Really nice new video of Church’s new TX-007, Stern Planer Board, in action
You have done everything right, you have a walleye on the line and to borrow a term from the football world, its time to play prevent defense. When I see a defense drop back to stop the big play, I cringe watching the opposing team chew up yardage underneath while moving down the field into field goal range. In the world of walleye fishing, prevent refers to not pulling off a knucklehead move and allowing a walleye to come off the hook. There are several things you can do to prevent this tragedy from happening.
Rod angle is the first and it applies after you take off your board. Once I remove my Walleye Board and crank the reel down while lowering my rod tip it is critical not to move the rod while the fish comes in. People have the notion that they have to help the guy netting by lifting the rod up to bring the fish closer to the surface….WRONG. More walleye come off the hook doing this than at any other time during the process. Let the person work the net and eventually you will get that fish in the box.
Since I started talking about nets a little bit already, lets stay focussed on the net itself. Most often the first mistake when it comes to the landing net is in the store where you bought it. Yes, before you even get it wet, that first mistake is often made by the angler while purchasing it. Like some other things in life, size does matter and the most common mistake is purchasing a net that is too small. It is true that probably for 70%, maybe, that the walleye coming back to the boat will fit into a standard sized boat net. I like to leave nothing to chance, so while some really good nets are 20 to 22 inches across, mine is 26 inches. That is the trolling net and the theory I developed over time with that is by the time the fish comes back to the boat, it is somewhat played out and less likely to thrash about. My jigging net is the same sized hoop with a slight difference, and that is the next point in the topic.
When considering a net, it is crucial to also consider the length of your handle. My trolling net’s handle is 6 x 3 foot, which means without sliding it out its six-foot long, plus the size of the hoop. For most fish I do not need to extend the extra 3 foot, but it does come in handy on lightly hooked fish when you need to reach out and secure it right away. At the very least I think 4 x 3 ft would be the shortest handle variation to get. On the jigging net my handle is 48 inches long, more than enough to reach over and scoop up the biggest spring prize. There are some 72 inch handles out there and if you have the room and the storage, by all means get it! If you get a 4 x 3′, you should be well equipped for both jigging and trolling.
Depth of net can also be critical, and 30 inches seems to be a nice balance in the size range. As you hand over hand or pull the net straight back, it pushes the fish down to the bottom with little chance to escape. For close range, it also gives you the ability to flip the net over enclosing your prize. I had the 42 inch net on the Mag Walleye Net from Beckman and honestly it was just too long and the holes in the mesh were really too big. Its bad when you have fifteen inch fish sliding out the side. Found a great replacement on Frabill’s website and both problems were solved.
I could go on about line, and then on to hooks, but its been done to death by others. Ten to 14 lb test is plenty for just about any Great Lake’s location. If you are free of sharp rocks, or are not directly plowing through the zebra mussels then 10 lb works great, if those conditions do exist, do not be afraid to beef it up a bit. The walleye really do not care 98% of the time.
Hooks, for the most part can be covered in one size and shape, #2 octopus. That size will get the job done, and do it well. You can play around if you want, I like a #1 as my first hook behind the beads and then trail two more on the snell with #2′s. Some run a #1 or #2 with a #8 or #10 treble trailing. I love the sickle style from Matzuo because the hook forms an anchor point where the fish cannot swivel off. It also gives me a better hooking percentage when I switch over from live bait (crawlers) to plastic worms when the silver bass and white perch are behaving like piranha and stripping the hooks clean.
It’s all about putting fish in the box, and these few minor tips will make it happen!
6am Start, Weigh-in at DBBC at 2pm $20 per person, non-members welcome Prizes for the following: … Most Weight – 5 Walleye Weighed (Only 1 allowed over 25 inches) Heaviest Single Walleye Heaviest Single Junk Fish– Sheephead, White Bass or Carp (Prize amounts will be based on number of participants) FISH DINNER TO FOLLOW $10 for those not in tournament FISHERMAN PLEASE DONATE YOUR CATCH FOR THE FISH DINNER Call Kurt Raschke with questions 734-497-8605
…..swivel that is. That is what they would consider a literary hook, now to reel you in!
