RSS

Northern Pike Handling, Filleting & Take the ‘Y’ Bones Out

When it comes to caring for Pike that you plan to use at home, the first and probably most important step in assuring a quality meal is to keep the fish fresh prior to cleaning.   Compared to other popular game fish, the flesh of Northern Pike is among the most likely to deteriorate if care is not taken to keep the fish fresh right up to the cleaning table.   When you plan to save some for the table, one great approach is to wait until later in your fishing trip before you start saving fish to take home.

pike
After filleting it’s best to freeze your filets properly for transportation back home from the lodge.  All your hard work out on the lake could be confiscated by a game warden for the following reasons:

  • frozen in one big blob is considered ‘unidentifiable’
  • failure to keep one square inch patch of skin on the filet
  • packaged improperly (the correct procedure is one fish per package, layed out flat – side by side)

Keeping fish frozen during your stay allows for easy transportation all the way home.  Frozen fish takes the place of ice, however, midway you may want to check the cooler to inspect your filets and add fish accordingly as this could  make a difference at the dinner table.

Another key factor in preparing gourmet meals using Northern Pike is to avoid saving Pike in the freezer for periods of time.  Pike flesh contains a particular Amino Acid that breaks down fairly quickly while fish are stored in the freezer too long. So even if you’ve taken great care to keep the fish fresh up to this point, you could be disappointed when you pull out a package of fish that you’ve been saving for that special occasion.  Because Pike are not well suited for long-term storage, at the simple rule of thumb is Pike are to be eaten within a couple of weeks. 

Removing the “Y” bones from Pike fillets is part of the mystery that has kept lots of otherwise willing anglers away from using these fish in recipes and removing these small bones is really easy! Even the smallest Pike can be easily de-boned by anyone who can fillet a Walleye or most any other fish. In fact, even the term “Y” bone is a misnomer because this so called “Y” bone really isn’t much different than the strip of bones that you’d remove from a Walleye or any other fish caught in our waters. It just happens to be sandwiched into the grain of the fillet where it is protected from “frying out”. 

This is one of those times when it would be easier to do the job than it is to describe how to do it, but look at the picture of the finished fillets and you’ll get a good idea of how to follow these instructions.

npBegin by filleting the fish and removing the rib bones as you would a Walleye or most other freshwater fish. Once you have taken the fillet, study it for a minute. Take a look at the centerline that divides the fillet horizontally and notice the row of light bones visible halfway between this centerline and the top (fishes back) of the fillet. You will be making one cut on each side of this row of bones. You’ll also see that the flesh has a “grain” much like the grain of a nice oak board. The “Y” bones run with this grain and you can use this grain as a directional guide when making your cuts.

COMPLETE DIAGRAM BELOW:

Cut 1:
Start by making a cut just above this row of bones that you can see (and feel). This first cut will be shallow (about ¼ inch) and it is perpendicular to the fillet. This simple, straight cut is used mostly as an access cut to get your knife into position for the next step. Using the tip of your fillet knife, you’ll be able to feel the edge of your knife contact the bones at the inside corner of this “L”  where the bones turn toward the top of the fillet. When you feel the knife contacting those bones, take care not to cut through them.

Cut 2:
Turn the edge of your knife toward the top of the fillet at about a 45-degree angle and follow this edge. You’ll be able to see the bones as you gently slip your knife-edge along this edge. Stop the cut before you reach the top edge of the fillet.

Cut 3:
This is the finishing touch. Start this cut below the row of bones on the side nearest the centerline and simply follow the same angle that you used to make cut 2. As the edge of your knife moves toward the top of the fillet, you’ll begin to feel this strip of bones peeling away from the rest of the fillet. Trim along these edges as needed to remove the strip and voila, you’re finished.

ybone


So There you have it, all you need is a little faith in yourself, a fairly good fillet knife and a little practice. You will soon learn that there is really no trick at all and before long your family and friends will be standing in line at dinner time waiting to sample your newest Pike recipe.

 

 

 

 

ENJOY YOUR NEXT FEED OF PIKE!


