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Pamps Outboard
Tips on Pitching Jigs
By Sheldon Meidinger

Walleyes relate to shallow water for numerous reasons but the really nice aspect of fishing shallow is that the key contact points where we pick up fish are often visual. This is a huge advantage for anglers fishing shallow water or shoreline orientated patterns. We can often see the edge of the weed bed. We might be able to see the boulders barely peaking above the water. We can sometimes see the change in watercolor. Whether we are fishing river systems, reservoirs or lakes, shallow patterns are often something we can visually see. We can see what is either holding the fish or we can see something that we can use to aid both our boat and presentation control. When we begin pitching jigs, we often have something physical that we are casting to or near.
The author Jigged up this nice walleye Now for the real beauty of pitching jigs into shallow water. Sweet spots or key contact spots that walleye seem to use in this shallow water can be scoured. If fish are holding on the inside edge of a weed bed for example, you can keep pounding these key points with a jig repeatedly. Key areas might be a shallow sand flat or perhaps emerging cattails. Perhaps a shoreline of round rock or a shale or limestone bluff. The possibilities are endless but the nice part of figuring out these shallow patterns is that fish location becomes obvious once you catch a few fish and the pattern than becomes very easy to duplicate.

I love pitching jigs into shallow water. Besides being effective, I enjoy catching walleye in this manner. Many anglers often view jig fishing as something slow or methodical. Yes jigs can be fished in this manner but for myself, pitching jigs can often seem aggressive where I am active. I often find myself standing all day. I am moving a lot and much more active than some other anglers using the same jig are. Perhaps this increase in activity is the reason more anglers don’t pitch jigs. I enjoy the moving and the activity but some anglers don’t.
The key is to be comfortable. Use a comfortable stand up bicycle style seat that can be adjusted through out the day. Adjust your foot pedal for your trolling motor and adjust your electronics so that you are comfortable. Get comfortable, as I cannot stress this enough. Also helps to be use to standing all day. For anglers who spend a lot of time on their feet, standing in a boat all day is second nature. Many walleye anglers however seem to have a preference for sitting.
Now the fish can’t look up and tell what kind of a rod and reel you are using but I can assure you that you will notice the difference if you use a high quality rod for this kind of fishing. You will notice the difference in the form of fatigue. Choose a high quality graphite rod because a very good rod is going to be noticeably lighter and easier to work all day. Use a rod that is balanced and comfortable to use all day. The best rod I have ever used for pitching jigs is a Jason Mitchell Elite Series JMSS66. This six and a half foot rod is lighter than any other rod I have ever picked up and extremely enjoyable to fish with. Many seasoned jig fishermen that fish in this manner seem to prefer either a six and a half or seven foot rod. The Jason Mitchell Elite Series are available in both six and a half and seven foot models. More information on these walleye rod can be found at www.jasonmitchellrods.com.
A high quality graphite rod is more so for fatigue than feeling the actual bite in some cases. In some cases you will actually feel the hit and this also depends on the retrieve but often, we can see the hits and set the hook much quicker. To watch for these hits, a high visibility line is crucial. I really like the high visibility green six and eight pound Berkley Sensation. This line is easy to watch and you will often see the bite before you can feel anything. The line will just jump or do something different. High visibility line can really account for many more fish over the course of a season.
There is a time and place for being lazy and relaxing. This presentation isn’t one of these time or places. For myself, I like to be moving. I like to be active and doing something. This is why pitching jigs fits into my game plan so well. I enjoy catching walleye in this manner. This increase in activity on my feet and arms not only feels good, but also is incredibly effective. The reality is that many anglers are lazy. We see the same scenario unfold each season. Many fish stay relatively safe if an angler can’t drift or drive the boat over the top. For many walleye fishermen, the only way to fish is either dropping the bait below or behind the boat. This is fine as many shallow fish get left untouched or spooked. There is no doubt in my mind that many anglers would catch many more fish if they took an active and shallow approach by pitching jigs.
One final trend we are seeing across the Midwest concerning pitching jigs revolves around plastics. There are times when bait is required. The three most common tipping morsels are a leech, minnow or half a crawler. The real deal has a smell and taste trigger that still hasn’t been duplicated with anything synthetic. That isn’t to say however that fake baits like Berkley GULP! doesn’t have a very important place. The bad aspect of using bait is that bait often comes off and in some severe situations, getting hands wet and cold can be trouble. GULP! has gotten wildly popular over the past few years because this is a way anglers can tip a jig without having to worry about rebaiting and anglers are getting more confident with this option all the time. Walleyes eat GULP!. Regardless of water temp or how turned off the fish are. Regardless of how slow you work the jig, this synthetic tipping option is always an option. Just also remember that nothing we have seen so far will ever entirely replace live bait. We like to use plastics and GULP! when both learning an area and searching for fish. We also like to use GULP! whenever we are working the jig aggressively or fishing in weeds. Still, when we have to slow the gears down and either try and pull a few more reluctant fish off a spot or trigger fish that are being difficult to catch, good fresh bait always get the nod.

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