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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 17

Tips For Using Fluorocarbon Line and Rattles

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Gary Parsons of Glidden, Wisconsin, a professional walleye fisherman, specializes in tournament fishing, speaking, writing and walleye-fishing promotions. Gary, who has fished in walleye tournaments since 1983, has won Angler-of-the-Year titles on all three pro-walleye circuits: the North American Walleye Anglers in 1995, the Professional Walleye Trail in 1993 and 1994 and the Masters Walleye Circuit in 1988 -- the only angler to accomplish these feats. Parsons and his business partner, Keith Kavajecz, won the Masters Walleye Circuit Team of the Year and World Championship in 1988. Gary and Keith co-host "Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World," which airs on TNN.

QUESTION: Can you give us two more tips for being successful while tournament walleye fishing?
TIP 3: Using Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon line in walleye tournament fishing has become very popular. Vanish has more strength and weight than monofilament, and it doesn't stretch the same as monofilament. The fact that Vanish stretches evenly instead of initially stretching like a rubber band makes it extremely sensitive. Vanish allows you to maintain your feel, and it has a light refractive index very close to that of water, which means the line virtually disappears underwater. Walleye anglers finally have a line where we can use heavier pound tests, particularly on clear bodies of water, without making the fish line-shy. Oftentimes when you rig, jig and live-bait fish for walleye, you have to use 2-, 4- or 6-pound-test line to have a very thin line diameter to keep from scaring away these picky fish. Fluorocarbons like Vanish allow you to go to heavier pound tests because of their virtual invisibility underwater and prevent you from constantly breaking your rigs off in snaggy situations. Walleye have a tendency to stay in places full of snags. Although I previously used predominantly 10-pound-test line on my bottom-bouncer setups, now I can go all the way up to 17-pound test Vanish. You hardly ever break a rig with Vanish yet can fish it right alongside 6-, 8- or 10-pound-test monofilament while still getting the same number of bites. Since you can fish higher pound-test weights than you normally do, you can do more power fishing. Going to the heavier pound test weights allows you to pull out straight hooks on your jigs without losing as many jigs and getting more of your spinner rigs out of the snags than you would in the past. You're not having so much down time replacing lures really is an advantage in tournament walleye fishing.

click to enlargeTIP 4: Rattles on jigs can work very effectively in river systems where you find moving water and fishing systems with some off-color water. I have personally seen where you can use a conventional jig tipped with a minnow, a plastic bait or whatever you want to tip it with and catch some walleye. If the fish bite jigs, they'll bite a jig without rattles. You'll catch some fish, but if you go to the rattles, you'll actually increase the number of bites because of the curiosity factor involved.

click to enlargeQUESTION: So, do the fish want to know what makes the rattling sound?
ANSWER: Yes, in the state of South Dakota, you legally can spearfish walleye. I've talked to a lot of the divers out there. They get the fish by going down on the ends of underwater points, sitting on the bottom and clacking two rocks together. The fish will come investigate the sound and the spear fishermen can actually see the fish when they shoot them. I think that the same principle applies to rattles on any bait. I've found that rattles on jigs work very well at times.

Tomorrow: Tips For Catching Walleye With Crankbaits


Entry 16-How To Win A Walleye Tournament
Entry 17-Tips For Using Fluorocarbon Line and Rattles
Entry 18-Tips For Catching Walleye With Crankbaits
Entry 19-Tips For Using Berkley's Pre Select Line And FireLine
Entry 20-Accessories That Will Help Win Walleye Tournaments

Night Hawk Stories