Trish
Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog:
ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 

 

Tags: , , ,

Walleye and Bobbers

Across Ontario, the popularity of fishing for walleye rates hands-down as the most sought after and favorite game fish. The techniques for catching these critters may be well-known and elementary, and include the ever popular jigging, trolling and bottom bouncing.  But how many anglers routinely pack floats, split shot and live bait, searching out precise structure to drift their offerings across? Certainly the minority, but hopefully more will come on board after recognizing the success this technique can bring.

The Basics of Bobbering
We all received our start in fishing courtesy of a bobber. The days were simple back then, but the set up always caught fish. Times have changed, and the use of slip-bobbers (or floats) has put a new twist in the live bait game, and the fish-catching powers certainly have continued and increased.

Sliding Slip Bobber RigUtilizing a float and live bait allows an angler to present their morsel of food to walleye at the precise depth that fish may be found. For the most part, the desired depth would be just off bottom – a favorite hangout for these structure hugging fish.

Slip floats are designed to move freely up and down your line, as the chamber of the float is hollow. By threading your line through the float itself, it is simply a matter of attaching a live bait hook, as well as split shot above the metal to weight your presentation down. A bobber stop is then placed above your float at the desired depth you wish to target. These bobber stops (whether they be small rubber pellets or vinyl tie knots) will pass easily through your line guides and onto your reel itself. Therefore, casting “normally” – without twenty-feet of line hanging from your rod tip – can easily be achieved.

A bobber stop should slide easily up and down your line, but should stay set at the desired depth you wish to fish. Many bobber stops come rated for certain pound-test line, so pay careful attention to this when making your purchase.

An Octopus hook is the most commonly used with this set up, although Circle hooks are also very effective. Hooks will generally range from No. 4’s to No. 8’s, with the 4’s being most effective for large minnows, and the smaller sizes for leeches and night crawlers. Another alternative to a regular hook is a standard jig head. Depending on depth or bobber floatation, a 1/64th to 1/8oz. style would work well, offering the fish a horizontal presentation as opposed to a vertical one, as well as the option to provide color.

As far as baits are concerned, minnows, leeches and crawlers are the cream of the crop (check local regulations to see what is legal). Minnows work great in the spring and fall, with leeches and worms throughout summer. Working all three baits on a given day can be an excellent study for what produces best on different bodies of water.

Finding a Float
Standard floats will cover most situations you come across, but variations in style and design do have their advantages.

Fat-bodied floats are a breeze to cast and will ride waves well, however they do require more effort to pull under. They also blow around more easily with the wind.

Pencil floats, those that have a thinner profile, offer the least resistance – so they cast further, drift along more slowly and work best for light biters.

Tall, oversized floats will get pushed along a drift quickly, and can be useful when trying to cover large expanses of water.

There are also lighted floats that are specifically meant for night fishing or low-light conditions.

It’s suggested to outfit your box with a variety of floats, as this will enable you to fish in various situations most effectively. Acknowledging wind speed, distance, current and bait will help in deciding on the right float. Larger bait, especially big lively minnows, will require an upgrade in float size. Leeches or worms, which don’t offer as much of a pull, can be worked with downsized floats.

31" walleye - Mark Hecht

Weighting your line correctly is also paramount when slip-bobbering. When a fish sucks in your bait, you need that slight movement to register immediately on top. Adding the correct weight to your line will ensure that your float goes under with nary a hesitation.

Place split shot in 8 to 12-inch increments from the hook, starting with a smaller size and gradually getting larger. This placement will keep your line vertical through the water, while your bait will appear more natural toward the hook end.

Location is Key
Walleye are renowned for the structure they habitate on, and for the most part it is the hard stuff. Rock will generally hold walleye, with vegetation also being popular depending on the chosen lakes makeup.

Slip floats are an excellent choice when working rock shoals, humps, points and flats. By using your electronics to ascertain a depth, your bobber stop should be placed to present your bait 6 to 12-inches off bottom. Although walleye may suspend at times, for the most part, they will be right on bottom, hugging the structure. If your float sits flat on the surface, your bait is laying on bottom. Adjust the bobber stop until the float sits perfect in the water.

10383899_10152057180337581_4855628529200966378_n

It is crucial to get the correct depth when slip-bobbering. If the bait is too high in the water column, the fish will pass it over. Too low and you’ll be snagging on bottom.

