‘Follow the Line’ to Better Vertical Jigging Success

Without question, one of the most effective tactics for catching walleyes in rivers is Vertical Jigging. As the name implies, Vertical Jigging is the practice of fishing a jig vertically, directly below the boat, as you drift down stream with the current. However, keeping the jig vertical is not always as easy as it sounds.

If you were to go fishing on a nice calm day and put your boat on the river, your boat would move along at the speed of the current, so would your line and jig – and you would be vertical jigging. The culprit is wind. The wind will blow your boat, causing it to move a different speed than the current and you will be "off vertical".

Many anglers make the mistake of thinking that going to a heavier jig is the answer. True, that will help keep the jig vertical, but you’re not presenting the bait at the right speed. It’s important that you use the lightest jig you can and that the jig move along at the exact same speed as the current. This way a walleye has the best chance of sucking your offering into its mouth as it drifts past his rivery lair.

To stay vertical, I use a technique called "following the line". Simply, this means that if your line is not going straight down, use your bow mount to quickly pull (or push) the boat to position your rod tip directly over the jig. What you will realize after a while is that this will mean the boat will be pulling into the wind (not necessarily into the current) to compensate for gusts.

Since most vertical jigging can be done very effectively with a 1/4 ounce jig, that’s a good one to start with. The Bass Pro Shops XPS Walleye Jigs are perfect for this presentation, featuring a long shank hook for better vertical hooksets, unique “stand-up” style head to keep the hook right up in the fish’s face, as well as some of the sharpest holographic colors ever seen on a walleye jig.

With just a little practice, it’s not a difficult tactic to master, making Vertical Jigging a deadly and fun way to catch river walleyes.