Vertical jigging, slip-bobbers, live bait rigging are all effective presentations for catching up a limit of walleyes under the right circumstances. Another and equally effective way to catch walleyes, whether spring, summer, or fall is by trolling. Trolling can work in shallow or deep water, on structure, or in open water. If you are new to walleye fishing, getting equipped for trolling can be a daunting task as well as an expensive investment. The question is what is needed for a beginner to go out and start trolling for walleyes? I’m not going to be talking tactics here. There are many great articles and videos out there on various websites like www.thenextbite.tv that do a very nice job explaining various trolling presentations and techniques. I remember when I initially got into trolling. I had lots of questions. What type of rod? Reels? Line? Planer Boards? Bottom Bouncers, snap weights or in-line weights? My goal here will be to answer these questions and provide a guide on the minimum tackle requirements needed for a beginner to go out on the water and be successful at trolling for walleye.
The first thing every walleye angler should have in their tackle box is what anglers on the walleye circuit call “The Troller’s Bible”. The actual name of this book is Precision Trolling by Mark Romanack. This book contains the dive charts for hundreds of the most popular crankbaits in the walleye world. The book is simple to use. First if you do not know the crankbait you are using, there is a life size picture at the top of every page, so can just match your bait to the picture. To use the chart just find the depth you want to run your lure on the left side of the graph and follow it over to where it falls on the dive curve and then follow that point down to the bottom of the graph and that will give you how much line you should let out to get that lure to run at that depth. This book takes the guessing out of the game and you know where your baits are running at all times. And this book isn’t just for running crankbaits. It has the dive curve for the Bass Pro Shops XPS Fish Weights and also the formula for running snap weights in front of both spinners and crankbaits and even information on using leadcore. Whether you are a weekend fisherman or a Pro angler on the walleye circuit, you must have this book in your tackle box.
A walleye fisherman can break the bank buying rods and reels, but there’s really no need to. If you know what to look for in a trolling rod, you can get a good stick for about $100 and it will last you for many seasons. The trolling rod can come in many lengths and actions. A good size to begin with is an 8’6” rod with medium action and a fast tip. This action rod will give you the back bone to deal with the weight of the planer boards and the weight of the fish. The fast tip will give the “shock absorber” needed to deal with the strike of the fish as you are trolling along at 0.8-2.5 mph. A couple good quality rods to consider