Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spinners and bait the best walleye lures

Red Lake walleye
A great many of our fishermen are walleye experts and if you were to ask these people what they fished with just about every one of them uses a single blade spinner on a piece of mono with some beads and a hook. They bait the hook with either a nightcrawler or a leech. A common trade name for this outfit is Little Joe but most people just call them walleye spinners. Many people buy the components and make their own.

This outfit is back-trolled behind a sinker which can be a bottom-bouncer type with a piece of wire running through the sinker to feel the bottom or, more often, a walking type of sinker that is flattened and bent to do the same thing. Some just use rubber core sinkers.

Most of them place the sinker just ahead of the snell on the walleye spinner. So that puts it 18 inches to 30 inches away from the spinner. After a cold front when the walleyes are skittish, they might double the distance between spinner and sinker.

Early in the season these sinkers might be 1/2 ounce to 3/4 ounce because the fish are in very shallow water, no more than 12 feet. By mid-summer to fall, the size of sinker might increase to 1.5 ounces, just to get the rig to the bottom in the 20-30 foot range where the fish will be laying.

There is a wide variety of spinners used. Early in the year a favorite are floating spinners. These are usually made of foam with Mylar wings glued to them. The foam raises the rig off the bottom so it can be better seen by the walleyes. You can do the same thing by adding a foam float that threads through your line.

By mid-summer everyone is using metal blade spinners in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

The key when fishing with these rigs is to always be in contact with the bottom. You don't want such a heavy weight that your line is hanging right beneath the propeller but you don't want your line a mile behind the boat either. So choose the right size sinker for the conditions which can change with the wind and the depth.

A problem with some of the commercially made spinners is they use too large a hook. You always want to use the least amount of metal possible when fishing for walleyes. Usually the spinners meant to be fished with leeches or nightcrawlers have better, smaller hooks. If you buy the nightcrawler ones, they usually have two hooks and if you want to use them for leeches you can just cut off the rear hook.

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