What are the best baitcasting outfits for walleye fishing?

It’s interesting that you ask that, because that is the same question Reelin in the BoardBass pro Shops asked us a couple of years ago when they wanted us to design a series of walleye specific rods. The entire Walleye Angler Signature Series of course features both spinning and baitcasting models, but since you asked about baitcasters, I’ll focus on those.

One of the most common uses for baitcasting equipment is trolling. Trolling rods should be fairly stiff to handle the additional weight of in-line planer boards and weighting systems (like Snap Weights). Frequent use of in-line planer boards means that the rods should be fairly long to allow you to spread your lines out further. I prefer an 8 foot, medium to medium heavy graphite rod. Since you should have several identical trolling rigs, and because sensitivity is not important for this rod, you do not need a high modulus graphite rod for trolling – stay with a moderately priced rod like the Walleye Angler Signature Series Trolling Rod model# WX86T-T. This rod features IM-6 graphite and a telescoping handle that makes it real nice for fitting into a rod locker, and it’s also available in 7 ½ and 8 foot models.

There is only one reel for trolling in my opinion – that is a line counter reel. Bass Pro Shops has a couple of real dandies called the Gold Cup Line Counter Trolling Reels. The model GCL4000LCB is a large capacity reel perfect for tactics like lead core line trolliing while the GCL2000LC is the smaller model better suited for typical trolling applications. They have all the features you want in a trolling reel, like the dependable line counter, audible bait clicker with an on-off switch, and smooth drag.

Gary Bounced up a nice oneThe other bait casting rig I use most is the one I use for bottom bouncer fishing. Many people don’t realize how important it is to have a highly sensitive rod for bottom bouncer fishing. I won a North American Walleye Anglers tournament on Lake Sharpe in South Dakota a few years back, and mainly credit my ability to feel more bites than the other competitors, to catch my winning weight. I like a 6 foot six inch rod (so that I can get out over the side of the boat), that’s very light (since I hold the rod all day). It should have a sensitive tip, but good back bone for hooksets – I’d call it a medium action rod with a fast taper. The Walleye Angler Signature Series Bottom Bouncer Rod model# WX66BBT is perfect for bottom bouncers or any dragging technique that requires great feel.

A bottom bouncer baitcasting reel should be comfortable, reliable and have a smooth drag. I really like the feel and quality of the Pro Qualifier Baitcast Reel model PQX1000HSE. It palms easily, features instant anti-reverse and a 6.3:1 gear ratio.

Those are my two favorite baitcasting outfits for fishing walleyes, and I hope you’ll give them a try.

Good Luck Walleye Fishing

Keith Kavajecz

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