Many fisherman know that willow cats, mud minnows, mad toms
are names given to a minnow that looks like a small bullhead or catfish. At
this time of year these minnows are deadly on largemouth bass and walleyes.
They are my favorite warm weather minnow for walleyes. Northerns and muskie
love them also. Willow cats are tough! They stay on the hook and remain alive
longer than any chub. A three inch willow cat tipped on a 1/16 ounce Veg-E-Jig
worked through the weeds is tough to beat on certain lakes. A willow cat will
survive all day in a minnow bucket in 90 degree weather with no special
handling. Try this with your favorite minnow and they will be dead within the
Use this jig modification and the willow cats and you will produce more and
bigger fish when the weather is warm and the fish are lethargic.
It is also at this time of year that a Rapala Jigging Rap can be very
effective. Adding a minnow or other live bait isn't essential but it does
improve the chance for more hookups. It is my belief that add-on's distort the
action of the natural fall which drives the walleye's crazy. I've found a real
hot time for Jigging Raps is the late summer and fall. Fishing in a river with
minimal clarity allows me to sit on top of the fish in depths from one to six
feet. In these depths I use a 1/8 ounce in silver or gold color and
I hone in on rock piles, riprap, bridge abutments, or other ambush points.
I've taken walleyes as deep as 35 feet with this technique, When in deep water
use a Blue Fox Pixee spoon, and jig it vertically usually about 1/2 ounce size
will do the trick. These spoons are unique because you can change the color of
the egg sac inserts at a moment's notice. This enables you to experiment with
color at the deeper depths. Although the depths produce some nice walleyes, I
prefer the shallows. Having a great deal of confidence in a spoon is a must.
Sometimes I bang the spoon on the same rock three or four times before a
walleye decides to strike. I recommend at least three jigs in the same area
before moving on. You might only move six to eight inches from your original
Working an area slowly and thoroughly will give the fish more than one chance
to strike. Patience, patience, patience they'll hit it. Make sure that those
treble hooks are sharp and if you are banging rocks check them periodically.
"Spooning" give it a try soon, and you will be amazed at your success.
Tough times, give the fishermen a chance to change their approach. It provides
the fisherman with at least four new tricks to add to his bag. Jig
modification, live bait willow cats, Jigging Raps and spooning will allow the
tough to go fishing rather than staying home.
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