W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Colin D. Crawford
The Thill is Gone!
by Colin D. Crawford
Growing up in fishing everyone knew what a bobber was and on the end, of a cane pole, the bobber was the first depth finder a boy could purchase over the counter. The bobber has evolved into one of the best methods for taking structured walleyes, especially over pieces of structure, such as rock piles and gravel points.
Of course today the bobber has a new term affixed to it's original name. Today, the bobber is referred to as a slip bobber. European styling has replaced the traditional round style bobber. The slip bobber has made a dramatic transformation from "short and fat to long and thin". Therefore, the Thill Float is very effective when there is a slight chop on the water. It will allow you to drift the entire structure from one location; but the wave action also provides some vertical movement to your bait.
The Thill Float is part of your live bait delivery system and you will need to make adjustments if you want your bait to be presented to the fish in a "natural manner." To use your Thill Float properly you will first have to determine depth. You might use your Lowrance sonar to determine depth, or attach a weight to your line and lower it into the water until your line shows slack, but I prefer to use the old method (revised).
I first put on a "bobber stop" like the ones you can purchase at a sport goods store. I attach this bobber stop ahead of my slip bobber on the line, then I attach an additional bobber stop to the line after the slip bobber. If I am using slip bobbers for walleyes I like to attach a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce jig to the business end of the line instead of a plain hook. If the slip bobber lays on it's side then I readjust the (float) bobber so that it rides off the particular structure from 1 ft. to 6 inches. I like the color that a jig head adds plus I need to add very 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 Thill Float. 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.
When the walleye inhales your bait and your Thill Float slides slowly underwater, remember the following tips: Take all the slack out of your line without putting pressure on the fish. When you're ready to feel the fish reel as quickly as possible putting pressure on the fish. At the same time "set the hook", lift the rod tip towards the sky and this will penetrate the bony roof of the walleyes mouth.
Thill Floats may be one of the most simple yet efficient and effective ways to present bait that there is. They can be fished at any depth, with a variety of bait, and on most equipment.
With a cane pole or a modern graphite rod, I for one am glad to see
techniques to make fishing simple and enjoyable again. The Thill Float
is one of these techniques that will improve your success, give it a
try. Remember when the "Thill is gone" set the hook, and if you are
interested in a guided trip, a personal media interview, or photo shoot,
please call 715-545-8347. I am located in Phelps, Wisconsin area, close
to several fishing lakes. See you on the water this season. Remember
NPAA #94. I hope to hear from you soon.
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Since August 1, 1998