Image Credit: Joel Vandekrol

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Bassmaster Classic-Winning Jigs in Stock


This past August, Northland Fishing Tackle announced that the 2023 Bassmaster Classic winning Smeltinator jig would be licensed, branded, and distributed by Northland moving into 2024.

With a relationship that goes back 20 years, Northland talked seriously with both Bassmaster Classic winner Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson and Bass Tactics founder Bryan Gustafson (no relation), to join forces and push product development, production, marketing, and sales into a much bigger realm.

A few months after the licensing agreement with Bryan Gustafson and Bass Tactics to produce, distribute, and sell the Smeltinator and Smeltinator Underspin Jigs under the Northland brand name, the original Smeltinator Jig is now available.

With 13 colors, four sizes (1/8, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 ounce), and five hook sizes (1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0) from which to choose, bass anglers are sure to find the right jig for whatever situation they face. Jigs come three per card for $7.99 (MSRP).

Smeltinator Magic

The 2023 Bassmaster Classic wasn’t the first time that Gussy stacked big weights and solid limits of smallmouth bass on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Back in March of 2021, Gussy first put the “moping” technique to use, sinking Kenora, Ontario-designed Smeltinator Jigs to fill his livewell for weigh-in at the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite. Gussy went wire-to-wire for four days of the event, weighing 63 pounds, besting second place by an impressive 7 pounds. Gussy trailered home to the far north with more than $100,000 in his pocket.

Word of the “moping” technique traveled quickly through social wires, sending serious bassers on the hunt for Gussy’s favored jighead — the Smeltinator Jig.

Two years later Gussy did it again, “moping” suspended smallmouth with the Smeltinator Jig on forward-facing sonar, proving the money method for the 2023 Bassmaster Classic title, the $300K payout, and honors as the top bass stick on the planet.

The Smeltinator is hardly new to the fishing scene. The jig and the moping technique have been dominating the Canadian tournament scene for a decade. Gussy, Northland founder John Peterson, Canadian professional angler Jamie Bruce, and Bryan Gustafson of Bass Tactics have won many tournaments and cashed big checks at events like the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and Kenora Bass Invitational using the Smeltinator Jig and the moping technique.

The “moping” technique involves fishing a fluke or minnow-style plastic on the Smeltinator Jig and the Smeltinator Underspin Jig over the top of deep suspending smallmouth bass. The design of the jig allows it to hang perfectly horizontal like a real shiner, smelt, or shad. Suspending smallmouth “feed up” on these schools of baitfish. Hanging the Smeltinator above actively feeding fish has proven to yield serious bites and big tournament weights.