The sport of fishing, including the lures we use and the way we present them, are constantly changing. Two of my personal favorite ways to catch fish over the years involved vertical presentations, one for walleyes and the other for bass. Recently, however, I have made adjustments to those presentations and seem to be catching more fish as a result of those adaptations. Here is a look at those changes.
Many walleyes have been caught over the years by “vertical jigging,” that is dropping a jig, usually baited with a minnow or leech, over the side of the boat and using the rod to incorporate various movements designed to attract walleyes and then trigger them into biting. This method often resulted in good catches for me and other anglers when walleyes were located in the mid-depths or deeper waters, say anytime the water was 15 feet or deeper.
In recent years, however, waters in lots of lakes are much clearer than in the past. Clear water and walleyes often means fish that are much more wary regarding the boat’s presence. For that reason, I find myself opting to make long casts with my jig/bait combinations and then working those baits slowly back to the boat. Those long casts allow the baits to reach fish out away from the boat without “sitting on,” and potentially spooking, those walleyes.
Long casts prevent spooking fish, but I also find myself liking a casting presentation because I can fish all around my boat searching for pods of fish. Recently, for example, a partner and I were on Kabetogama Lake in northern Minnesota fishing mid-depth humps where we anchored our boat on the humps and then casted around the boat to effectively fish them. This method resulted in a bunch of eater walleyes coming to the boat and several over 20 inches being caught and released as well.
Long casts are producing good walleye catches, but they are effective for bass too. A Texas rigged plastic bait, often a Rage Craw or a Rage Menace, has been a go to lure for me for several years now when targeting bass in weeds on flats during summer and fall. In the past, I would often make short pitches to suspected bass-holding cover and then let the bait settle in before hopping it a couple times and reeling up and making another pitch.