Fancasting shorelines is a great way to catch reservoir walleyes during the spring, fall and whenever wind and waves create favorable feeding conditions. I cover water quickly by casting a crankbait tight to the bank. This helps me locate fish, fast. Once I find ‘em, I slow things down with a jig and catch fish that wouldn’t hit the faster moving crank.
Total Solutions Technique
Not all reservoir shorelines are created equal. I focus on channel swings—areas where a bend in the main river channel or a feeder creek swings in toward shore. Flats on either side of the swing can be good, but in general, the closer you have deep water to the channel swing, the better. In other words, if you’re within casting range of shore and the water isn’t at least belt high, the bottom tapers too gradually.
I use the trolling motor to move parallel to the shoreline, firing a cast every three to six feet along the bank. It’s important to experiment with different speeds, as well as jerks, pauses and steady retrieves to see what triggers the fish. Once you catch a walleye or two in a given area, you can slow down and work it with a jig. Again, vary the presentation; try dragging, popping and gliding the jig until you figure out what the fish want.
Total Solutions Equipment
Both presentations call for a 7-foot, medium-light spinning rod with fast action. Match it with a quality Abu Garcia spinning reel and Spool up with 8/3 Flame Green Berkley FireLine (I switch to FireLine Crystal in really clear water).
In crankbaits, I like ticking bottom with a Berkley Flicker Shad; use the 4cm or 5cm model in shallow water, the 6cm or 7cm bait if the bottom drops sharply. I favor Firetiger and other bright patterns in stained water or overcast conditions; try Chrome Clown or Pearl White in clear water. Hollywood and Black Gold work well for anything in between. Attach the crank to your main line with a black, size 12, 30-pound Berkley Cross-Lok snap swivel.
When casting jigs, I use a 1/8-ounce jig tipped with a 4-inch Berkley PowerBait Minnow Grub or 4-inch Gulp! Minnow. In color patterns, I use Smelt in clear water, and Green Chartreuse or Firetiger in low-visibility conditions.