By Steve Carney
Most anglers are always looking for an edge when fishing with live-bait rigs for walleyes. They tend to tweak their rigs with accoutrements, hoping they’ll make a difference in their catches.
I have been using colored beads on my rigs for two years now, and I can say they do make a difference.
I use two beads on my typical live-bait rig. One bead is used to cushion the egg sinker so the knot doesn’t wear out from the constant pressure applied while dragging the rig across a lake’s bottom. The other bead is used just above the hook as added color. Also, it provides a lift for the leech or crawler.
These beads are not the tiny ones that you use when tying on a slip bobber; they’re actually fairly large.
Chartreuse has been my go-to color.
Another adjustment I’ve made with my life-bait rig is using an egg-shaped sinker or bullet-nose sinker. These sinker slip through the weeds much better than the traditional “walking” sinker. With the proliferation of milfoil, a sinker that has a sleek design makes a big difference.
Use a bullet sinker that’s as light as possible, but still gets your lure to the bottom. You might consider tungsten sinkers because they are much smaller and drop through the water column much faster.
The trend the past decade or so has been increased leader length, which is crucial these days given heavy fishing pressure on our lakes.
The leader should be at least 8 feet long and can be as long as 10 feet. Six-pound fluorocarbon or monofilament is my leader line of choice. You’ll get bit off by northerns, but in the end it will produce much more walleye action because of the suppleness and low visibility.