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Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Update

Getting Rigged for Walleye Fishing

Rigs that Work For Walleye

Walleye are a predator fish that make a very challenging adversary for anglers. The successful angler hits the water with a collection of presentations to tempt the walleye. There are several rigs that always seem to get a walleye hooked.

The simplest rig is the jig. Typically jigs are tipped with a minnow or other bit of live bait. This type of rig can be cast or vertically presented. The key to making this rig work is all in the speed. Keeping the speed varied often riles the walleye to bite.


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Bottom bouncer rigs are a popular set up for walleye fishing. They can be trolled or cast which makes them very versatile. Walleye normally feed at or near the bottom of the water. A proper bottom bouncer rig puts the bait right in the strike zone.

This rig is fairly easy to use but it is important to know where the bottom of the water body is. Anglers who have little luck with bottom bouncers usually make one of two mistakes. Sometimes their line is too long and they are just dragging the rig along the bottom. Other times, the line is too short and the bottom bouncer is not making any contact with the floor.

Spinner rigs are probably one of the deadliest rigs to walleye. This simple and adaptable rig never seems to fail with walleye. Spinner rigs are made up with beads, blades, bait and a bottom bouncer.

This rig works best with trolling. The action and vibration of the rig is like a dinner bell to walleye. It also allows the angler to cover more area in search of actively biting walleye.

One new rig on the walleye scene is called the Slow Death method. Most anglers are pretty fanatic about keeping their bait running true. This method throws that philosophy overboard. The Slow Death method combines a hook, a night crawler and a bottom bouncer to create a very unique action.

The hook has a very distinct bend in it; Mustad and #2 Aberseen Tru-turns are both popular brands. The night crawler is thread onto the hook until the head covers the eye and the body takes the shape of the hook. A Gulp lure can also be used for this rig. The worm is then snipped so that there is only and inch or so extending from the hook.

A bottom bouncer is then attached to the rig. A three to four foot leader made out of ten pound test line is ideal. The general rule of thumb is to go up an ounce for every ten feet of depth you are fishing. For example, a one ounce bouncer works in water that is ten foot or less. If the bottom is closer to thirty feet, move up to a three ounce bouncer.

This rig is made for the slow troll. The speed should be a round one mile per hour. The chunk on the hook should spin like a corkscrew. Walleye can't seem to stay away from this presentation.

The final rig that should make the cut for walleye fishing is the three-way swivel. This is another great trolling rig. This rig drags the bait down to the walleye's level and keeps it there.

The main line on this rig should be light like a six or eight pound line. This will reduce drag on the rig and make locating the bottom easier. A lead line and lure is next added to the swivel. The line should be about five foot long. It is crucial to use a lure that won't sink.

The final part of the three-way swivel rig is the sinker line. This is a three foot line with a one ounce sinker attached. In order to make this rig work, the sinker needs to touch the bottom. The boat needs to stay straight and slow during the troll.

Fishing for walleye is always a challenge. It is difficult to know whether they are going to be biting hard or just hanging out. Having the ability to try any of these rigs will make it easier to appease the temperamental walleye.


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