Simple fishing can be simply effective
I’ve written before about how my interest in fishing decreases as the amount of gear increases. A recent outing with a buddy reminded me again of how simple fishing techniques can be very effective.
We were looking for walleye in a shallow bay where the fish were still hanging out after spawning some weeks ago. The water has been slow to warm up in our neck of the Upper Peninsula. All around us, anglers were trolling with in-line planer boards, another excellent method for catching walleye, and probably the most popular way to do it.
But I hate trolling. I always have. I know it’s effective, especially in covering large areas to find fish, but I find it to be monotonous. And – well, I already mentioned the gear factor.
So we were drifting with jigs that were tipped with half of a nightcrawler. That’s as simple as it gets, but in shallow water the theory is that you need to get your baits away from the boat. I’ve found that as long as you’re careful about your noise, you’ll find plenty of fish right under the boat, especially in the stained water that we were fishing in.
We caught lots of walleye, along with perch, sheepshead, rock bass and pike. When we started catching perch, I switched one rod to a much smaller jig, hoping to hook more of them before they stole the worms, as they were doing on the larger jigs. It worked, and I found the bigger fish liked the tiny jig just as much. I caught three walleye on the tiny jig, plus a few of the perch that I was hoping for, and one small pike. A much, much larger pike or muskie took the little jig for such a long run that I thought I might run out of line on the spool of my reel. Then it turned and came back at the boat and I couldn’t reel fast enough to catch up to it, so I lost it.
A bigger hook might have helped me hold on to that particular fish, but judging from the lack of action around us from the guys who were trolling, we proved once again that simple fishing can be simply effective.