It's easy to get lulled to sleep a bit doing what I do; to drift off into a rut as I sample a lot of bass fishing baits that seem, at times, like a lot of other baits. But when I first saw the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw and really when I first heard the underwater footage of this new creation from 13 Fishing, I was immediately shaken from my slumber. This bait was different and one I was excited to get my hands on. Unfortunately, so was everyone else and it took a while for me to finally track a few down.
The wait was well worth it however. I thought this bait was different, and it is. It has elements of a vibrating jig mixed in with the readily identifiable profile of a squarebill, but it really doesn't fall into either of those categories in my opinion and instead sets itself up to fill a niche I didn't even realize needed filling, until now that is. So let's dive into what makes the Jabber Jaw something worth talking about.
A bladed crankbait
At first glance, the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw looks like a simple squarebill with a metal lip. Unusual, but not really different. But once you grab hold of the bill and feel the bait shift to one side, the difference is evident. The Jabber Jaw's bill, the best I can tell, is secured to the body of the bait by a pin running through the middle of the bill's base so it can oscillate side to side and hammer up against metal plates in the cheeks of the bait.
This combination of a vibrating jig and a crankbait does something new. It gives the fish a lure they are used to looking at and a bait they are used to hearing, but repackages the two in a way that triggers bites anew. Combining these two staple baits into this new hybrid totally changes where you can now present these triggering characteristics. Let me explain what I mean.
Opening up new water
I love throwing a ChatterBait, anywhere and everywhere, including around wood. Unfortunately, a vibrating jig doesn't really like to come through wood all that well. So I'm constantly doing a cost benefit analysis of every piece of wood cover I come to. Do I think I can wiggle a ChatterBait through it or should I just pick up a squarebill and minimize the risk of messing up this piece of cover?
The Jabber Jaw allows me to do both in a way. It has a similar sound to that of a vibrating jig but comes through wood extremely well. To avoid getting stuck, you can worm this bait through cover just like you would a squarebill, allowing the bait to float up and ride over the trash.
There are also times when fishing over submerged vegetation that you have to fish a vibrating jig too fast in order to keep it up over the grass. Or you try to back off of the weight of the vibrating jig to keep it higher in the water column which ultimately costs you casting distance. Now you have a bait that can be fished extremely slow over the vegetation, while still generating the desired and effective sound of a vibrating jig.
Another really cool thing about this bait and something that has me excited to see deep divers in this genre down the road is that the bait "auto tunes". Tuning a crankbait refers to the process of slightly bending the eye of a crankbait to one side or the other in order to make the bait dive and run straight. With the clip for a line tie and the oscillating bill of the Jabber Jaw, there's no way to tune this bait to get it to run straight. But there's also no need, as the bait effectively tunes itself on each cast.
It also corrects itself quickly each time it comes over cover, not kicking out to one side or the other as far as most squarebills do, as some will even blow all the way out and come to the surface. One other thing I've noticed with this bait is that it doesn't dig and dive as fast as some squarebills with steeply pitched fixed bills. Instead it kind of digs in a little flatter, which isn't a problem, but is something worth noting that makes it a little different. And really actually makes it a better suited bait for fishing over vegetation than a lot of squarebills.
Beefy and effective components
The clip, lip, cheek plates and hooks are all quality components built to withstand big fish. This is good because it's going to be a big fish bait in your arsenal. Sure, you'll catch numbers on it too. But it has several characteristics compiled from different big fish baits, so you better be ready for that bite to come. The metal bill has the flash of a spinnerbait and the sound of a vibrating jig, while the lure itself has the wobble and profile of a squarebill, all packed into one bait.
The components with which I've been most impressed are the hooks. This thing has some serious gaffs on it. I've sworn by triple grip-style trebles for years on lipless crankbaits and squarebills and still do, but there is absolutely no reason to swap out these hooks. They are VMC Premium Hybrid Black Nickel Treble Hooks and they are bad to the bone. Not true round bends, with a slight curl inward near the point, these hooks are extremely effective.
This is a bait that really suits my style of fishing and one that I plan to have on deck for the long haul. I do get to sample a lot of different baits and I'm not that displeased or unimpressed with most of them. There's just a lot of the same out there and there's not a lot about finesse fishing gear for instance that really gets me riled up.
But put something in my hand that triggers big bites shallow and gives me the ability to target fish more effectively around the cover I like to fish and well, that about riles me up as much as I'm looking to be riled up on the water.