The Bassmaster Classic winning Smeltinator Jig is the creation of Canadian Angler Bryan Gustafson. It wouldn't be what it is today without a 20+ year relationship with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jeff Gustafson and Northland Tackle founder John Peterson. The Smeltinator was designed to give anglers a premium minnow head that perfectly imitates slender baitfish across the Northern US and Canada. As Bryan started creating jigs, he consulted with John on the manufacturing process, and the Smeltinator was born. After dominating the Canadian Tournament scene for several years, Jeff Gustafson won more than $400,000 through B.A.S.S including the 2023 Bassmaster Classic. In 2023, Bryan licensed the Smeltinator manufacturing rights to Northland Tackle and reunited the three elements that brought this jig to life and made it famous.
The premium components of the Smeltinator is really what makes this jig head stand out from others. It features a sticky sharp, strong Gamakatsu hook, which by popular demand is a staple in the bass fishing tournament scene. Lifelike 3D holographic eyes and sculpted gill plates make the Smeltinator a realistic presentation and highly irresistible! Lastly, the universal ribbed baitkeeper holds your favorite plastics on the jig head and doesn’t tear your bait like traditional baitkeepers.
The Smeltinator is offered in four different weights (1/8 oz, ¼ oz, 3/8 oz, and ½ oz) and five different hook sizes (1/0-5/0) making this jig useful in a wide array of applications and different soft plastic baits. The rise of forward facing sonar and pressured waters create the need for proper baitfish imitations whether they are small perch or giant shad! For small finesse swimbaits, minnow baits, etc. around 3” in length, the 1/0 or 2/0 hook size would be most popular. The 2/0 and 3/0 hook size pairs up well for baits around 4”. This was the jig size ‘Gussy’ used during his Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic win on the Tennessee River while utilizing a 4 and 5 inch minnow style bait. For baits that are greater than 5 inches, anglers will lean towards the 4/0 or 5/0 hook size.