Like many tools in an angler’s fishing arsenal, some things get used more than others. During the late 1990′s and the early years of the new millennium, few approaches were hotter than employing the three-way swivel to put walleye in the box. Unfortunately like many hot streaks the approach fizzled with advent of new trends in techniques. But, unlike skinny jeans the 3-way will always be an effective tool to lure your “fish” in. Seriously folks, highlighting a big butt and chicken legs is not the fashion statement you want to make! Ok, rant over
Seriously though, last night I came across a package of these from Cabela’s that I had purchased at least ten years ago, and it started the old hamster wheel turning. (Quick side note, mine are size #2 and have found them perfect for walleye fishing.) I took out eight of the swivels and started looking at how I might be able to re-invent some apps for fishing today. Honestly there really aren’t too many, but much like BASS, you didn’t have to invent the mousetrap to make it better.
Lets take a look at some of the more obvious ways to use them, and I will slide in some improvements along the way and see what you come up with, as well. If your first exposure to the three-way swivel was either through the In-Fisherman magazine or their television show way back when, the most obvious way to use the swivel is employ it with a dropper weight, six to 12 inches down from the bottom eye. Since there will not be a fish on the dropper, just about any size line can be used to attach your weight with. I suggest 8 to 14 lb test, but if working in a rocky or zebra mussel environment, it will not kill the fishing if you bump it up to 20 lb test if it gives you more confidence in the approach.
Now comes the middle eye where you run your lure from. You can use a crawler harness/spinner rig, but if you do you will run into some severe line twist. That is because even though the word swivel is used to describe the rig, when you have resistance pulling against the hammered insert, there isn’t much “swiveling” going on. Best way to remedy the problem is with three small pieces from the terminal tackle inventory. First you will need a #2 split ring to attach to the middle eye/insert of the 3-way. Next use a good quality swivel, it can be a “crane” or ball bearing if you want to spend the big bucks, and finish it off with a snap. If you have some trusted snap and swivels already in your tackle box, you can just attach that to the split ring.
Another approach with the dropper weight rig is run a small diving lure like Glass Shad Rap, or a bigger shallow diving lure like an Original Floating Rapala or Husky Jerk. This approach is a great way to get a shallow diving lure down to where the fish are, while giving them a unique action not seen when using a various deep diving lures. Your crank leader can be as short as three feet or the length of your rod. In my case, since I am using 8 ft St. Croix’s, my leader can be that long. It all boils down to ease of netting the fish. Your leader can be made up with 10 to 15 lb test. I prefer to make up my leads ahead of time, less commotion on the boat and saves you some fishing time. I make them up with a double loop knot at one end, and a #2 or #3 duolock snap at the other. The duolock allows the lures to swivel back and forth on the snap and doesn’t impede the action of the lure. For ease of hooking up the leader to the 3-way itself, the duolock snap also lets you easily attach the double loop knot to the middle ring of the swivel.
Recapping: Some of the three-way swivels can be rigged with just a snap attached for use with crankbaits, while others that will be used with spinner rigs are fixed up with a split ring and some combination of snap and swivel to reduce the line twist created by the lure. Now we get into the creative ways to put more lures in the “strike zone”. The beauty of the three-way swivel is that you can get more than one lure on the rod at the same time. It almost works like the handline shanks made famous on the Detroit River, but made with mono. It’s not the same approach, but it has several benefits.
First benefit is that you can run both a crawler harness and deep diving crankbait at the same time. Nothing new here, it’s the same approach that was also introduced to the masses through In-Fisherman. The diving cranks act like your weight, but what was not cited as a reason for using the unique combination is that during the transition in water temperatures, you can actually give the fish the choice of what they want on the same rod. This approach becomes more difficult when the walleye want the crankbaits at a faster speed, it becomes a conflict with the spinner rig up above where they tend to be run slower than the diving lure. It is a transition time “one trick pony” so to speak, but highly effective. Leads on this rig should be 3 foot on your harness, and six-foot on the crank.
