Monday, July 25, 2011

All Terrain Tackle VS. Northstar Custom Baits - Swim Jig Edition

Well, it's been a long time since I've updated anything here and due to some, well, issues, I haven't had much opportunity to get out on the water at all since my last post.  So, I decided to post a product review about a couple of local (MN-based) tackle makers.

As I indicated in my last post, my bait for making it work this year has, by and large, been the swim jig.

I didn't really start using them until late last year so my experience with them is still, I admit, fairly limited.  But I have honed in on a couple of different baits, one from All Terrain Tackle and the other from Northstar Custom Baits.

Both have their positive sides and a negative or two.  Let me break it down a little.

All Terrain Tackle:

I first found them at Fleet Farm while I was camping in the St. Cloud area.  I was disappointed this year when I went back and found that they were no longer there, but that was nothing a trip to Gander Mountain didn't cure (surprise!  No, really, surprise!).

I've tried the black/blue with no results.  Green pumpkin, which the pike in the Sauk River Chain absolutely love when you jerk the bait hard.  And this spring I picked up some of the bluegill colored baits, which, not surprisingly, has been my best color overall to date. 

I've thrown this bait into some of the worst looking stuff I could find and, for the most part, it came back sparkling clean.  I'm no expert, but I'm sure this is because the line tie is positioned horizontal to the bait rather than vertically.  It isn't recessed, but it's close enough that snags, well, just don't happen.  At least not as much as they do with other jig head designs.  And if they do, it's usually because I cast past the shoreline and into that old willow sitting on the bank...

The only thing I'm not real keen on are the colors.  There really wasn't anything that stood out on the shelf as lifelike - especially in regards to the bluegill color, but, of course, it's not about what I think.  It's what the fish think, and they think it's supper time!

Northstar Custom Jigs:

This is the New Gill color.

I have to admit, I was completely hooked on the colors of these things.  I feel that the bullgill and new gill colors are a pretty close match to what I've seen in the waters I fish.

The baits work well enough, but the only real feedback I can give is that the line tie, which is in front, seems to hang on every little fleck of veggie and more often than not, I end up with a ball of weeds on the end of my line rather than the bait I threw out.  My opinion: This makes it more of an open water kind of bait which really doesn't suit my style.


While I love the colors on the Northstar swim jig, I have to stick with the All Terrain version.  At least for now, as it fits my style the best.

But for now, it's freakishly hot outside and I'm sure that it'll be punchin' time.  A concept that is still very new to me so it should be a good time getting out and figuring it out.

Until next time..


  1. Huh. I've fished NorthStar swim jigs for a few years and never have that problem. They're my #1 confidence bait now. I throw 'em everywhere, never get hung up and rarely catch any vegetation on the return. Either way, it's cool that you're keeping it local.

  2. Looks like that posted from my Blogger account. Don't know why.

  3. Yeah, it caught me off guard. They did fine around the rocks in the Rum River, but in the weeds was something else. I have a few left yet so I'll keep working with them. Who knows - it could be a confidence thing too.

    I try to keep most of my tackle local. There are a few exceptions, such as plastics and things of that nature. But there so many local tackle manufacturers in MN that make awesome stuff, it's really hard to justify going out and grabbing a Strike King jig when Outkast, Northstar, or All Terrain makes something just as good.. The biggest problem is availability, I think.

  4. How do you fish these? Toss them near weeds/structure and reel back slowly? let them sink? New to the swim jigs...thanks

    1. Hey, sorry for the delay, I don't check in very much once the water freezes and I just saw your question this morning.

      A swim jig is an incredibly versatile bait that can be fished just about anywhere. Wood, light weeds, flats, docks... I don't chuck it into real thick weeds but will fish the edges of matted weeds if that's where the fish are holding, hitting all the classic spots - inside turns, pockets, etc...

      I usually do a slow roll with them. Depending on the target, I'll make a long cast past it, let it sink either to the bottom or to what ever depth the fish seem to be holding at, and reel back slowly. During my retrieve, I also pop the bait and let it sink a bit too - a lot of strikes come on the fall after I pop it.

      You'll get strikes on the initial fall when the bait hits the water too, so make sure you're paying attention, if the line starts peeling across the water - set the hook 'cause it's game on!

      I've also had a lot of luck with pike by constantly snapping the baits (throughout the cast) along break lines, too. But start beefing up your arms now during the winter, because that gets tiring after about 15 minutes!

      Good luck!