Whether you want to cover a larger area, or concentrate on a small dissection of structure, will often depend on the area you choose to fish. Small humps are best worked in a stationary manner. Large flats, on the other hand, should be drifted more vigorously in order to search and find fish.

Rods and Line
Although most “regular” rods will work for slip-bobbering, this technique can be improved with a bit of tinkering. Seven to eight-foot spinning rods may seem long, but the added length can vastly improve casting distance, as well as hook sets and the playing of fish. I prefer to partner this up with a quality spinning reel, sporting a smooth drag. As far as line is concerned, six or eight-pound test mono is an excellent choice for the main section. A fluorocarbon leader is a good choice down below, as it will complement the natural presentation you are trying to convey.

Drifting your bait to eager walleye is an excellent technique that is greatly under utilized. The next time you hit your favorite shoal or hump, come toting floats and live bait – there’s nothing like seeing your bobber going under to ignite some passion in the fishing game.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog:
ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 

Tags: , , , ,

How to Fish Walleye

If you have never fished for walleye, here are two tips to get you started.

images2JG1D1GM1. Slow down!!! Most people are excellent bass & pike fishermen, but walleye fishing can be frustrating if you are looking for fast or top water action. Whatever presentation you like to use, whether it be jigging, trolling or casting, or trolling crank baits, keeping it slow will result in more walleyes in the frying pan.

2. Fish close to the bottom!!! Getting your tackle hung up or snagged is part of fishing for walleye. Whether fishing with a jig, trolling, or casting crank baits, you need to be close to the bottom to catch the feeding walleyes.

 

Where to Find Walleye
Often times the most subtle obstacle can hold fish. Some examples would be a rock pile, a sharp turn, a submerged rock shelf, slack water along the main channel, submerged weed beds etc. As long as there is some depth & structure around these obstacles there will be walleye. The abundance of structure and variation of water depths make Wawang Lake an excellent fishery!

TECHNIQUES

TrollingTrolling & Drifting: These can be very effective techniques for walleye fishing anytime of the season. Trolling & drifting can be the best ways to find walleye that are feeding. This needs to be done slowly. 1/2 to 3/4mph works best for us. When trolling, use a trolling rig. It consists of an 18″ 30lb test leader made of flexible steel with a spinner blade, beads, swivel & a hook. Attached to this is a 3/8oz chained keel weight with a swivel snap. Drifting can be done with a regular lead head jig, 1/4 oz to 3/8 oz working the bottom. Bottom bouncers work well too. Live bait is usually the best bet, preferably minnows, leeches or night crawlers. Artificial baits will work when walleye are very aggressive. Once you’ve caught two or three walleye in the same spot, you can throw in the anchor, sit and use your jig fishing technique.

Vertical JiggingJigging: This is one of the favorite methods among avid walleye fishermen. The idea here is to sit over feeding walleyes. Once you have done that, the rest is pretty simple. Tip a lead head jig with live bait, drop it until it hits the bottom, then raise it up about 6″. Give it a few, two to three inch tugs every few minutes. Or you can cast out your bait, letting it sink to the bottom & work it as you are reeling it back in. This way you can work the area a little more. Floating jigs can also be excellent. This technique consist of a floating jig, an 18″ to 20″ monofilament leader tied to a swivel with a 1/4 to 3/8oz egg sinker above it. You can cast this out, let it sink to the bottom & leave it sit or work it slowly back. Again live bait works best with this.

Sliding Slip Bobber RigSlip Bobbers: This technique works very well and rigging is simple. You tie a bobber stop to the line then string the bobber on; at the bottom you’ll need a 1/4 to 3/8oz lead head jig. This rig is adjustable. In most cases you’ll want to set you bobber to 4′ to 8′. When fishing the rapids, throw your bobber up stream right in the fast water. Let it work its way to the edge of the fast water. This is where you will get action! Again live bait works best!!

There are many techniques for successful walleye fishing. These are just a few of the preferred methods that work well on Wawang Lake.

