshwater fishing was a boom industry in this country and there was an almost insatiable demand for cod lures. The only way to satisfying it was to swap from the traditional wooden bodies to plastic. With the change to plastic, there was also an opportunity to introduce what is still about the world’s only truly successful interchangeable bib system. As unlikely as it sounds, it’s an idea that really works. John said he liked to experiment as much as he could: “People get a colour into their heads and don’t change to suit conditions. “When we first made Size 2 StumpJumpers in purple for yellowbelly, Victorians wouldn’t use it, yet Queenslanders loved it. “On overcast days I found black or purple colours caught more fish. It is these sorts of results that prompted me to adopt a trial and error attitude to colour and development.” The name StumpJumper is synonymous with the key benefit of the design of this lure. Used correctly it will help you avoid the frustration of being snagged. When trolling, hold the tip close to the water and at a 90-degree angle out from the boat to allow the current and the in-built buoyancy of the lure to lift and clear the snag. With practice, the lure can be walked through most snags. Vary the length of line and you can stay in touch with the bottom. Bump the odd log and you know you are down there with the fish. StumpJumpers come in several sizes, and all feature bib variations that allow the angler to have the option of changing swim depth and body action in the water. The proven swimming action and unbelievable antisnag capabilities of the StumpJumper are combined with an exclusive patented snap-lock bib that lets you instantly alter the lures action and characteristics by changing to different shaped bibs. With a choice of hot colours and flashing metallic finishes and subtle patterns, you can change the colours of the bibs to get the attention of the fish. You can mix and match lure bibs and bodies in a system that makes StumpJumper both innovative and effective. John is especially keen on the coloured, polycarbonate bibs as these added potential to the lures, increasing size, changing action and even making the StumpJumpers work on northern species like barramundi. “The interchangeable bibs introduced endless possibilities,” he said. Nowadays part of the JM Gillies stable of great lures, there are five basic StumpJumpers starting with the 170mm Mega StumpJumper, a specialty lure. It allows anglers to hit specific depths with ease and slow troll in the strike zone for longer and better results. Most cod anglers will be aware of the basic go-to cod lure, the 105mm long No. 1, but the 75mm No 2 is a favourite yellowbelly option and the 55mm No 3 works well on many different species including bream and flathead. There are also a size 3.5 Finesse which is 45mm long and a 2.5 surface popper version, the Flipper. The StumpJumper ticks all the boxes when it comes to ease of use: its overall design and aerodynamic body shape provides for long accurate casts; it dives deep and fast, effectively finding the strike zone quickly; and, the StumpJumper has enough buoyancy to negotiate and back out of snags, hence the naming of the lure. Just as importantly, the natural fish-like swimming action of the StumpJumper is one that consistently arouses a response from Murray cod. When it comes to popularity, no cod lure has seriously challenged the legendary status of the StumpJumper.This iconic lure has carved its way into cod fishing folklore and subsequently altered the angling methods of many bait anglers. Since then these lures have become the most successful and widely known cod lures used in the Murray Darling Basin and for that anglers owe a big thank you to John Ellis. www.jmgillies.com.au

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