Inline Weights and Walleye Rigs

News & Tips: Inline Weights and Walleye Rigs

Ah summer! Barbecues, hot sun and lots of mid-day swims in the lake while fishing. This time of year walleye rigs see a lot of action, which isn't surprising given its versatility at catching fish. The focus in this blog is how two different inline weight systems influence the rig's action.

InlineWeightsWalleyeRigs blog
An exampe of a walleye rig and a Bass Pro Shops Fish Weight Inline Fishing Weight.

Unlike a long-billed crankbait that dives on its own, a walleye rig must be combined with an inline weight to sink it into the strike zone of suspending fish that you've marked on your electronics. One popular option is a snap-weight, such as the Offshore Tackle Snap Weight System. This weight can be positioned anywhere on the line using its padded snap, although the 50/50 method is perhaps the most popular. As its name suggests, the rig is dropped back on 50 feet of line, the snap-weight attached and then another 50 feet is let out. The beauty of this weight style is that removing the sinker is as simple as opening a close pin once it's within reach when playing a fish.

The other category of inline weights are models like the Bass Pro Shops Fish Weight Inline Fishing Weights, which are also called trolling sinkers. This type of weight attaches to the line with clips or is tied in place. Given its permanent positioning, it must be affixed close to the lure, often between 2 to 10 feet, so it won't interfere when landing a fish.

What is fascinating is how these two different inline weight systems influence a walleye rig's action. The reason has to do with the rig's "vertical swim" — that is, its up-and-down movement in the water column, which is imparted by tension variations on the line caused by S-turns in a trolling run, throttle adjustments and wave action to planer boards.

Vertical swim is an important attractor as well as trigger for following walleye. The closer the inline weight to the lure, the greater the bait swims vertically through the water and the more pronounced its movements. In comparison, when a snap weight is attached further away using the 50/50 method, the rig's up-and-down action is less intense and more fluid.

On certain days fish will have preferences for one action over the other. It's best to be prepared with each inline weight option in your tackle box and experiment with both until you dial in a fish-producing pattern. Many inline weights come with rigging instructions and details on achieving a precise depth base on line diameter and length, the weight used and its position, and boat speed. Precision Trolling's The Troller's Bible is another great resource on the subject of inline weight trolling tactics.