Now that the cool spring temps are in the past, its time to start looking ahead towards the dog days of summer. Instead of pulling crankbaits at low speeds hovering around the 1 mile per hour to 1.3 mph range, its time to start pulling the baits a bit faster through the water. Where the early months of spring saw deep running husky jerks being primarily used, warmer water requires baits with a little more action.
One of my favorite baits for the summer months came out onto the market a few years ago, the Jointed Deep Husky Jerk from Rapala. What better bait to attract walleye from a distance than one that moves a lot and rattles through the water column. If jointed lures rule the waters while casting from Luna Pier in October and November, why not use that same tactic while pulling boards. Actually I like running these baits when the fish are higher in the water column based upon the current dive charts available. Ideally I like running these baits from eight to 16 ft down, at speeds ranging from 1.5 through 2.2 mph.
The TDD-11, the biggest of the Deep Taildancers just might be one of the best kept secrets on Lake Erie, even though the secret, to some extent has been out for a few years now. Even one size down, the TDD-9 is gaining some traction and starting to fill up a few tackle boxes. The #11’s are used best in deeper water, anything over 14 fow and down to 40 foot. Not that the crank will reach that far down in regards to the dive charts, but when fishing that depth, walleye will tend to suspend in the water column. The #9’s are most effective in 20 fow or less, but can be used in deeper water for suspended fish. Both sizes dig through the water with some high energy tail action.
Everyone knows how well the original Storm Hot n Tots worked on Lake Erie, but to snag a page from walleye anglers on Saginaw Bay, the Rattle Tot was the favorite version on the bay. This slightly larger version of the Hot n Tot, has the same wiggle, wide-ranging side to side action while incorporating, as the name suggests, rattles to draw walleye in from a distance. Another bait that works best for targeting suspended walleye, this one is best used in 25 foot or less and at speeds up to 2.5 mph.
While most of the anglers that fished Lake Erie in the earlier days were using the Hot n Tot, perhaps it was no mistake that a lot of the charters were running the Storm Wiggle Warts back then. These baits required no tuning, and unlike the original Tots, these baits which are roughly the same size, had another factor to be considered. They made noise, lots of noise due to their built-in rattle system.
The noise factor is what separates these baits from those other high energy lures, like spoons for an example. While both types can cover water at higher speeds than my favorite lure the crawler harness, only the crankbaits have rattles which gives them a decided edge over running spoons.