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by Norb Wallock
Fall is a short period in time that is custom made for the dedicated
walleye angler. Late summer can make for some tough angling conditions,
and good catches become more of an exception rather than the rule, on most
bodies of water, but not now. Now things are changing, and
changing for the better.
The changes include an improved attitude in walleyes that have been
previously been playing hard to get. Now is no time to play to hard
to get. Now it the time to get busy and chow down as much food as
possible, wherever it is, and put on some extra fat to help get through
the tougher conditions of winter. It’s also a time to start developing
eggs, which requires plenty of nourishment. What it all adds up to
is a very favorable situation for anglers in the know.
Some of the first changes occur early in the fall period and include
a renewed interest in shallow areas like rocky bars and reefs as well as
weedy flats. The shallows play an important role in the food
chain by providing a relatively safe environment for immature baitfish,
where they can live and grow until they reach an edible size. Bait
fish that have been hiding out in heavy weed growth can become exposed
and vulnerable as some of the greenery starts to lay down and die.
By late summer weed flats typically begin to thin out, reducing the amount
of available cover and creating a new feeding opportunity for hungry ‘eyes.
The author Norb Wallock with a nice fall walleye
||With all that bait reaching a desirable size, it won’t take long for
ol’ marble eyes to show up. Being the opportunists that walleyes
are, they’ll take advantage of a good situation, and scads of fresh meat
that is readily accessible is a very good situation. It also creates
a terrific opportunity for anglers who know the ins and outs of cashing
in on a peak situation. How you approach a peak situation will depend on
a number of factors including the
type of structure you happen to be looking for, and the attitude of
Trolling is an efficient way to cover a lot of water but it may not be
the most effective method for the given conditions, especially if you’ve
found a smaller specific area that is holding most of the biters.
Rapala Shad Rap RS
||For example; If you’re faced with a rocky bar or reef, using a crankbait
like #7 or # 9 Shad Rap( either trolled or cast ), may be the ticket.
However that doesn’t mean you can rule crankbaits out, in fact running
a Shad Rap along the edge may be the hottest thing going. Starting with
the crankbait may be your best bet for covering some ground and locating
a few active fish. The key will be running your bait as close to
the cover as possible without constantly fouling the it with weeds.
A bait that is fouled won’t reach the appropriate depth, or achieve the
right action, and will most likely be rejected. By watching your
rod tip you can see if your bait is running clean by the watching the steady
vibration. No vibration indicates a problem that needs to be checked
out, and is simply part of the program when working the weeds. To
help get the vibration to the tip, try using a lower stretch line Rapala
Tough. A lower stretch line absorbs less of the twitch, twitch, twitch
vibration of a properly running crankbait, making it easier to see.
The Tough Line will also help you get more of your baits back that hang
up, and you will get hung up.
|In that case you may opt for positioning the boat with a bow mount
electric trolling motor like the Minn
Kota Maxxum101, or dropping the hook and anchoring, while casting to
the most productive spot. In either case it’s important to get your
bait running close to the bottom, and even occasionally banging into it.If
you’re working the edge, or right into the middle of a weed flat, a jig
or live bait rig may be the way to go. However that doesn’t mean
you can rule crankbaits out, in fact running a Shad Rap along the edge
may be the hottest thing going.
Another key to tip watching is using a rod with the right action, like
the seven foot one inch medium light Rapala Signature Series model SE80TR71ML1
bait casting rod. A longer rod with a light tip helps to accentuate a cranbait’s
action, keeping you on top of what’s going on at the business end.
Once you’ve found a few fish or two with the crankbait it may pay to
go back over thearea and strain it with a jig or live bait rig, and really
work it over. Quite often active walleyes will bunch up in tight
little areas and straining a spot will increase your odds of putting together
a good catch by keeping your bait in a productive area longer.
Early fall is an angler’s first opportunity for cashing in on some of the
best the late
RAY CHART 520
||To get back on a spot you can drop a marker if you have to, but markers
do draw crowds. A G.P.S. with W.A.S.S. capabilities like the Raychart
520, can get you back towithin three meters of a spot and negate the need
to drop an “ I’m catching fish over here !” sign. Early in the fall good
rigging options include using crawlers, leeches if you can find them, or
minnows like fatheads and chubs. A Redtail Chub is without
a doubt your best bet for fall walleyes but they can be a little hard to
find, and expensive. On the other hand they can be invaluable
in the right situation, as walleyes have a hard time resisting their natural
season has to offer. The problem is the fact that there’s only
so much time, and you better act now if you’re going to get your share.
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