I wish I knew how many hours I’ve spent on the water trying to figure out how I was going to get the walleyes to bite. I’m sure that you’ve all been fishing at one time or another and you were having one of those very slow days that everyone dreads. There are lots of things that can be tried on a day like that but you have to decide if you’re going to make a drastic change or some kind of subtle change to try to get rid of the walleye lockjaw. Many times it may take something really simple to trigger a bite and sometimes you have to drop a rock on them to get any kind of response at all. Lets take a look at some different fishing methods that you could try in order to improve your chances at catching some fish.
A Grain of Sand
Most of the time it doesn’t take a rock but just a grain of sand to get a walleyes attention. There are many subtle changes that can be made to something as simple as a Lindy or Roach rig when fishing for walleyes and I’m going to give you some examples of changes that may work for you. If the fish aren’t responding to a plain rig, the first and easiest thing that I usually do to make a change is to add a colored bead above the hook or just change the color if there is already a bead there. My next step is usually to change the hook to a colored one and then of course I experiment with the color if I have to. This can be expanded even more by using a bead that contrasts to the colored hook or by using no bead at all. There are colored sinkers on the market that can be added but to be real honest I have never noticed any difference whether using a colored sinker or a plain one. Another real subtle change that a lot of people don’t really think about is to change your leader to fluorocarbon to really help your finesse approach. My personal choice is Berkley Vanish but there are others on the market that may be your preference and this small change can sometimes be the key to catching fish during a tough bite situation.
You can see that there are lots of easy and inexpensive things that can be done to something as simple as a rig. If we expand these simple ideas to a jig, we can add a colored bead ahead of the jig, add a tail, add a small piece of plastic from a tail to hold your live bait on the hook, change colors of the jig, the tail or any of the parts and the list goes on and on. Jigs are by far the easiest things to make changes to whether it be color, size, or the type of jig, all of the changes can be done usually by tying on a new jig or just changing the tail or the tail color.
Now lets take a look at what we could do to make some subtle changes to a crankbait that hopefully will help to trigger otherwise dormant walleyes into striking. I’ve looked into some guys tackle boxes and all of their lures have the lip or the head painted red. Obviously this might work some of the time but now they’ve lost their chance to change. If you talk nice to your wife she may give you an old bottle of red fingernail polish (or some other color if you prefer) that you can carry in your tackle box. It only takes seconds to get the bottle out and change some of your lures to a red head, red belly, a red lip or sometimes just a red dot where the gill would be is just enough to make a difference. Another trick is to have some colored treble hooks in your box (or make them using the fingernail polish) and change the front or rear hook to a colored hook to help give an even different look to your bait. These are just a few ideas that are small changes but can sometimes make a difference between having a great day fishing or just catching a few fish.
Remember a grain of sand is a subtle change that might trigger the fish to bite. If you drop a rock you might scare the fish away or it may be the change needed to trigger them into biting. What I call a rock is any time I change from one type of fishing to an altogether different way. For instance if I’m jigging or rigging and I change to casting a crankbait or trolling, this is what I would call dropping a rock. You’re not doing anything subtle but you’re making a drastic change by using an altogether different method by changing both your lure and your presentation. There have been many times when the rock has been the answer to winning a tournament for me. To be successful you have to be able to convince yourself that change is the answer and then do it. Many of the small changes that I mentioned earlier can also be used to change the look of the lure after you’ve changed your presentation method.
Color changes as well as adding or taking away color on your lures are one of the easiest ways to alter your presentation. Whether you’re using crankbaits or live bait rigs and whether you’re casting or trolling you can use many of the subtle changes that I mentioned earlier to alter the color or action of your bait. Very often, people get in a rut and will only use their favorite bait and color because that’s the one that they’re comfortable with and have the most confidence in. It’s a great thing to have confidence in your bait but the thing that you must keep in mind is that there are many very simple ways to make changes to your baits that may mean the difference between catching fish and being skunked. Sometimes it may take only a grain of sand to get the fish to bite and sometimes it may take a rock. But many times change is good.