Tackle & Rods
Walleye fishing can be very touchy at times. We suggest light to no heavier than medium action rods. We use 6′ medium light rods with spinning reels strung with 10 to 12lb test monofilament limp line . Walleye can be very finicky at times, biting sort or soft, just mouthing the bait, making it hard to feel with a heavy action rod. A lighter action rod & lighter test line will result in a better feel for the bite. For beginners, don’t set the hook as soon as you feel a nibble. Walleyes have a tendency to nibble. More often than not they will not 10432952_10152138675942581_2789878764937084750_nhave the bait in their mouth when nibbling. Wait for a good steady pull, then set the hook. It is very important not to forget to set & check your drag often. We set the drag just tight enough to get a good hook set, this way when you get your trophy 8 to 10 lb trophy on the line, she can run & not snap your line, giving you a challenging fight to remember!

Colors: In the spring, bright colors seem to work best. Chartreuse, lime green, pink, white etc. In the summer months, more subtle colors like blue, brown or even black can be your best bet.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog:
ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Understanding Submerged Plants

Submerged plants are completely underwater and are generally rooted in the bottom sediment. If flowers exist, they may extend above the surface of the water. Submerged plants exchange carbon dioxide for dissolved oxygen during the periods of photosynthesis which provides a relatively stable source of oxygen for a water based ecosystem. Submerged weeds make up the majority of fishing cover (weed flats and weedlines) that will attract  walleye and northern pike.   The submerged weed family consist of hundreds of species many introduced or exotic that grow prolifically and are considered to problematic in many lakes, rivers and streams. An example of this is Eurasian Watermilfoil   

Most fishing articles relating to weeds refer to names such as cabbage, coontail, and eel grass. The following information is a guide for identifying the most common submerged plants that will attract game fish.

Claspingleaf Pondweed (Cabbage)
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

This plant is known to anglers as cabbage and has over 50 varieties in North America. Cabbage is both a deep and shallow water weed that has broad leaves and a brittle stems. They vary in colors from brownish red called tobacco cabbage to a light green leaf. Cabbage is the preferred choice of many large game fish and the most productive. Cabbage is also known as pike weed, muskie weed, and celery.

 

 

Coontail
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

Coontail or also know as hornwort, is a dark olive green bushy submerged perennial plant that grows in clumps or dense colonies that forms a canopy type cover in shallow water. The tips of branches are crowded with leaves giving it a “coontail” appearance. The submerged colonies of coontail provides excellent habitat and cover for bait fish as well as other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.) which attracts most predator game fish. The fruits of coontail are consumed by ducks and it is considered a good wildlife food.


Eelgrass
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

Eelgrass is a rooted shallow water plant found in flowing water. It has long, thin, ribbon-like leaves (1/2 – 3/4 inches wide) that are commonly 3 to 4 feet long. The vein pattern in the leaves of eelgrass is very distinctive and resembles celery. Eelgrass forms dense colonies dominating other submerged plants to grow. The submerged portions of eel grass provides dense underwater structure as an excellent habitat for bait fish and invertebrates. Northern pike  favor eelgrass during the summer months. Other common names include: Tape grass and wild celery.

 

 

Elodea
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

Elodea is a rooted multi-branched perennial submerged plant that grows in cool fertile water to depths of approximately 10 feet. It is identified by its deep green color with 3 to 4 leaves attached directly to the stem. This weed develops quickly and provides good early season action, it attracts bait fish and bass along with other large game fish. Elodea has no known direct food value to wildlife but is used extensively by insects and invertebrates. Other common names include: Waterweed and walleye weed.

 

Algae
Algae are a basic water plant, some are composed of tiny single cells that float or suspend in the water giving a green, brown, or at times a red color to the water known as “bloom.” Others are multi celled that forms a thin and stringy or hair-like dark green slime commonly know as pond scum. While still others resemble submerged plants but without a true root system this is known as sandgrass. Algae although primitive, provides benefits to water systems by stabilizing bottom sediments and giving cover for small animals such as aquatic insects, snails, and scuds, which are valuable fish food.


Planktonic
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Planktonic algae, are floating microscopic single celled plants usually existing suspended in the upper few feet of water often reaching bloom proportions during the summer months based on temperature, light, nutrients making the water appear brownish or pea soup green.

