Much like hybrid cars that run more efficiently on a combination of gasoline and electricity, spinner rigs are a marriage of two great ways to catch walleyes and these rigs are deadly anywhere walleyes are found. Spinners have the attraction of both artificial lures and live bait for a one-two punch that’s hard for walleyes to ignore any time water temps are above 50 degrees F.
The natural scent and feel of juicy nightcrawlers have caught more fish over the years than most any other bait in history. The vibration and flash of spinners attract walleyes from a distance in clear water and prompt reaction strikes when water is dingy.
Spinner rigs also offer another key advantage – especially in larger bodies of water like the Great Lakes, where big brutes are vulnerable. You can cover large swatches of water with rigs and they’re more effective than many other presentations.
Another advantage? This technique is beautiful in its simplicity. A St. Croix Legend Tournament 7-foot TWC70MHM rod and a baitcasting reel like the slim-profile and light Ardent C400 make an awesome combination. TUF-Line’s DuraCast line is a hybrid, fused line which has the manageability of mono but the strength and no stretch of a super braid.
The spinner rigs themselves are usually 4 feet long on average. Lindy’s new spinner rigs and crawler harnesses feature realistic, holographic baitfish blades and super sharp #4 hooks. You can make the blade choice simple. Use smaller blades for smaller fish, say a number 3. Use bigger blades for bigger fish, like a number 4 or 5.
For colors, try metallic blades when the sun is out and/or the water is clear. Use florescent colors when the water is dirty or it’s cloudy. Colorado blades work for most situations. They turn well at slow speeds to produce both flash and vibration. Willowleaf and Indiana blades need to be trolled a little faster.
Rig it Right
Pick your own or the nearest bait shop will provide the finishing touch – a fat, juicy nightcrawler. Just make certain that the front hook goes through the worm’s nose then allow a little slack in the line and insert the second hook behind the collar. Dip the rig in the water beside the boat as you’re moving and make sure that the worm isn’t twisting before you let it down to the bottom.
How Much Weight?
We’ll try to keep your bottom-bouncer choice as simple as possible. Try to keep approximately a 45-degree angle to the water with your line, while moving from ¾ to 1.5 mph. Same if you’re drifting. A rule of thumb to rely on: 1 ounce for 5 to 15 feet, 2 ounces for 15 to 25 feet and 3 ounces for 25 to 35 feet.
Make sure you’re in the strike zone by dropping the bottom bouncer until you feel a “thunk” and see slack in the line. Thumb your spool and do not allow any line out for a couple of seconds as you are moving forward. Then lift your thumb up and free spool until your bottom bouncer hits the bottom again. Then turn the crank to lock in the spool. Keep dropping your rod