Vertical: It is a double-edged sword when it comes to catching through-the-ice walleyes. On the plus side, we are staying in direct contact with our lure and be spot-on the structure we are fishing to fool our quarry. The downfall is that we are now dealing with situations where walleyes can analyze our presentation like no other time of year. So how do we combat walleyes reacting negatively to our offerings? Stay invisible!
To keep the eyes of ol’ Mr. Marble Eyes glued to the business end of my offering, and to refrain from his winter sniffing ways, I go straight to the invisibility of my line. By employing fluorocarbon line, using it as my main line right down to the connection of my lure, or by associating it as a leader terminated to FireLine, it is the one trick that allows me put more through-the-ice walleyes through the hole.
For most situations, I go straight to Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon, spooling with 6-pound test for the majority of my ice walleye work, but I will beef up to 8- or 10-pound if I am strictly on big-fish water like the Great Lakes. No worries about heavy coiling on the ice either, as Vanish is supple enough for use while inside the shelter or outside on patrol. And on occasion, when fishing deep water or current areas, I turn to the thin-diameter and no-stretch properties of Berkley FireLine to cut the current and give me all the feel I need. For this, my line turns to 10/4 FireLine Crystal Micro Ice. I use this straight to the bait at times, but when in extra clear water, I will then barrel swivel in a 2-foot section of 6-pound Berkley Vanish Leader Material.
by Keith Kavajecz