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Category Archives: BOBBERS

Strategies for Lazy Walleye

28 (5)They’re there. You know they’re there. In deeper water, you can see them on your fish finder. Or, in shallow water too skinny to move your boat over the fish without spooking them, you simply know from past experience they’re around. Perhaps some subtle bumps or nudges — but no hook-ups — indicate walleyes are present but just not biting. Or at least just not biting anything that moves. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t move your bait. In other words, bring out your dead.

Dead sticking — which basically means tossing a jig out, letting it sink to bottom, and then not moving it for a l-o-n-g time, equates to a war of patience and nerves between your giant-size genius brain on one end of the line and a walleye’s peanut-size brain, staring at the other. Guess who has the advantage?  Definitely not you!   In such conditions, accept some simple facts.

First, walleyes react according to instinct, not thinking. If weather and water and fishing pressure combine and conspire to shut off the bite, amazingly, they’re often all that way.  There’s no way you will get all your fishing buddies to all agree on exhibiting the same mood, based of course upon their superior intellect.

Second, because walleyes are reacting (or not reactive!) in negative fashion, you not only can’t outthink them, but you likely won’t be able to razzle-dazzle them with your array of fancy tackle and gadgets. So your best bet is to stick a food item in their faces and outwait them, hoping to trigger some form of subtle response through sheer time exposure rather than clever tactics.

What comes to mind?   Well, a slip bobber suspending a lively leech just off bottom is a likely candidate, drifted slowly and subtly through prospective spots. So too would be a split shot rig, with you casting a nose-hooked night-crawler on target, letting it descend to bottom, and allowing it to sit there, wiggling enticingly, with walleyes gathered ’round, eyeballing the worm. Occasionally, you could lift the rod tip a few feet to slide the rig a bit closer to the boat, take up slack, and then set the rod down again, waiting for the rod tip to bend, indicating a strike. Pretty darn patient, especially since both tactics would require first anchoring the boat.

27 (3)Are there any slightly more mobile and fractionally more aggressive tactics that might cover a teeny bit more water, especially up in the shallows? Enter dead sticking with a lightweight 1/8-ounce jig, tipped with minnow, half-crawler or leech. Or perhaps even a scented plastic tail (ala bass tactics) although the lack of motion inherent with this system definitely favors live bait in some form, due to its natural lively appearance, scent and taste, even when fished in place.

A DEADLY APPROACH To dead stick a small jig, you needn’t do much different that your normal lift-drop jigging retrieve back to the boat. Except, of course, for the excruciatingly long pauses between lifts of the rod tip. The key is having the confidence to believe a walleye is out there looking at your bait at all times, and to let it sit and soak and tease and tempt and turn that aggravation and exasperation back against the fish, letting the extended pause work in your advantage to eventually fool the walleye into closing the gap, flaring its gills and lightly sucking in the jig. You likely won’t feel much. It might be a tap, but more likely just a sudden slight weight on the end of the line. Tighten up slack while lowering your rod tip to horizontal — if it isn’t already there — and then sweep set the hook.   Thus you should try to minimize slack at all times without tempting yourself to unnecessarily jiggle and wiggle the jig.

25.5 (2)Remember, the extended pause with the jig anchoring the wriggling live bait to the bottom is key to getting bites. The nice thing about dead sticking is that you don’t have to anchor, at least on a calm day. Rather, use your electric trolling motor to creep along, then stop or hover, and make a series of fan casts across a general area to test for the presence of fish. Hopefully, you’ve already established that they’re nearby, because this isn’t a method to be used to locate fish, due to the limited amount of water you’re able to cover. But if you can force yourself into the mode of 30-second pauses between subtle lift-drops of the rod tip, making each cast last at least two or three minutes, then you’re in the dead zone.

The perfect tactic for tempting reluctant biters spread across shallow rock or gravel flats within or adjoining spawning areas; sparse sand grass flats emerging from sandy bottoms; rocky or wood-lined reservoir shorelines where walleyes move shallow to feed aggressively in windy conditions and may linger inactive when the weather turns calm; or basically anytime walleyes are up shallow, skittish and not responding to presentations that move. Turn the tables. Fish lures so slowly that they’re virtually motionless. Bring out your dead.

