Trying New Techniques
By Rick Olson
At many of my seminars during the winter months people come up
with all kinds of questions. The one that I get asked the most is;
how do I know what type of presentation works on a specific body of water?
Or I also get asked; can you show me how to catch fish with a crankbait?
The added statement usually is something like; I never have caught a fish
on a crankbait.
The important thing here is to try new techniques all the time.
I am constantly learning and I will continue to learn as many new tricks
to help me catch more and bigger fish.
My response to these questions is usually that you should try
as many new techniques as possible. Some of the techniques may not
be innovative or cutting edge material, but if you have not tried any of
these techniques, you should learn and then keep trying.
A perfect example of what I am talking about is bottom bouncers.
These devices were born in the Dakotas and many fishermen that visited
the state wouldn’t try them. When some anglers started to see the
results when they gave them a try and were amazed to find out that when
fishing in snag prone waters that they are extremely useful. The
bottom bouncer is an L shaped metal device with an inline weight on the
longest shank of the L and a swivel on the other with a bend or complete
circle in the middle. In essence, it has cam action and keeps the
bait out of the snags and gives a smooth trouble free livebait or crankbait
presentation to the fish. Try using a bottom bouncer if you are fishing
walleyes over a large flat, it will improve your ratio of catches.
I will guarantee it will be part of your tackle box if you just give it
Trolling crankbaits is yet another example of people not giving them
a good try.
To many anglers, trolling means tossing out a crankbait, throwing the
rod in a holder, then sitting back and soaking up the sun.
Trolling success usually depends on how well you fine-tune your presentation.
Simple things that will help you trigger fish might be pumping your rod,
or allowing your crankbait to stunt.
Pumping a trolling rod is not a new technique. In fact, it's
likely you have been using the method for years. The trick is doing
I have found, through experience that you should sweep your rod in
a 30-degree arc with a pause at the end. The lure speeds up through
the sweep and triggers the fish that there is an escaping prey. Although
more strikes might occur as the rod is returned to the original position
because it is at the end of the fall.
The stunting that you might want to try is to use a deep lip crankbait
like a number 9
Shad Rap and troll this in an area that has a soft bottom like mud or sand.
The long bill will dive deep and stunt into the soft bottom. This
will cause an erratic motion to the fish plus stir up the bottom and fish
will move in to investigate. Again, the pause surge pause motion
of your rod will encourage more strikes than just trolling with a dead
The last method that many anglers overlook is the use of jig. Over
the years the jig has possibly accounted for more species of gamefish and
more pounds of fillets in the frying pan than any other lure. Crappie,
bass, walleye, lake trout, musky--- you name it, a jig has caught it.
Even in this modern age of angling when new "Super Lures" crop up almost
daily, the simple jig is the magical lure.
Without question, jigs are the walleye angler's lure of choice, simply
because jigs can be used to effectively maintain contact with the lake
bottom. Since a versatile array of sizes, shapes designs and colors
are available; jigs can be fished in a seemingly infinite array of combinations
under a variety of conditions.
Work the jig quickly through the fish holding area. Hop it or
swim it, even snap the jig and don't pause as you usually would, but instead
keep the bait moving. The theory behind this type of action is, if
the walleye is serious about hitting your bait it will be there when you
move it quickly. Many times when you are starting to snap the jig
or swim it to you the walleye is already hooked. The strike will
usually be quite firm.
Jigs often work best fished quickly along weedbed edges, or over shallow
humps. When the fish are on spots like this, they're frequently active.
Casting is usually the best way to work jigs quickly along these areas.
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