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 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.
 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 a try.
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 it right.
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 Rapala the lures of choice 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 rod.
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.

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.


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