The whole point of this
article is to help you understand just exactly the properties your equipment
needs to have, no matter what style you are fishing Walleyes for that day.
Once you understand the basic qualities and principles, youíll be able to make
informed tackle decisions when buying, and also be able to choose the proper
tool out on the water to help make you a more successful angler.
Since most Walleye fisherman
fish jigs, lets start there. Understand that fishing jigs is not a single
technique, but several techniques depending on where you are fishing and how
heavy the jig is that you are using. In the circumstance cited before, you
need a rod thatís 6 to 6 and 1 / 2 feet long with a bit of stiffness to allow
you to pop the jig through the weeds and clear them off your hook. That means
that I choose a medium action with a fast tip. Fish in the weeds tend to be
extremely aggressive, so the fact that you have a stiffer rod than open water
jigging, is not necessarily going to hamper your fish catching ability. It is
going to require you to set the hook immediately when the fish pounces on that
jig, and the good news is that they will usually pounce with authority.
With that same Fuzz-E-Grub,
pitching it to shorelines, youíll want to select a different rod. My ideal
pitching rod is a 6 footer with a softer tip, mine being a Shimano V series
spinning rod, VST-60ML. You want that softer tip to help you in two ways. It
helps you to pitch that light jig farther, and also allows the rod to load up
slightly as the fish sucks the bait in. These fish wonít usually hit as
aggressively as the weed fish. Many times they actually start at the tail of
the minnow or leech on the jig and work their way up to the head. The softer
tip will allow you to place the slightest amount of tension on the fish
without letting him fully detect you. When this happens, the fish will usually
hasten his movement towards the head of the bait, fearing it will get away
from him, and allow you a better opportunity to hook the fish. With too stiff
a tip or rod, you either have too much tension on the fish or slack line,
either being undesirable.
Now we get into vertical
jigging situations, which can either be in the open water over structure, or
river situations where weíre dealing with current. In both circumstances jig
size and depth are going to determine your rod action. If in open water and
fishing high, you would generally choose a fairly light jig and the rod that
you were pitching with could also double as your open water shallow rod. If
you have to get down 15 or 20 feet, youíre going to have to up your jig size
and hence your tackle. I might go all the way up to a half ounce Fuzz-E-Grub
in those circumstances and then Iíll upgrade my rod to a 6 foot Shimano V
Series Medium Heavy, VST-60 MH for better feel of my jig. If your rod is too
light, youíll not be able to feel the detail of when your jig touches lightly
on bottom, nor be able to read the subtle contour of the structure and find
the little sweet spots where the fish are really congregated.
In river situations, Iíll
use the same rod as I did for weed fishing if the jig is 1 / 8 ounce or less,
and then use the medium heavy rod that I used for open water for jigs of
heavier weight. Remember that when jigging, all monoís have stretch, including
the Stren lines that I use. You need to have a heavy enough stick that when
the fish hits, you have enough backbone to drive a larger jig and hook home
and get a good hookset.
When harness fishing with
Lindy Hatchett Harnessí, there are two different styles you can use depending
on whether you are hand holding the rod and backtrolling, or you are fishing
with In-Line boards like Cannon Rover Boards. When hand holding, choose a 6 1
/2 to 7 foot baitcasting rod with a soft tip like a Shimano Convergence,
CV-70MB. Walleyes will very often hit the very tail of the crawler and work
their way up to the hooks. You need that soft tip to load slowly so that the
fish doesnít detect you as he does this. When fishing Cannon Rover Boards, I
go to a longer rod in the 8 to 9 foot range, like a Shimano Convergence 8í6"
CV-86MHB. This rod has a nice soft tip for fighting big fish yet maintains
enough backbone that it handles the Cannon Rover Boards with ease.
When casting light
crankbaits like Shad Raps to fish, a 7 foot medium light spinning rod is
ideal. You want something with a fast tip for long accurate casts, and a
medium action to fight fish and drive the hook home. My personal preference is
the Shimano V Series, VSA-70F-8/12. If you get into heavier bait like Husky
Jerks or Countdown Rapalas, switch to baitcasting gear like a Shimano Compre
CO-70MLB that is 7 foot and medium light backbone. It will allow for more
accurate and measured casts than spinning tackle when using a bit heavier
There are other specialty
situations that require slightly different gear, like pulling Lindy Big Jig
Rigs, Trolling Cranks, Jigging Spoons, and slip bobbering, that require
slightly different gear unto themselves. But for most of your fishing
situations, these are the rods, sizes and actions that youíll need to be
consistently successful. If youíve spent as much time on the water as I have,
youíll quickly find out that all the knowledge and ability in the world just
wonít make it happen if you donít have the right gear for the situation. If
you catch me at a sports show this winter, feel free to grab me and have me
show you why I pick the rods that I do, I love to help people catch more fish.
Until then, I hope to see you on the water!!!