Look as Sharp as your hooks
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By Rick Olsen
It will wear you down, give you a headache, and test your character.
In fact it may even force you to throw in the towel, and head home early.
There’s no doubt that a hard wind and monster waves can take the fun out
of just about everything, but if you’re a serious walleye fisherman it’s
part of the program.
Tough conditions can often trigger intense walleye activity, and may be
the very best time to have your lines in the water. From the customary
“walleye chop” to three and four footers, a good wind can put things in
motion that create an excellent feeding opportunity for hungry ‘eyes.
Walleyes are tuned into to their environment and instinctively know when
and where their prey is most vulnerable, and that includes periods of high
winds and hard pounding waves.
The author didn’t let a little rough water keep him
from nailing this hawg
|When the wind starts to howl and the waves get taller and taller, most
anglers cut and run and head for calmer waters. That is certainly
an option, but if you’re serious about catching ol’ marble eyes, sooner
or later you’re going to stay, and you may even get to the point where
you actually search out the worst of it, especially when you know how good
bad can be. Touring Pros are forced to fish in some extreme conditions,
on a wide variety of waters, and have learned to deal with the worst that
Mother Nature can dish out. They’ve also learned that even under
the most severe conditions, tremendous catches can be made.
A stiff wind can flush out normally safe hiding areas and
push minnows and baitfish into harms way, where walleyes on the prowl can
cash in on the easy pickings. It can also stir up clear water
and help to trigger a shallow water feeding movement. It all adds
up to feeding walleyes, which is exactly what you’re looking for.
Minnows and baitfish will often set up camp on rocky reefs, bars and rubble
areas where they can hide out in the cracks and crevasses, and safely elude
predators bent on their destruction. They can hang out in relative
safety, most of the time. However, when the right wind starts to
blow the ensuing waves and current can flush them out and into trouble.
The wave and current action can also push free ranging
schools of baitfish into the same areas where walleyes will sit and wait
to ambush the unfortunate. Schools of minnows and baitfish
will often suspend out in the middle of nowhere, that is until the
wind comes along. A hard wind and accompanying waves create a surface
current that can move suspended bait into said areas creating a real feeding
bonanza. The harder the wind, the more current you have and the better
the odds that there are going to be a number of active fish in the neighborhood.
The wind can even be an advantage when chasing suspended
walleyes, as it seems to really turn them on. Whether it’s the light
being broken up, or the extra oxygen created from all the wave action,
something happens that really heats things up. Although they’re not
known for any kind of surface antics, walleyes have been actually
seen busting the surface chasing down hapless prey under the onslaught
of heavy waves.
Whether you’re chasing walleyes on wind swept points, bars,
reefs, or even fish that are suspended, you can get in on some fantastic
action, but if and only if you have the intestinal fortitude to be there
when it happens.
| Besides having the guts, you better have the right equipment,
and it all begins with a safe craft. To get to the fish and back
again, my partner Norb Wallock and I rely on the Crestliner 202 Tournament
Series to get the job done. The 202 is a twenty footer built to take
on just about anything, but yet remain quite fishable. Besides being
safe, you also have to be able to control your boat, to be effective.
To help take control, a few gadgets can help, like drift socks and a powerful
trolling motor. The combination can tame the roughest water, and
keep you where you want to be, when you want to be there. A powerful
electric trolling motor, like the 36 volt Minnkota
Maxxum 101 can deliver an incredible amount of thrust, and may
be exactly what you need to keep your boat positioned.
Just be sure you keep the rope short enough so that it stays out of the
main motor or kicker. If you’ve a mind to get in on some
windy walleye action, use your head, and play it safe. The best walleye
fishing in the world isn’t worth risking your life. If you have any
doubts, or are concerned that your equipment isn’t up to the task, don’t
go. On the other hand, if you are prepared and you’re confident about
your safety, don’t forget the net!
J&B Originals Wave Tamer
|By combining the thrust with a drift sock, like the Wave Tamer from
you can still slowly troll a specific break line by using the sock
to slow the drift, and the motor to keep the boat positioned. Trying
to do it without may be impossible, especially if the wind is really whipping
it up. One sock might do the trick but if you really need to
put on the breaks, a second sock may be necessary. Two socks
can get you down to a crawl, and will allow for the slowest presentations,
like rigging and jigging. To slow down a forward trolling
run, you can try running a kicker motor in reverse, or you can even drop
a drift sock off of the bow.
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