Since day one, Northland’s mission has always been the same—to build a better bait for everyday anglers and pros alike. That’s why they’ve partnered with best-in-class hook manufacturer Gamakatsu on several new products for late 2022 and 2023. One of these exciting new products is the Elite Series MVP Jig, an ultra-sharp weapon with several unique design features.
For starters, the jig features a Gamakatsu Jig 90 Big River hook with a large gap and acute bend that offers great holding power, locking fish in place. The quality of Gamakatsu hooks is simply the best in the business, and the increased hook gap of the Big River Hook has many benefits for fishing shiners, big chubs, suckers, plastics, and yields impressive hooking percentages with its unique sickle hook design.
Noted Mille Lacs Lake guide Brad Hawthorne has had great success fishing the Northland Elite Series MVP Jig, from live bait to ripping soft plastics. He says it’s always tied on to at least two rods on deck.
“I love the Elite Series MVP Jig. It just flat-out works on walleyes. It’s a great plastics jig when rigged with an Impulse Paddle Minnow or Impulse Smelt Minnow. It’s also a good heavy worm jig which is kind of out of the norm, but I use it with everything from jigworms to ringtail worms. It may seem weird, but the jig is so heavy that it sinks and stands the worm right up off the bottom. It works great with creature tails, too. Honestly, if you don’t know what you’re going to fish on any given day—live bait or plastics—the jig has super realistic eyes and great minnow profile head and large sickle-hook style hook gap and keeper to keep plastics or live bait pinned. The Gamakatsu simply hooks the heck out of the fish. Plus, the paint and detail to the head are unmatched.”
Hawthorne continues: “When walleye fishing, you rarely lose a single fish on the jig because of the hook. I like the versatility of it, being able to go from live bait to plastics with a single jig head.”
Northland pro and angling educator Joel Nelson is another big fan of the new Elite MVP Series jig. “I used it on walleyes on Mille Lacs lake early in the season, and the hookset to catch ratio was unheard of. Not only is the hook bend design unique, its a strong, beefy hook that won’t bend on big fish. Let’s say you’re netting a big fish and introducing a lot of torque between the jighead where you’re tied on and the hook itself. I’ve had a lot of jigs break on me while trying to net fish. That’s not the case with the MVP.”
“It’s also an incredible bass jig, especially for smallmouths,” states Nelson. “The wire keeper is excellent, so the MVP is a top option for fishing soft plastics. The head design has realistic eyes, some texture, and looks very bait-like. Like the Northland Deep-Vee jig, it has a fantastic finish, too. With the Gamakatsu Jig 90 Big River hook, it’s a natural fit for anyone chasing river smallies. The hook is designed to keep fish buttoned up. Especially with fish like smallies that love to jump, the MVP is a great option to keep fish hooked.”
Nelson continues: “We’ve used the jig with large shiner minnows, and it performed well—and it’s also been a key jighead in my arsenal for fishing soft plastics. Every time I set the hook, the MVP penetrates flesh, and you end up landing the fish. Once the fish gets its lip around the tip of the hook bend, it forces the entire jig in past the barb. The hook has a unique, aggressive curve to it. You put a hook in a fish with this jig and it’s likely not coming out.”
Another convert to fishing the new Elite Series MVP Jig is Northland Pro and guide, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl. Bro comments, “I beta-tested the Elite Series MVP Jig and was super impressed. Now I’m using it all the time. First, it’s got a great big-fish hook. When you set the hook on a larger walleye with heavy bone structure in its mouth, this hook goes right through it like butter. It just drills big fish. It’s not even about a hard hookset, it’s more of a slow pull with the Gamakatsu. It’s wicked sharp and that unique bend keeps ‘em buttoned.”
Bro continues: “The jighead itself is based on one of my ice fishing designs—the Mud Bug. It’s designed to look like an actual minnow head, which appeals to the visual senses of numerous fish species. The wire keeper also keeps soft plastics and expensive live bait pinned exactly where they’re supposed to be. If you’re using a ‘crawler, leech, or minnow, that barb keeps the meat on without killing it, too. It keeps the bait tight—but lively—on the jig.”
In terms of colors, Bro is a big fan of the blue and white Glo Moonlight pattern in the Elite Series MVP family of colors. “This is a tournament secret,” states Bro. “It catches walleyes everywhere you go. I keep it on my guide clients’ lines because it always catches fish. It’s a great clear water color and good on lakes with big populations of rusty crawfish, because there’s blue on top of their shell and claws. Crawfish aren’t always orange. They’re brown with a little bit of blue.”
Dakotas-based Northland pro Jason Mitchell has been using Northland’s Elite Series MVP Jig to great success on western walleyes as well—especially in deeper water.
“I like the Gamakatsu for great hooksets. The color selection is excellent, too. I’ve been fishing them primarily with live bait—fatheads and rainbows—in larger sizes like the 3/8- and ½-ounce, dragging them over deeper water, 12- to 22-feet, with a 7-foot medium-heavy power spinning rod with a fast tip—something beefy—with 10-pound braid, so it drops fast, and a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader. I’ve been catching a lot of fish on the Glo Moonlight and the brighter Parrot and Bubblegum.”
Northland pro Nick Lindner has been using the jig since the early design days and is a convert to the head shape and hook style for big walleyes, electing to use the new jig on river fish.
“The hook point is lined up perfectly with the line tie, which means when you’re pulling on the jig, you’re reefing right into the meat of the fish’s mouth. For me, it’s the perfect jig for a big soft plastic on river walleyes and cutting through current while displacing a lot of water. MVP’s come in heavier sizes, too, so it’s ideal for deeper river walleyes stacked up in current areas.”
Whether fishing soft plastics or upsized live bait—you’re going to want to give the new Northland Elite Series MVP Series Jig a shot. From vertical fishing to pitching or “strolling,” it’s got a hook that’s simply unforgiving and keeps fish buttoned. And, at the end of the day, that’s what we all want—more fish in the boat…
In 1975, a young Northwoods fishing guide named John Peterson started pouring jigs and tying tackle for his clients in a small remote cabin in northern Minnesota. The lures were innovative, made with high quality components, and most importantly, were catching fish when no other baits were working! Word spread like wildfire, the phone started ringing… and the Northland Fishing Tackle® brand was in hot demand! For 40 years now, John and the Northland® team have been designing, testing and perfecting an exclusive line of products that catch fish like no other brand on the market today. Manufactured in the heart of Minnesota’s finest fishing waters, Northland® is one of the country’s leading producers of premium quality jigs, live bait rigs, spinnerbaits and spoons for crappies, bluegills, perch, walleyes, bass, trout, northern pike and muskies.