OTHER DEADLY APPROACHES Think about it. Are you fishing through walleyes that aren’t biting? (It’s a terrible thought, isn’t it?) But is there a nagging feeling at the nape of your neck that your offerings are going unappreciated?

Tone things down, speed wise and action wise. Instead of buzzing along a drop-off with a bottom bouncer, spinner and crawler, switch to a bouncer and plain snell, and creep and crawl along, barely moving, even pausing occasionally. Ultraslow movement requires short lines, with the bouncer barely ticking or slightly suspended above bottom, to prevent it from toppling over at rest. Consider using an upright floating bouncer like the Today’s Tackle Foam Walker, which stands up at rest.

26.25

Extend the principle to other presentations. Casting neutrally buoyant minnow-imitating crank baits isn’t that far unrelated from dead sticking; you pull, then p-a-u-s-e, before pulling again, letting the bait hang there before a walleye’s eyes. The suspense kills them. A three-way rig lets a floating jig head or simple live bait snell hang in place before a river ‘eye. A drop shot rig suspends a live bait or plastic tail above bottom in lakes and reservoirs. Lack of movement is often a key trigger for catching reluctant walleyes, which brings about a closing thought.  Chances are that by this stage in life, however, you’ve been shut down enough times to learn that smooth opening lines don’t guarantee a favorable response and, in fact, can be counter productive. Sometimes, you just have to sit down and do nothing but look good in order to attract attention.

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Strategies for Lazy Walleye

28 (5)

They’re there. You know they’re there. In deeper water, you can see them on your fish finder. Or, in shallow water too skinny to move your boat over the fish without spooking them, you simply know from past experience they’re around. Perhaps some subtle bumps or nudges — but no hook-ups — indicate walleyes are present but just not biting. Or at least just not biting anything that moves. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t move your bait. In other words, bring out your dead.

Dead sticking — which basically means tossing a jig out, letting it sink to bottom, and then not moving it for a l-o-n-g time, equates to a war of patience and nerves between your giant-size genius brain on one end of the line and a walleye’s peanut-size brain, staring at the other. Guess who has the advantage?  Definitely not you!   In such conditions, accept some simple facts.

First, walleyes react according to instinct, not thinking. If weather and water and fishing pressure combine and conspire to shut off the bite, amazingly, they’re often all that way.  There’s no way you will get all your fishing buddies to all agree on exhibiting the same mood, based of course upon their superior intellect.

Second, because walleyes are reacting (or not reactive!) in negative fashion, you not only can’t outthink them, but you likely won’t be able to razzle-dazzle them with your array of fancy tackle and gadgets. So your best bet is to stick a food item in their faces and outwait them, hoping to trigger some form of subtle response through sheer time exposure rather than clever tactics.

What comes to mind?   Well, a slip bobber suspending a lively leech just off bottom is a likely candidate, drifted slowly and subtly through prospective spots. So too would be a split shot rig, with you casting a nose-hooked night-crawler on target, letting it descend to bottom, and allowing it to sit there, wiggling enticingly, with walleyes gathered ’round, eyeballing the worm. Occasionally, you could lift the rod tip a few feet to slide the rig a bit closer to the boat, take up slack, and then set the rod down again, waiting for the rod tip to bend, indicating a strike. Pretty darn patient, especially since both tactics would require first anchoring the boat.

27 (3)Are there any slightly more mobile and fractionally more aggressive tactics that might cover a teeny bit more water, especially up in the shallows? Enter dead sticking with a lightweight 1/8-ounce jig, tipped with minnow, half-crawler or leech. Or perhaps even a scented plastic tail (ala bass tactics) although the lack of motion inherent with this system definitely favors live bait in some form, due to its natural lively appearance, scent and taste, even when fished in place.

