Tailormade Tungsten Walleye Jig: Flying off the shelves, Northland’s Tungsten Short-Shank Jig brings a new level of stealth, sensitivity, and sonics to walleye jigging
BEMIDJI, Minn. (April 25, 2023) – Northland’s Fire-Ball Jig forever changed jigging with live bait. Its perfectly round head, clever hook angle, line-tie placement, prolific paintjobs, and added bottom-side eyelet for a Sting’r Hook have made it a gamefish nemesis for decades.
But perhaps more than anything, it’s the jig’s noticeably short-shank that catapulted the Fire-Ball into instant legend status. Why? The short-shank natively pulls the head of the minnow – or leech or ‘crawler chunk – snug to head. The result is a more compact, natural-looking presentation that causes fish to want it all, all at once.
So, the efficacy of the short-shank is proven. With a shorter hook shank, the jig makes fishing minnows, leeches, ‘crawlers, or other live bait easier and more effective. Hooksets are immediate and typically secured nicely in bone.
Following in these footsteps, Northland recently introduced the Tungsten Short-Shank Jig, a workhorse that is sure to replace many other jigs in anglers’ tackleboxes. Made from heavyweight and eco-friendly tungsten, the jig is 30% denser than traditional lead jigs.
What’s tungsten mean for walleye anglers?
First, tungsten offers sensitivity that far surpasses lead. Tungsten jigs telegraph every bottom nuance and the slightest nudge or bite from fish, especially when coupled with braid, a fluorocarbon leader, and a fast to extra-fast action spinning rod. The tungsten jig itself becomes a fishfinder of sorts—an indicator whether you’re fishing hard or soft bottom, weeds, rocks, or sand.
The new Northland Tungsten Short-Shank Jig also features a sticky-sharp, premium Mustad Ultra Point wide-gap hook that hooks fish in bone, not skin.
And dual hook keepers lock on soft plastics or live bait. Red “T” eyes easily identify the jig as tungsten and draw in visual feeders like walleyes, perch, and smallmouth bass.
Another benefit of the Tungsten Short-Shank Jig is you can get away with using a smaller size jig for added finesse. Compared to lead jigs, tungsten jigs are a ¼-ounce smaller by volume comparison.
Talking Tungsten Tech
Northland Team Pro and multi-tournament winning walleye angler, Tom Huynh, contributes: “I’m using the Northland Short-Shank Tungsten Jig almost exclusively when fishing live bait.”
“Historically, many walleye anglers have used long-shank jigs with live bait, but as forward-facing sonar becomes more prevalent and fish get more educated, I think the short-shank minimizes potential, fish-spooking hardware. There’s less for the fish to see, so the fish keys in on the leech, ‘crawler, or plastic, not the vehicle that presents the food.”
Huynh continues with his theory on minimizing the bait “vehicle”—or the term In-Fisherman staff coined long-ago as “bait delivery system”.
“So the Tungsten Short-Shank Jig is just the vehicle to get my bait presented how I want it. And it does that extremely well,” says Huynh.
“Most walleye anglers understand that tungsten is smaller in profile than lead. So, not only is an 1/8th ounce tungsten more compact than an 1/8th ounce lead jig, you can get by with a much lighter jig to achieve a similar fall rate.”
Huynh elaborates: “For example, a ¼-ounce round-ball lead jig would have about the same fall rate as an 1/8-ounce Short-Shank Tungsten Jig for two reasons: first the tungsten’s density-by-weight; and second, the jig’s hydrodynamic pill-shape design. My thought is you actually end up minimizing the bait size two times by going with tungsten. The first is sizing down in weight and the second is reducing the jig’s overall mass/size profile,” adds Huynh.
Back in Black
Social media has made it known that Huynh fishes two main jig colors on the walleye trails: black and unpainted.
“After fishing an assortment of black and unpainted lead jigs on tour for the past few years, I was very vocal with Northland product designers about the need for a black Short-Shank Tungsten jig,” says Huynh.
Common sense would dictate that black jigs should be harder for walleyes to visually locate in both clear and turbid water conditions. Some might say that it’s the profile of a black bait that makes it effective. However, when a bait is viewed by fish from below, other colors cast silhouettes, too.
Huynh explains: “If you have a frog sitting on top of the water—or a shiner swimming above a walleye—they’re both going to cast a black shadow. However, when it comes to black baits, there’s less hardware to identify—no shocking colors or flash—and what you get is pure silhouette, which might be less spooky to big, well-educated walleyes that have been in the system 15 years or more.”
Fellow Northland Pro and veteran Devils Lake walleye guide, Jason Mitchell, appends: “Going back to my guide days on Devils Lake, I’ve always been a fan of black baits. When we film underwater, black is one of the most visible colors on camera. And, as crazy as it sounds, black produces a lot of walleyes when the algae blooms and waters stain up in the Dakotas during summer.”
Mille Lacs Lake guide and Northland Pro, Brad Hawthorne, adds: “During testing last year on Mille Lacs, it didn’t take long to figure out that the black Tungsten Short-Shank Jig offered something special. My clients got bit right away in the morning and we didn’t have to transition into the afternoon and evening colors Mille Lacs is known for. Black catches fish around the clock—from dawn ‘til dusk—and excels at night, too.”
Hawthorne continues: “I think that a black jig puts the focus on the live bait itself—which is what the fish are after anyway, not the chunk of metal it’s attached to.”
Widely available, the new Short-Shank Tungsten Jig comes in three sizes and ten colors—1/8-, ¼-, and 3/8-ounce with size 1/0, 2/0, and 3/0 hooks respectively. Proven, fish-catching patterns include Gold
Shiner, Firetiger, Parrot, Bubblegum, Glo Moonlight, Sunrise, Parakeet, Glo Watermelon—and the recent addition of Black.
The jigs are available in two packs with an MSRP of $6.99. Higher quantity packs will be available soon, to include: 1/8-ounce Tungsten Jigs five per card for $18.99; ¼-ounce in a pack of five for $19.99; and, 3/8-ounce in a pack of four for $19.99.