Another way to effectively work the three-way into your approach is to attach a short lead in the middle, say a three-foot crawler harness, single hooked crawler with a Northland Sting’r, leech or even a minnow is your speed is slow enough. Drop your leader from the bottom, two to four-foot and then it gets interesting. You have several options with what to do next. You will be running a second crawler harness off the bottom eye with a weight of some type to run off the dropper. You can employ a bead chain weight for running high in the water column. Using the bead chain gives you several options when choosing what weight you determine is most effective for targeting suspended walleye. It could be as light as 1/4 oz, maybe a 3/8ths or has high as a 1/2 ounce to work effectively while hitting the top half of water.
Keel weights of one form or another work great in this application, you can also adjust the depths by weight and line let out, but now you still start talking about one to three ounces of lead getting you down fast to where the fish are located. The heavier the keel, the easier it is for you to dial in the amount of line needed to achieve the desired depth.
Early in the season, say inside Lake Erie’s Brest Bay where I am fishing 20 foot or less, a 1 oz keel works well while letting me put enough line behind my Walleye Boards from Church Tackle as to potentially not spook cautious “eyes”. Once most of the walleye have moved outside the bay, I will bump it up to a 2 ounce keel, and that seems to work well up to 28 foot of water. After that it is time to break out the 3 oz monsters. You can of course run a 1 oz all season long if you want to start there, but why have 70 to 90 feet of line out behind your boards if thirty to 40 foot will get the job done, and have less opportunity for the fish to get off the hooks.
And of course, the trusty dusty bottom bouncer can be used as well while targeting walleye hugging bottom under the mid-day sun. Any size from 1 to 4 ounces can be used under a board effectively while adjusting the double action flags. Again, a three-foot harnesses on top, three-foot down the bottom bouncer, and a six ft harnesses off the BB (bottom bouncer). That will make the whole rig manageable using an 8 to 9 foot trolling rod.
With another recap, the three-way swivel still deserves a place in any angler’s program when fishing for walleye. It is highly effective, and it just might help you get off the water sooner with limits in the box. And what else was there, oh yes…… for the love of God, NO MORE SKINNY JEANS!
I have heard argument for and against for years on how many of the same lure to run at the same time. It is true there are some pro’s and con’s in the argument. This is my philosophy, if you catch more than two fish in succession with the same lure, at the same depth, you would be a nugget to not do what the fish are telling you. A nugget meaning, in a somewhat less polite term saying you are a fool.
I have no problem with starting out with a fresh week or two off the water, running a full spectrum of colors. It doesn’t matter if you are running cranks or spinner rigs. Go ahead and give them a variety to hit on, but if you have two fish, hit the same lure, at the same depth…its game on literally.
If you want a pro-longed day, change them out when you check your boards, but if you want to stay on top of the same troll, make your changes quick. Once you settle in on your pattern, it really is best to hone in on what the fish want, and where they want it. Keep in mind as the day progresses, the depths might change as the sun goes higher in the sky, but more than likely they will feed on the same color pattern.
When we were hammering the big eyes last fall, the pic above tells the story. Give the fish what they want and purple was rocking. Besides this 12 lb+ pig, we landed limits of fish at the same depth on this purple lure. The crank bite holds true with the spinner bite as well. If I am rocking the blues, pinks or browns at a certain depth the through the season, I will be darn sure to feed the fish and continue to keep the bite rolling through the day.
On Lake Erie, in Michigan waters its true for two people you are allowed six rods in the water with two people in the boat. In that normal scenario I have no problem running four of the same bait. The old argument is that you must have a variety for the fish to choose from, so go ahead and run a couple of different colors out there to keep the variety alive. The mood of the fish might change-up on you that is true, but do not randomly abandon what has been clicking for you all morning. Hit them while you have dialed in with as many of the same lures as you can, while leaving four of the same four in a spread of six, or six in a spread of nine as you can effectively manage.
The Recreation Committee of Local 3000 from the Flat Rock Assembly Plant will be hosting their “Annual Walleye Tournament” on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at Lake Erie Metro Park. You can fish the Detroit River or Lake Erie during the tournament hours. I have participated in two of these tourneys and had a blast at each one. Not only does it have the thrill of competition, but it really is a fun event. Once the tourney is over there will be a fish fry after the weigh-in and its a great time to talk with the other anglers and compare notes to see how other boats got the job done.
