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Expert Tips: Let Those Walleye Have It!

Expert Tips: Let Those Walleye Have It!

By Tony Glynn

We often hear or even read how difficult it is to catch walleye when they’re in a negative or neutral mood…Well, I say “Let ‘em have it”.

How often have you had your planer board flag or planer board twitch only to have no fish on the other end, or worse yet, your night crawler bitten off right at the back of the hooks?

This used to happen to me all the time on the Saginaw Bay. I just figured it was a perch or a gobie or some other small fish.

Since the planer board just barely moved, it couldn’t have been very big…or could it?

I used to think nothing of it until one day last summer while fishing a popular local hot spot with my Dad.

My Dad’s an old river rat, a beat the banks for bass kind of guy. He likes to hold the rod in his hand rather then use a planer board while troll-ing.

I told Dad to send the lure back 35 to 40 feet and every now and then pump the rod and let out five to ten feet of line.

Every time Dad hit 50 feet back on the line counter reel he would feel a hit.

He would start to reel the fish in and a few seconds into the fight, the fish would pop off the hook. This happened four or five times before I finally told Dad, “The next time you feel a fish, just open the reel up and “let ‘em have it”.

I’m not sure whether the look I received was from the frustration of losing the fish or Dad thinking I had finally flipped my lid, but… I was pretty sure that it was no time to laugh. Anyway, my Dad did follow my suggestion and he proceeded to put three nice fish in the boat just as quickly as he could put a fresh crawler on.

Now, back to what I want to say about neutral or negative fish.

Un-stable weather, low barometric pres-sure, no wind or bluebird sunny skies are just a few things that will put fish in a mood that makes them hard to catch.

Slowing down your presentation is critical when the fishing is tough.

Getting your planer boards farther away from the boat than normal, dumping line at regular intervals (stopping and starting your planer boards) and running your lures at or near the bottom can be a big help as well.

My tournament partner Jared Ayres and I found the following system very helpful:

  • As soon as we saw any movement of our planer boards or planer board flags, we would grab the reel, open it up and let out 15 to 20 feet of line.

  • This action caused the lure to slow down and start to fall.

  • In turn, this forced the fish that were following to make a split second decision whether or not to eat an easy meal.

  • Most of the time the fish made the choice to take our offering.

Almost all of our bigger fish this year have come by this method. Hmmm...Makes me wonder just how many big fish I could have had.

So the next time the bite is tough, your crawlers are coming back half eaten, or your boards are just barely twitching - slow things down, pay close attention to details, and “Let ‘em have it”.

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