Lake Erie Walleye Fishing Techniques
The Tactics below are for open deep water fishing. Flat bottom mud, clay, sand and or gravel mix 10 to 45 feet. At the end of this article, there will be another the basics of shallow water reefs structure fishing using the weapon.
We use slip sinkers on a Carolina rig with a single snelled hook for casting. Tie your rig about 14 inches and tie a single bead in the finish loop to keep your sinker away from your hook. Tie a 12 to 14 inch long finished spinner on a quality low visibility line so the lure looks natural spinning in the water. I use 17 or 20 lb low visibility green stren for lure tying. There are detailed instructions and illustrations on how to tie a weapon. ::::: Learn more The illustration shown is with an inline sinker in which case you use a snap swivel on the end of the lure.
The beauty of fishing the weapon is that instead of carrying expensive lures in different weights and colors to cover the bases one weapon can do it all. Simply change your weight to make it heavier or lighter and change the blade colors or sizes to find what’s working. You can incorporate a quick change clevis on your weapons so you can snap different blades on and off. I prefer a folded clevis because they spin with the slightest movement and also a deep cup # 4 Colorado Premium gold blade. The deep cup blade also spins much easier than a standard blade. I spend the extra money on Premium Gold blades because they do not tarnish. The superior premium gold finish will flash much brighter definitely attracting more attention and getting you more hits!
How you put your night crawler on you hook is very important. Don’t bulk your hook up with a wad of night crawler Use 1/2 night crawler and thread the hook up the middle of the crawler leaving a nice straight piece of bait hanging making a 2-inch tail. This adds action to your lure which in turn catches more fish. Don’t fool yourself and put a huge wad of bait on your hook. You are not fishing for catfish! Huge wads of bait stop the natural look and action of your spinner how it sinks and spins which decreases your chances of attracting walleye.
Casting the Swing
Cast from either the bow or the stern of the boat as the boat drifts sideways. Cast about 45 degrees up-wind and close your bail right away. Here comes the count if the fish are marking around 25 foot suspended the trick is to get your lure to make its swing back toward the boat just above the fish. Fish feed looking up. When your lure hits the water lock your bail up and start your count. One thousand one one thousand two etc. A 3/4 ounce lure will sink at a rate of about 1 – 1/2 foot per second. Wind your line just enough to keep your line tight as the lure drops and wind the slack as it works around the swing. About 3/4 way around you will feel the lure get heavier as the boat drift starts pulling your lure. Slow your wind and let the boat finish pulling the lure around the turn. You will catch a lot of walleye on the drop when you keep your line tight. At about a 10 count crank your reel so your retrieve is just enough to make your spinner turn. The second half of working the swing slow your retrieve as the boat drift will start pulling the lure for you. When your line quits coming around working the swing wind in and cast again. This is when your line is dragging straight down -wind and it is time to wind in and cast again.
Don’t waste the prime fishing spots on the boat by dragging your spinners off the bow or stern. If you are a dragger fish on the port or starboard side. Switch with crew members who want to stand cast, crank and work their spinners. There is always a sweet spot casting the swing. The trick is to find it. Fish about ten minutes casting to the same spot if you don’t get a strike move your cast five feet up or down-wind and continue to do this until you find the sweet spot! When you have your lure changing angles swinging around to come back towards the boat just above the fish you will feel a peck or it just feels too heavy. Set your hook and Wham your hooked up. The fish like to bite a lure changing angles much more than a straight dragging spinner. For the guy standing next to the guy that’s catching watch what he is doing cast the same length of line to the same angle up- wind use the same weight and retrieve as he is. If your lure comes in before his slow it down after his speed up your retrieve. You soon will be hooked up to a walleye. It is a little bit different fishing from each spot on the boat so when someone is hot in a certain spot don’t bump him out of his spot it is not the spot – he has the fish figured out from there and you need to pay attention to what he is doing and do it from your spot. Doing this you will soon have everyone on the boat catching their own walleye.
Different retrieve styles also help produce more walleye.
