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By Daniel Vinovich

A length of monofiliment line, a couple of hooks, a few beads, a clevis and blade, and presto, you have one of the deadliest techniques for searching out schools of walleyes.  But how can something so simple be so effective?  It is simple.  It appeals to all of the senses a walleye uses to locate food.  Sight, vibration, sound and scent.  It can be fished with a Bottom Bouncer for structure orientated walleyes or with an Off Shore Tackle Snap Weight for suspended walleyes.  You can buy in-line spinners pre made or buy the components and make your own.  I prefer to make up my own. that way I can change up colors of blades, beads, and snell length until I know what the walleyes want on a given day. 

Lets first start with our shopping list of the components you will need to purchase to make your own. 

 1. Hooks - A number 2 or 4 octopus style light wire hook.  I prefer the Featherlite hook by Eagle Claw.  This hook has all of the necessary features I look for in a live bait hook, thin wire, a wide gap, and it is very strong.  Another feature of this hook is that it is coated with a Teflon finish, kind of like a frying pan, you know, the slippery no stick kind. This makes for quick easy penetration. 

 2. Beads - You will need an assortment of colors and sizes.  The size will depend on the size of the blade you are using.  For a number 2 blade, I use 4 mm.  For the larger thumper blades like a number 5 or 7,  you will be better off using a 5 mm or 6 mm bead. 

3. Blades - I prefer to use a deep cupped Colorado blade such as the type made by Bait Rigs.  This type of blade throws off a lot of vibration and will spin at very slow speeds.  You will need an assortment of sizes and colors, the number 2 size for working deep structure relating walleyes and a few thumper blades for open water applications.  Color does matter so get several colors.

 4. Clevis - This is the most important part of the in-line spinner, no clevis no spin. I use the quick change clevis by Bait Rigs.  This clevis is made from plastic, so there is no damage to the line.  It also has a quick change feature which enables me to change blade color without cutting the mono leader. 

 5. Barrel Swivel - A high quality barrel swivel is a must.  Spinners tend to twist the line, especially if the live bait is not properly positioned on the hooks.  Even though most bottom bouncers come with a swivel, I add another.  Remember twisted line is weak line. 

 6 . Monofiliment line for leader material - There are 2 types of  mono I use.  The first is 10 to 12 pound Excaliber Silver thread.  This mono is extremely abrasion resistant. A must when working rocks or any type of structure.  This line will work for most spinner applications.  The second type of leader material I use is the fluorocarbons such as the one sold by Bass Pro.  This type of line virtually disappears when it is in the water. You will need this in some lakes with gin clear water to prevent spooking fish.

7. Bottom Bouncers - You will need an assortment of weights ranging from 1 to 4 ounces.  The weight of the bottom bouncer will depend on the depth of the water you are fishing as well as the speed you are pulling the spinner.  You need to use enough weight to keep the bouncer running at a 45 degree angle to the rod tip.  This is very important for 2 reasons.  The first is simple.  If you have too much line, it will hamper the ability of the bottom bouncer to remain snagless.  The second is I want the rig to remain close to the boat.  I want it close to the boat especially when I am working deep structure.  That way I know the piece of structure I am seeing on my bow mounted X-85 Lowrance Electronics the walleye pro's choice is where my bait is going.  If you have too much line out, your rig may miss the piece of structure.  My bottom bouncer of choice is made by WAZP.  This bouncer is available in brightly painted models.  I think the color helps to attract fish to the bait.

 8. Snap Weights - A snap weight is used when I want to get the weight away from the bait.  Sometimes in clear water, the weight can spook fish.  When this happens, I go to a snap weight instead of a bouncer.  The snap weight is simple to use.  You merely attach the weight to the line by means of a pinch pad type of snap.  The snap has rubber pads so it does not damage the line.  I use the Off Shore Tackle Snap Weight.  I like this one because it has a pin in the middle of the snap that prevents the weight from dislodging from the line. 
Making an in-line spinner is simple.  Cut a length of monofiliment line, 48 inches will be sufficient in most cases.  Snell 1 to 3 hooks on the mono leader.  The number of hooks will depend on the type of bait and size you are using.  For a leach, I use one hook.  For a crawler, I use 2 to 3 depending on the length of the crawler.  Now comes the fun part, the beads.  The color combinations is limited only by your imagination.  One important note concerning beads is to make sure you use enough beads to keep the bottom of the blade from hitting the bait.  I always slide enough beads on the line to match the blade size.  The larger the blade, the more beads you will need to slide on the line.  Next, slide a quick change clevis on the line.  Clevises come in different colors so try different shades to add additional color to the rig.  The rig is almost complete.  All we need to do is to snap a blade into the clevis and add the barrel swivel to the other end of the leader. 

I always make up several of these spinner rigs before I hit the water.  There are several companies who sell different  ways to store the leaders.  They range from small zip lock bags to cylinders equipped with Velcro to wrap the leaders on.  My rod choice is a 7 foot Johnny Morris Signature Series in a medium heavy action.  The reel is also a Johnny Morris Signature Series Bait Caster.  This reel is equipped with a flippin’ switch. The flippin’ switch enables me to let line out with a push of the switch.  As I let the switch go, it automatically relocks the bail without using two hands.  Thus, allowing me to fish two rods at the same time.  Fishing these in-line spinners is as simple as building them.  Start forward motion of the boat by means of your electric trolling motor.  Lower the rig into the water, stopping to make sure it is working properly.  Continue to let line out until you feel the weight ticking the bottom, lock the bail.  Now using your electronics, start searching different depths and structure looking for walleyes.  Always noting what depth and type of structure the hits and fish come from so you can duplicate the presentation once walleyes are contacted, thus, ensuring you stay on the fish until the time comes when it is time to resume the search pattern.  This type of presentation is great for seeking out and locating active fish and for working deep structure effectively.  So remember, when searching for fish on a new lake or working structure on one you already know, SPIN TO WIN! 
E-mail Dan at trolling@mtco.com

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