As anglers, we often find ourselves depending much too heavily on what’s “supposed” to work, in any given set of circumstances. The problem with this is that there are no absolutely hard and fast rules that will apply to all situations…at all times. All of us have been thoroughly and painfully taught this lesson more than once. When we are truly most vulnerable to a poor outing is when we “think” we have them figured out. You know what typically results.
This being said, I’m going to suggest something that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, as it pertains to walleyes. That being that you need to have your bait of choice directly in the front of the fish…continuously. Yes, we do need to actually be fishing where there are fish present, but occasionally, it can actually prove to be counter productive to place our offerings too precisely. Perhaps it grants the fish too much time to examine the bait, allowing for a negative (no) response. Maybe there are several other reasons, depending on a plethora of possible variables. Who knows, I can’t even begin to comprehend what goes on in the mind of the females our species…let alone a fish. In the end-it really doesn’t matter-we just need the ability to comprehend what we observe and make adjustments according to ever changing conditions.
If we’re not attempting to position our lures at the same level the fish are, then where exactly should we put them? I would recommend running them several feet above where the fish are holding. Believe me, walleye’s are quite aware of their surroundings and your lures will not go unnoticed-just because they are not in the immediate proximity of the fish. As the fish don’t have the luxury of taking a close look as the lure passes directly by
them, we may have just tilted the odds in our favor. This is because we are forcing them to rise up in order to discern what the commotion is. Typically, once a fish has committed to make the effort to move towards a bait, they will seal the deal and a strike will occur. Often times, these strikes are quite viscous and it would be a good idea to back off on your drag setting. They can literally hit the bait so hard that the hooks will immediately
tear free, if there is no give.
This isn’t a scenario where we are trying to tempt every fish we go over. Just the most aggressive (easiest to catch). The best way to achieve this is by covering ground quickly and efficiently by pulling crank baits. High speed also plays into another important aspect, and that is to further force the fish to commit. If they don’t respond in a lightening fast manner, the feeding opportunity has literally passed them by. A good way to think of
this system is High, Hard, and Fast. We’ve got the High covered by placing our lures well above the fish and the Fast is the speed part of the equation. The only thing remaining is the Hard.
Hard can be achieved by using lures that have a tight, but hard shake when trolled; yet manage to run true and not blow out under higher speeds-3mph plus is not uncommon. All of ReefRunner’s lures are well known for these characteristics and work admirably in this application.
The next time you find that the fish aren’t responding to more traditional tactics, slip ‘em something a bit different and see what develops with the High, Hard, and Fast approach.