Knowing where walleyes live is one thing. Getting them to bite is another. That’s why I went to super long rods at a PWT Cass Lake tournament in 2008. The fish were at the base of rock reefs, holding on the transition where the bottom flattened out at about 22 feet. It’s a trick that can put more fish in the boat anytime you’re targeting walleyes on lakes or reservoirs in summer and right through the fall.
Total Solutions Technique
For this tactic I used my long, light action steelhead spinning rods (they’re 10 ½ feet long) with 8-pound test monofilament, and slowly trolled alongside these reefs. The combination of long rods and light line (baited with a 6-inch sucker rigged on a bottom bouncer rig) tricked the walleyes. They would grab the minnow, but the limber rod would not alert them.
There was no pressure, and in fact, the gentle bend of the rod probably made it seem like the sucker was getting away. The fish committed, gulped the sucker down, and by that time, the rod was doubled over. From time to time, I opened the bail and fed line, but usually the rod’s action was enough to tease them into taking the bait.
Positioning the bait to run tight to the tips and cups along the reef edges produced most of the bites, but surprisingly, the outside rod which was positioning the bait further off the edge of the structure, also caught fish. Whether they were actually sitting out there or the boat pushed them off the structure I am not sure, but those fish too were obviously catchable even hanging a little further off the structure.
Total Solutions Equipment
My rods of choice for this presentation are Fenwick’s Steelhead Spinning rods model HMXS-M1062M-MF. Their length and light action make them great rods, not only for this type of walleye fishing, but for perch, salmon and many other species as well. They’re fun to use, and mean more fish in the boat. The light action of the rod also acts as a great shock absorber to fight fish on the light line, in this case 8-pound test Berkley Trilene XL. XL is an ideal line for this because it’s limp and comes off the spool easily, but is plenty strong for handling good sized fish.
Fenwick® HMX® Salmon/Steelhead Spinning – 2 Piece
Berkley® Trilene XL®