A DEADLY APPROACH To dead stick a small jig, you needn’t do much different that your normal lift-drop jigging retrieve back to the boat. Except, of course, for the excruciatingly long pauses between lifts of the rod tip. The key is having the confidence to believe a walleye is out there looking at your bait at all times, and to let it sit and soak and tease and tempt and turn that aggravation and exasperation back against the fish, letting the extended pause work in your advantage to eventually fool the walleye into closing the gap, flaring its gills and lightly sucking in the jig. You likely won’t feel much. It might be a tap, but more likely just a sudden slight weight on the end of the line. Tighten up slack while lowering your rod tip to horizontal — if it isn’t already there — and then sweep set the hook.   Thus you should try to minimize slack at all times without tempting yourself to unnecessarily jiggle and wiggle the jig.

25.5 (2)Remember, the extended pause with the jig anchoring the wriggling live bait to the bottom is key to getting bites. The nice thing about dead sticking is that you don’t have to anchor, at least on a calm day. Rather, use your electric trolling motor to creep along, then stop or hover, and make a series of fan casts across a general area to test for the presence of fish. Hopefully, you’ve already established that they’re nearby, because this isn’t a method to be used to locate fish, due to the limited amount of water you’re able to cover. But if you can force yourself into the mode of 30-second pauses between subtle lift-drops of the rod tip, making each cast last at least two or three minutes, then you’re in the dead zone.

The perfect tactic for tempting reluctant biters spread across shallow rock or gravel flats within or adjoining spawning areas; sparse sand grass flats emerging from sandy bottoms; rocky or wood-lined reservoir shorelines where walleyes move shallow to feed aggressively in windy conditions and may linger inactive when the weather turns calm; or basically anytime walleyes are up shallow, skittish and not responding to presentations that move. Turn the tables. Fish lures so slowly that they’re virtually motionless. Bring out your dead.

OTHER DEADLY APPROACHES Think about it. Are you fishing through walleyes that aren’t biting? (It’s a terrible thought, isn’t it?) But is there a nagging feeling at the nape of your neck that your offerings are going unappreciated?

Tone things down, speed wise and action wise. Instead of buzzing along a drop-off with a bottom bouncer, spinner and crawler, switch to a bouncer and plain snell, and creep and crawl along, barely moving, even pausing occasionally. Ultraslow movement requires short lines, with the bouncer barely ticking or slightly suspended above bottom, to prevent it from toppling over at rest. Consider using an upright floating bouncer like the Today’s Tackle Foam Walker, which stands up at rest.

26.25

Extend the principle to other presentations. Casting neutrally buoyant minnow-imitating crank baits isn’t that far unrelated from dead sticking; you pull, then p-a-u-s-e, before pulling again, letting the bait hang there before a walleye’s eyes. The suspense kills them. A three-way rig lets a floating jig head or simple live bait snell hang in place before a river ‘eye. A drop shot rig suspends a live bait or plastic tail above bottom in lakes and reservoirs. Lack of movement is often a key trigger for catching reluctant walleyes, which brings about a closing thought.  Chances are that by this stage in life, however, you’ve been shut down enough times to learn that smooth opening lines don’t guarantee a favorable response and, in fact, can be counter productive. Sometimes, you just have to sit down and do nothing but look good in order to attract attention.

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Floats & Bobbers with VIDEO

1271444396vo19WMBobbers, corks, floats… depending upon where you come from, fishermen have different names for the buoyant device that suspends a bait below the surface. But no matter where you go in North America or what you call it, the revered bobber rig is one of the most popular presentations in fishing. And deadly too!

There’s a magic and significance to bobber fishing. The sight of that float twitching, popping, or shooting down like a missile in reverse is one of the most exciting experiences in fishing – no matter what you’re fishing for. Best of all, bobber fishing is one of the easiest approaches to the sport. However, there are some tips and tricks to bobber fishing that can help you put more fish in the boat.

Slip Bobbers
Most anglers in America use fixed floats almost all the time. But there are certain applications where slip bobbers are critical. In case you’re not familiar with what a slip bobber is, let me explain. With a slip rig, the bobber has a hollow ferrule through its center that allows the line to slide through it effortlessly. A “bobber stop” is affixed to the line above the float (along with a stopper bead). You can set the stop anywhere on the line that you want, so you can effectively cast and fish at any depth. It’s important to use monofilament line with this set-up, instead of braid. Braided “super lines” are very slippery and don’t allow the bobber stop to “bite” very well.

traditional-bobber-rig1Let’s say you have walleyes or whatever species located on a deep-water hump that’s 26 feet deep. Set your bobber stop to 25 feet and presto, your bait hangs a foot off the bottom right in front of the fish’s nose. The typical bait used in a slip bobber presentation is a jig or plain hook tipped with live bait (minnows, leeches, crawlers, etc.).

