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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 15

More Tips for Catching Summertime Walleye

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Keith Kavajecz of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, a pro walleye fisherman, specializes in tournament fishing and walleye-fishing promotions. Kavajecz, who has fished in walleye tournaments since 1986, won the 1994 and 1998 North American Walleye Anglers Angler-of-the-Year award. He and his son, Tommy, won the 1998 North American Walleye Anglers Team of the Year. Kavajecz and his business partner, Gary Parsons, won the Masters Walleye Circuit Team of the Year and World Championship in 1988. Keith and Gary co-host "Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World," which airs on TNN.

QUESTION: Can you give us more tips for catching walleye in the summer? ANSWER:
TIP 6: No matter which crankbait you pick, they all have a depth they can run to based on their build, body shape and other characteristics. Every crankbait can reach a maximum depth. If you want to fish a particular bait deeper than it normally can run by itself, you can put a weight in front of the bait, whether it's a split shot, a snap weight, a lead-core sinker or something else like that. All those things can pull that bait down to a different depth. Switching lines provides an easy solution to get a bait to dive deeper than it can on its own. Typically most fishermen use 10-pound test line for fishing their crankbaits. I like to use Berkley Pro Select or XT 10-pound test. You can switch from 10-pound monofilament to FireLine or Berkley's new Whiplash. Instead of having a 10-pound test diameter, you can go all the way down to a 4-pound test diameter with FireLine. It still has the 10-pound test strength, but it's 10-4 FireLine. On most diving baits, the 4-pound diameter will add about 30 percent to the depth the baits can run. So, a bait that normally will run 24 feet down may run 32 or 33 feet down. Just switching line expands the range of depths you can fish with the same old crankbaits you have in your box.

click to enlargeTIP 7: Here's another tip for using Berkley FireLine. When fishing crankbaits in the summer, many times you'll fish around weeds. Obviously one of the biggest problems is picking up small strands of weeds or small debris that will stop your crankbait from running right in the water. Very rarely, if ever, have I caught walleye that when I reel them up they have weeds on their lips. That information tells me that walleye don't bite weeds and probably not because they see the weeds. Any small weeds on the crankbait will throw off its action, making it run sideways or wobble the wrong way or throw off the wrong vibrations. Not only is FireLine thin, but it also doesn't stretch. In a weedy situation, you can sweep your rod forward and feel the vibration of the bait. If it comes smoothly when you sweep it forward, typically you have some garbage on your line. FireLine means you can monitor what your lure does without having to reel it up every time to check it.

TIP 8: If you fish on a small natural lake without many walleye, then go after walleye early in the morning or late at night. Remember that because walleye have extremely good eyesight, they want to use that eyesight to help them. In a small natural lake that homes fairly clear water, the walleye only have an advantage over other fish when the night's too dark for the other fish to see, because the walleye can still see. Typically walleye will eat in low-light conditions in those types of bodies of water.

TIP 9: In summer when the water warms up, the walleye's metabolism speeds up. They eat much more in the summer than they do in the spring. They also continue to eat early and late on the structure. They'll come in to the shallow structure in low-light conditions to ambush their food. A lot of times, a walleye angler will keep fishing the same area. However, many times during the day, the fish will go off that structure and out into the open water and start looking for baitfish that randomly swim around. Now instead of looking for one or two minnows, they'll look for big schools of minnows that they can swim into and find crippled or weak ones to eat. You have to switch your tactics now.

When walleye come in to shallow structure early and late, you may want to fish a finesse rig, like a Roach or Lindy rig, a real simple live-bait tactic or maybe just a jig and a minnow. During the day, since you have to find these roving fish, you have to use something like a crankbait. If you can't seem to locate fish during the day in the summer, get off the structure and the morning- and night-bite areas. Go out into the middle of the lake to see if you can't find these fish roving around.

click to enlargeTIP 10: You should use one of the most recent things to come out -- fluorocarbon line. My partners and I have used fluorocarbon often for leaders, including spinnerbaits, live-bait rigs or the D-rig I mentioned earlier. The Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon line is an excellent line to use for two reasons. First of all, it's very clear. It has a similar light index to water, which means it reflects or shows light the same way, making it nearly as invisible as water. In other words, the fish can't see the line holding the bait. The second important thing about Vanish is it's much more abrasion-resistant than other lines. When an angler pulls around some kind of live-bait rig, he commonly will drag it through rocks, sticks or snaggy-type stuff where even a little nick on the line will reduce its strength a lot. Vanish is such a good leader line because of its clarity and abrasion-resistance.


Entry 11-Fishing Rivers for Summertime Walleye
Entry 12-Fishing Lakes for Summertime Walleye
Entry 13-Fishing Reservoirs for Summertime Walleye
Entry 14-Tips for Summertime Walleye Fishing
Entry 15-More Tips for Catching Summertime Walleye

Night Hawk Stories