With fall on its way and the water cooling down, I like to head to the river where walleyes and saugers will be strapping on the feedbag. One of my favorite presentations is pitching a light jig tipped with an artificial tail to rocky shorelines, wing dams and various other fish-holding structures.
Pitching like this for walleyes calls for light jigs with a wide gap hook in the 1/16,1/8, 3/16 or 1/4 sizes, depending on the current. Use your locator to find wing dams, underwater structure and also look for rip rap banks that provide current seams; these areas provide a fish a place to hide, waiting for bait to float by. Anchor upstream or use your trolling motor to hold you in place and then select the correct jig weight that will allow the current to carry it and the bait just across the bottom. A high-vis line is critical; it allows you to watch for subtle bites. Cast your bait out to the upper edge of the current seam, and with a subtle lift drop motion, allow the bait to work its way across the bottom. Any slight tic of the line: Set the hook.
You can tip your jig with live bait, but I chose to use Berkley GULP!. The added durability allows you to use the bait over and over, and the flavor and scent package make it a dynamite choice. The GULP! Minnowand GULP! Ripple Shadare my go-to styles. As for colors, I let the conditions dictate the choices (bright colors in dingy water, natural colors in clear water). The GULP! Ripple Shad with its tail will provide a bit more action for the more aggressive fish and the GULP! Minnow will provide a more subtle action for the less aggressive fish.
For gear, I recommend a rod that allows you to feel the bite but still has some good backbone. A 6’6” to 7' spinning rod with a Medium/Fast Action, matched with quality light-weight reel is ideal. You want a combo that has a nice light feel and is well balanced. I like the Bass Pro Shops Walleye Angler Rods model WA70MS-HM85 for this tactic, teamed with a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite model JCL750 spinning reel. The added length of the 7’ rods gives me better control of the jig and helps in getting good hook-sets.
I spool my outfits with either 8-lb. test Berkley Trilene Sensationin Solar or Berkley FireLine in the new Blaze Orange color or Flame Green. Both lines will allow you to better see the line to help detect bites, and the lower stretch properties of Sensation and FireLine are ideal for helping you feel bites.
Note: If you have questions or comments on this or other articles of mine you may have read, contact me through the website www.thenextbite.com.
by Gary Parsons