Can’t miss early walleye tactics of 2012: live-bait rigs
I believe spring 2012 is setting up for great live-bait rigging conditions. We’re in for a good leech bite if it gets a little warmer in the days leading up to opener.
I keep the snells for my live bait rig averaging about 5 feet – longer when I’m in a finesse mode, say 8 to 10 feet.
I stick to 4- to 6-pound-test mono (on the lighter side in a tougher bite.) Generally you’re safe with 6-pound-test though I might run as heavy as 8- or even 10-pound-test through rocky habitat.
For my main line, I prefer Fireline or Nanofil, then attaches the mono (or something invisible) snell via a small black, barrel swivel.
Consider experimenting with colored hooks – a definite plus factor. I also use a bead. Put your line through, then tie the hook on. That bead now becomes a color attractor, plus it adds a little extra bulk.
Use enough weight to contact the bottom while your line forms a 45-degree angle from your rod tip alongside the boat. You shouldn’t have miles of line behind you.
Normally guys are backtrolling while live bait rigging, and your offering won’t be that far beyond the bow. Leave a little more line out if you’re in shallow water to help mitigate the noise factor
For gear, I use 7-foot to 7-foot, 3-inch rods. Minnows and leeches both should be good this opener. Generally when livebait rigging with minnows, he hooks them through the lips. In a tougher bite, hook ’em through the tail.
Leeches always hook through the sucker.
Use large to even jumbo leeches this year. I think in colder water, the big ones will perform. Oh, and I prefer black leeches.
Don’t forget to set that hook. Last spring, I saw a buddy who – with too much line out – thought he had weeds. Turned into a 7-pound walleye.
Final rigging tip: Remember to drop that weight down and bring it up a little so you’re not plowing bottom. Kicking up sediment will spook fish.