Time to break out those deep running, minnow imitating, rattling and jointed kind of baits. It’s that time of the year for the 3 rd Season of Walleye Fishing to begin in earnest. That wonderful time of the year when big walleye are in our home waters and you get a chance for that monster to come back to the boat!
First check a few things off your to-do list, just simple things that can wreck your day on the water if you don’t do them. The biggest thing is to take a good look at your line, if it doesn’t pass the test, re-spool the linecounters. These reels are a must have, and I have my old trustworthy Daiwa SG 27 LCA’s rigged up with 15 pound mono. Before anyone gets their hair up, yes I know its above the suggested 10 lb rating for the dive charts, but I have my reasons. For one thing I can pretty much assure you that the fish are not scared off by the bigger sized line out on the Great Lakes, and I will include Lake St. Clair in that statement. How do I know, because my crawler harnesses are rigged with the same line, but with seven-foot leads of 20 lb test. Hasn’t exactly hurt my catch rate! Second reason, the difference in diameter is minimal. I know that if I am marking fish down at 17 foot of water, if I let out enough line to get down to that 17 ft mark, that my baits will run above their heads. Why is this important, just remember that fish feed up, and rarely down below them.
Next up, check your electronics. What I really mean is, check your batteries. Nothing can ruin your experience worse than just not being able to fish. Check those trolling batteries, starting battery (ies) and accessory battery if you are running one. It doesn’t take long and it would be worth any amount of time to get that out-of-the-way. Since ignition requires a spark, check your plugs too. If the engine doesn’t start, you cannot fish.
Last up, hardware which can include a variety of things. If you have been running the same snap on your line all season, give it an inspection. This small item will be the cheapest item on your list if it needs to be replaced. Not sure what kind of snap to use, I use a #2 Duolock snap. #2’s are a good size, and you can use a #1 or even a #3, but to paraphrase Goldilocks, for me the #2 is just right. Why the duolock, because the snap has a natural round bend which allows the bait to work itself back and forth as it was intended too. Back before we knew that split rings would cut your line, it was common place to tie the Rapala knot for the lure to achieve the same action.
Checking your hardware also means inspecting your other gear, like the hardware on your planer boards. I give my Church Tackle boards a thorough inspection. Give the double action flag system a quick run through, and check tensions and I am ready to roll, or troll to be more precise!
All of these tips are little in the grand scheme of catching a big fish, but if you do not do them bad things can happen. I have said it before, it could be the difference between catching that big fish, or watching it break-off at the boat. 4th Season is just around the corner, it wouldn’t hurt for you to catch up on that checklist for your ice fishing gear too!