Filamentous
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Filamentous algae are multi-celled that form into a mat of long chains or threads called filaments that resembles wet wool. Filamentous algae starts growing along the bottom in shallow water appearing fur-like, attaching to rocks, drowned wood, and other aquatic plants. As the production of oxygen increases it will float to the surface forming large mats, known as “Pond Scum.”  Filamentous algae has no direct food value to wildlife.

Chara (Sandgrass)
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Chara is the most advanced plant of the algae family though often confused with submerged plants. Chara commonly know as “sandgrass” is gray-green, branched with no root system, it grows in short thick mats, covering the lake bottom like a carpet. It can grow to depths of 30 feet, but is more common in shallower water. The stems/branches are brittle and hollow with rough ends, when crushed it emits a foul musty garlic like odor, often why it is called muskgrass or skunkweed. Sandgrass is beneficial promoting water clarity and lake bottom stabilization. During the mid summer through fall, walleyes and perch will be found on sandgrass flats.

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog: ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin Wawang Lake Resort

rt

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Barometric Pressure

unnamed

Understanding barometer reading to fish by

The effect of barometric pressure on fishing feeding activity is one of the more interesting theories. In short,  the theory proposes that a dropping air pressure brings on feeding activity, rising pressure turns the fish off feeding, high pressure results in the fish moving to shallower water, and low pressure results in fish moving to deeper water. This article will provide an overview on barometric pressure, summarize various theories about why atmospheric pressure affects fishing activity, and then summarize in tabular fashion the generally accepted fish behaviours with various barometric patterns.

Barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us. A barometer is used to measure air pressure.  The earliest barometer consisted of a glass vacuum tube inserted into a container of mercury which was exposed to the pressure of the air.  Increased air pressure would force the mercury up the tube in a height proportunal to the pressure. The height was measured in inches (inHg) or in millibars (1 inch = 33.864 millibars). Although new types of barometers are now used, these measures are still in place. In general, 30 inHg or 1016 millibars is considered to be normal air pressure. In normal weather, 30.5 is considered extreme high, and 28.5 is considered extreme low. The measures are taken at sea level, a higher elevation has less atmosphere above it, so a correction factor against the normal measure is needed depending on altitude.

It is believed that the effect of barometric pressure is greater in shallow water than deep, probably due to the pressure of the weight of the water in deep water being so high, that the air pressure above it is not relatively significant.

There are many useful gadgets on the market that can help the fisherman today.

There are many useful gadgets on the market that can help the fisherman today.

The principal theory, is that the effect of changing pressure on the swim bladders of fish makes them uncomfortable or dis-oriented. In this theory, the fish will move to feel well, or they feel bloated or full. With a lowering barometer, it is believed these fish move into deep water seeking higher water pressure and ride out the low pressure around structures.  The theory suggests that just prior to change from a high to a low, fish will bite like crazy until the low hits and then stop. The difficulty with this theory, is that water is 900 times more dense than air, and generates signicantly more pressure than air. In fact,a 3 foot wave will produce a variation of pressure more significant than can be expected from a change in atmospheric pressure through a dramatic change, and the wave effect is happening every few seconds, rather than the hours or days that the atmospheric changes takes to occur.

imagesCA1344Y9Frankly, given that the pressure of water depth is such a significantly greater factor than the pressure of atmosphere, it seems likely that the weather conditions created by changes in barometric pressure, such as clouds, rain and wind, have more effect on fishing than the barometric pressure alone. So in the opinion of the author, barometric change is a good indicator of fishing change, but it’s not because of the pressure change by itself, as much as what other weather conditions are likely to occur because of the pressure change.
The following table attempts to summarize the barometric pressure, and observations on fish activity and fishing techniques.

Pressure Trend Typical Weather Fish Behaviour Suggested Fishing Tactics
High Clear skies Fish seek cover, look for logs, weeds in shallows. If water too warm, will stop biting. Fish structure close to surface, with shallow crankbaits, poppers, etc..
Rising Clearing or improving Fish start to move out of deeper water.  After a day or so, go to normal feeding. Fish with brighter lures and near cover, moving from deeper water to shallower water.
Normal and stable Fair Normal activity. Experiment with your favorite baits and lures.
Falling            Degrading Most active feeding. Range of different methods. Surface and shallow running lures may work well.
Slightly lower Usually cloudy Fish seek deeper water, with water temp maybe also slowing them down. May need to settle before feeding again. Use deep running lures at a moderate speed.
Low Rainy and stormy Fish move to deeper structures, may not feed. Fish deep structures, vary your methods.

