Tired of getting tired after a long day of punchin’ soft plastics through grass mats under a 1½ or 2-ounce weight? Jeremy Norris knows the feeling all too well. The bass angler punches like there’s no tomorrow.
“I punch a lot. I love to punch. The way it goes down, the violent way it goes down,” he said recently about the bite, hookset and ensuing fight involved in the punching technique.
Norris realized he had to use heavier weights to get some of the popular soft plastic punchin’ baits through grass or vegetation. The way the soft plastics were designed made it difficult to slide them through cracks and creases, he said.
Nothing like it
The 47-year-old bass angler waited patiently, then impatiently, for something better to hit the market. It didn’t happen. So he did something about it by making his own soft plastic punchin’ baits with a specific design in mind. As he won tournaments with the new Beaver Ballz, people noticed them tied to his line on the front deck of his boat and started asking questions.
“There’s nothing else like it in the world. People wanted to try it. They wanted to buy it. Colby (JaBoom Bait Co. co-owner Colby Thompson of Gonzales) was my fishing partner. I told everybody to talk to Colby,” Norris said with a chuckle.
JaBoom Bait Co. was born.
That was two years ago. At first, he said, they sold small bags of the new, durable soft plastics. The demand ratcheted up as bass anglers near and far got their hands on JaBoom’s Beaver Ballz.
His soft plastic punchin’ creation was infiltrating mats much easier because of his innovative, patent-pending design. It caught on and caught bass below the mats.
“The next thing you know, we need 100 of these, 125 of those. It got to the point we had to invest, have production molds made,” he said. “It takes a whole different type of machine. This one (Beaver Ballz) takes a five axis compared to a typical three axis machine. Vertical ribs require more moving parts. It took me over a year to get from a sketch to be able to get the mold cut to getting them in hand.”
In and out of vegetation
What’s the big deal?
“It’s ergonomically designed ‘not’ to catch grass as it goes in and out of vegetation. If you look at the bait, there’s so much less surface area touching anything. It works really well to get in and out of mats,” he said, noting that’s due to the vertical ribs, which also protect the hook point “much better than most punchin’/flipping baits on the market.”
“Now I use a ¾-ounce weight. The heaviest I’ll go is 1 ¼-ounce. You really don’t need any heavier weight than that. Most of the time, I’m punching with a 1-ounce weight,” he said.
“The most important thing is, it really does catch fish. It catches a lot of fish.”
Jake Boomer of Spokane Valley, Washington, agrees. Boomer finished second for $30,000 in a National Professional Fishing League tournament in May 2021 on the Harris Chain of Lake in Florida. The majority of the 15 fish he weighed bit while he punched Beaver Ballz.
“It’s definitely one of the best flippin’ baits. I used a heavier weight. A lot of guys were using lighter weights. I was using ¾-ounce to get it to fall quickly. They wanted a quick fall,” said the 45-year-old owner of Alpha Angler, which manufactures custom fishing rods.
“I caught a number of fish on it, especially the ones that counted,” he said.
He punches the Beaver Ballz on a 4/0 Owner Jungle Flipping Hook tied to 50-pound P-Line Braided Fishing Line on a 7-foot-6 Alpha Angler Hitter Heavy Action Fishing Rod.
His favorite colors are black/blue and Super Bug (black/blue on one side, green pumpkin on the flip side).
The 4.25-inch long lures are manufactured by Capt. Lane Zimmer of Marrero at Zimmer’s Froggiemore Manufacturing LLC. He said he still “shoots” a few himself.
“Lane helped me. He had the machines,” he said.
Norris, an analyzer technician for Valero’s St. Charles Refinery, said his soft plastics are in 38 stores around Texas, Georgia, Florida and, naturally, Louisiana.
The bait got its name because they are somewhat like other Beaver lures, but they have little balls on the end of each leg.
A Beaver Ballz’s sinking motion is designed so that after it hits the water, it helps trigger bites. When using a yo-yo motion, the bait falls erratically unlike other style baits that simply fall straight down. The erratic falling motion triggers strikes when the bite is tough or the fish are heavily pressured. It also works as a soft plastic trailer for a bladed jig.
For more information on the JaBoom Beaver Ballz and other JaBoom Bait Co. products, go to jaboombaits.com.