Snapweights give walleye anglers an added tool in the tackle bag when it comes to going after the big fish that show up in the fall months prior to the winter freeze. Big baits, small baits, rattling, suspending, all of these types can add up to increased catch rates when used in combination with these weights that are attached to your line. The purpose, at least in my book of “walleye tactics” is to get any type of lure down to where the walleye feed with the least amount of line out as possible. Less line in the water equals less chance for something to go haywire.
Big baits equal big fish, that’s the story or perhaps the most common saying in fishing, it ranks right up there with “match the hatch” or when it comes to muskie fishing, “You can use any lure you want, as long as it is black.”. One of the most productive type of baits I have used are referred to as jerkbaits, and almost all of them rattle and suspend when retrieved or during the trolling process of making tight turns or momentarily putting your motor in neutral. When used with a snapweight, this gets a bit trickier because the weight will dive taking your lure with you. Be aware of the body of water you are fishing to make sure you won’t run into some nasty snags. Instead of making tight turns, or throttling down, try more sweeping turns if the underwater terrain allows. This will give you the extra benefit of covering a wider path and you will still get that slow down/speed up action that can entice walleye to bite.
Most snapweight kits will range from or around 3/4 of an ounce up to three ounces. Going with my philosophy of using the least amount of line possible, I generally like using the heavier weights whenever possible. When it comes to the kits, that usually means dropping down the 2 or 3 oz weights. When going deeper in the water column, or trying to get the most control in the depths I am fishing, that is when I go heavy.
When I start “depth bombing” walleye, out comes the heavy pencil weights, in 4 and 6 ounce. This is my homemade kit, so if you want to replicate something similar, there is some assembly required. No worries though, to attach the weights to the Lock-Jaw clips from Church Tackle, I used some big duolock snaps, which can easily deconstructed in order to attach to the weights. Once put back together, choose the weight you want to use and snap onto the clip. You can also use the new Mini Lock-Jaw clips from Church, either will work effectively, but I do like the original clips for the heavier weights.
Nothing knocks these clips off, and they actually make excellent weed guards to keep your lures running free and clear of any debris that might hinder their action going through the water.
Besides the shallow running jerkbaits, the use of snapweights works extremely well with lures that run deep, but maybe not as deep as you would like them to run. Case in point, the big deep diving #9 Rapala Shad Rap. These lures are a favorite of mine for trolling on Lake Erie in the cold water from October through December when the weather allows. Unfortunately, their max running depth is right around 16 foot of water. Now, with the snapweights I can drop them right down to the bottom if I want without letting out a mile of line.
Quick sidenote, remember to consider your running depth of the lure with the amount of line you let out before attaching the weight. Normally I run out 30 foot of line, then attach my weight, and then drop to the desired depth. The 50/50 method is thrown out the door, and I can then use less line after dropping the weight down. The four ounce is my overall weight of choice because it helps eliminate much of the guess work.