Baits For Shorecasting Walleyes

Baits For Shorecasting Walleyes

In the end, success is a matter of where you fish and what lures you choose to make the fish bite. The best all-around lure ever for shorecasting, in the situations I faced in natural lakes years ago, was the old #13 Husky Rapala, doctored with lead shot so it fished perfectly for the situation at hand. I really don't miss tinkering with a drill and adding lead shot to make the baits cast farther and to fish at just the right depth -- that is, until I meet a situation in which no other bait fishes at just the right depth. My second choice for a doctored bait was the 5-inch Bagley Bang-O Lure, which is still available.

Today, you can do serious big-fish duty with one of the Smithwick Rogues, a #12 or #14 Rapala Husky Jerk, or a #12 Rapala Long Cast Minnow. These are big baits that have serious wobbling action for attracting and triggering big fish after dark.

The Floating Super Rogue (5 inches, 3/8 ounce) is a great bait for very shallow fishing in, say, less than two feet of water (or when you have little distance between weeds and surface). It casts farther than the other floaters I'm familiar with, except perhaps the Cotton Cordell Redfin, another good bait. I prefer the action of the Rogue for shorecasting walleyes, though.


The Suspending Super Rogue (5 inches, 1/2 ounce) casts better than some of the other suspenders on the market, because it weighs slightly more. It also swims a bit deeper -- into the 3-foot range, on a retrieve. The Suspending Rattlin' Rogue, meanwhile, is a 5.5-inch bait that runs about the same depth. All the Rogues can be made to run shallower by slowing the retrieve and holding your rod tip high.


I've spent most of my time in recent years fishing with Husky Jerks and, as of last year, the Long Cast Minnow, baits that are very effective at night. The #12 Husky Jerk measures 4.75 inches and weighs 1/3 ounce. The #14 is 5.5 inches and 1/2 ounce. Because of the way they're constructed, they both fish at about the same depth (from 1.5 to 4 feet). Meanwhile, the #12 Long Cast Minnow measures 4.75 inches, weighs 11/16 ounce and works in depths of about 1.5 to 4 feet. This one really is the longest-casting lure out there, all other things being equal.

We remain without proof that walleyes can see color at night. Science does suggest that they almost certainly can see color patterns. Doug Stange usually sticks with simple minnow-patterned lures with light sides and dark backs, to insure "flash" when the plug wobbles along after dark.


The knock by some anglers about the Long Cast Minnow is that it doesn't measure up actionwise for fishing at night. With a little tinkering that can be changed, and also, the lure fishes a little shallower. So, too, can you increase the wobbling action of the Husky Jerks, also making them fish a little shallower. Wider-wobbling baits give off more flash and vibration and often get more action at night. Just take a pliers, pinch the hookeye a little flatter and then bend it down slightly. Remove the split ring on these lures and use a Cross-Lok or Coast Lock snap to connect main line to lure.

Beginning anglers are frequently obsessed with baits that are, in fact, too small. They also are in a constant tizzy about finding some secret herky-jerky way to work those baits. The old boys cast them out and reel them in -- slow and steady. No jerking. If you must use pauses in a retrieve, fine, but my reasonably-educated guess is that it will cost you fish over the course of decades.The percentage is with slow and steady. While shorecasting walleyes they can feel it, see it, track it, eat it. There's more chance to feel and see a bigger bait at night. When they attack a bigger bait, there's more bait there for them to hit it -- less chance for error.

Thumper Plastics -- The other class of baits that shines for big fish is shad-bodied thumper baits fished on a leadhead jig. In the old days, the 4-inch Mister Twister Sassy Shad was the only thumper available, and it usually had to be fished on a wedgehead jig with a hook too short to match well with the 4-inch plastic.


If you're after bigger fish, don't be tempted to fish with three-inch plastics. Four inches is the minimum after dark. The best shad body I've used recently is Berkley's Inshore Power Swim Shad, which measures 5 inches. The 4-inch Berkley Inshore Power Pogy is another good option. Lots of companies make 4-inch shads. YUM offers the G-Shad, for example, which also is available in a 6-inch model. I haven't done enough fishing after dark with 6-inch baits to comment. My guess is that 6-inch baits are fine, but 7 inches is getting too large for most situations.

The best jigheads I've found for larger plastics are from Matzuo, either the Darter Jig or the Flat Jig -- especially the Flat Jig, which has a beautiful long "sickle" hook that's perfect for longer plastics. The most versatile size is 1/4 ounce, which has a 3/0 hook. The same size Darter Jig (1/4-ounce) works well, but by design tends to fish just a little deeper. I like the Darter Jig because it isn't painted. The natural color of lead has always been the best overall color, in my book. When I fish the Flat Jig after dark, I usually use a white head.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Doug Stange uses softbaits from Berkley to entice finicky smallmouth bass.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

Simms

Simms' Challenger Raingear

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products details the warm and dry features found in the new Challenger raingear being brought to market by the Bozeman, Mont. company.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural baits and commercial options. Carp

10 Best Carp Baits Available Today

Dan Johnson

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

See More Trending Articles

More Walleye

Numerous studies continue to show that muskie stocking has little to no impact on walleye populations. Walleye

Walleye Issues: Esocid Factors

Cory Schmidt - October 10, 2019

Numerous studies continue to show that muskie stocking has little to no impact on walleye...

Jigging minnows, traditionally winter walleye baits, are equally effective on open water. Walleye

Rippin' Jigging Minnows for Non-Stop Walleye Action

Gord Pyzer - November 25, 2019

Jigging minnows, traditionally winter walleye baits, are equally effective on open water.

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

River systems offer some of the finest walleye fishing around. Walleye

River Walleyes in the Spring

Dan Johnson - April 01, 2020

River systems offer some of the finest walleye fishing around.

See More Walleye

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now