The Lake Erie Shuffle
stop winding and pull your rod from one side to the other keeping your lure spinning then wind back as you shuffle your rod back to pull the lure again. This adds a jigging fall back action to your spinner and is very effective.
Then there is the smooth steady retrieve and the stop and go which is as its said wing two or three cranks on your handle and hesitate for 3 seconds and repeat that all the way in and raise and lower your rod tip while retrieving this also produces a fall back jigging action on your spinner which entices walleye to strike.
Every day you will need to experiment with different weights due to wing and current The most crucial part of drift -fishing is to know when your lure hits the bottom and getting it in the strike zone. The more time your lure is in the strike zone the more fish you are going to catch. Take several practice casts and count down till it makes contact with the bottom. Then start cranking two or three seconds before that you want your lure tight and spinning before it hits the bottom.
Other tricks to get you in the fish are vary the length of line you cast change weights and change where your lure hits and change your count and retrieve.
Crew members fishing on the down- wind side of the boat cast and leave your bail open while you count down. Because you are casting directly into the drift you need to leave your bail open to get to the right depth. From here you don’t have to cast unless you want to. When your spinner gets close to the boat open your bail and let it back out and work it in and out. This is the place for elderly and kids its also a good area to run bottom bouncers from.
To set a bottom- bouncer stop it two or three times on the way down so the lure straightens out and doesn’t tangle. Once your bouncer hits the bottom you need to find the strike zone from here. Hit the bottom and lock your bail. If the walleye are a few feet up hit the bottom with your bouncer and bring it up 1 to 6 cranks on the reel. Most bouncer fish will be caught from hit and lock to two to four cranks up.
Use this same recipe for bouncers under the boat off the stern and bow. Usually, the bow will produce more bouncer fish because the boat is raising and lowering in the waves thus creating lure action on its own. The fisherman on the down- wind side can do the same action to their lures by raising and tight lining their bottom bouncers back to the bottom.
High fish in the top half of the water column rarely hit bottom bouncer rigs you are better off to cast the swing for these walleye.
We use 2 hook snelled rigs for bouncers about three feet long to separate the lure from the bouncer weight.
If your not catching fish change what you are doing!
Change Change Change!
A medium light to medium fishing rod 6 to 6 1/2 foot is a good choice. We use 15 lb Berkley power pro with a 20lb flora carbon leader about 2 feet long.
Drift Fishing the weapon on Lake on Lake Erie’s Shallow reefs
Structure fishing differs from deep water fishing in that it is crucial to know when you are on the bottom. Be prepared to break some lures your not doing it right if you don’t. However, if you are snagging constantly you are not winding fast enough. Start with a 1/2 ounce sinker using the same rig as above cast and count until you hit the bottom. Next cast and start winding two or three seconds before your bottom count. There are a couple pointers I can share. The reefs are covered with Gobies small fish that live right on the bottom. So when you feel a small peck peck peck you are on the bottom that peck it is gobies pecking at your bait. When you feel this turn your handle 3 fast turns and do not stop go right back to a steady retrieve. Always use a steady wind in shallow water. Do not drag hard on the bottom or you will snag up. Start your drift just off the edge of the reef so you drift up on and over the structure. Be careful and keep a very close eye on the bottom depth so you do not hit the bottom. Know the boat draft and keep a couple extra feet of water under you for safety. The currents around shallow water will make your boat drift different than you think sometimes very different! Watch your plotter closely and beware of wind shifts. Remember you are fishing shallow water so the fish will spook very easily. Drift off the reef into deeper water then go out and around the shallows you and others are fishing. Be courteous to other fisherman and go around them and get in line. Be respectful. Cover the entire reef moving your drift over about a boat length per drift. You never know where a batch of walleye may be. Hanging on the reef ledges, just off the ledges in the deeper water or right on top.
Hardware lures such as the Erie dearie, parish pea, tiny teaser in 3/8 1/2 or 3/4 ounce are good choices for rock fishing. You can work them slower because they do not ride the bottom hard like the weapon.
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