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Speed. Get Those Blades a Turnin
By John Campbell

There are some situations in which spinner rigs are more effective than 
others. When the walleyes are active and spread out, spinner rigs 
produce very well. A spinner rig can usually be worked quicker than a 
straight rig, which is important if the fish are scattered. The faster 
you can move a bait, the more fish you can show it to. The blade will 
also attract walleyes from a longer distance.
Covering water quickly and keeping the presentation in the fish zone are 
the key elements. Power-trolling bottom bouncers and spinners accomplish 
In dirty water, the fish obviously can't see as far. The blade will help 
in this condition. It throws flash and vibration, which enables the fish 
to find a bait much easier. In dirty water, use a blade that is larger 
and brighter than a blade used in clear water. Orange and chartreuse 
blades are good in stained water; silver and white are good in water 
that has more visibility.
With every rule there seems to be the inevitable exception. Walleyes 
love some of the flashy, quick moving baits and they race after them 
when nothing else in the tackle box will get them to bite. Probably the 
best example of a gaudy color is Chartreuse. I don't know what it is, 
but walleyes like that specific color whether it is on a spinner or a 
Shad Rap. Though day in and day out a basic live bait rig will take a 
number of walleyes, spinner rigs will be productive more often than many 
anglers think.
Another time when I favor spinners is when I' m fishing with a beginner 
or a novice to angling. Usually the walleyes get the entire rig in their 
mouth when they take a spinner, so there is no need for a real developed 
sense of feel on the angler's part. When you feel a strike with a 
spinner, simply ease the rod tip back toward the fish and when the line 
gets tight, set the hook.
In clear water, I prefer a small blade size much of the time. Usually 
I'll go with a light and long Little Joe Spinner with a blade of more 
subtle color.
When dirty or stained water is encountered, or when the fish are real 
active, a flashy spinner is tied on. The larger blade throws more flash 
and vibration making it easier to find. When the fish are active, the 
big ones seem to go for a bigger bait.
Another type of spinner I like for walleyes in certain conditions is an 
in-line spinner. When the waves are crashing over the shallow rock reefs 
or points, or when I'm working the shallows in a river, it's hard to 
beat a Vibrax or a Minnow Spin . These little baits are dynamite on 
those fish that are only looking for a special offering. My best action 
has occurred working these baits with a straight retrieve. The more the 
blades turn the more they become attractive to the fish.
When using spinners, snell length is important. The snell length is the 
distance from the swivel to the hook. When moving quickly, as a general 
rule increase the snell length. The faster you go, the lower the bait 
will ride. A faster presentation is usually called for in clear water, 
and you want the bait up high enough so the fish can see it from farther 
away. Also, walleye are more likely to go up for a bait than go down for it.
In dirty water, the walleyes will often be closer to the bottom. This 
calls for a shorter snell that will get the bait right down in the 
walleye's face.
One important thing I've found out about spinners is that the speed is 
very critical. If you're getting bites from perch, sheepshead or other 
rough fish you're going too slow. Just bump the speed up enough so they 
leave it alone. Sometimes, if you bump the speed up you don't even have 
to move spots and you'll start catching walleyes. This speed increase 
provides an invisible connection between the swivel and lure, which 
makes the lure now more a reaction type. Use a 1 2/3 to 3 ounce weight 
to maintain trolling speeds of 1.5 to 2.5 miles per hour with. The 
important thing to keep in mind is that you want the blades to really 
spin and act as the attractant to the live bait.
The bait of choice is a big juicy nightcrawler, twirling behind a 
spinner on a double hook rig. Leeches and minnows can also be used, but 
it's tough to beat a crawler, especially during summer months into fall. 
To drag the whole package to the bottom and keep it in the fish zone, a 
variety of lead in different sizes and shapes is available. Yet, the 
bottom bouncer, an L shaped piece of wire with a lead weight on one end 
and an eye for attaching the line to the other end, has been the most 
popular approach for trolling spinner rigs. Bottom bouncers work well 
over rocks, sand, gravel and mud, in shallow to moderate depths.
Equipment for using these two styles of baits varies greatly. The 
spinner rigs will be employed with a bottom bouncer that can weigh up to 
three ounces. I prefer Lindy X-change variety. I also recommend a good 
bait caster combination, like Shimano Castaic reel and a Clarus graphite 
rod. This combination will give you the sensitivity and the backbone to 
bring in the larger walleyes.
If you've been using spinners for walleyes, you know how effective they 
can be. If you haven't tried them yet, get set up to use spinners and 
you will find that the walleye can't resist an offering that has flash 
and vibration plus live bait. For more information about spinner fishing 
contact me on the web at www.walleye.info. Hope to see you on the water!

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