Trolling Drives Jigging
While contour maps highlight significant drop-offs, points, flats, and other structure that helps walleyes to feed they do not show everything. Shallow weed lines, rocks, and old shorelines are not always indicated even on the most high-definition versions. Heck, even finding these areas and identifying fish using Structure Scan can be tough. In this case trolling a crankbait through the area is actually the best method for figuring out a pattern for the day.
If the water is less than 10 feet deep long-lining a #7 Berkley Flicker Shad or Flicker Shad Jointed on 10-lb Berkley 8-Carrier braided line is an easy method to test the waters. These can be run on spinning tackle like the Cabela’s Prodigy 7’ medium action rod with the lure consistently hitting bottom or on trolling tackle with line counter reels at a specific depth. Cast out a few lines and work the flat, drop-off, shoreline, or weed line as fast as possible.
If the water is much shallower, the new Berkley Flicker Shad Shallow is another option. If the area runs deeper, use lead core line, Off-Shore Tadpole or Snap weights, or the deeper-running Flicker Minnow to reach the fish.
We mark all bites with a waypoint on our Lowrance electronics. If we notice an area that seems to be getting most of the bites, (by our accumulation of waypoints). We’ll use the trolling motor to move the boat into that position and hold it the to accurately jig the whole area. We always keep two shorter Prodigy rods rigged with Bass Pro Shops XPS jigs, Berkley Snap jigs and a Berkley Gulp! Minnows to cast the area if we find that concentration of fish while we troll.
Walleyes rarely hunt alone so, just like when running and gunning deeper areas on a contour map, ten or twenty casts with a jig in the new trolling-found hot spot can produce a few extra fish. After the casting, drive around the area scanning for a reason for those fish to be there. This is how we find a small pile of rocks, an old foundation or shoreline, and other hints that help build a pattern so we can find the Next Bite.