Looking for new ways to crank up your walleye game? Some new tools to add to your bag? One of the best ways to cover water, put your bait in front of active fish, and catch big walleyes in the process is to fish with crankbaits! Part of the trolling equation is getting your lure in the zone. If you look at articles we have done in the past you will find a lot of detail on how to use the Precision Trolling Data app and optional weighting systems to understand how to get your bait to the proper depth. Yet even with a lure in the proper zone, more often than not, what will trigger a walleye to bite a crank is the action.
Over the years we have been fortunate enough to be able to help design the Berkley “Flicker” series of baits. These baits have proven time and time again that their actions are second to none! The Flicker Shad has a top to bottom rolling action that throws off a lot of side flash as it moves through the water. The Flicker Minnow has a combination of both a rolling and a snake-like action, which is spot on for a lure that is meant to imitate a minnow!
Now enter two more players to the game! The Jointed Flicker Shad and Shallow Flicker Shad which will be available in the fall of 2018. Jointed baits have caught a lot of walleyes over the years. These baits are fairly aggressive because of the extra tail wag you get from having a jointed tail.
Aggressive tactics often equate to summertime fishing, so jointed baits are usually considered warm water lures. The Jointed Flicker Shad is different. This lure was designed and tested to have a wide window of opportunity. While testing prototypes, we caught fish on them as early as April in 50-degree water and as late as November. The key is to adjust speed based on time of year. Colder temperatures mean a slower troll, often down to 1.2mph. Warmer means faster, all the way up to 3mph. This bait has a great action at all speeds!
Another innovation with this bait is the color scheme. Many colors of Jointed Flicker Shad have a tail color that is different than the body color. During testing there were many instances where this “hot tail” not only seemed to trigger more bites, but it got the fish to bite right on the back hook!
Equipped with Fusion 19 treble hooks, they have a good size hook that still allows the bait to have a great action. These Fusion treble hooks have a needle point with SlickSet Coating for easier penetration. Plus, the shape of the hook locks the walleye on, which is critical for fighting a fish from a long distance!
To top it off, another “attracting” feature of the Jointed Flicker Shad is that it is one of only a few jointed baits with rattles. The original Flicker Shad and Flicker Minnow line-up have shown us that walleyes seem to react to high pitch rattles, so why change a good thing!
There are two sizes to choose from in Jointed Flicker Shads, both a #5 and #7. The Precision Trolling Data app says the #5 will dive to 12 feet with 170 feet of Berkley 10# XT. The #7 will go all the way down to 20 feet with 187 feet of 10#XT. Lifetime members of the PTD app already have this data available.
Now lets talk about Shallow Flicker Shads. These baits really have two uses – casting and trolling.
Anytime walleyes are shallow, or you need to fish over the top of some weeds or brush that comes fairly close to the surface, these are go to baits. One of the great accomplishments of the #7 is that it has an extremely similar action to the original deep diving Flicker Shad, but it is great for casting to depths up to five feet deep.
With the incorporated rattles, it casts great for a light lure! When casting, go to a 7-foot medium-light spinning rod with a fast tip. Use a great casting no-stretch line like 10# Berkley NanoFil, or 8# Berkley Ultra 8 FireLine. Each of these lines have a slick finish, so they travel out of the rod guides with less resistance than other lines. This creates a longer cast.
The #5 Shallow Flicker Shad does not dive as deep, maybe down to three feet, so it is perfect for when the walleyes on a very shallow lake flat, up on a bank, or just casting in an overall shallow lake. The other big difference is that the #5 has a very subtle action compared to the deep diver. It still has great top to bottom roll to give the side flash, but this lure is meant to trigger fish that are not in an aggressive mood.
Once again, this lure is great for shallow situations when trolling shorelines, flats, reefs. The PTD app maximum depth for the #5 & 7 using 10# XT is 8 feet (with 90 feet of line out) and 10 feet. (with 136 feet out). Remember, in both situations you can let out less line and run the baits shallower than the maximum depth. For example, to get them running 4 feet down, the #5 would go out 19 feet, the #7 would go down 17 feet. If you are running the lures that short, consider putting them behind an Offshore Planer Board to keep them away from the boat in this skinny water.
These baits are just coming out – but we have been testing them for over a year. They’ve got the right actions to get you – The Next Bite.