Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Secrets

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Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Update

Bait that Brings in Walleye

Making the Most Out of Live Bait

It is anyone's guess just what mood walleye will be in on any given day. One thing is for certain; walleyes have a fondness for live bait. Although artificial lures are handy, there are several great live bait rigs that can be lethal in the water.

A jig and live bait is the all time favorite of many an angler. This combination is popular because it is versatile, active and, most of all, effective.

There are dozens of different jigs on the market, but it is better to know how to work a select few than have a plethora of jigs taking up space in the tackle box.

It is important to properly hook the bait of choice. Improper hook placement will lead to more misses and less walleye in the fish well. If minnows are on the menu, use the thumb and forefinger to squeeze just behind the gills. Once the mouth is opened, thread the hook as far back as possible and bring it out through the top behind the head. It is important to center the hook otherwise the minnow won't ride the line true.

When done properly, the minnow's head should be pressed against the ball of the jig. This presentation allows the minnow to move naturally while preventing the walleye from taking a bite and escaping with an easy meal. The minnow may tire and expire faster in this set-up, so be sure to keep a close eye on it and replace when necessary.

Leeches can also be successfully paired with jigs. Always run the hook through the largest sucker, which is the tail end. This will often cause the leech to stretch out as it tries to flee the scene. If the hook goes through the wrong end, the leech will curl into a ball, making it virtually useless in the water.

Leeches are prone to fly off the hook if cast over any distance. The best way to counter this is to run the hook through the biggest sucker, turn it and bring the hook back through staying as close to the sucker as possible. This will limit the motion of the bait slightly, but it will keep it on the line much better.

Nightcrawlers are also great to match up with jigs. Using a portion of this bait normally works better than a whole one. The excess length drags below the jig, which causes the rig to lose a lot of its effectiveness. A half of a crawler threaded all the way to the head of the hook seems to work much better.

Jigging is the most common pairing with live bait, but spinners can also make deadly matches. Spinners partnered with a minnow work best during trolling. Use a trolling rod with medium to fast action to work the spinner-minnow combination about a foot above the bottom. It might be necessary to add some weight in order to get the bait to the desired depth. Keel sinkers, bait walkers or drop weights will all get the job done, so the final choice is really a matter of preference.

Make sure to vary the speed, depth and angle of the boat with each pass. Travel with the flow of the current when on a river, but avoid riffles. Passing directly over the walleye waiting in riffles will cause them to bolt and abandon even the tastiest bait.

Slip bobbers don't get much attention form walleye anglers, but they can be great when paired with live bait. A plain hook or jig can be tipped with the bait of choice and drifted through schools of suspended walleye. The slip bobber will keep the bait at the perfect depth and give even the slowest walleye time to react.

It is hard to argue with the effectiveness of live bait. Even finicky walleye find the call of a squirming minnow hard to resist. Pairing the right bait with the proper presentation will help make the most of the day and the live bait in the bucket.

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25 Inch Walleye Caught at Lake of the Woods

Walleye Fishing Secrets Student Shares an Awesome Catch


Here's a 25 inch walleye caught at Lake of the Woods, Ontario. The picture is a great memento for me.

I caught it drifting. We caught it amongst some smaller ones that ended up on the dinner table.

Your advice was helpful in making my trip successful. Thank you!"

- Russell K.

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Great Fishin' to You! (Always),


Andrew Martinsen