Monday, December 5, 2011

The Jaw Jacker Vs. The Automatic Fisherman

A few seasons back I was given what I thought to be a useless fishing gadget. The Automatic fisherman is exactly what it sounds like, a device that sets the hook for the angler while ice fishing.. needless to say i tucked it away in my fishing room (yes I have a fishing room, two actually) where gadgets go o die. But about a year after i purchased it, i decided that it would be good to take with me and use a  rod holder while dead sticking for splake. After missing a few bites I caved in and set up the automatic fisherman (forever after dubbed AF) and.. BAM, the next splake to hit my line, the AF fired and it was fish on.. from that day on I have been hooked (and so have many Splake).

This season while I was introduced to a new Vs. of the AF, this one has some slight modifications and is called The Jaw Jacker. Both of these devices have their place on the ice, let me explain to you the difference between the two, and the pro's and con's

The Automatic Fisherman

I have to start off with the original, as stated above the AF has been in my arsenal for a few seasons now, it is a quick to set up unit, with a hairpin trigger and enough weight to keep it on the ice even in the windy conditions.

The AF is made of a high density plastic and is rated for weather up to -90. It takes a beating on the ice and holds up to being dropped, kicked and knocked around inside you sled.

A metal arm extends out from the front of the AF and has a small metal peg that can be adjusted to set the sensitivity of you unit. I use my AF mostly for perch and splake so I have it set pretty light.

The biggest "con" to the AF unit is the abi\use it can cause to top guide of your rod. The AF trigger sits inside that top guide and can bend and put unwanted pressure on the guide.

You also need to watch your face, a very sensitive set up can be "fired off" by the slightest bump, and a rod whip to the face is not fun in the cold.

When setting up you AF there are two items that I do differently then instructed. First off there is a piece of orange/red tape that the Instructions ask you to wrap around the rod tip to act as a "flag" not sure now usefull this is other then ruining a good a rod. The second thing i change is the bobber. The AF instructions ask you to string a bobber between the first and second guides on your rod. This bobber hangs down and allows the fish to take some line prior to triggering the AF, i dont use this bobber as I felt i was missing fish, and if I wanted to use the rod without the AF I had to retie and restring my rod.. thats a pain.

Overall the AF is a good purchase,  I recommend saving yourself some cash and buying the unit without an enclosed rod. for more info check out the AF website here...

The Jaw Jacker

Alright now for the new kid on the block. I heard some chatter on the legendary ice fishing website about a device similar to the AF called "the Jaw Jacker" being curious I clicked the link and watched all the videos and was sold pretty much on the spot.

The Jaw Jacker (JJ) brings some unique twists to the table not seen on the AF. First off the JJ is full adjustable, not only can you adjust where int he hole you want your line to drop, but you can also adjust the angle in which your rod sits. Pull a couple pins and "ta-da" your ready to go

 JJ is also rod friendly, it comes with some heavy nylon loops that and be strung through the side of your guides to lessen the abuse the actual guide takes when used with metal on metal pressure.(P.S these can be used with the AF as well)

I will admit I do find these attachments a bit cumbersome, but i much prefer them to the direct contact of the AF. I may look around and do some testing on other options I can find in my local hardware store.

The JJ also has a unique trigger. A small shark fin shaped piece of plastic that the nylon loop slides onto. Like the AF you slide you line into the holder and when the fish bites the lever drops releasing the loop and in turn the rod tip. The team at JJ will be the first to admit that have had a few issues with he trigger when it gets wet (in slushy conditions) it can freeze up, and they recommend spraying some windshield de-icer. I appreciated the heads up and can appreciate a company that says "were not perfect" and then offers some help

The biggest and only real concern I have with the JJ is the weight. This thing is light and not made of a hard plastic like the AF. I have yet to have it on the ice, but i don't believe it will hold up to much abuse if dropped in extremely cold weather (hoping to be proved wrong). One real nice feature of the JJ is that it is full collapsible, it stores easier and smaller then the AF and will fit into most rod lockers for easy transport.

to learn more about the Jaw Jacker click here... 

 When all is said and done you can really go wrong with either of these units. I know I will be carrying both of them with me while on the ice this year and let their performance decide who ultimately wins the battler between the Automatic Fisherman and the Jaw Jacker

(Jaw Jacker & Automatic Fisherman)


  1. Very nice and useful information has been given in this article. I must say that this is a great post.

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  2. Just curious if you have been able to use both units and would be able to give us your follow up feedback about the durability of the JJ compared to the AF! Thanks!