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Adventures in walleye fishing 
by Norb Wallock

Our Nation’ great walleye waters are varied indeed, and include natural lakes, rivers and reservoirs, as well as the monstrous Great Lakes, like Erie and Ontario. Techniques for extracting ol’ marble eyes from such a diverse assembly of waters can equally vary, from pitching jigs to shoreline rocks, to dragging live bait rigs, to open water trolling, it takes a pretty big bag of tricks to get the job done. Selecting a craft that is equally home on all of the aforementioned waters requires some thought as you consider all the options, and there are plenty.

The modern walleye boat has to do it all
The modern walleye boat has to do it all, wherever you may be
There’s an old saying, about picking the right tool for the job. The same hold’s true for boat selection, as they are nothing more than a tool, and have specific characteristics that lend themselves to certainapplications. With so many varied opportunities facing today’s walleye angler, finding the right tool that is perfect for every job can be next to impossible. One of the keys is compromise, and finding the middle ground. 
As previously mentioned, waters holding good populations of walleyes can be extremely diverse, and require specific techniques developed to successfully deal with the varied characteristics. For example; Smaller lakes and rivers often call for precise presentations that will keep you at a specific depth, at a certain speed, and require a craft that can be easily controlled. A slight variation in either speed or depth may keep you out of the zone, and out of the fish. Larger bodies of water, like the Great Lakes specifically, require larger vessels that can provide a certain element of safety. 
Angling on the Great Lakes means that sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with six to eight foot waves, with an occasional ten footer. Smaller boats need not apply, as they can’t physically provide the necessary level of safety. Boats designed specifically for the Great Lakes are huge, and can safely handle 
most of the rough stuff. However, if safety was the only factor an ocean liner would be in order. You’d be perfectly safe, but boat control would fly out the window completely. Balancing safety with fishability is the answer, and has culminated with the development of the new Tournament Series 202 RCL, from Crestliner. The 202 is a twenty foot boat that strikes a perfect balance, and is at home just about anywhere walleyes are found .
The 202 RCL has many unique features that set it apart from the rest of the pack, and include features like an all welded aluminum hull with a TruTrac Center Keel and Quick Shot Transom. The TruTrac Center Keel allows for steadier cornering at high speeds, and gives you the boat control you need to stay on a tight trolling run, which can make all the difference when a few feet this way or that can keep you out of the fish. The Quick Shot Transom is a pad, that heretofore has been available in glass boats only. The pad gives the boat some extra lift, increasing performance by allowing higher motor position and reducing drag. It also provides for an incredible hole shot, and will get you on plane quickly. Another impressive feature is a state-of-the-art, Flow-Rite livewell/baitwell system. The Flow-Rite system utilizes a series of pumps and a freshwater pick up that will keep your fish in top condition. The freshwater 
pickup skims the surface when you’re on plane, and shoots fresh water into the wells, which can be a big advantage in keeping your fish alive during long run times. Besides the 27gallon rear mounted livewell, there’s two baitwells that are also incorporated , and receive the benefit of fresh or re-circulated water. The live well is also , which makes handling fish in the dark much easier. The whole thing has a 100% backup, and is the most sophisticated system available
Crestliner 202 Rod Box When looking at a serious craft for chasing walleyes, another important consideration is rod storage. Chances are that sooner or later your arsenal is going to contain more and more rods to cover all of the different presentations, and the standard storage systems just won’t cut it. The RCL edition, has a huge center mounted rod box, and will hold enough rods to satisfy the most serious angler. A big rod box will help to keep your expensive rods off the floor (where they can be stepped on and broken), and keep your boat organized. 
Norb believes you should speak softly, and own a big rod box
Another area to look at is the amount of available storage, and whether or not the manufacturer utilizes the space efficiently. It doesn’t take long to eat up storage space, especially when you try to stow away life jackets, rain suits, a throwable cushion, and who knows what. The RCL has two huge deck mounted multiple storage units, and can hold just about anything you decide to bring along. There’s also a couple of slide out tackle trays that are built in below the consoles, which makes good use out of what would be considered dead space. When it comes to a final decision on your own personal walleye machine, the most important consideration is where you are now spending most of your time, and what the specific needs are. However,  wherever you are, chances are that sooner or later you’ll want get in on what some of the country’s top  walleye waters have to offer, and to do so you better be prepared, especially if an Erie, Oahe, or even a Mille Lacs is part of your plan. They can all present conditions at times, that would be considered extremely 
dangerous, and absolutely no place for smaller, less seaworthy, craft. 

Norb Wallock

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