When you make a cast, your bait will fall vertically to the location of the float. Since many species, like walleye, like to hit a bait on-the-drop, pay attention to your line as the bait sinks. If your float is set at 25 feet, and the line suddenly stops coming off your spool at 10 feet, then something has intercepted it on the way down. Reel up the slack and set the hook when this happens.

Another great slip bobber presentation, because of the way the bait drops vertically, is to use the rig for fishing pockets in heavy cover. Spot a little clearing in some cabbage, pads, reeds or whatever and pitch the cast on the spot. Your bait will fall straight down and hopefully there will be a game fish waiting there at that ambush point.


We’ve all used those classic, round, red & white clip-on bobbers, right? They float, so they do the job. But there are other bobbers in the store that can do a whole lot more for you. One such float style is what we call the “pencil bobber”. This is a favorite style for situations where a fixed bobber works best, which is typically af_1_2_pencil_5_1_2_springwhen fishing for smaller fish. Why? Because smaller fish like perch will bite one of two ways: sometimes they’ll pull the bobber down, and sometimes they’ll take a bait and rise with it.  Set the amount of weight under the long, skinny pencil bobber so it’s just enough to make the bobber float at a 45-degree angle. If a fish hits downward, the bobber tips up. If he hits it rising, the bobber lays flat on the water. Either way, you will see the bite and end up catching more fish! Give it a try.

Fixed bobbers, in my opinion, are also better than slip bobbers when fishing for spawning fish on the beds. Instead of the bait falling straight down, it falls with a pendulum motion on a fixed bobber. From my experience, this triggers strikes from

BobberManprotective spawning fish much better than a vertical drop.

You’re never too young or old to have a blast catching fish with floats. But remember, despite the simplicity of bobber fishing, there are always a few ways to maximize the effectiveness of any presentation. Go get yourself an assortment of bobber styles, shapes and sizes and experiment with them this summer. You’ll be glad you did.

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WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

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Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Strategies for Lazy Walleye

28 (5)

They’re there. You know they’re there. In deeper water, you can see them on your fish finder. Or, in shallow water too skinny to move your boat over the fish without spooking them, you simply know from past experience they’re around. Perhaps some subtle bumps or nudges — but no hook-ups — indicate walleyes are present but just not biting. Or at least just not biting anything that moves. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t move your bait. In other words, bring out your dead.

Dead sticking — which basically means tossing a jig out, letting it sink to bottom, and then not moving it for a l-o-n-g time, equates to a war of patience and nerves between your giant-size genius brain on one end of the line and a walleye’s peanut-size brain, staring at the other. Guess who has the advantage?  Definitely not you!   In such conditions, accept some simple facts.

First, walleyes react according to instinct, not thinking. If weather and water and fishing pressure combine and conspire to shut off the bite, amazingly, they’re often all that way.  There’s no way you will get all your fishing buddies to all agree on exhibiting the same mood, based of course upon their superior intellect.

Second, because walleyes are reacting (or not reactive!) in negative fashion, you not only can’t outthink them, but you likely won’t be able to razzle-dazzle them with your array of fancy tackle and gadgets. So your best bet is to stick a food item in their faces and outwait them, hoping to trigger some form of subtle response through sheer time exposure rather than clever tactics.

What comes to mind?   Well, a slip bobber suspending a lively leech just off bottom is a likely candidate, drifted slowly and subtly through prospective spots. So too would be a split shot rig, with you casting a nose-hooked night-crawler on target, letting it descend to bottom, and allowing it to sit there, wiggling enticingly, with walleyes gathered ’round, eyeballing the worm. Occasionally, you could lift the rod tip a few feet to slide the rig a bit closer to the boat, take up slack, and then set the rod down again, waiting for the rod tip to bend, indicating a strike. Pretty darn patient, especially since both tactics would require first anchoring the boat.

