My new favorite way to fish
The family and I recently spent a week at a local lake. We were fortunate enough to have our in-laws join us. My role during the "vacation" was to act as guide. Now that might not sound so tough, however, when it's your "job" to know how to catch fish and you are given the task of having your mother-in-law catch the first walleye of her life, there is a bit of pressure.
I spent the first day and a half fighting high winds and looking for walleyes with very little success. The lake was beating me, and I was getting quite frustrated. So I came up with a new game plan, we were gonna pull out the big guns. I decided to tie on two-ounce bottom bouncers and spinner bait crawler harnesses and troll on a break line at 0.9-1.1 mph. The idea is even if the fish aren't in the feeding mode, the flash of the spinner bait can induce a reaction bite. In addition, you can cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. It's an attempt to cash in on the: "even-a-blind-squirrel-finds-a nut-every-once-in-a-while" formula. In addition, you can fish anywhere from 12 to 35 feet of water without having to change presentation.
I re-rigged a couple of rods, loaded my kids and my father-in-law into the boat and headed out. I gave my crew a quick tutorial: "Just drop the line down, make contact with the bottom, close the bail and hang on. If a fish hits, you will know it. And it will either be on or it won't. If you think you have a bite, lower the rod tip towards the water and give it a good pull. No need to try to bury the hook, just make good contact."
Four minutes into our first pass: bam! Fish on! It was a small walleye, but the right species nonetheless. Just a few minutes later: tap-tap-tap... Fish on! Another walleye! That fish was followed by another. In a matter of 20 minutes we caught three walleyes and put two in the box. One fish came out of 14 feet of water, one came out of 18 and one came from 24 feet deep. We were definitely on to something. Low and behold, the weather decided to end the celebration so we headed in, with kids in the boat, I didn't want to push it so we when the rain began we headed in to shore.
The next day, confident in the system, I took my mother-in-law and father-in-law out to catch some eyes. As I was setting up for my first run, I was marking a lot of fish in 30 to 32 feet of water. I've always believed you should trust your electronics so I gave the "bombs away" command. My mother-in-law lowered the rig into the water, hit bottom, and I kid you not, less than a minute into our first pass, she had a hit. She set the hook and reeled in a beautiful 15 inch walleye! Mission accomplished! Whew!
We fished for awhile longer, caught a couple more fish and my father-in-law landed the big fish of the day. The moral of the story is: if you are struggling to find walleyes, don't be afraid to rig up a heavy bottom bouncer, one, two or even three ounces, tie on a crawler harness and cover water. You will be surprised at how easy and effective this presentation can be, and who knows, you just might impress your in-laws.
Regardless of what presentation you use, remember it's not about having time, it's about making time. For more stories from the great outdoors, be sure to visit www.theoutdoorreport.com