By Ned Kehde
Northland Fishing Tackle has been manufacturing its 3 1/2-inch IMPULSE® Jig Crawler since 2011, but it has yet to catch the fancy of the Midwest bass fishing finesse anglers.
Recently, however, it caught the eye of a longtime member of the Finesse News Network who wondered why Midwest finesse anglers have failed to affix it to a small mushroom-style jig to inveigle largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in a variety of waterways across the United States and Canada. This angler also suggested that we should publish a gear guide about it.
We agreed, and we asked Jeff Gustafson of Kenora, Ontario, Canada, who works for Northland, to field-test it on the smallmouth bass that abide in the Lake of the Woods.
Gustafson competes on the FLW Tour and other tournament venues. He is also a fishing guide and pictorial journalist. And between FLW’s tournaments on the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wisconsin, on May 18 and the Potomac River at Marbury, Maryland, on June 15, he squeezed in time on June 5 to test the Jig Crawler at the Lake of the Woods.
He wielded it on a seven-foot G. Loomis NRX 902S spinning rod and a Shimano Sustain 2500 spinning reel spooled with eight-pound-test Power Pro braided line and an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.
There are two Jig Crawler hues: baby bass and natural. The natural hue replicates the terra-cotta color of a nightcrawler. Gustafson used both hues, and he rigged them on a black 1/8-ounce football-style jig with the hook exposed. Both hues caught smallmouth bass. But in his eyes, he admitted, that he possessed a prejudice for the natural hue. He also noted that one of the beauties of living on Lake of the Woods where he does is that color “is usually not a huge deal-breaker on whether you get bites or not.”
Gustafson says it is slightly shorter and thicker throughout its body than other finesse worms. Its belly is flat and relatively smooth, but it is detailed with some minor ribs. Its tail is tipped with a paddle. The top of the paddle tail is flat and smooth-skinned. The bottom of the tail is smooth-skinned, and it is graced with a small cup. Its head is flat, which allows it to fit flush and snugly to the head of a jig, which Gustafson extolled. From the tip of its head to the front of its clitellum or egg sack, its back and sides are encompassed with eight ribs. Its clitellum is half of an inch long, and it is smooth-skinned. From the backend of its clitellum to the junction of its tail, the back and sides of its torso are embellished with 18 ribs.
He describes it as a crossover bait, which possesses some of the motifs of a soft-plastic stickbait, a shad-shaped worm, and a traditional soft-plastic worm. The cupped and paddle tail adds a unique dimension to the IMPULSE® Jig Crawler that the other soft-plastic finesse baits do not possess. It also works well when it is affixed to a drop-shot rig in deep-water situations.
Gustafson caught the smallmouth bass by casting the IMPULSE® Jig Crawler rigs in the vicinity of isolated boulders in four to 10 feet of water. He employed a dragging presentation around the boulders, and as he dragged it, the football-style jig popped the IMPULSE® Jig Crawler slightly off of the bottom.
Gustafson said its flat belly will have an alluring glide when a Midwest finesse angler rigs it on a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and uses a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
When the black bass fishing is trying, Gustafson said that Midwest finesse anglers can easily shorten it a tad, which might entice a few more strikes.
He noted that it is not salt impregnated. But it is impregnated with a potent scent, which is called IMPULSE® Instinctual Attractant.
According to Gustafson, it was designed for walleye fishing, and since 2010, scores of walleye anglers across the northern states have found this soft-plastic nightcrawler to be an effective option for them.
Anglers can purchase a package of 10 for $3.99 at one online retailer.
(2) Midwest finesse anglers might be interested in examining Northland Fishing Tackle’s six-inch IMPULSE® Nightcrawler. It is manufactured in the following hues: natural, natural core, and natural flake.
(3) We suspected that most Midwest finesse anglers would like to have the IMPULSE® Jig Crawler and IMPULSE®Nightcrawler manufactured in some traditional black-bass colors, such as black, green-pumpkin, Junebug, purple, and smoke.
(5) Since Mar. 28, 2014, we have published four Midwest finesse columns about Northland Fishing Tackle. Here are the links to those columns:
- Northland Fishing Tackle IMPULSE Smelt Minnow
- MidWest Finesse Fishing with Northland Tackle
- Northland Fishing Tackle IMPULSE Core Swimbait
- Northland Fishing Tackle IMPULSE Paddle Shad