Here is a quick breakdown of the rules for the event:
- At least one member of the crew must be a member of the UAW or a Retiree in good standing. This means the tourney is open to all UAW members, doesn’t matter if you work for Ford, GM or Chrysler.
- Cost is only $25 per person, you can fish up to four people in the boat.
- You must have a valid fishing license for the waters you will be fishing in.
- All fish must be caught the day of the tourney
- Judges will disqualify any team caught cheating.
- Five fish weigh-in per team, most weight per team wins.
- Tournament check-in time is between 6 am – 7am at the Lake Erie Metro Park Launch, if you are registering that day, you must be there before 6:30.
- Weigh-in deadline is 2 pm SHARP or sooner. You can still weigh-in if your boat is in the harbor at 2 pm.
- Launching begins at 7 am.
- If one angler on a boat chooses to enter the big fish contest, then all members of the crew must do so also.Payout will be determined by the number of teams that enter.
Lake Erie Metro Park is located off of West Jefferson Ave, between Huron River Drive and Gibralter Road. That is about a 15 min drive north on Dixie (Dixie turns into W. Jefferson Ave) from Jeff’s Bait and Tackle, (734) 289-4901. There are flyers/entry forms are available at the bait shop, there are limited forms available, so just ask one the crew inside to print the form for you so you can fill it out prior to arrival at the metro park.
If you have additional question, please contact:
- George McKinnon 313.727.4191
- Joe Ferullo 734.945.0669
- Brian Harvey 734.558.6244
- Jim Martin 810.533.9144
See you there!
This is going to be short and sweet, my first attempt got lost in cyberspace when it failed to load this morning.
Applying powder paint to a jig is really just one step in the process of creating one of the hardest surfaces on any lure you will fish with. To do it right, you need to cure the jig in an oven. The handy-dandy college era toaster oven is great for this, set it at 350′ and pull them out to cool after 15 minutes.
Since this process temporarily places the applied powder in a molten state, you run the risk of the paint shifting and covering up the eye of the jig. Once this process is complete, it’s nearly impossible to clean out the eye without the use of something like a dremel tool. The solution is fairly simple, place the jig in a clamp at an angle so that the paint will shift away from the eye. The clamps themselves are available at www.tjstackle.com .
Getting ready to head north today for a friend’s funeral, and since all the people I know are going to be fisherman types, I made up a bunch of lil’ gift bags. So, yesterday I am curing a bunch of jigs that I powder painted in the old trusty college era toaster oven. That’s 350′ for 15 minutes by the way.
One thing I have learned while curing the jig in the oven, even though the paint is already hard on the jig, the heat will warm up the paint enough to where it will begin to “slide”. In this molten state, its easy for the paint to cover up the eyes on the jig while in the oven. If you have ever dealt with powder paint, you know that once in its cured state after the oven, that your run of the mill jig eye buster will do little in cleaning out the eye. So, with that in mind, I angle the jigs slightly now, so when the paint shifts, the eye stays clear.
Holy Detroit River, this could be something new for all the handliners out there who fish the river.
Here is the video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvSvuvew0Wk
Imagine the side to side action of the Storm Hot n Tot on a minnow bait, running 20 feet behind your shank, while you are chugging along on the Detroit River. Original floaters have been used for years on the handline reels made famous in Detroit and the sizes available in the Scatter Rap series are dead on with what they use on the DR. I think it won’t be long before reports start coming out with local anglers giving them a test, and you know the Pro’s when they come into town who rig their boats with the handline reels will be bringing them to try while pre-fishing as well.
That’s the best thing about walleye fishing, seeing a bait never intended for an application specific to your area. Working out all the pro’s and con’s, imagining how it will work and then putting the theory to the test. You know when they developed this bait, the last thing on their mind was handlining the Detroit River.
Break out the blade baits and hair jigs folks, the 2013 spring jigging season on the lake has started. Right now the blade baits like those from Captain Jay and Silver Streak are working the best. With all the recent rain their vibration is calling to the fish in the muddy water. Soon if this weather holds, the dirt will settle and the hair jig bite will take off.
Will be hitting the lake this weekend, and after the seminars at Cabela’s last weekend, looking forward to seeing many of the people who attended. Don’t forget your stinger hooks, and remember it’s all in the wrists!