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Open Water Netting
By Mark Brumbaugh

Trolling is probably the most universal method for catching walleyes on Lake Erie. Trolling and covering as much water as is necessary to find active, biting fish. Far and away the most conventional presentation of trolling for walleyes is by anglers forward trolling them on handheld rods. In most conditions it would simply look like the anglers are just towing their lures behind the boat. As with anything that appears to be so apparently basic, there are a number of variations that enhance the productivity of the presentation. 
The first of these is lure selection. 
In shallow water presentations anglers will want to run small lipped floating stickbaits ( Rapalas, Rebels, Storm Lures etc). As they find the need to work progressively deeper they will move from small sized crankbaits to larger lures with bigger deeper diving bills.The color of the lures will often prove a key as well. Under bright, clear water conditions the natural, lifelike lure finishes are likely to be your top producers. On dark days, or at night , the brighter 
chartreuse, Firetiger, and phosphorescent colors will be the best. Schooled walleyes roaming open water, either suspending or lying over open basins, are the reason an angler would switch from a jigging approach to a bait delivery system that would include planer boards, snap weights, and crankbaits or spinners.

Church Tackles TX-12 Planer board
Church Tackles 
TX-12 Planer Board
Reef Runners Ripstick
Reef Runners Rip Stick
Rapala Shad Rap
Shad Rap
At this time of the year combining spinners and crawlers along with Rapala Shad Raps will give the angler a variety of baits in the water when fished in conjunction with snap weights and off-shore planer boards. Boards give you the option of fishing multiple lines and covering lots of water fast and with this variance in depths you cover all columns of water for both suspended and bottom feeding fish.
Drift Control Sea Anchors
Drift Control Sea Anchor click here for
more information
Trolling is used in covering certain structures and precise trolling means catching fish. One way that I have solved the problem with boat 
control is by using a Drift Control sea anchor. A sea anchor is a 
cone-shaped under water windsock, similar to those at airports that detect changes in wind direction. 
Drift Control sea anchors aid boat control in two ways. First of all, they slow your drift in strong winds. Secondly, you can use them to fine-tune subtle boat maneuvers in rough seas or heavy current.
A number of years ago I remember reading an article written by Sam Anderson, the title of the article was; Don't become a Keystone Cop. Sam is a friend of mine, and every time I am on open water in a Great Lake or a reservoir I remember this story, I believe that it started out like this. "Picture this! The lazy summer afternoon has made people in the next boat a little tired and some are having a snack. Others are looking at the speeding boat that has just passed by when all of a sudden a limply held rod bends towards the water and the next few minutes resemble something out of a Keystone Cops movie. People are jumping to their feet, rods and sandwiches are set on gunwales of the boat, and 
someone yells get the net. Someone is standing in the net but doesn't realize it as the trophy fish rises to the surface and looks in disbelieve at the commotion in the boat. With a blink of an eye and a flip of the tail the trophy walleye frees itself from the hook only to slip away. The people in the boat now start blaming each other for not paying attention and all of this would have been averted if only they had been organized".
A fish thrashing on the surface can also be a problem. Try to keep the fish underwater until you are ready to net the fish. Most walleye fisherman know that netting a fish head first is the only way to go. The angler leads the fish toward the net as the netter scoops it up. If you discuss landing techniques ahead of time you will have more success. Just as important, iscommunication. Netting the fish takes teamwork and no one is a mind-reader.
Also, make sure you are familiar with the net itself.  Look at the handle and see if it is extended all the way to make sure that you can reach the fish during the action

Beckman Net
click here for more info
What type of net do you have? You have probably seen the cloth nets that have large holes in them to land trophy northern pike, but will they do the job on a 1 1/2 lb. walleye? Probably not! Match your type of net with the type of fish that you are after. Nothing is more frustrating than to have a large fish slip through your net or lie in the bottom of the rubber net like some over active pancake. I prefer a Beckman^(TM) Penn^(TM) Series net that is 
nylon, coated with rubber. This net allows me the tangle free operation of a rubber net, yet the capacity and the depth of a cloth or nylon net. 
This net has caught many a fish that would have been lost to more 
conventional nets.When I am open water trolling I might have four or more lines fanned out from my boat. When a rod gets a fish on it, I don't stop the boat. I 
usually bring the fish in directly behind the boat and I need to get it in the net as soon as possible. Believe me, it takes practice to get the hooked fish through the maze of lines that are out and it also takes practice to get the fish in the net. I don't want it to flounder on top and miss netting a trophy fish. Again, practice is important, but the Penn Series net with the extended handle makes it very easy to use.If you are interested in obtaining more information about Beckman Nets 
go online at www.driftcontrol.com and find out all the different lines of nets that will help you next time you hook into that trophy fish.

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