Its almost that time of the year, when the walleye run up the Maumee River in Toledo and up to Perrysburg. There will be some jacks (males) moving in soon before they females make their run. Like in the days of the salmon run hay day, anglers will pack into the shoreline and start casting their rigs in hopes of getting their limit of pickerel.
Yes, I said pickerel. I can do that because the family hailed from the downriver area, and once upon a time it was not just the Canadians who referred to walleye by their other name. Anyone who grew up in the areas surrounding Detroit, knew what a pickerel was before they ever heard the name walleye.
Back on topic, if you want to hit the Maumee, there are some rigs you need to have made up before you go. The first one is a floating jighead rig, which has five components. You will need, obviously a floating jighead, a #4 works best. A plastic twister tail to rig on the hook, tail up is ok, but tail down works best.
A stretch of line, 18 to 24 inches long and 6 to 10 lb test. At one end tie off the jig, improved clinch is a good knot to use. You will need a small bead, either a #3 or #4 mm will do the job. At the other end of the line, slide the bead on the end of the line. Make a loop with the tag end and bring it an inch and half down to two inches. Take the bead at middle of the loop and tie a double loop knot. Its an easy knot to learn and also works good for finishing off crawler harnesses.
You will need a selection of egg sinkers, include 1/4, 3/8ths and 1/2 ouncers. These will cover all the bases determined by the speed of the river’s current. Take the appropriate sized weight, and slide the top of the loop through the sinker. The bead you tied into the loop will be at the bottom, and will both protect the knot, and stop the sinker from sliding down to the jig.
Attach your rig to your main line using a snap n swivel onto the section of the loop coming out the top of the sinker. This is commonly known as a Carolina Rig. For the exception of the jig at one end, its also basically your Weapon rig for later in the year on Lake Erie.
Another route to take is skip the whole floating jig rig altogether and just use a lead head round jig with a twister tail. Forgot to mention earlier, that you want your plastic to be around 3 inches for best effect. Using a lead jig just gets your presentation down to where the fish are located, skipping along the bottom right into the fish’s strike zone. Use the same sized jigs as what the egg sinkers would be, 1/4, 3/8ths and 1/2 oz.
Rod selection is important as well, you want a rod that will allow you to feel the bottom as your weight or jigs skips along amongst the rocks. This will save you from hanging up, somewhat that is. Its going to happen, but once you get a feel for the area you are fishing in, it will happen less with a good sensitive rod. I like using a bit longer of a rod than most, its a 7’6″ medium light St. Croix Premier, which will take the 1/2 ounce weights. The Premier series also gives me a little extra strength for working the jigs and sinkers out of the cracks when they do get hung up. For the most part though, a rod from 6’6″ to 8 ft even will work, although the 8 fters are just starting to get popular so you won’t see many of them around. I would prefer a good ML action with a good back bone, but if you feel like you need some more power to get the job done, you will not be the only one out there using a medium action rod.
Line can help you out as well. Use a main line stronger than your leader that you tied while making your carolina rig. If you do get stuck, its the leader that will break, and not your rod. Don’t be one of those guys thrashing their rods back and forth while trying to get unstuck, you will just be asking for a snapped in half rod. For extra feel, you can go with a braided line, like a Power Pro or Fireline.
Your reels are determined by both line capacity and length of your rod. Find one that will balance well with your rod, while at the same time holding around 120 yds of 8 lb mono. Front drags are crucial, a rear drag will burn up a lot quicker than a front if you hook into a big hen.