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Pamps Outboard
Different Angles on Lindy Rigging
By Jason Mitchell

Guiding almost every day gives a person a different perspective on why and how we catch fish. So often with fishing, we make up our minds as to what is important and how we should present bait to catch fish. Guiding gives us a reality check when somebody starts catching fish the 'wrong way' and we are left trying to figure out why. Guiding reminds me often that the only right way to do something is whatever way is catching fish.
Lindy Rigging for walleyes worked for catching this nice walleye The Lindy Rig is a simple way of presenting live bait. This presentation has probably accounted for as many walleye as anything else I can think of. Simple really, put good lively bait in front of fish. What isn’t simple however are the small variables that happen in the real world. The real life events that leave you scratching your head at night. If you fish very much, you know what I am talking about. The little girl in the front of the boat that is holding her spinning rod upside down and has no idea where her sinker or bait is in relation to the bottom has caught seven fish and her dad has caught one. People often worry about the wrong things initially when trying to piece together the pattern. I have watched people sit in the bottom of the boat for half an hour with their lines out of the water so they could change the color of sinker or simply adding a bead, adjusting snells, etc. While these little things are important, there are other things that are much more important that are usually overlooked by anglers.
Sometimes, the answer to why a one rod is hot might be because the front of the boat is on top of fish for example and the back of the boat is too deep or too far from where the fish are holding. This now becomes a boat control issue where you have a few choices. You can either hold the boat so at least the front of the boat is catching fish or hold the boat in a way where people on each side of the boat can take turns in the sweet spot. If spooking the fish is a factor or boat control is difficult because of wind, one hot rod might be all you get.
There are also times when the fish are getting bumped by the boat. The people who are fishing in the back of the boat and further away are getting bit while the people in the front and under the boat are getting blanked. I don’t think fish are scared of boats but they do seem to merely move out of the way to let us through regardless of your livewell running, radio playing, trolling motor running. People sometimes think they can get away with more if you are quiet but I just don’t think it really matters. A quiet boat has the same effect as a loud boat. I often refer to carp as a good example of what happens. Carp are one of the most spooky and intelligent fish there is. Try driving by carp. Doesn’t matter if you use your trolling motor or your big motor, the fish almost seem to have a force field around them and when you get within that parameter, they move. Might not be a far move but they move out of your way. This 'force field' might vary with water clarity, level of aggressiveness, etc. The bottom line is when you start bumping fish with the boat; you are going to have a hard time catching fish below the boat. There are many times however when we catch fish right below the boat in four or five feet of water.
The amount of line you have out can sometimes make or break you in another way as well. The angle in which the line enters the water is the most important element I have been able to find that duplicates success. If a person is catching fish, the first thing I am going to do with the other rods is match the angle of the productive line. Before I adjust snells, change colors or bait type. I can’t stress enough how important this simple adjustment is.
Perhaps there are several factors at play. When the weight is contacting the bottom, the wrong amount of line might make distinguishing bites difficult. I also feel that the bait does different things in the water depending on how the weight is dragging on the bottom. Perhaps a lot of line enables the sinker to bog down, than pop forward as it slides along the bottom. Sometimes, this might be good. Another time and place, this same formula might stir up the bottom too much and might be bad. The whole rig is going to track differently depending on how much line you have out. The fish will tell you whether or not what you are doing is right and it is up to you to force yourself to keep adjusting until you find the formula of the day. Just remember to prioritize what variables are most important. The angle of the line and how much line you have out is one of the most important variables that can affect your success.
Now that the most important aspects of Lindy Rigging are out of the way, we can focus on the little things that can be important and fine-tuned. Efficiency is important in the sense that the longer you have good bait in front of fish, the more fish you are going to catch. I have gotten to the point where I almost always use a Lindy No-Snagg Sinker. These weights slide through rocks and debris so well that I really hate live bait rigging without them. These weights enable you to catch more fish.
Snell length should be determined by past experience and what your electronics reveal. Most of the time, a six-foot snell is standard. Instead of shortening the snell for tighter holding fish, I prefer to put a small split shot on the end of the snell. When fish are riding higher, I prefer to add a small float or rattling bead (which floats) instead of making a longer snell. Unless really long snells are absolutely necessary, avoid them because more can and will go wrong with long snells. Colored hooks and attractor beads have gotten a lot of attention in recent years and I find myself tying red hooks and adding beads often. I still can’t honestly say whether I catch more fish with a flash of color above the bait. Does this small fine tuning merely boost our confidence or actually trigger a few more fish? I still can’t say but I sometimes do these little things anyway because I need all the help I can get some days.
Another trend we are seeing is the use of longer rods. With longer and roomier rod lockers in many of the fishing rigs today, more anglers are discovering the advantages of seven or seven and a half foot rods designed specifically for live bait rigging. I recently had the opportunity to design a line of premium fishing rods specifically for walleye fishing. We have been flattered by the number of really good walleye anglers who approach and compliment us on our line of walleye fishing rods, the Jason Mitchell Elite Series Rods. These rods are available at several retail locations and more information can be found online at www.jasonmitchellrods.com. According to both Bill Ortiz and Sheldon Meidinger, two very accomplished anglers on the Professional Walleye Trail, these rods are the lightest and most sensitive rods ever designed for presenting live bait rigs. This is a compliment we are quite proud of considering the track record of these two anglers.
There is no doubt that Lindy Rigs are a highly effective way to catch fish but there are many things to pay attention to besides your rod tip if you want to catch more fish with this proven presentation. Don’t overlook what might seem obvious or unimportant as you fine-tune the presentation

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