slipped the 15 horsepower Merc. in gear and started to let out line until it
ticked bottom. When the bottom started to pull at my lure I cranked in a
couple of turns and sat back to troll a contour around a point that seemed to
have fish congregated on it. The cool air of spring and the maddening songs of
the spring birds were interrupted by a sharp pull and a bend in my rod. I
quickly pushed the Merc. into neutral and started to crank in a nice 6 lb.
walleye. I knew that those fish were just off the point but with fifteen feet
of water conventional trolling techniques had to be modified. That is when I
decided to go for the leadcore.
Lead-lining isnít all that complicated. But like any kind of fishing,
getting good at it takes a certain knack and amount of time. Basically, it
requires a stiff pole, a large reel, and the lead line. Rods vary from angler
to angler. They once resembled short telephone poles with guides; some even
had pulleys on the tip instead of a regular tip. Now rods are similar to what
anglers use for northern or musky fishing. Lately the rods have increased in
length and today I use the Shimano Talora Series rods in the 7í0Ē length to
get the lures away from the boat and yet have the sensitivity of a smaller
walleye rod. Some anglers prefer the cork handles while others prefer the foam
handles. I like to use the cork handles, but rod holders have a tendency to
cut the cork handles. So, many anglers put one rod in the rod hold and holder
the other under their arms like a knight that is ready to joust.
A good level wind Shimano Calcutta 400 or 700 reel is essential to hold the
large capacity of leadcore line. Reels that look like a smaller version of
saltwater reels that used for marlin fishing are ideal. These reels have a
good drag system and the line comes off smoothly because the line doesnít have
a chance to twist or tangle.
Line, the key to the fishing, comes in large spools and in some circumstances
there are double spools that are one continuous leadcore spool. Most anglers
will spool up about 300 feet of line on one reel. The line is color coded, a
different color for every 10 yards, so anglers can tell how much line they
have out. The line is so stiff that if you put a kink in it and hold it up,
the kink stays. If you twist leadcore line around your finger and remove the
finger the coil will remain.
Therefore, lead line is tipped with a mono leader, usually about 15 pound
test. Some anglers prefer shorter leaders, others may go as long as 35 feet.
Longer leaders are braided into the line so that there is no knot to stop the
line from being reeled onto the spool.
The lure of choice for many anglers is the shad imitation bait. They are long
and skinny like the original Rapala or short and fat like the Shad Rap. If you
are fishing with leadcore, just like fishing with monofilament line. you
should choose the bait that matches the prey that the walleyes are feeding on.
The presentation of this lure with leadcore is forward trolling letting out
line until it reaches the bottom and then cranking in about three turns so the
lure rides right off the bottom. Anglers avoid losing lures by watching their
depthfinders closely. They are skilled enough to keep the motor at a certain
speed and can tell just about where the lure is in relation to the bottom.
There is a disadvantage to using leadcore line, there is no way to get rid of
the weight once the fish strike. Plus there is no give in the line, so once
the fish is hooked if you are going to land the fish you have to keep steady
pressure on the line. No pumping or providing slack, because as soon as the
fish has a little slack they will spit the lure.
Traditionally, that is the way that leadcore was fished in a few places in the
upper Midwest. Today, more anglers are using leadcore than ever before, but
they are using it as an inline weight system rather than having all the lead
and weight of some spooled up 300 feet of line. Now they use it to segment the
line and provide additional weight to monofilament.
The length of the leadcore segment varies by the type of crankbait you'll be
using and the depth you need to achieve. For example, in the late springs
chilly water, I've found walleyes to prefer subtle action lures like a # 7
Shad Rap. To get this shallow-diving bait down 30 to 40 feet you need three
segments of leadcore. If you're using a deeper diver like a #9 Shad Rap you
can achieve the same depths with just two segments of leadcore. The general
rule is high action crankbaits for warm water, subtle action for cool water.
When you find a concentration of fish in over 40 feet of water and they are
suspended at 30 feet, start from the bottom and work your bait up to the
strike zone. Most anglers would try to determine how much line to let out
until they are in 30 feet of water. The easiest method is to let out line
until you are on the bottom and then crank in line until you have a strike.
So this spring when the fish move a little deeper and you canít get to them
with the traditional methods pick up some leadcore and hit the water.
Whether you are in the states of Alaska,
Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa,
Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado,
Indiana, Virginia, California, Nevada, or New Jersey, there are fish to
If you are in one of the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Yukon, Northwest
Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Quebec,
there are fish to catch.
You might be trolling with cranks as your lure of choice. You might be
jigging with jigs. Youíll probably need rods, reels, some live bait
(crawlers, minnows, leeches), sinkers, leaders, and fishing line. More
often times than not, it takes a boat to get to those spots, as well.
Maybe you will be fishing from the bank or wading, however.
You may need fishing reports or maybe even a fishing guide.
This website will try to help you achieve the goal of catching bigger,
better, and more numerous fish.