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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs


Spring Walleyes on Thill Floats
 By Sam Anderson

Until recently, walleye fishermen have been part of an exclusive club. The accepted method, and most popular technique practiced across the Upper Midwest is trolling.  While trolling has stood the test of time that doesn't mean that it is the only method of taking walleyes. Jigging is another method popular among veteran walleye hunters.  But jigging for walleyes is an art unto itself, and to place a rod in the hands of a novice and expect him or her to "feel" the difference between rocks, gravel, weeds is oftentimes nearly impossible.  Trying to feel the pickup of a finicky walleye can meet with a great deal of frustration.  Enter a simple device call the "Thill Float" and overnight walleyes are vulnerable to all anglers.  Unlike the more familiar and traditional bobber that snaps in place and is held stationary on the line, the Thill Float has a hollowed out tip for ease of line attachment. The stopper is a rubber snubber, rubber band, pretied knot, or a spring device that is placed on the line at the desired depth.  The stopper can be reeled onto the spool and does not interfere with casting or retrieving.  A split shot a foot above a small hook completes the outfit.  Changing depths is a simple matter of sliding the float stop up or down the desired distance.  Probably the most effective and useful slip bobber that I use is the Thill Float.  These floats are pencil designed, but for using in shallow, windy, or over the top of a gravel bar you can't beat them for performance. I like to attach a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce Lindy Little JoeFuzzy Grub jig to the end of the line instead of a plain hook.  I like the color that a jig head adds
plus I need to add a little extra weight to pull the line down to the preset depth when using a jig head.  If you use this slip bobber method, it will enable you to jig your bait vertically without positioning yourself over the top of the structure.  With little or no wind you'll have action on the bobber.  This can easily be achieved by sweeping the rod about a foot at a time.  It might seem simple, and it is, but the results will astound you. When the walleye inhales your bait and your bobber slides slowly underwater, remember to following tips: Take all the slack out of your
line without putting pressure on the fish.  When you're ready to feel the fish reel as quickly as possible putting pressure on the fish.  At the same time "set the hook", lift the rod tip towards the sky and this will penetrate the bony roof of the walleyes mouth. Thill Floats may be one of the most simple yet efficient and effective ways to present bait that there is. They can be fished at any depth, with a variety of bait, and on most equipment. Although the Thill Float can be used effectively on walleyes throughout the season, anglers will encounter the most action during the spring. Shortly after ice-out, male walleyes in the 1 to 3 pound range will move into shallow spawning areas.  The best spawning sites are large sloping shallow bars with a bottom composition of gravel.  The aggressive male walleyes will hold over these areas for a month or more and feed aggressively during, before and after spawning.  The larger walleyes are most always females, and although they can be taken during the pre spawn period, they are virtually impossible to take while spawning and reluctant to bite for a two-week period following the rigors of procreation. Although the male walleye is active and aggressive in early spring,

being a cold-blooded creature, his metabolism is determined by water temperature.  This means simply that spring walleyes cannot chase down a fast moving bait.  Slow, slower and slowest are the three speeds for taking spring walleyes. Equipment becomes essential when fishing with Thill Floats, especially line.  I like to use the blue colored line.  The reason for this is blue color is also completely invisible in both muddy and clear water making it difficult for the fish to detect. This makes line watching easy out of the water any simple movement can be detected by the eye.  The critical aspect is the fish can't see the line at all and all of a sudden a bait appears before them.  A good rod of choice is the Quantum rods and Reels 6'6" or 7' rod with a fast tip for watching the line and can provide sweeping hooksets while slip bobbing. You will want a rod to telegraph a nibble and have the capacity for a good sound hookset.  Team this rod up with a Quantum rods and Reels Energy reel and you have a combination that will land those spring walleyes on Thill Floats.


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