W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Sam Anderson
Being in Control for Spring Walleyes
By Sam Anderson
Open water fishing is just around the corner and many anglers are itchiní to be fishiní. Before you venture out on open water this spring you might consider being in control to catch some spring walleyes. Being in control means that you will have to realize that the walleyes might be hungry, but they are cold blooded creatures and they donít want to move to far to catch there next meal. They will react like they would if they were in cold front conditions. Therefore, it is essential to control your presentation as well as offering a bait they canít refuse.
Casting works best for walleyes in several situations. When you have the fish pinpointed, a casting presentation can be the best way to keep your bait in the fishes strike zone. If the fish are on the very tip of a rock point, casting will allow you to put the bait right where the fish are on every cast. If a trolling run was made through those same fish, the lure would be pulled through the school, then you would have to turn around and go back through the fish. The turning around process takes time, and also takes the lure out of the productive fishing zone.
If the walleyes were on a deep point, you could troll until the fish were found, then hover directly overhead. In shallow water though, a boat hovering directly over the fish will quickly spook them, whereas an anchored boat thirty feet away will create no problem.
When casting a shallow area, anchor upwind of the area to be fished. Don't get too close to the area to be worked to prevent spooking the walleyes. After thoroughly casting the spot, let out more anchor rope and drift father onto the suspected fish holding area, and again tie the anchor rope off. Work this area, let out more anchor rope, and slide farther onto the structure. By moving in this manner, you don't need to start the motor every time a move is necessary. You get to the new anchoring position quickly and quietly.
A casting presentation also allows more experimentation with different styles. If three anglers are fishing from the same boat, one can throw a Fuzzy grub jig, one can try a Shad Rap, while the remaining fisherman can use a Thill slip float. That can't be done while trolling, as it's impractical and almost impossible to effectively use all three lure types at the same time while the boat is moving. Anchoring is just one way to control your boat, if you want to move or drift a Drift Control sea anchor might be the ticket.
One way that I have solved the problem with boat control is by using a sea anchor. A sea anchor is a cone-shaped under water wind sock, 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.
Most anglers who fish large expansive lakes or rivers carry a sea anchor with them daily. The rule is usually one sea anchor is adequate for most boats and conditions. But, if you have a large boat and the sea anchor isn't doing it's job you may need your large one off the front cleat and a smaller one at the stern.
When fishing alone in a console boat in heavy winds, I troll headlong into the wind with a sea anchor tied at the bow of the boat. By letting out about 8 feet of rope, the bag trails next to the console. I can yank it out of the water with a safety cord if I need to without getting out of my seat and I never lose control of the boat.
That maybe all right if you want to slow down your presentation, but control is still very important and you have to be able to control your presentation if you want the fish to bite. One way that I approach control is by tying a sea anchor at the bow of the boat and then backtrolling along a contour depth. By tying a Drift Control sea anchor at the bow of the boat it will hold the bow down and reduces splashing for backtrolling into the wind. This control will even allow me to swim a 1/16 ounce Fuzzy Grub over the rocks and keep my boat pointed in the direction I want to go, rather than the way the wind wants to push me.
Although there are several advantages to casting over trolling, don't think that casting is more effective than trolling. I still troll more than cast. Most walleye chasers do troll more. But casting is a very effective method of presenting a bait to walleyes in some situations. Using your boat as a tool to improve not only casting, but also jigging and rigging in the spring can also put you more in control. Remember, to become a versatile walleye fisherman, it is important to be able to adapt to changing conditions.
With the thawing of the rivers and streams I know that you will be out
fishing as soon as you can. Drop me a line at www.samanderson.com and
tell me how you are using these boat control methods where you are
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Since August 1, 1998