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Prime time walleyes
By Rick Olsen
Walleyes don’t always act the way they should, or at least the way they’re
supposed to, and it’s a characteristic that makes them a real challenge.
It’s the challenge that makes up a good part of their mystique and why
the sport is so interesting. However interesting isn’t that
much fun if you can’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
During the course of a season there are times when the pieces become a
lot easier to place and things happen they way they should, and for those
who stick with it, that time is fast approaching.
If walleyes behaved by the book they would always show up on some deep
fast breaking hard bottom areas covered with rock or gravel, and finding
them would be a cinch. However for much of the open water season
it just doesn’t happen that way, and locating walleyes is far from being
a cinch. Instead of locating near some classic hangout, they’re often found
living large in shallow mud bottom bays, or clinging tight to a weedline,
or even suspended out in the
middle of nowhere. None of it really fits into the “classic”
category but it doesn’t matter, because said areas often hold the lion’s
share of fish.
The larger the structure the better your chances are for finding good numbers
of catchable walleyes.
The author Rick Olsen with a nice pair
of fall Walleyes
|The fall period is one of the few times when ol’ marble eyes acts the
way he’s supposed to, and why the last of the late season is favored
by serious walleye anglers. Now is the time when schools of walleyes
bunch up and take residence on fast breaks and deeper rock and gravel humps,
and is exactly “by the book”.Finding likely looking areas starts with a
good map (as good as you can find), and taking a little time to analyze
potential hot spots. Look for structure near deep water, and then
try to surmise where walleyes would likely spend their daytime hours and
where they might make a late evening and after dark feeding run. Daytime
hot spots would include fast breaks and quick drops offs near the deepest
water available in close proximity to larger hard bottom points and
flats in shallower water, which would offer the lowlight feeding opportunities.
Once you’ve located at least a few fish on your graph the fun begins, and
there’s no better way to get it started than with a big jig and minnow.
If the area you happen to be working is deeper than fifteen feet or so,
you can probably get right on top of them and fish vertically, or directly
below the bottom. It’s a technique that can be absolutely deadly,
and is unbelievably simple.
|When walleyes locate on said areas they become very easy to find with
good electronics, and is a time when a high quality graph like the Raychart
520 becomes worth
it’s weight in gold. The 520 provides incredible detail and allows
the user to see fish that are holding tight to the bottom, which is a common
late season occurrence. By scanning a potential hangout you can quickly
see if anybody’s home, and whether it’s worth investing any more of your
valuable time.The Raychart 520 serves as a navigational devise as well
and has a built in Global Positioning System with W.A.S.S capabilities,
which is the most accurate system available to today’s angler. It’s
also been built with a C-Map reader, which allows you to incorporate a
highly detailed map into your display and lets you see exactly where you
are in relation to the structure you happen to be fishing
If you’ve given a spot plenty of time, you may want to mark it with your
G.P.S. so you can return later and quickly get back on it to see if your
Minn Kota Maxxum
|By positioning the boat with an electric trolling motor like the Minn
Kota Maxxum, you can hover over the fish and keep your bait right in their
face. The Maxxum 101 produces an incredible 101 pounds of thrust
which will help you to stay put, even when
Mother Nature decides to whip things up. A top technique includes using
a 3/8 to ½ oz jig tipped with a minnow and simply lifting and dropping
the bait as you walk it along the bottom. If you’re marking a concentration
be sure to give the area plenty of time before moving on. Fish can
turn on and off at the
drop of a hat and you don’t want to miss all the fun when they
decide to crank it up a couple of notches.
had a change in attitude. A great combination for vertically jigging
would include a six to six and a half foot spinning rod like the Rapala
SE80SP66ML1, combined with an open face reel loaded with either six or
eight pound test Rapala Finesse fishing line. In most cases
when yourvertical jigging you’ll be able to fight your fish in open water,
allowing you to get away with using lighter line. Lighter line
will also make it easier for you to stay in contact with the bottom
by providing less resistance, and is especially noticeable in deeper water.
The whole program is simple in nature, and simple is good. Take
a known walleye lake, throw in a handful of jigs in a few different sizes
and colors, and add a bucket of lively minnows and your in business.
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