Of course, the longer a period of high feeding activity, the more likely the fish are to stop feeding and the longer the period of inactivity, the more likely the fish are to start feeding.

Draw your own conclusions on the effect of a changing barometric pressure on fishing activity. Whether pressure changes by themselves cause feeding changes may be in question, but the patterns seem to be there regardless.

‘There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind’

Join us for some OUTSTANDING Fishing

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog: ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin Wawang Lake Resort

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Swimbaits for Walleye

If you’re looking to land big walleye and prefer casting over trolling, swimbaits are one of the best baits going to accomplish this goal. When other anglers are working small, twister tail jigs with a vertical finesse approach, casting a swimbait can boat you plenty of fish. This season give yourself an advantage, integrating swimbaits into your walleye repertoire. Here’s what you need to know about these productive baits.

sbThere are two main varieties of swimbaits popular with walleye anglers. One style is unrigged bodies teamed with darter, bullet or shad style jig heads anywhere from ¼- to ½-ounces. Examples include Berkley’s PowerBait Hand Pour Swim Shad, YUM’s G-Shad or Samurai Shad, Mister Twister Sassy Shad, and Northland’s Mimic Minnow Shad. For the best action these baits must be rigged straight. Adding a drop of soft-bait glue to the head of the bait before pushing the plastic tight to the jig head keeps bodies properly rigged, even after landing a few fish.

Another type of swimbait style doesn’t require rigging. They feature soft-plastic bodies poured around an internal lead head and hook. Examples include Storm’s WildEye Swim Shad, YUM’s Sweet Cheeks, Northland’s Slurpies Swim Shad, and Berkley’s PowerBait Swim Bait. These style of swimbaits come pre-rigged in packs. Simply tie them on and start fishing.

The Anatomy of a Swimbait
Typical swimbaits for walleye range in size from three to six inches. Compared to thin twister tail grubs, swimbaits provide a more robust profile resembling a hearty meal as opposed to a small morsel. From head to tail, swimbaits offer a level of realism few baits can duplicate. Even the most natural paint job on a crankbait can’t hide the fact it’s a hard-bait; swimbaits squish in a walleye’s mouth like a soft candy. Many are often juiced up with fish attractant or scent, encouraging fish to hold on once they grab a bait. The natural colour patterns on swimbaits help anglers “match the hatch”, which is important in clear water systems. Bright colour patterns are available as well for turbid water or during low-light conditions. Internal holographic materials are standard in many swimbaits, producing an iridescent lustre for added attraction.
sb1
Tempting Tails

Paddletails are predominant on swimbaits. During retrieves these wide appendages wobble, moving water and putting out plenty of vibrations. The flat sides reflect light as the tail wiggles, mimicking the flicker from swimming baitfish. Regardless of the speed, paddletails add a no-nonsense walleye-attracting action to swimbaits. Curly or flat, tapered tails are the other options available on baits. Their design delivers a tighter, seductive saunter to baits in comparison to paddletails.

Fish Them on Flats
Although there are no wrong places to cast swimbaits, there are spots where they are more effective than others. Flats are one such area. Swimbaits excel at covering water when searching for walleyes. This makes them a prime bait for flats whether comprised of rocks, sand, or mud. I often use a 3/8-ounce swimbait with a casting outfit spooled with 30-pound test superline on flats. The rod’s power lets me cast them a considerable distance to cover large flats without getting fatigued.

10343661_10152074414617581_5203431945458684214_n

Work them in Weeds
Walleye relate to weeds for shade, but more importantly they’re there for food. Whether ambushing perch or gorging on various aquatic insects, walleye are often willing to bite when you find them in weeds. The up-facing hook on swimbaits makes them ideal for skimming over the top of weeds.

