Guide and professional angler Marianne Huskey plays the vibration game on big waters like Green Bay and Lake Erie, where big blades often rule.

Anglers would be amazed if they knew how often walleyes follow their offerings without biting. For every strike, at least half a dozen half-interested fish follow. I know because I’ve spent countless hours watching walleyes react to trolled baits behind an Aqua-Vu camera. Using a backward-facing camera as a sinker or mini downrigger with the line in a planer-board release, it’s easy and fascinating to monitor them.

Sometimes a walleye follows a spinner rig for five minutes or more. Two triggers prompt strikes from followers. When additional walleyes arrive on the scene, the original following fish usually darts in to take the bait. And whenever a bait abruptly changes speed, direction, or action, fish often respond. I’ve seen these behaviors hundreds of times on many different waters.

The camera also shows that whether impaled on a single hook or a two-hook harness, ‘crawlers and leeches spin and twist, despite efforts to the contrary. Lately, anglers have embraced this aspect of spinner rigging. Mustad capitalized with the Slow-Death hook—a bent Aberdeen designed to maximize spinning. Lazer TroKar recently released the TK220 Re-Volve hook—a wickedly sharp, slightly more stout hook that holds its shape and point well.


Hair Jigs for Walleyes

Tactics that catch both walleyes and bass can be annoying. The net is always out and before you know it the boat...

Blades and Thumpertails
In-Fisherman Editor In Chief Doug Stange believes vibration may be the most overlooked triggering element in fishing. When he looks at a lure or bait, whether it’s a spinning portion of ‘crawler, a thumping paddletail, or a crankbait, he evaluates its merits in terms of vibration.

“Beyond depth and speed control, vibration usually is the next most important component—often more so than color, profile, or flash,” he says. “The fish’s lateral-line sense is for detecting low-frequency vibrations, like those given off by a spinning ‘crawler. ”

He also adds to spinner-rig lore, suggesting anglers use a thumpertail softbait at times. The same vibration that makes a rapidly rotating bait enticing when rigged on a Slow Death or Re-Volve hook can be equaled or surpassed with a thumping softbait. He calls them “swim spins.” His rig combines the vibration and flash of an in-line blade with the profile and vibration of a thumpertail, texposed on a weighted swimbait hook.

This rigging is perfect for fishing through heavy cover, including timber and weedgrowth. “Cast the rig up into cover areas, count it down, and then slow-grind it right on through,” he says. Bump and grind, bump and grind. I usually use bass tackle like a medium-action 7-foot rod and a low-profile reel with 20-pound Sufix 832 or Trilene Braid.

“Away from heavy cover, spinning tackle works, and you can make longer casts. I use a 7-foot medium-action casting rod and a 35-class Pflueger Supreme reel and 14-pound Berkley NanoFil, with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. I also use a 12-inch section of tieable wire at the terminal end when I’m in pike territory—20-pound American Fishing Wire Surflon Micro Supreme.”

He also creates a unique spinner rig with the combination of a Berkley Gulp! Alive! Spinner Crawler on a double-hook setup, with a loop in the worm to make it spin. Another of his concoctions combines a Lazer TroKar Re-Volve hook and a portion of Gulp! Spinner Crawler or a Gulp! Killer Crawler, running them behind spinner rigging. More on these later.

Meanwhile, Manitoba angler Roger Stearns bulks up his spinner rigs by using a 3-foot section of 15-pound fluorocarbon, a quick-change clevis, #4 to #6 Colorado blade, an array of larger (4- to 6-mm) beads, and a 5/0 straight-shank flippin’-style bass hook. A Mustad Denny Brauer Flippin’ Hook keeps a bait arrow-straight with a keel-like influence.

Unlike Slow Death and Re-Volve rigs, this arrangement doesn’t twist much when trolled. Stearns uses paddletails like Berkley’s 4-inch Split Belly Swim Bait, the 3.5-inch Berkley Havoc Grass Pig, or the 4-inch Berkley PowerBait Ripple Shad in this setup. He pulls it behind leadcore or a bottom-bouncer, moving at up to 1.8 mph.

Continued after gallery…