Shivering Summer Walleyes

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If you’ve been walleye fishing for any amount of time, you no doubt have developed that little voice in your head – you know the one – the one that tells you to move to a new spot when the fish aren’t biting where you are at the moment. That voice that whispers to you “try the Firetiger one, it worked on that other lake so it should work here”. We all have it. Do you listen to your little voice? 

Last summer while preparing for a NWT tournament on Green Bay, Gary’s little voice was talking to him … persistently. Green Bay, like most other Great Lakes fisheries, tended to be a trolling bite, but we, as well as a few other anglers, were always looking at ways to target the walleyes that were set up on structure on these vast bodies of water; some way that did not involve trolling. We wanted a more precise approach to catching these fish. Gary’s voice kept telling him there was a better way; better than rigging, or conventional jigging presentations.

Known primarily as a “trolling bite” fishery, the walleyes of Lake Michigan’s “north end” are notorious for being tough to catch when the winds lay down in the summer months. Most of the walleyes there relate to structure like humps and breaks, and because of the clear water tend to be finicky unless you have a good chop on the surface. We knew there had to be a better tactic than trolling to reach these fish and Gary’s little voice kept telling him it had to be a jigging-type technique – just not your typical one. There was a tactic we had never used here before, but that had some success in other areas of the country and that was to use ice-fishing style jigging minnow lures on open water structures. In his internet researching, Gary had found a bait that resembled the popular Jigging Rapala that many anglers were using for this tactic, but one that he had a gut feeling would have the action he was looking for to trigger more bites. What he found was the Moonshine Shiver Minnow. A lure produced by a very small company in Michigan’s U.P. that before now was basically only known as a small “garage-operation” ice fishing lure company.

If there is one thing we have learned in all our years of walleye fishing it’s that the right action catches fish and not all baits have it. The Moonshine Shiver Minnow’s action is very different from the Jigging Rap. This horizontal-minnow-like jigging lure has a unique minnow shape and fan tail that give the lure an enticing action as it swings off to the side on the up-stroke and smoothly glides back down on the free-fall. That really is the key to its effectiveness. We tried quite a few variations and we threw some Jigging Raps, too, we’ll admit it. But they weren’t even close to the Shiver Minnow in producing hits.

The tactic worked well for us as we ended up taking the two top spots in the event (Keith 1st, Gary 2nd). While we dialed in this presentation for the upper reaches of Green Bay in summer, it has proven to be a deadly tactic in many situations where walleyes

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