|A Jig for the Naturalist
|Famed basser Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson collaborates with Northland Fishing Tackle to design nature’s finest Elite Series Marabou Jig.
|BEMIDJI, Minn. (January 3, 2024) – Nothing beats nature. Want proof? For decades, tackle manufacturers – Northland included – have been compelled to design lures with authentic looks that gamefish flat-out eat. Just think about the detailed, sculpted baitfish heads on Northland’s Mimic Jig and new Smeltinator Jig, or lifelike patterns on Reed-Runner Frogs.That same authenticity manifests in the form of locomotion, too – how it moves in the water. And when you dip ultra-soft feathers in the water – combining nature and nature – the result is a genuine work of art. Such is the case with Northland’s new Elite Series Marabou Jig…
|Northland Elite Series Marabou Jig (BLACK)
|The natural, fluffy material is a mainstay for fly-tyers aiming to create silky baits that pulse delicately in the water. An innovative few Canadian anglers also employ natural marabou feathers to craft rarified smallmouth bass jigs. Amazingly effective, but tedious to produce, these jigs have been difficult to find…until now. Still handtied, but now produced in mass, Northland’s Elite Series Marabou Jig features premium marabou feathers meticulously wound onto a strong, shockingly sharp, Gamakatsu® hook with bait keeper. They are available in three proven, earth-toned patterns and three sizes – 1/16 oz., 3/32 oz., and 1/8-ounce.We thought it was prudent to have a real Canadian bass angler talk about the Elite Series Marabou Jig: Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson. (And, by the way, Gussy has claimed numbers of bass tournaments using handtied, workshop-made marabou jigs. Not to mention he’s the reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion, so quite qualified to speak on the subject.)
|Gussy on the Origins of Marabou Jigs“Marabou jigs as tournament baits really originated in Northwest Ontario. In the late 90’s, when tournaments on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake really started to get popular, there were a few guides and local anglers winning with consistency. We found out later that a lot successes for guys like the Lindsay brothers, Joe Pritchett, and Hiram Archibald in particular were utilizing these finesse jigs. They made their own, built on a quality hook and mostly just fished a black pattern.”“In the 2000’s, the Lindsay’s brought handmade marabou jigs to Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay and had several top five finishes in the competitive Sturgeon Bay Open. Eventually, the cat got out of the bag, and marabou jigs are now standard equipment for smallmouth anglers throughout the smallmouth belt, across the Midwest, on the Great Lakes, and throughout Canada.”“The problem with quality marabou jigs is that it was always hard to find them, ones capable of landing big smallmouth bass, four pound plus fish. Most of the marabou jigs were designed for crappie fishing, so the hooks were light and low quality. So, I started tying my own.”“I have tied hundreds of “fluffs” over the years and won thousands of dollars with them. I’ve tried every hook available and settled on a 604 Gamakatsu. It’s strong, yet extremely sharp and has proven capable of handling big smallies. So, we put the same hook on the new Northland Elite Series Marabou Jig.”
|The Gussy Way“The key to the system is using a longer, softer rod for casting these light jigs and providing some absorption for fighting fish and preventing hooks from tearing out. I like a 7’6″ spinning rod in a 1 or 2 power (which is a light action). A 2500 or 3000 sized spinning reel with a good drag is important and I always use 8 lb. Power Pro braid with an 8 lb. fluorocarbon leader at the business end. I like yellow braid because it’s easy to see – you’ll often see your line jump when a smallmouth slurps up your jig. The bright braid is important to the system.”“Marabou jigs are mostly a shallow water weapon. I typically use them in 12-feet or less, but have caught smallmouths and crappies dropping marabou down to fish seen on my electronics under the boat. I typically cast marabou jigs to smallmouths cruising along shallow flats. Marabou also excels at plucking smallmouths that are parked next to cover like weed clumps, logs, or boulders. Simply cast past the cover and swim the jig next to it. If there is a smallmouth hiding out, they’ll probably eat the jig.”“I’m a big fan of black and seldom deviate, but I hear stories from friends who have had great days with olive and brown. I mostly fish the 3/32 oz. size but will drop to 1/16 oz. in water under six feet or move up to an 1/8 oz. in water deeper than ten.” “Finally, when you’re retrieving an Elite Series Marabou Jig, you don’t want them to touch the bottom. My general rule is retrieving them through the middle of the water column. So, if it’s eight feet deep, I try to keep the jig around four feet below the surface. If it’s twelve feet, I like keep it at about six feet.”“People ask all the time, “what do you think the smallmouths think the hair jig is?” I use the analogy that they are like an after-dinner mint, where a spinnerbait or topwater might be like a steak. All I know is fish eat them!”
|Elite Series Marabou Jig FEATURES: Handtied premium marabou feathers Premium Gamakatsu® hook with bait keeper SIZES: 1/16 oz., 3/32 oz., and 1/8 oz. COLORS: Black, Black/Purple, and Brown MSRP $8.99 (2 card)