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Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal
 


 


Lure Review

 


Knock Knock Knocking on Bassie's Door - The Megabass I-Jack

 

Date: 11/4/19
Tackle Type: Lure
Manufacturer: Megabass of America
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.91 - GOOD

Introduction:
Megabass of America's I-Jack has been out for a couple of years now and I'll be the first to admit it's a bait that I dismissed when I first laid my eyes and skeptical fingers on it. We see so many new products - baits especially - year after year, that it's really difficult to crack that "oh, I gotta throw this new bait" threshold with us. The I-Jack is a strangely shaped one piece bait with an even stranger bill marketed as a wake bait. I prefer my wake baits about six to eight inches long with a joint or two in the body, and a big, square diving bill, so it took a while for me to tie this bait on, toss it out and ... well, you get the idea. Once I finally did give this bait a try, I felt silly for not throwing it sooner.

 

Megabass I-Jack Specifications

Type Topwater Wake Bait
Length 4 1/4"
Weight 1 oz
Material Hard Plastic
Colors 6
MSRP $19.99

 

Impressions: Megabass of America's I-Jack's shape is actually more curious than odd. It's too tall in the body to be a minnow, yet it's too flat to be shaped like a crank. It's a little short to be a panfish, so realistically, I suppose it's more the shape of a medium sized shad. It comes with a diamond shaped diving lip (yes, diamond shaped - who does that?), and bait's line tie is right under the lower lip. It comes in six rather generic and understated colors - generic for Megabass.


Introducing Megabass of America's I-Jack

Real World Test: We've had these baits since their debut in 2015 but didn't get around throwing them until the Summer of 2017. We've been on a bit of a tear this year, catching up on a backlog of baits that have been sitting in our review pile and finally it became time to throw the I-Jack. First rod I paired this bait with was a Megabass of America 2017 Destroyer - the F5-75X Javelin. I paired the Javelin with my Chronarch Ci4+ spooled with 12lb Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon. This test was more to see what the Javelin was all about more so than the I-Jack but that first day quickly turned around.


The I-Jack is classified as a wake bait

Castability : The I-Jack doesn't benefit from an internal weight transfer system so with it's relatively tall, flat profile, you'd think it'd catch the wind easily and get turned off course or made to sail in knuckle ball fashion rather easily. Fact is, this bait casts like a bullet cutting through the air and any cross winds with ease. Thanks to its one piece design, it can be easily cast and pitched to any target given a capable combo.


Yup, that's a diamond shaped diving bill - who does that?

Ease of Actuation : So here's where things get interesting with this bait. You barely have to do anything to get fish to hit it. Half the strikes we received that first day fishing it - including the very first strike - was when the bait was left alone, just floating on the surface on a dead stick. In fact, the very first strike was after Zander cast the bait out, and was busy working out a professional over-run (aka backlash) on the Chronarch Ci4+. As soon as he cleared the tangle and put the combo in his right hand, there was a big explosion and subsequent jump by a fish that attacked the I-Jack sitting perfectly still on top of the water! On that jump, the fish spit the bait out but that singular hit was a real eye opener..


The bait's weight system is fixed to the bottom of the bait but it still casts with ease

Quality of Movement : Up until that time, I had been casting the bait out and working it slowly along the surface like a typical wake bait. After that hit, I slowed down even further taking time to pause the bait and let it sit there floating in the current on top of the water. The bait is actually rather difficult to wake, but it swims just under the surface as you retrieve flashing its sides back and forth as it swims.


That first fish on a new bait is always a surprise

Position at Rest : Pause your retrieve, and the bait sits in a neutral position, slowly rising back to the surface. When it reaches the surface, it sits there floating and waving around and that's when you're most likely to receive a strike. Why is that you ask? The I-Jack comes with an internal knocking plate that is attached via a metal pendulum. This pendulum holds the knocker bearing mid body and as the bait tilts from one side to the other, that bearing crashes against the side of the bait's body making a very loud sound. We'd hazard to guess this sound is really the secret behind this bait and why the fish hit it so hard - it's more out of annoyance or territory protection than anything else.


A close-up of the internal pendulum knocker that's the real key behind this bait

Design/Ergonomics: The I-Jack is a very manageable size and weighs all of one ounce. It's on the heavier side of "normal" sized plugs, but these days, baits in the range of one to one and a half, even two ounces are quite common place. You can throw it on just about any heavy powered rod very easily.


But when they continue to hit the bait on subsequent trips is when you know you've got something special tied to the end of your line

Price & Application: Priced at $19.99, the I-Jack is part of the newer generation Megabass of America baits cracking that under-twenty dollar threshold that's been so difficult for the brand to achieve until recently. Back in the former Megabass days, this bait would likely have been $35 to help maintain its mystery and exclusivity. Even at $19.99 a lot of people will be turned off, but that's their loss as this bait is a very effective surface and subsurface bait capable of calling fish out from long distances to strike it.

Ratings:

Megabass I-Jack Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean and consistent bait to bait 9
Performance Casts well and that internal knocker is something else 9
Price Megabass for under $20 7.5
Features Hooks are a little thin but otherwise, that internal knocker is really effective 7
Design (Ergonomics) Only 7 available colors - for now 7
Application Very good when the fish are finally ready to hit topwater plugs 8

Total Score

8.0
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Casts well - Not very easy to actually wake- you have to go really slow
+ Internal knocker really calls fish - Thin Hooks
+ Can be kept over strike zone for a long time - Limited color palette


That's the look of an Ultimate Enthusiast bait right there

Conclusion: It still amazes me the effectiveness of this bait during mid-day in the heat of the Summer months and we are continuing to get a few fish to commit during the Fall. It has been a pretty productive bait, including the most recent trip before I sat down to write this article where the fish didn't want it on top, but instead, slowly swimming subsurface. Time and time again, I had packs of fish following the bait - anywhere from three to five fish. As soon as they were in view, I'd pause the I-Jack and watch the pursuing pack jostle for position to catch the show. As soon as the bait started to rise in the water column, I'd give it a couple of twitches to activate the knocker and more often than not, that triggered a frenzy where one of the fish would successfully inhale the bait, causing a chase all the way back to the boat as I battled the hooked fish.

 


The I-Jack started out really hot for us and while it continues to catch fish but the bite has cooled off as the temperature continues to drop. This is a good bait when the water is warmer and fish are more active and curious

 

At other times, I'd cast the bait over a submerged bed of weeds, slowly working it over openings where I'd pause and twitch the bait as if knocking on the door of the bass's home. Bass are not very gracious hosts when they answer that call, but the I-Jack is a great way to coax them out of hiding for a quick hello before returning them to their dens. We had two months in the Summer where this bait was absolutely bonkers, drawing those packs of fish, but as the water cooled in Fall this lure, like many other wakebaits, loses effectiveness. When the fish are more active, and curious, they will absolutely answer the I-Jack's knock.

 

Looking for Megabass I-Jacks?

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