Walleye fishing and boat control tips for success
River vertical jigging is one of my favorite techniques for catching walleyes. Here in my home state of Michigan it attract tons of walleye anglers every year for one of the best walleye fisheries in the United States. When fishing is good its common to see many boats drifting down the current not more than 15ft from each other in hopes that they will hook into a trophy walleye.
Lets start with boat control. When vertical jigging for river walleye your drifting your.boat with the current and want to keep your fishing line vertical, because the less vertical your line is the less fish you will feel and ultimately catch on top of that reducing the chance for snags. This would be easy if there was no wind which rarely happens. What happens is the wind blows your boat around which causes your line to get off vertical. To get your line back vertical this is where a bow mounted trolling motor comes into play. I prefer a minn kota trolling motor with a foot control that keeps both hands free to be able to fish two rods or switch baits and be able to keep everyone in the boats line vertical. When jigging in a river you always want to point the bow of your boat into which ever way the wind is blowing. You want to basically follow your line and keep it vertical at all times, when your line is vertical everyone in the boats lines will also be vertical. So adjust your trolling motor to keep line vertical. You can also use a technique a lot of the pros use which is called bursting. Instead of constantly running the trolling you set it up to maybe around 80% to quickly make minor adjustment to keep your line vertical. Remember keeping your line vertical will put more fish in the boat and prevent less snags.
When vertical jigging for walleye having a lot of sensitivity in rod and line is a must. This is due to the way walleyes feed. They see something they might like they suck it into there mouth and if they don't like it they spit it out very quickly, so sensitivity is a must, so your able to set that hook when you feel that bite. I like high modules graphite rods they are light weight and very sensitive. The best line for this fishing is a no stretch line such as fireline I tend to use 6lb test crystal when Iam jigging. If you have money to spend many companies have technique and species specific rods that will make a big difference in being able to feel that bite.
There are many types of jigs to choose from. I tend to use semi stand-up jigs which helps to keep your hook and presentation off bottom a bit to make it easy for a fish it inhale and also reduce the hook from snags. We tend to us the lightest jig we can to be able to feel bottom with. You will have to expirement sometime they want that bigger presentation. The jig is rigged with a plastic 3"-4" worm or berkley minnow we very rarely ever use anything other than artificial bait. A great presentation I learned from a pro fisher is a artificial minnow with another one shorted and put on top of the other minnow on the hook. We also use stinger hooks for and increase chance of hooking into a fish.
When jigging you are lifting and dropping the tip of your rod. Walleyes tend to hug the bottom, so when you drop the rod tip you are feeling for bottom. When you do feel bottom quickly lift it off bottom and repeat. If you leave it down for to long you are probably going to snag. When jigging if you feel anything out of the ordinary or if your line goes slack before you feel you've hit bottom set that hook and get that fish. Its better to set that hook and have nothing there than not and have that trophy fish spit that jig back out.
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