by Bob Jensen
Make this fishing season the season you become a more versatile angler. Versatile anglers generally catch more fish. Versatile anglers are generally more willing to try new techniques and are also willing to chase different species of fish. They just want to get bit. We might really want to catch walleyes, but in reality, in some bodies of water, the largemouth bass might be biting a lot better than ‘eyes. It’s a good idea to keep your options open when you go fishing. If you do, you’ll catch more fish.
When you start out your day of fishing, it’s important to have a game-plan in place. If, for instance, walleyes are to be the quarry, you should have a rod rigged with a live-bait rig. Live bait is almost always a good summertime bet for walleyes. Check out some deeper water structure. Keep a close eye on your sonar for fish activity. When you find some walleyes, work your rig through them. Maybe you’ll get bit, maybe not.
If you work your bait through several schools of fish with no action, try something else. Maybe a spinner behind a bottom-bouncer pulled quickly through the fish will trigger them into eating. Maybe a crankbait worked through them will do the trick.
Maybe not though. If you’re dead-set on catching walleyes you can keep trying other techniques. But if you just want to get bit, now would be a good time to switch species. Many of the best walleye lakes are also good for bass or bluegills or pike. If something pulling on the end of your line is the goal, tie a different bait on your line and go to a different area of the lake. A weedline would be a good place to start. The weedline is home to all species of fish, and often the fish on the weedline will be aggressive biters.
If you’ve reached the point where you just want to get bit, tie on an eighth ounce Slurp! Jig and add a four inch Impulse Ringworm. Anything that swims along a weedline will eat this combo, including panfish, bass, pike, and even those walleyes we were looking for in deeper water.
If the bite is good, go to a bait with a larger profile, maybe an Impulse Dip-Stick. You probably won’t get as many panfish pecks with the larger bait, but you’ll also probably catch bigger fish. You should go to the next size larger jig also.
If you like to jig for walleyes, this is a good way to practice doing so. Watch your line carefully as the jig falls along the weedline. Much of the time you’ll just see your line “jump” a little. Reel down and set the hook: That “jump” was caused by a fish eating your jig-worm.
Eight or ten pound test is about the right size line with the jig-worm. Sunline Assassin is outstanding when you want a line that’s almost invisible underwater and is also easy to manage.
For most of us, just getting bit is the reason we go fishing, and most of the time you will get bit along the weedline. And you never know what might bite your bait on the weedline. It just might be a few of those walleyes you couldn’t get to bite in the deeper water.