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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs


 Head Banging, Heart Thumping Walleyes
 By  Perry Good

Everyone who fishes would love to run into a situation where the fish literally jump onto your hook.  In fact, you could put bare hooks in the water and fish would smack them just like they hadn't eaten for days.  But unfortunately most of us don't experience fishing in this manner.  In fact, in most cases there are three distinct types of fish.  There are fish that are fairly active, and usually bite when presented with any type of bait.  Most of the time these fish are small and they are "beefing up" for a change of weather or seasonal dictations of storing fat for the spring spawn.  There are also fish that are totally shut off.  You can drop the most delicious looking morsal in front of their nose and the response is avoidance or  a simple yawn.  And last but not least, are the fish that can be taken if a good precise presentation can entice them to strike.  This last group of fish are the ones that you should be fishing for.
Nothing short of dynamite will take the totally inactive fish.  A mistake here and there might get the suicidal fish.  If we do things right, the suicidal fish should become automatic.  We want that fish that will eat something put right in front of his nose.  What we want to do is match the level of presentation to the level of the fish.  We are going to make it easy for that fish to catch our offering. For example, try to match your lure or bait to the fish that you want to catch.  If you were in 15 feet or water, and the fish were on, or close to the bottom, it wouldn't do you any good to troll a Rapala the lures of choice #7 Shad Rap through that area.  Why?  Your # 7 Shad Rap is an effective lure, but depending on your line weight and the speed, the lowest depth that that particular lure will run is 8 - 10 feet.  If you were to change to a # 8 Shad Rap you should pick up more of these bottom huggers.  Why?  Your # 8 Shad Rap runs about 14 feet deep.  Now you are right in front of their nose with your lure.  Your chances increase to catch those head banging, heart thumping walleyes.  In other words, you have enticed them to commit suicide and jump on your lure.
 Do this with all of your presentations and you will be giving them a chance to become an active fish rather than an inactive fish.  The tools for you to use, and decide on where and when you  are to place your bait will vary, but the essential tool is a good sonar unit.  I like the Lowrance Electronics the walleye pro's choice 350 A or the Genetron unit because it separates those bottom hugging walleyes and allows me to detect where I should be placing my offerings.
In dirty or stained water many times walleyes have a tendency to hug the bottom, but in clear water or in weedy areas on cloudy days you might find walleyes that like to suspend.  Again, here is where you need to match your presentation with the bait that you are using.  In this situation,  I prefer to use a spinner  or a live-bait presentation.  I will have to use a longer snell to get the bait in front of them and I might want to use a color attractant, such as a Northland Tackle Gum Drop  Floater or Northland Tackle a Roach Rig crawler harness.  The fact that the fish are suspended helps me to viusally see them on my sonar unit and I can then determine what presentation I would like to make towards these fish.

There you have it, simple and yet a mystery to many fisherman.  The head thumping, heart stopping factor, is matching your bait to the level at which the fish are the most active.

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