Whether you’re a weekend angler looking for that escape from your daily grind, or a tournament fisherman looking for the big basket, we all want the same thing when it comes to summer walleye fishing … Action. We’re looking for aggressive fish and lots of them. Action is the name of the game. The more bites you get and the more walleyes you catch, the happier you’ll be. So if it’s Action you’re after, then it’s Action you should be thinking about … your bait’s action that is. Whether you’re talking cranks, jigs or rigging, the action of the offering will play a key role in your walleye fishing success.
Let’s look at one of the most basic angling techniques used for summer walleye fishing – live bait rigging. For years, a juicy nightcrawler rigged on a plain hook run behind a bottom bouncer or slip-sinker has caught walleyes for anglers throughout walleye country. But there always seems to be those times when even this proven tactic just will not produce to our expectations. The obvious next step would be to go with a more aggressive tactic and run that same crawler on a spinner harness. The combination of the spinner along with the increased speed of the presentation is obviously a big change in the action compared to the live bait rigging. But many times it may actually be too much action – or the wrong type of action for the situation. That’s where Slow Death Rigging comes in.
Slow Death rigging is a rigging tactic much like a regular live bait rig or bottom-bouncer rig, but it utilizes a very special hook, Mustad’s Slow Death Hook which when baited with a nightcrawler, or in most cases just half a crawler, creates an enticing “slow rolling” action to the offering that walleyes and other fish find irresistible. Again … It’s all in the action – or at least in finding the right action that will trigger bites under the circumstances you’re fishing.
Another great example of putting Action in your favor would be when contour trolling with lead core line. Obviously you’re going to want a crankbait at the end of your line that puts out an action that will call in and trigger walleyes, but that’s a given. The action you really want to pay attention too when contour trolling with lead core is the action of the line and lure together. It’s that action that allows you to precisely put the lure in the strike zone consistently. Because of its bulky nature, lead core line has a lot of water resistance; therefore you can control the depth the line runs by controlling the speed of the boat. Speed up, and the resistance on the line pushes it up toward the surface. Slow down, and the weight of the line pulls the lure deeper. By watching your depth finder closely and controlling your speed, you can “walk” a lure up and down a breakline to cover a strike zone better than with many other presentations. Another factor in this technique is the crankbait itself. No doubt, small crankbaits like the Berkley 5CM Flicker Shad excel for lead core trolling because the smaller baits react more quickly to the lead core and it’s depth changes than do similar baits in larger sizes. In other words, the “re-action” of the lure and the line together is the right “action” for this fishing scenario.
One presentation where action really stands out as a key factor is jigging. A quarter ounce jig is just a quarter ounce jig. That is until you dress it with a soft bodied tail that moves with the slightest current in the water, and then you add your own hops, jiggles and pops to the offering. And with a myriad of jig sizes and body shape combinations available today, the possible variations in action are almost infinite (or at least seem that way sometimes). The thing to keep in mind when targeting a good jigging bite is what type of action will trigger the most bites that day. Sometimes it will be the fast fall and quick response of a heavy jig while other situations will call for a small jig dressed to give it a slow seductive fall or swimming action. And not all jigs are created equal either.
A dainty 1/8 ounce Bass Pro XPS walleye jig tipped with a 2 ½ inch Berkley Gulp Minnow is the perfect choice for gracefully dancing across the rocky bottom of a main-lake reef structure.
Want more action in your walleye fishing this season? Try paying a little more attention to the action of your presentations.