Are there any slightly more mobile and fractionally more aggressive tactics that might cover a teeny bit more water, especially up in the shallows? Enter dead sticking with a lightweight 1/8-ounce jig, tipped with minnow, half-crawler or leech. Or perhaps even a scented plastic tail (ala bass tactics) although the lack of motion inherent with this system definitely favors live bait in some form, due to its natural lively appearance, scent and taste, even when fished in place.

A DEADLY APPROACH To dead stick a small 27 (3)jig, you needn’t do much different that your normal lift-drop jigging retrieve back to the boat. Except, of course, for the excruciatingly long pauses between lifts of the rod tip. The key is having the confidence to believe a walleye is out there looking at your bait at all times, and to let it sit and soak and tease and tempt and turn that aggravation and exasperation back against the fish, letting the extended pause work in your advantage to eventually fool the walleye into closing the gap, flaring its gills and lightly sucking in the jig. You likely won’t feel much. It might be a tap, but more likely just a sudden slight weight on the end of the line. Tighten up slack while lowering your rod tip to horizontal — if it isn’t already there — and then sweep set the hook.   Thus you should try to minimize slack at all times without tempting yourself to unnecessarily jiggle and wiggle the jig.

25.5 (2)Remember, the extended pause with the jig anchoring the wriggling live bait to the bottom is key to getting bites. The nice thing about dead sticking is that you don’t have to anchor, at least on a calm day. Rather, use your electric trolling motor to creep along, then stop or hover, and make a series of fan casts across a general area to test for the presence of fish. Hopefully, you’ve already established that they’re nearby, because this isn’t a method to be used to locate fish, due to the limited amount of water you’re able to cover. But if you can force yourself into the mode of 30-second pauses between subtle lift-drops of the rod tip, making each cast last at least two or three minutes, then you’re in the dead zone.

The perfect tactic for tempting reluctant biters spread across shallow rock or gravel flats within or adjoining spawning areas; sparse sand grass flats emerging from sandy bottoms; rocky or wood-lined reservoir shorelines where walleyes move shallow to feed aggressively in windy conditions and may linger inactive when the weather turns calm; or basically anytime walleyes are up shallow, skittish and not responding to presentations that move. Turn the tables. Fish lures so slowly that they’re virtually motionless. Bring out your dead.

OTHER DEADLY APPROACHES Think about it. Are you fishing through walleyes that aren’t biting? (It’s a terrible thought, isn’t it?) But is there a nagging feeling at the nape of your neck that your offerings are going unappreciated?

Tone things down, speed wise and action wise. Instead of buzzing along a drop-off with a bottom bouncer, spinner and crawler, switch to a bouncer and plain snell, and creep and crawl along, barely moving, even pausing occasionally. Ultraslow movement requires short lines, with the bouncer barely ticking or slightly suspended above bottom, to prevent it from toppling over at rest. Consider using an upright floating bouncer like the Today’s Tackle Foam Walker, which stands up at rest.

26.25

Extend the principle to other presentations. Casting neutrally buoyant minnow-imitating crank baits isn’t that far unrelated from dead sticking; you pull, then p-a-u-s-e, before pulling again, letting the bait hang there before a walleye’s eyes. The suspense kills them. A three-way rig lets a floating jig head or simple live bait snell hang in place before a river ‘eye. A drop shot rig suspends a live bait or plastic tail above bottom in lakes and reservoirs. Lack of movement is often a key trigger for catching reluctant walleyes, which brings about a closing thought.  Chances are that by this stage in life, however, you’ve been shut down enough times to learn that smooth opening lines don’t guarantee a favorable response and, in fact, can be counter productive. Sometimes, you just have to sit down and do nothing but look good in order to attract attention.

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

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Tags: , , , , ,

Floats & Bobbers with VIDEO

1271444396vo19WMBobbers, corks, floats… depending upon where you come from, fishermen have different names for the buoyant device that suspends a bait below the surface. But no matter where you go in North America or what you call it, the revered bobber rig is one of the most popular presentations in fishing. And deadly too!

