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by Sheldon Meidinger
I have always believed that too good of fishing can make us poor fishermen.
revealed on the electronics or a fish is caught.
Don’t just look for "fish" or notice that your depth finder isn’t showing you any fish. Your depth finder is showing you so much more if you pay attention to what it is really telling you. If you are not marking any fish on the graph, that isn’t to say that there are not any fish below the boat. If there are walleyes high in the water column, they won’t show up on a graph. Good idea to run a few cranks out the side up high with the use of planer boards whenever you aren’t graphing fish. Can also be a good idea to dig cranks right into the bottom when nothing appears to be down below. Withan irregular contour or uneven bottom, the best depth finders can loose walleyes within the bottom as you pass overhead.When baitfish or what appears to be bigger fish are revealed on the screen, successful trollers often pull their lures just above the marks on the screen that are believed to be walleyes. Initial contact in the form of catching a fish or watching another boat land a walleye is a start to narrowing down all the elements of successful trolling. When you see a walleye, suddenly you have confidence that those marks on your screen are indeed walleyes.
In a perfect world we mark some fish and pull cranks through those fish and catch fish until the paint is gone from the crankbaits. Too bad we don’t live in a perfect world. All too often we work for each fish, trying to establish some kind of a pattern while also realizing that no two fish are the same.
Changes in speed or direction are two variables we experiment with a lot while trolling. I personally believe that changes in speed or direction can bring life and action to any crank bait and trigger fish that are following the lure. People often look for a magic speed like 2.6 miles per hour but it often seems like the "change" in speed is what can be so crucial to triggering strikes from reluctant walleyes. At times no doubt, there seems to be a preference for a certain speed
range. Also… some crankbaits work better at different ranges of speed. There are periods where walleyes seem to prefer a crankbait slow rolled at less than two miles per hour. Other times when a crankbait getting burned by at about three or more miles an hour gets the attention of fish. One of my favorite crankbaits that I have a lot of confidence in are the Reef Runners that have become so popular over the past few years. There is a reason why they have become so popular; when properly tuned they catch fish. These crankbaits in particular really have a way of triggering touchy fish, especially when a change of speed is initiated by stalling the boat in neutral for about ten seconds or by pumping the rod. Speed range and changes of speed is just something we experiment with simultaneously as we experiment with lures and color. When you have the right lure on, you will know it but until you have the right lure selected, keep experimenting until a preference starts to emerge.
Sheldon isn’t on the road fishing big money tournaments, he works for Mitchell’s Guide Service on North Dakota’s Devils Lake. Learn some of the finer points of trolling first hand by contacting Mitchell’s Guide Service at (701) 351-1890. Devils Lake’s finest fishing.
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