BEMIDJI, Minn. – The year was 1965. The sport of fishing was only beginning to find itself. Lure innovator John Peterson would not establish Northland Fishing Tackle for another decade: 1975, the same year the great Al and Ron Lindner published the first issue of In-Fisherman. Meanwhile, a sporting goods store manager from Milwaukee, Wisconsin was noodling and jotting down his progressive thoughts on fishing, ultimately manifested in the iconic 24-page saddle-stitched book, Nightcrawler Secrets. (You can still find copies online!)
The cat was out of the bag. Binkelman shared his secret with the masses: that lively, properly presented nightcrawlers fished with finesse drive gamefish batty. Now 50 years later, the magical attraction of live nightcrawlers remains the same, especially when delivered with contemporary rigs and harnesses from Northland’s expert assortment.
New for 2020, Northland’s Butterfly Blade Harness has instantly become one of the deadliest spinner rigs for walleyes and other nightcrawler guzzlers, like bass, perch and outsized panfish.
In terms of action, it doesn’t take much to get the lightweight Butterfly Blade oscillating. The cleverly cut and contoured polycarbonate blade rides higher in the water column and spins at slower speeds than traditional, metal Indiana or Colorado designs.
“I love the Butterfly Blade Harness,” says Northland pro, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl. “It’s a consistent producer for walleyes. My favorite feature is you can fish it at any speed and it works. Pull it slow or fast, and the blade is always spinning. And the match-the-hatch colors Northland came up with cover every situation, from perch patterns to shiners to bright colors and Great Lakes style patterns.”
Bro continues, “You can use the Butterfly Blade Harness with a full crawler, a partial crawler, or leech, so there are a lot of choices, whether you’re fishing weeds or bottom-bouncing over rocks and sand bars. And with different size blades available, the rig is perfect for finesse situations or going big and aggressive for huge walleyes.
“And the blades don’t spin up or damage your line. Butterfly Blade Harnesses are just awesome!”
Bro drills down and talks about slow speeds and fishing in weeds: “If I’m pulling for walleyes, I get great results because the blade still turns trolling at .25 mph, so I can fish really slow and with finesse. The lightweight spinner itself also helps loft your bait when you’re in snaggy situations, like weeds. And when the blade spins it’s also creating audible vibrations. The blade actually summons fish that are buried in the weeds. Their lateral lines can pick up the slow tumble of the blade.”
The Butterfly Blade Harness has received numerous accolades from Northland customers on social media, too. For example, Gerald Jung posted on June 2, 2020 that he “used the Butterfly Blade on Memorial Day on the lake with a nightcrawler. First fish I caught was 31” and 12- pounds with this rig.” Similarly, John Wessels posted, “my buddy and I caught twenty 20”+ walleyes in one day in Ontario at Eagle Lake Island Lodge with Butterfly Spinners!”
The radical Butterfly Blade Harness is available in two blade sizes (#1 1 7/8 in. and #2 1 3/8 in.) and a diverse pallet of twelve color patterns. The harness features a 60-inch snell/leader for stealth and two premium Needle-Point Hooks. Retail is $3.99.
Northland also makes it easy to experiment with colors by offering the Butterfly Blade Kit. The well-rounded collection includes single-hooked Butterfly Blade Rigs, Butterfly Blade Harnesses and Butterfly Blade Float’R Harnesses, for a total of 18-pieces. The kit is available online from Northland for $59.99.
“Walleyes and all game-fish love nightcrawlers,” championed Binkelman. And as the founding father of nightcrawler fishing, he’d surely be impressed by Northland’s continuing enhancements on how to present these scrumptious earth dwellers.