There’s a magic and significance to bobber fishing. The sight of that float twitching, popping, or shooting down like a missile in reverse is one of the most exciting experiences in fishing – no matter what you’re fishing for. Best of all, bobber fishing is one of the easiest approaches to the sport. However, there are some tips and tricks to bobber fishing that can help you put more fish in the boat.

Slip Bobbers
Most anglers in America use fixed floats almost all the time. But there are certain applications where slip bobbers are critical. In case you’re not familiar with what a slip bobber is, let me explain. With a slip rig, the bobber has a hollow ferrule through its center that allows the line to slide through it effortlessly. A “bobber stop” is affixed to the line above the float (along with a stopper bead). You can set the stop anywhere on the line that you want, so you can effectively cast and fish at any depth. It’s important to use monofilament line with this set-up, instead of braid. Braided “super lines” are very slippery and don’t allow the bobber stop to “bite” very well.

traditional-bobber-rig1Let’s say you have walleyes or whatever species located on a deep-water hump that’s 26 feet deep. Set your bobber stop to 25 feet and presto, your bait hangs a foot off the bottom right in front of the fish’s nose. The typical bait used in a slip bobber presentation is a jig or plain hook tipped with live bait (minnows, leeches, crawlers, etc.).

When you make a cast, your bait will fall vertically to the location of the float. Since many species, like walleye, like to hit a bait on-the-drop, pay attention to your line as the bait sinks. If your float is set at 25 feet, and the line suddenly stops coming off your spool at 10 feet, then something has intercepted it on the way down. Reel up the slack and set the hook when this happens.

Another great slip bobber presentation, because of the way the bait drops vertically, is to use the rig for fishing pockets in heavy cover. Spot a little clearing in some cabbage, pads, reeds or whatever and pitch the cast on the spot. Your bait will fall straight down and hopefully there will be a game fish waiting there at that ambush point.


We’ve all used those classic, round, red & white clip-on bobbers, right? They float, so they do the job. But there are other bobbers in the store that can do a whole lot more for you. One such float style is what we call the “pencil bobber”. This is a favorite style for situations where a fixed bobber works best, which is typically af_1_2_pencil_5_1_2_springwhen fishing for smaller fish. Why? Because smaller fish like perch will bite one of two ways: sometimes they’ll pull the bobber down, and sometimes they’ll take a bait and rise with it.  Set the amount of weight under the long, skinny pencil bobber so it’s just enough to make the bobber float at a 45-degree angle. If a fish hits downward, the bobber tips up. If he hits it rising, the bobber lays flat on the water. Either way, you will see the bite and end up catching more fish! Give it a try.

Fixed bobbers, in my opinion, are also better than slip bobbers when fishing for spawning fish on the beds. Instead of the bait falling straight down, it falls with a pendulum motion on a fixed bobber. From my experience, this triggers strikes from protective spawning fish much better than a vertical drop.  BobberMan

You’re never too young or old to have a blast catching fish with floats. But remember, despite the simplicity of bobber fishing, there are always a few ways to maximize the effectiveness of any presentation. Go get yourself an assortment of bobber styles, shapes and sizes and experiment with them this summer. You’ll be glad you did.

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Floats & Bobbers with VIDEO

1271444396vo19WMBobbers, corks, floats… depending upon where you come from, fishermen have different names for the buoyant device that suspends a bait below the surface. But no matter where you go in North America or what you call it, the revered bobber rig is one of the most popular presentations in fishing. And deadly too!

There’s a magic and significance to bobber fishing. The sight of that float twitching, popping, or shooting down like a missile in reverse is one of the most exciting experiences in fishing – no matter what you’re fishing for. Best of all, bobber fishing is one of the easiest approaches to the sport. However, there are some tips and tricks to bobber fishing that can help you put more fish in the boat.