You also can’t go wrong casting a swimbait along the edge of a weedline near a drop off. Concentrate on the edge but make occasional tosses to deeper water. Use the castability of the bait to your advantage and work the entire area until you start contacting fish. Walleye may be in the weeds, but they may also be hanging off the break waiting to invade the underwater forest come dusk. Be on the look out for bays, points, cuts, and old stream beds. These ones concentrate walleye and serve as route ways for their daily migrations.

Don’t Overlook the Classics
Although flats and weed areas are two top spots to cast swimbaits, there are many other classic walleye areas where these baits produce fish. In essence, anywhere you’d consider working a jig and grub can be dynamite for swimbaits. Rocky structures such as reefs, humps and points are prime locations. In most instances reeling baits in a foot or so off bottom will catch fish on these zones. Yet, like weed edges, make occasional casts to the surrounding deeper water.

Swimbaits are taking the angling world by storm for a variety of species. If your walleye tackle box doesn’t have a space reserved for swimbaits, you’re missing out on an effective presentation. Give swimbaits a dip this season and put more head-turning walleye in your boat.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog:
ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Bottom Bouncing Techniques

Baitcaster_ComboThere is one rod and reel set up that some anglers swear by and say works better than any of the other type of equipment – the bait caster.  Then there are anglers who swear by other types of equipment and use them very well, but accordingly to the bait caster operator, those other anglers have to work much harder to accomplish the same productivity.

A bait caster with a flipping switch will allow you to meter out line by engaging the thumb bar and thumbing out the line, when bottom contact has been made, release the thumb bar and the reel automatically engages in the static position – or simply put the spool is locked up. This allows for one hand operation and helpful when bouncing all day. It helps you from getting tired too. The drag should be set at medium strong tension, you can pull out line, but too not easily.

A recommended rod is the St. Croix PC 66M. This rod is 6’6” with medium action and a fast tip. Pull 1 ½ to 2 oz of lead because the depths worked in the summer will be in the 20′ range. That is the home of summer walleye. Sure you may find them deeper, or shallower, but they spend most of their time in that 20’range.   Remember not all medium rod actions are created equal. This rod has fast tip and plenty of backbone. If you are going to try another rod, hang a two ounce bouncer off the tip and shake the rod up and down. It will be obvious if the rod is too whippy and this you don’t want.trilene xt  You want to see a little bit of bend but not a bow in the rod.  The drag of the spinner and the line will add further weight to the tip.   There are many types of line out there but one to consider using would be 10 # Trilene XT.  It’s tough and it stands up under abrasive conditions but try to stay away from the no stretch hi-tech lines.  There is no give with those types, so the rod has to handle all the shock.   A lot of ripped lips and lost fish is the outcome and we don’t want that.

There are excellent anglers who use a spinning rod and reel for the bottom bouncing presentation, but with bouncing it’s harder to operate spin cast reels than the bait casting setup.  However, if this is your choice of equipment here is a few tips to remember.

  • The rod should have a fast tip and enough backbone to handle the 2 oz.
  • The medium sized spinning reels work good, don’t go to small otherwise you won’t be able to put enough line on the reel and will be quickly adding new line.
  • The best way to let line out is to definitely not let the rig free fall. All this will accomplish is to put twist in the line and create a jumbo mess between the line and the rig. Line needs to be metered out.   Let four or five loops come out from the reel and then interject your finger against the spool. This will stop the descent, pause for a second, and then do the same thing until you find the bottom.
  • A controlled descent is the only way. Even though this rig isn’t the easiest setup it is do-able, it is workable, and for those who only have one type of rod, it can be done.

Bouncers, Snell’s & Blades

walgrthrMost of the lakes in northwestern Ontario are rocky bottoms generally and if you drag a bouncer you are going to get hung up, or, if pulling a Snell that is too long and consequently rides too low, same thing will happen.  A preferred type is the Lite Bite setup by Quick Change because the line runs through a weight snap and allows you to feed line out on lazy fish.  Similar to the way line goes through a Lindy Rig weight. The bouncer is straightforward with a single wire strand with lead half way down.  Be sure to carry weights from 1/2 oz. to 2 oz., lighter for shallower fishing and heavier for 20+ depths.

