The Rapala Jointed Floater is probably the most successful British bass hard-bait ever and for many years it was responsible for more BASS club specimen claims than any other lure. They were first used over 30 years ago by the pioneers of bass lure fishing and the 'J' series are still as capable of catching bass now as they were then. The main reason for their success is the jointed action which is very realistic and gives out loads of fish attracting vibration even if retrieved very slowly. In fact as slow a retrieve as possible is normally the best technique with the 'J' and as long as you can feel the lure working through the rod tip then you are retrieving fast enough.
A fast retrieve will get them to dive 4' to 6' but a slow retrieve sees the lure working in the top few feet of water.
At one time the Rapala J13 in blue/silver was THE plug for bass fishing and when the intertest in lure fishing started to take off in the early 90's the J13 out sold all the other lures we stocked by at least 10 to 1. Although they are not as popular now this does not mean that they no longer catch bass and it is a foolish lure angler who does not have some in his box. The jointed design gives them a fantastic action and with even a slow retrieve you can feel the lure working through the rod tip. Mike Ladle used to say to retrieve the lure so slowly that you could just feel it twitching the rod tip and this is a very good method to adopt. A slightly faster retrieve will get them to dive down deeper than some of the more modern lures and this can be handy in deeper water but care needs to be taken in shallow areas. They are not particularly good casting lures, especially the J9 and J11, but in reasonable conditions casts of around 30 yards should not be a problem and this is normally plenty far enough to reach the fish.