Getting Rigged for More Walleyes

Team Crestliner Pro Rick Olson explains that all those fancy bells and whistles you see on the boats of peofessional anglers isn’t just for show! The a method to their madness, and Rick explains how all the new technology can help you become a better angler as well.

There’s a good reason for all of it, no matter how it looks. A big electric trolling motor here, a small gas outboard there, or electronics all over the place, the word “overkill” comes to mind but it really isn’t so. Not in this day and age. Today’s high tech walleye angler will use all of that fancy equipment at some point in time and will make what they want to do possible, and what they actually do much easier.

When you take a good a look at my personal rig (the Crestliner 202 Tournament Series), you’ll find all of the aforementioned and then some, and it all serves a purpose. The main reason is the fact that you never know for sure what you might be faced with. Especially when you take a look at the tremendous and varied opportunities available to Today’s modern walleye angler.

From pin point live bait rigging and jigging, to trolling break lines with bottom bouncers and spinners, to plying the huge open water expanses of the Great Lakes, it takes the right equipment to be able to do it all. The wrong equipment will limit what you do and where you do it, and severely restrict your options.

Pin point rigging can come into play anytime you find walleyes bunched up on specific structural elements like underwater points, inside turns, or humps. A situation like that calls for a presentation that can keep a bait in the zone as long as possible and is where rigging or jigging comes into play. To get the most out of the situation an electric trolling motor is a must, and why I rely heavily on the 36 volt Minn Kota Maxxum with a 101 pounds of thrust to get the job done.

That extra thrust helps me to keep my Crestliner 202 exactly where it should be no matter what the conditions, and allows me to stay on the fish and actually hover over my intended victims. Wind and waves can turn fish on and the combination of a big safe boat and a powerful electric keeps me where I want to be as long as I want to be there.

Another important component to pin point rigging is good electronics and is why you’ll find a Raymarine DS600 color graph and a 435I G.P.S. in the front of my boat. The graph is my eyes to the underwater world and the DS600 provides an incredible amount of information like revealing fish that are holding tight to the bottom, changes in depth and bottom type, and the presence of baitfish.

The G.P.S. helps to locate specific spots, or get back to a productive area. You can also use the chart plotter to draw out a spot by running at a specific depth, which will give a much better idea of just exactly how a spot is laid out.

To help with finding fish there’s a Raymarine C120 color graph on the dash with a giant 12″ screen. It’s actually nothing more than a color display that can be used as a graph, G.P.S., or radar, with the right accompanying equipment. The big screen actually saves space as it is more compact than running two separate units. Under the dash is a Raymarine Ray53 marine band radio which is there for safety reasons, as well as being a requirement of the major tournament trails. Being able to communicate with other anglers (or even the Coast Guard if necessary), could save your life some day and the added expense of a marine band could pay off big time.

When you take a look at the back of the boat you’ll find the main power as well as a secondary four-stroke trolling motor. The Johnson four-stroke handles most of the forward trolling duties as well as any reverse positioning that may be needed, and does so with a high thrust prop that produces almost as much thrust in reverse as it does in forward.

A Minn Kota extension is attached to the kicker tiller handle which allows for a better seating position and gives me the control I need to stick with a tight break line. Some anglers prefer to tie the kicker in with the main motor and steer with the wheel but they give up too much control.

The Johnson kicker is mounted on a Panther motor lift which has proven to be extremely reliable. With a push of a button you can drop the motor in or pull it back out and do it all from the comfort of your captain’s chair.

You’ll also find a set of Wave Wackers on the transom which are splash guards that can help keep you dry when back trolling, and also provide an added element of safety when fishing big waters. Following seas can gobble up smaller boats in a hurry, which is a fact that can become painfully apparent when working big water like Erie or Lake Michigan. The Wackers will knock down most of a big following wave, and keep it out of the boat where it belongs.

On the rear third of the boat you’ll find three rod holders on both sides, and two on both sides up front. The extra holders give you some flexibility when trolling with multiple rods, and can help when drifting with four rods.

What you can’t see is a two bank Minn Kota charger that helps to keep two spiral cell batteries charged, with one handling starting duties and the other responsible for powering the electronics. There’s another Minn Kota three bank charger that keeps the three spiral cell trolling motor batteries powered up and ready to go, and it’s done by simply plugging it in without worry of encountering inclement weather or over charging.

So there you have at. All of that gear, so many walleyes, and so little time. There’s only one thing left to do. Go Fishing!