W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by John Campbell
Rigging and Jigging with Lindy
By John Campbell
Walleyes love live bait, Whether it is jigged rigged or fished spinner style it is tough to beat. There's no more practical way to present live bait than behind a Lindy Rig slowly dragged along the bottom. Lindy rigging, allows an angler to precisely fish an area that is holding fish. The key to Lindy rigging is a slow, meticulous presentation. A sluggish walleye is more apt to grab a small fathead or leech than a big golden shiner or nightcrawler. Don't stubbornly stick with jumbo leeches or nightcrawlers just because they've produced in the past.
Terminal tackle for a live bait rig usually includes a walking sinker threaded onto the line on top of a barrel swivel. Keep the sinker weight as light as possible, yet heavy enough to let you feel the weight along the bottom. Usually 1/4 to 1/2 ounce sinkers should be adequate for late-season fishing. I prefer to use the No-Snagg weights in the fall.
The No-Snagg is a banana shaped sinker that has a balsa, lead antimony weight that is surrounded by epoxy paint and a protective clear seal coating, with a special rubberized coating on the outside. The sinker also has a stainless steel wire feeler out of the bottom that is tipped with a colored bead. This has the super principles of the 3-way and the bottom ticking ability of the bottom bouncer. Also, the No-Snagg when it hits an obstruction simply pivots away from the snag and doesn't get hung up.
From the opposite end of the swivel run a 2 to 4 foot snell of 6 to 8 pound test monofilament. Adjust the distance of your live-bait rig from the bottom according to water clarity. In stained water the fish will be tight to the bottom so the rig should run closer to the bottom. Just the opposite frequently holds true in clear water.
I prefer to use the Lindy Rig in this case because it allows me the versatility of getting the live bait right in the face of suspended walleyes. A plain hook or a colored hook are great, usually number 6 or number 8 finishes off the rig except for the bait. Walleyes will change the level at which they're running from day to day and even hour to hour. That's why I use Lindy Rigs and Lindy Soft Stops exclusively for live-bait rigging. Snell length can be changed in a matter of seconds, whereas most rigs must be cut and re-tied to lengthen or shorten the snell. Another good aspect about using the Soft Top is that it is soft plastic and it can be reused and it won't damage the line.
The key here again is slow down. If you think you are slow now slow down even further and watch your line, because if your presentation is in slow motion your action will be fast.
When walleyes are more aggressive I step up to spinner rigs. The spinner rigs we're talking about are the live-bait rigs with a blade and a few beads just above the hook. As the rig is pulled through the water, the blade turns, which attracts fish with both sound, vibration, and added visibility.
A spinner is a rotating blade on a clevis, sandwiched among plastic beads, followed by a hook or hooks and livebait. Today's standard spinner rig consists of a metal clevis with a #1, #2 or #3 Colorado, Indiana or willow leaf blade followed by 4 or 5 BB-sized beads and a single 1/0 Aberdeen hook for minnows or two #4 short shank snell hooks rigged in tandem about two inches apart for crawlers or leeches. However, another hot blade that is really working well is the Hatchet blade! This standard rig is tied on 36 inches of 14 to 17 pound test line.
When using spinners, snell length is important. The snell length is the distance from the swivel to the hook. When moving quickly, increase the snell length as a general rule. This will get your bait away from your bottom bouncer and improve your hookups. A faster presentation is usually called for in clear water, and you want the bait up high enough so the fish can see it from farther away. Also, walleye are more likely to go up for a bait than go down for it.
In dirty water, the walleye will often be closer to the bottom. So, you may have to slow down your speed a little bit to give the walleye more time to react.
This same technique can be applied to a vast majority of the biggest and toughest walleye waters around. For example, the No-Snagg Sinker can be used in heavy current like a river especially if you are concentrating on the riprap. This slip sinker will work all day long around the massive boulders. The sinker will fall in between the crevices and cracks where the walleyes fighting the current are resting or waiting in ambush for their next meal. It works especially well on western and southern big reservoirs where you have rock shale or stump fields that were next to impossible to fish before.
Another way that I like to use the No-Snagg Sinker is on the Mississippi River when there is a large infestation of zebra mussels and heavy current. I want to make sure that the bait stays off the bottom, but I want the bait to stay within a short distance of the bottom. In this situation I will attach a Lindy Rig to my leader line and slide on the No-Snagg. This is a winning combination. Other times when I need to attract the walleyes attention in stained or turbid waters I will go to a small spinner about a #1 blade in gold or silver, just enough to provide a flash to the walleye.
Probably the my favorite is, fishing with a jig. The No-Snagg Veg-E-Jig from Lindy is without a doubt the best way to fish timber and weeds. This jig allows you to penetrate the toughest brush pile on the water without getting hung up. The front eyelet position and the slender profile allows the Veg-E-Jig to slip through all weed vegetation and timber without all the frustrations of snags. Like the Timb'r Rock jig it also has the seven strand wire guard that protects the hook from snags, but this jig has the super strong, ultra sharp Gamakatsu hook and that makes for an awesome live bait delivery system. By dipping your bait into various spots in the flooded timber you will find that many walleyes are present and willing to bite.
Another Lindy jigging technique is to tie on a Timb'r Rock jig to the end of the line instead of a plain hook when slip bobber fishing snags. The Timb'r Rock jig allows you to present live bait or plastic in all kinds of cover without fear of snags. Due to its unique "weight centered" design, it lands upright every time. The patented seven strand wire guard protects the hook point from hang-ups. I like the color that a jig head adds, plus I need to add a little extra weight to pull the line down to the preset depth when using a jig head. If you use this slip bobber method, it will enable you to jig your bait vertically without positioning yourself over the top of the structure. With little or no wind you'll have action on the bobber. This can easily be achieved by sweeping the rod about a foot at a time. It might seem simple, and it is, but the results will astound you.
Jigging in rivers requires Current cutters, or pancake jigs ie: Jumbo Fuzzy grubs which are designed to be hydrodynamic in moving water. They are great for rivers. Larger sizes can be used on a dropper line of a three-way-rig to put an additional hook in the water where legal. Try a stinger hook. Sluggish walleyes have a habit of striking short and ripping up the tail of a minnow or snipping the end off a crawler. By attaching a small treble or single hook to the bend and then inserting one hook of the treble into the tail of your bait, you can hook many of the short striking fish. This technique is deadly with a jig and crawler or a jig and minnow.
For more information on rigging and jigging with Lindy contact
www.lindylittlejoe.com See you on the Water !
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Since August 1, 1998