I start pulling bottom bouncers when the walleyes begin moving into deeper water in early summer, and will use this technique all the way through fall, whenever the fish are hugging a breakline from 15 to 35 feet deep or more. Unlike faster “search” presentations, bottom bouncing spinner rigs is a relatively slow, methodical way to work fish after you find them with sonar.
Total Solutions Technique
Once you’ve located walleyes on a well-defined breakline, drop your rig until the bouncer contacts bottom, and then raise it about six inches. Don’t drag bottom. Keep your rig about six inches above it, periodically letting the weight touch bottom and picking it up. This lets you stay the right distance off bottom, and creates more action as you raise and lower the rig. Another key point is keeping the line at a 45-degree angle from the rod tip to the water; don’t let your rig trail farther back. Remember, this is a precision game. You’re fishing walleyes that are holding tight to structure, so boat and bait control are critical.
Setting the hook is a matter of trial and error. Sometimes, when the fish are really smacking your rig, you can set right away when a walleye hits. Other times you’ll have to give them a few seconds; when you feel a tug, drop the rod tip back and hold it still until the line tightens. If you feel resistance, set the hook.
Total Solutions Equipment
I like a 7-foot, medium-action graphite stick for bottom bouncing. My favorite is a member of Fenwick’s HMG Casting rod. I match it with an Abu Garcia Revo Winch low-profile reel, which makes it easy to let out line and re-engage the gears. I favor 15/4 Tracer Yellow Spiderwire Stealth for my main line, and tie my spinner rigs with 10- to 12-pound Berkley Trilene XT, Green. A typical rig consists of a 5-foot snell with a single, size 2 to 4 Indiana blade, beads, a float and two size 4 hooks (sometimes size 2 for larger fish). I tip it with a Berkley® GULP! Alive® Spinner Crawler, or a Gulp! Pinch Crawler.
Berkley® Trilene XT®
Abu Garcia Revo Winch
Berkley® GULP! Alive® Spinner Crawler
Berkley® GULP!® Pinch Crawler