Slip Bobbers
Most anglers in America use fixed floats almost all the time. But there are certain applications where slip bobbers are critical. In case you’re not familiar with what a slip bobber is, let me explain. With a slip rig, the bobber has a hollow ferrule through its center that allows the line to slide through it effortlessly. A “bobber stop” is affixed to the line above the float (along with a stopper bead). You can set the stop anywhere on the line that you want, so you can effectively cast and fish at any depth. It’s important to use monofilament line with this set-up, instead of braid. Braided “super lines” are very slippery and don’t allow the bobber stop to “bite” very well.traditional-bobber-rig1

Let’s say you have walleyes or whatever species located on a deep-water hump that’s 26 feet deep. Set your bobber stop to 25 feet and presto, your bait hangs a foot off the bottom right in front of the fish’s nose. The typical bait used in a slip bobber presentation is a jig or plain hook tipped with live bait (minnows, leeches, crawlers, etc.).

When you make a cast, your bait will fall vertically to the location of the float. Since many species, like walleye, like to hit a bait on-the-drop, pay attention to your line as the bait sinks. If your float is set at 25 feet, and the line suddenly stops coming off your spool at 10 feet, then something has intercepted it on the way down. Reel up the slack and set the hook when this happens.

Another great slip bobber presentation, because of the way the bait drops vertically, is to use the rig for fishing pockets in heavy cover. Spot a little clearing in some cabbage, pads, reeds or whatever and pitch the cast on the spot. Your bait will fall straight down and hopefully there will be a game fish waiting there at that ambush point.


We’ve all used those classic, round, red & white clip-on bobbers, right? They float, so they do the job. But there are other bobbers in the store that can do a whole lot more for you. One such float style is what we call the “pencil bobber”. This is a favorite style for situations where a fixed bobber works best, which is typically when fishing for smaller fish. Why? Because smaller fish like perch will bite one of two ways: sometimes they’ll pull the bobber down, and sometimes they’ll take a bait and rise with it.  Set the amount of weight under the long, skinny pencil bobber so it’s just enough to make the bobber float at a 45-degree angle. If a fish hits downward, the bobber tips up. If he hits it rising, the bobber lays flat on the water. Either way, you will see the bite and end up catching more fish! Give it a try.af_1_2_pencil_5_1_2_spring

Fixed bobbers, in my opinion, are also better than slip bobbers when fishing for spawning fish on the beds. Instead of the bait falling straight down, it falls with a pendulum motion on a fixed bobber. From my experience, this triggers strikes from protective spawning fish much better than a vertical drop.

You’re never too young or old to have a blast catching fish with floats. But remember, despite the simplicity of bobber fishing, there are always a few ways to maximize the effectiveness of any presentation. Go get yourself an assortment of bobber styles, shapes and sizes and experiment with them this summer. You’ll be glad you did.

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
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Strategies for Lazy Walleye

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Jeff Fullenkamp – Iowa with a nice 31″ walleye C&R September 2015

They’re there. You know they’re there. In deeper water, you can see them on your fish finder. Or, in shallow water too skinny to move your boat over the fish without spooking them, you simply know from past experience they’re around. Perhaps some subtle bumps or nudges — but no hook-ups — indicate walleyes are present but just not biting. Or at least just not biting anything that moves. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t move your bait. In other words, bring out your dead.

Dead sticking — which basically means tossing a jig out, letting it sink to bottom, and then not moving it for a l-o-n-g time, equates to a war of patience and nerves between your giant-size genius brain on one end of the line and a walleye’s peanut-size brain, staring at the other. Guess who has the advantage?  Definitely not you!   In such conditions, accept some simple facts.

First, walleyes react according to instinct, not thinking. If weather and water and fishing pressure combine and conspire to shut off the bite, amazingly, they’re often all that way.  There’s no way you will get all your fishing buddies to all agree on exhibiting the same mood, based of course upon their superior intellect.

Second, because walleyes are reacting (or not reactive!) in negative fashion, you not only can’t outthink them, but you likely won’t be able to razzle-dazzle them with your array of fancy tackle and gadgets. So your best bet is to stick a food item in their faces and outwait them, hoping to trigger some form of subtle response through sheer time exposure rather than clever tactics.

