Crankbaits run at specific depths depending on size, diving lip, line
length and trolling speed. Within the natural diving range of each lure, depth
is fine tuned by adjusting line length. Trolling reels with line length
indicators have become popular for exact replication of productive depth and
pinpoint control. Many manufacturers offer line counting reels now so anglers
donít have to count the number of throws a reel goes through to set a specific
Shimano has introduced the Tekotaô line counter and I believe it is one of the
best. The drag system on the Tekota is made from material that provides a
wider range of drag settings than normal star drag materials, along with the
smoothest drag. It also has put on the non-disengaging level wind system which
allows the line to track back and forth as the line comes off the spool. This
feature eliminates the drastic line angles caused by disengaging level wind
systems. An added plus of this reel is that the line counter is accurate in
feet and easy to reset.
Few crankbaits dive deeper than 25 feet, even on a long line. To reach depths
exceeding the natural diving ability of crankbaits, weight must be added to
the line to drop lures down into the fish zone. This is just as true for
presenting spinner-crawler combos. Walleye anglers have several solutions for
increasing running depth while maintaining control.
Traditional deep water trolling was once accomplished with leadcore line.
Leadcore line is braided dacron with a thin lead core, creating a sinker
running the entire length of the line. Leadcore was used to toll deep water
for walleyes or trout. The answer to the solution of depth was to simply let
more line out and the lure ran deeper. A monofilament leader between the lure
and leadcore minimized spooking. When a fish hit, you simply reeled the
leadcore up into a large capacity trolling reel.
When leadcore was first used with planer boards, it was too heavy; anything
more than about 30 yards of leadcore sunk a typical board. This was remedied
by tying a 10, 20, or 30 yard segment of leadcore into the main line, 50 feet
ahead of the lure. The segmented leadcore approach took lures down to about 35
feet, but was somewhat confusing to most anglers. Multiple reels with
different lengths of segmented leadcore were needed to effectively cover a
variety of depths.
Open water trolling for suspended fish also taught anglers that walleyes could
be caught tight to the bottom. To do this run snap weights near bottom, or
switch to three-way rigs or bottom bouncers to make lures or baits run just
above bottom. Bouncers run the closest, while three-ways are adjustable by
varying dropper length.
I prefer to use the Lindy No-Snagg. It is a banana shaped sinker that has
balsa, lead antimony weight, surrounded by epoxy paint and a protective clear
seal coating, with a special rubberized coating on the outside. The sinker
also has a stainless steel wire feeler out of the bottom that is tipped with a
colored bead. This has the super principles of the 3-way, and the bottom
ticking ability of the bottom bouncer. Also, the No-Snagg, when it hits an
obstruction simply pivots away from the snag and doesnít get hung up. This
pause surge pause method of presentation has captured a lot of walleyes in
Trolling large open water expanses has recently been applied to some areas
that previously would not have been attempted, with amazing results. This
summer donít keep pounding the shoreline in hopes of catching a few fish when
you should be reelin in the fish, get out and troll some open water.