When walleye put on their finicky act, it often takes a special treat to turn them on. Enter Northland’s new Rumble Bug, a 4-cm (1.57-inch) bite-sized balsa body diving plug with a small profile, tight wiggle, and the ability to pierce lips when cast or trolled around weedlines, hard structure and other cover. It especially excels at tempting walleyes in deep water when presented on lead-core line.
Northland pro and veteran guide Jason Mitchell remarks, “I think a lot of walleye anglers have this mentality where a walleye crankbait has to be really long and slender or a shad profile, but there are times when that shorter, fatter, and rounder profile in smaller sizes really shines. I think they have a closer profile to young-of-the-year white bass, drum, crappies, or bluegills. There are a lot of walleye fisheries where these juvenile fish are an important part of the forage base. The Rumble Bug also shines during midsummer when you get into bug hatches and fishing smaller is key.”
Northland’s entire Rumble Series is handcrafted using a unique Heat Compression Molding process (HCM), as opposed to a one-piece lathing procedure. With this method, two full-length halves of the lure body are created and sealed together, allowing precision positioning of weights for optimal center of gravity, superior flotation at rest, better overall balance, longer casts, and a nice, tight action with just the right amount of roll to drive predator fish crazy. The HCM process also allows each lure to be through-wired before being finished with a light coating of lacquer that’s strong enough to protect the body while adding almost no additional weight.
Additionally, HCM manufacturing enables all Northland Rumble Series lures to track true right out of the box and emerge from the molding process to meet exacting specifications; there is no variation from one lure to another in the same size and profile. With traditional balsa wood lathing methods, slight inconsistencies between one lure body and the next are common. HCM production virtually eliminates this, and Northland is one of only a couple manufacturers worldwide with the technical know how to put this technology to use on a large-scale basis.
The Rumble Bug comes in 15 original fish-catching artisan patterns, allowing anglers to adjust for water color and clarity, match the hatch, or make their offering really stand out from local fodder. Individually hand tuned and tank tested, Rumble Bugs retail for just $9.99 apiece.
“I like small profile baits,” says Mitchell. “I think there a lot of ecosystems where fish are feeding on juvenile prey—like Devils Lake where walleyes eat a lot of young-of-the-year. Small, fat baits mimic that, so I’m a big fan of the Northland Rumble Bug. It’s a bait that consistently puts fish in the livewell.”
Mitchell says he’s done quite well casting the bait around weeds and structure—and long-line trolling it over flats and along weededges, but says the magic really happens when you break out the leadcore as fish move deeper.
“The Rumble Bug really shines when trolling with leadcore. I’ll usually run four lines with two people in the boat. Typically, one color of lead at two miles per hour is going to put you at somewhere around 7 to 8 feet down. So, it really depends on how deep you need to get,” notes Mitchell. “But no matter the depth the walleyes are at, the Rumble Bug just gets bit.”
Mitchell’s favorite: Purple Tiger
Another thing Mitchell appreciates about the Rumble Bug is how well it tracks in the water and its durability. As mentioned, they feature through-wire construction and are all hand-tuned and tested prior to boxing and shipment.
“And the colors,” exclaims Mitchell, “are just spot-on for the walleye fishing I do! I really like the Blue Tiger pattern which resembles a perch, Wonderbread, and Purple Wonder. I’ve had especially good luck with Wonderbread Rumble Bugs.”
Mitchell concludes: “The smaller Rumble Bug just gets it done when a lot of other presentations strike out. A lot of times I’m looking for that major breakline where the hard bottom turns soft off that deep contour. On Devils Lake we pull the old shorelines a lot in that 18- to 24-foot range and we’re running leadcore. There’s rock and sand and just a little bit of structure that attracts the fish. Those deeper transitions pile up the fish and we’re running the Rumble Bug and they catch everything—eater walleyes, big walleyes, and fish in between. But no matter how you choose to fish it, the Rumble Bug is just efficient at bending a rod! Another thing to add—it’s not just a walleye bait, it catches everything that swims.”