Night Hawk Stories... Entry 15
More Tips for Catching Summertime Walleye
EDITOR'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 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.
TIP 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.