What comes to mind?   Well, a slip bobber suspending a lively leech just off bottom is a likely candidate, drifted slowly and subtly through prospective spots. So too would be a split shot rig, with you casting a nose-hooked night-crawler on target, letting it descend to bottom, and allowing it to sit there, wiggling enticingly, with walleyes gathered ’round, eyeballing the worm. Occasionally, you could lift the rod tip a few feet to slide the rig a bit closer to the boat, take up slack, and then set the rod down again, waiting for the rod tip to bend, indicating a strike. Pretty darn patient, especially since both tactics would require first anchoring the boat.

100_0368Are there any slightly more mobile and fractionally more aggressive tactics that might cover a teeny bit more water, especially up in the shallows? Enter dead sticking with a lightweight 1/8-ounce jig, tipped with minnow, half-crawler or leech. Or perhaps even a scented plastic tail (ala bass tactics) although the lack of motion inherent with this system definitely favors live bait in some form, due to its natural lively appearance, scent and taste, even when fished in place.

A DEADLY APPROACH To dead stick a small jig, you needn’t do much different that your normal lift-drop jigging retrieve back to the boat. Except, of course, for the excruciatingly long pauses between lifts of the rod tip. The key is having the confidence to believe a walleye is out there looking at your bait at all times, and to let it sit and soak and tease and tempt and turn that aggravation and exasperation back against the fish, letting the extended pause work in your advantage to eventually fool the walleye into closing the gap, flaring its gills and lightly sucking in the jig. You likely won’t feel much. It might be a tap, but more likely just a sudden slight weight on the end of the line. Tighten up slack while lowering your rod tip to horizontal — if it isn’t already there — and then sweep set the hook.   Thus you should try to minimize slack at all times without tempting yourself to unnecessarily jiggle and wiggle the jig.

Remember, the extended pause with the jig anchoring the wriggling live bait to the bottom is key to getting bites. The nice thing about dead sticking is that you don’t have to anchor, at least on a calm day. Rather, use your electric trolling motor to creep along, then stop or hover, and make a series of fan casts across a general area to test for the presence of fish. Hopefully, you’ve already established that they’re nearby, because this isn’t a method to be used to locate fish, due to the limited amount of water you’re able to cover. But if you can force yourself into the mode of 30-second pauses between subtle lift-drops of the rod tip, making each cast last at least two or three minutes, then you’re in the dead zone.

26.5The perfect tactic for tempting reluctant biters spread across shallow rock or gravel flats within or adjoining spawning areas; sparse sand grass flats emerging from sandy bottoms; rocky or wood-lined reservoir shorelines where walleyes move shallow to feed aggressively in windy conditions and may linger inactive when the weather turns calm; or basically anytime walleyes are up shallow, skittish and not responding to presentations that move. Turn the tables. Fish lures so slowly that they’re virtually motionless. Bring out your dead.

OTHER DEADLY APPROACHES Think about it. Are you fishing through walleyes that aren’t biting? (It’s a terrible thought, isn’t it?) But is there a nagging feeling at the nape of your neck that your offerings are going unappreciated?

Tone things down, speed wise and action wise. Instead of buzzing along a drop-off with a bottom bouncer, spinner and crawler, switch to a bouncer and plain snell, and creep and crawl along, barely moving, even pausing occasionally. Ultraslow movement requires short lines, with the bouncer barely ticking or slightly suspended above bottom, to prevent it from toppling over at rest. Consider using an upright floating bouncer like the Today’s Tackle Foam Walker, which stands up at rest.

Extend the principle to other presentations. Casting neutrally buoyant minnow-imitating crank baits isn’t that far unrelated from dead sticking; you pull, then p-a-u-s-e, before pulling again, letting the bait hang there before a walleye’s eyes. The suspense kills them. A three-way rig lets a floating jig head or simple live bait snell hang in place before a river ‘eye. A drop shot rig suspends a live bait or plastic tail above bottom in lakes and reservoirs. Lack of movement is often a key trigger for catching reluctant walleyes, which brings about a closing thought.  Chances are that by this stage in life, however, you’ve been shut down enough times to learn that smooth opening lines don’t guarantee a favorable response and, in fact, can be counter productive. Sometimes, you just have to sit down and do nothing but look good in order to attract attention.

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