Lodging food and more
When Possibilities Knock
By Mark Martin
For midsummer walleyes, there’s nothing but possibilities—for both you
and the fish. At a time of year when they might be located anywhere
from four to 40 feet of water, you had best explore every option. That
means shallow, deep and even the space between. But I always have a
starting point to get the day underway and go from there…
Come summertime, I know to expect fish in deep water, and the fastest
way to find them is with the combination of maps and electronics.
Wherever I’m fishing, I look to a Department of Resources, Coast Guard
or, better yet, Fishing Hot Spots map to narrow the search. On them,
check for the most prominent structures, including humps and points,
adjacent to deep water. Those are almost always the best places to
When you’re on the water, motor around the structure and the nearby
deep water, watching on electronics for baitfish and accompanying
predators. Remember, you’ve spent good money on a fish locator, so
pays sense to have it locate fish before you start fishing.
At times I’ve found that the fish I’m seeing on a locator are walleyes;
other times, I’ve found less desirable species on which I’d rather not
waste my time.
|On the new units from Lowrance, including the black-and-white X-15
and the color
X-16, it’s possible to see the finest of detail—bugs, bait and even
fish glued to the bottom. Use them to narrow your search. If you’re wondering
exactly what you’re marking, drop down an underwater camera such as an
Aqua-Vu to have a look.
On the spinners, nothing beats a night crawler, except possibly when panfish
are on the attack, which is when I switch to a Berkley Power Crawler to
beat back the little rascals. Simply ease around with the trolling motor
at speeds between
|After you’ve found a level where the walleyes are holding, I know of
more effective way to trigger them than with a bottom bouncer and
spinner. When I’m up in the front of my Lund, running my bowmount Motor
Guide trolling motor, I drop down two bouncer rigs. I hand-hold one
put the other in a Ram rod holder. For terminal tackle, my top choices
are Northland Rock-Runner bottom bouncers and Rainbow spinners,
particularly those in the new holographic shades. A good guideline
bouncer weight is one ounce for every 10 feet of water—one ounce in
feet, two ounces in 20 and so forth.
0.5 mph to 1.2 mph, and it shouldn’t be long until you get the fish
go. But in case you don’t…
Well, when I don’t find them deep, the next place I go is the shallows,
where I look for cover in the form of weeds and brush. There I pitch jigs
with a leech or half a night crawler in pockets and holes between the obstructions.
One of the most important tips is to look for hard bottom within the weeds,
which concentrates walleyes. I still use a Lowrance flasher, a seemingly
old-fashioned locator, to find it. Then I stick with the patches of hard
bottom until I find fish.
The reason is that weed fish are normally aggressive and will hit within
moments of spotting the bait—often on the initial fall. So watch your line
closely for a twitch or for it moving off to the side. You can’t beat highly
visible flame Berkley FireLine for just such reasons, to say nothing of
its strength in pulling free from weeds or wrestling out a walleye. But
when the weed fish aren’t going…
|To fish through the weedy, brushy difficulties, I like a Northland
Weed Weasel jig, with its sleek shape and plastic weed guards to help slide
through without snagging. You’ll get more hookups if you soften the
plastic by bending it back and forth. Usually, when you’re pitching
pockets, you don’t have to fish a jig in there for long—toss it in, twitch
it a few times, reel it in and do it again.
That’s when I go to the midrange—the space between the shallows and the
here for more
info or to order on-line
|That’s when I go to the midrange—the space between the shallows and
the deep. There, again, I look with my Lowrance X-16 for baitfish or suspended
fish. The fastest way to search is with crankbaits behind planer boards.
Here, the reason is that you can pull crankbaits from 2.0 mph to 3.0 mph—far
faster than the low 1-mph range with spinners and night crawlers.
deep. There, again, I look with my Lowrance X-16 for baitfish or
suspended fish. The fastest way to search is with crankbaits behind
planer boards. Here, the reason is that you can pull crankbaits from
2.0 mph to 3.0 mph—far faster than the low 1-mph range with spinners
and night crawlers.
The best summertime lures are ones with action—ones that have a more
distinct wobble than you’d use in spring. Now I turn to Rapala Shad
Raps and Tail Dancers behind Church Planer Boards. Match the Raps to the
water color—natural patterns in clear water, brighter shades and firetigers
in darker. (To organize cranks, check out the new Cinch Bags from Plano,
which are similar to mesh suitcases that hold four 3600 or 3700 style tackle
This is the perfect scenario for trolling with boards—the boat pushes fish
out into the path of your lures.Deep, shallow and everywhere in between…
Yep, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do in summertime. Between all
the options, you’re bound to get bit.
TX-12 Planer Board
|Meanwhile, the most versatile board is the TX-12, a midsize board that
will handle most water conditions, including fairly rough stuff. I’ll stagger
the crankbaits to reach high
in the water column and at moderate depths, depending on where I’m
seeing fish. But even when fish are in short supply on the electronics,
I’ll work the area, since walleyes often scoot out to the sides of the
boat when it passes over.
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