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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs

Catin’ for Walleyes
By Sam Anderson

Growing up in Minnesota or any place where there is an abundant supply of water everyone knew what a bobber was. Some of us fished with them the very first time someone took us fishing and to this day I still have some of those red and white bobbers in my tackle box that are about the size of a baseball. 

On one of those first fishing expeditions I caught a catfish on a bobber and some live bait. At that very early age I was delighted to catch anything and the catfish was a prized possession. Little did I realize at the time, but the presentation that I was using was something that I would use again and again for catching walleyes in shallow water. 

Naturally, I put away those large bobbers and I have adopted the floats that were introduced to the fishing industry by Mike Thill. The Thill floats come in many different sizes and shapes, but they are unique because they have been designed for shallow water situations and when the wind whips up they offer little resistance to the force of the waves. The redesign comes in the form of making them more slender and yet allowing the angler to offer a live bait presentation that is natural in appearance. 

When walleyes are holding tight to cover because of a change in water temperature or barometric pressure, or because the water has suddenly risen or fallen, it is essential to fish the walleyes in a vertical motion. The problem may be that they are tight to cover and usually shallow, with adjacent deep pockets or holes near by, but not enough to position a boat over the top of them. 

Therefore, a vertical presentation with a Thill float might do the trick. It will allow the presentation of the bait over the top of the walleye (something that is important to remember is a walleye always feeds on food that is in front of them and just slightly above them). The bobber should be set so that it will present the bait in a suspended offering, and once you find the depth you can work the shoreline around structure like stumps and points. 

I like to use a small 1/16 ounce Lindy Little Joe Fishing Tackle systems Fuzz-E-Grub tipped with a crappie minnow. The Thill float is slim and the design is European that resembles a pencil rather than the original round bobbers we all used as kids. I enjoy the fact that the Thill float has fluorescent paint to
improve the visibility. To get the desired depth, I will utilize rubber snubbers from Lindy Little Joe Fishing Tackle systems   I can move these snubbers to any depth selection quickly and easily. To stop the bobber from sliding down to the jig head I will attach a split shot placed up the line a few
inches so when a walleye picks up the bait the bobber will immediately signal a strike. If you
don’t add additional weight, the walleye may run for a while before you notice that you have a fish. The additional split shot makes the walleye pull the bobber down allowing you to detect
and catch more fish. 

This same technique can be used on suspended walleyes because the rubber snubber can be reeled up into your reel without causing any problems. You can cast out your slip bobber to the area that has suspended crappie and allow the bobber to present the bait right in front of their nose. If you don’t get a strike, swim the bobber and your bait towards you taking in any slack line as you go. This will present the bait in a surge pause surge method driving the walleyes crazy. When the "Thill is gone" it is time to set the hook. 

There it is, a simple technique that can and does entice walleyes to bite, hopefully "catin’for
walleyes" is a method that you can use this upcoming year 

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