Snells in the 30″ range works best but a little more difficult in clearer waters.  The bouncing style used is to run the bouncer a foot off the bottom and then bounce it on the bottom to a cadence.   The snell should be approximately 30”  and should ride lower than the bouncer; it’s right in the fish zone then.  Snells with either two or three hooks are most preferred. Hooks placed about 2.5 inches apart seem to hook up good. Of course, a Quick Change clevis is a must in order to change blades often and eventually finding the hot blade for catching.

DEEP CUP NEON COLORS FLUORESCENTSnell test is 14 pounds, but can vary with your preference but always high quality mono, never Spider Wire.  For beads, use 4 or 5mm in a variety of colors.   Use a stacker bead with one bead ahead of it next to the clevis it’s easy to assemble and works just as well.

For blades carry a mixture of Colorado’s, Indiana’s, and willows—with equal amounts of each in small, medium (most), and large sizes.  Hammered colors worked best in nickel (silver), brass, gold, and copper. Plus, a mixture of the other colors.   Have a few darks for the dark days.   Use Colorado’s early in the season until the fish get warmed up and begin hitting.  Colorado’s are the preference of most blades. As the waters warms, speed up and use the slider———–the Indiana. Then during the warmest water of the season, run the fast ball—the willows.    Always remember to keep things simple and you’ll be sure to catch fish.

Bouncing is really a simple presentation, there is just a few important techniques that we’ll go over, and after one trip to Canada, you will have it down pat. Your fishing will never be the same, guaranteed and your fishing catching confidence will grow tremendously.

Bottom Bouncing – The Technique
Begin with 1 oz. of bouncer weight for every ten feet of depth fishing. Unless, there are special circumstances, such as running extra fast, then run heavier weights; sometimes two 2 oz. attached to the weight snap. You can attach more than one bouncer to a weight snap if you need to run heavier set ups.  For instance you have marked fish in 20’, which is a depth range that most common for summer fishing and where the walleye will be.   A good setup would be a 2 oz. bouncers a willow leaf. The fish will almost knock the rod out of your hands.

Be sure to have approximately a 40 degree line angle going into the water. Gives the best hook set and best bottom control. With too little line angle you won’t get a good hook set, and with too much angle you won’t get good bottom control, except a lot of snags.  Neither is desirable.  What determines line angle?   Bouncer weight and boat speed.

bottombouncerrigwhiteWith this type of set up use night-crawlers, leeches or minnow but many swear by crawlers in this instance. The new plastic worms or gulp will work too.  However, they won’t be as productive compared to fresh healthy live bait, but still good to use in a pinch.

In letting the line out, press the thumb bar and while keeping your thumb on the spool controlling the rate of decent, meter out the line until the rig makes contact with the bottom. Another key point here, if you let the rig free fall, you will get line twist and possibly a big mess besides and in some cases the rig will be rendered useless. So let the line out steady and slow.

Ok, you are on the bottom. Engage the reel, and lift up the rod tip up a foot. In a couple of seconds bounce the bottom. If you don’t feel the bottom, let out more line, not too much just enough to find the bottom. Engage the reel again and lift the rod tip up foot. Then bounce the bottom to a cadence, don’t drag it. The Snell will ride lower than the weight but will be in the prime fish zone and above the snags. Once you feel that tug, drop your rod tip back towards the fish and then slam it forward – setting the hook, hard.

If you get snagged, it is best to go back directly over the snag and rip straight up, it should come out fairly easily every time. If you try to rip it out from an angle, you will seldom get it loose.

When going through a school of fish and not catching, try changing blades, styles or both. Don’t hesitate to change blades. However, you can never underestimate a hammered finish blade that will outdo the other colors most of the time.  Once you master the techniques of bottom bouncing you will catch more fish than when jig fishing. Actually the best setup is using the bouncer to find them and if they are grouped switch over to jigging, otherwise stay with the bouncer. It is the best search tool on the Canadian Shield lakes to find and catch walleye.  It will transform an amateur into a pro very quickly.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Be sure to check out our Hunting Blog: ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin Wawang Lake Resort

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,781 other followers

%d bloggers like this: