Monday, July 8, 2024

ICAST 2024: Northland Fishing Tackle’s New Eye-Candy™ Jiggin’ & Riggin’ Leeches

 Leeches have been a walleye fishing mainstay since the early 1960s. Prior to that, only a handful of savvy anglers trapped and used them. Just ask longtime Northland guide and angler, Dick “Griz” Gryzwinski, who was fishing leeches in the 1950s, but kept their walleye magic close to the vest.

Eye- Candy Jiggin' Leech

Eye Candy Riggin' Leech 

Over the years, leech prices have inflated – especially for larges and jumbos – the bait currently fetching $50/pound or more—if you can find them. And if you’re a slip bobber or rigging angler, you know that you can go through a lot of leeches, sorting panfish and other species from walleyes. Of course, that’s not a bad thing for the table, but you can burn through a lot of bait.

Have there been other bait companies who have tried to mimic the unique look, texture, feel, and action of fishing leeches? Absolutely.

But until now, most have been crude, lifeless pieces of plastic. That’s where Northland’s Eye-Candy Jiggin’ Leech and Eye-Candy Riggin’ Leech differ. Molded of a highly-buoyant and scent-absorbing TPE plastic, they nearly float on a dropshot, jig, or rig hook, making them move just like the real thing with subtle rod actions, boat speed, or underwater currents, even at a standstill.

We talked with a few guides to get the skinny on these fat walleye-catchers, catching up with Brian “Bro” Brosdahl (northern MN), Donnie O’Bert (Rainy Lake), and Brad Hawthorne (Mille Lacs). 

Bro Knows Leeches

“The new Jiggin’ and Riggin’ Leeches are ideal summer walleye baits,” says Bro. “The Jiggin’ Leech is the perfect size and works great on a long-shank, short-shank, or stand-up jig. They’re really as effective as the real thing without the fuss of live bait. Another thing: For going into Canada or places where live bait is restricted, they’re the perfect solution.”

Bro continues: “I’ve been fishing a lot of the black- and darker-colored leeches, but on guide trips I will have clients experiment with different colors based on water clarity. Bright colors on bright days and darker colors on dark days holds true.”

Both baits, Bro says, catch walleyes. “Fish recognize the size, shape, and movement and come over right away to eat it, which is super cool for a plastic bait. They have a real swimming motion, and rigged on a jig, rig, or dropshot, it’s pretty close to the real thing because of the TPE plastic which has a lot of buoyancy and will also absorb scent to kick it up a notch—like adding some Pro Cure.”

Lastly, Bro adds that now through fall, the Riggin’ Leech is going to be a dynamite solution for spinner harnesses—either drifted or trolled. 

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