Mark Courts has been professionally fishing since 2000 and is a current National Walleye Tour Pro and previous Angler of the Year. Mark shares his best tips so you can find more success when rigging for walleye.
Mille Lacs, and most of Central Minnesota, is probably most well known for rigging. It’s a simple, straightforward setup: a slip sinker and a swivel (or some type of stopper) with a leader down to a bare hook tipped with a chub, leech, or crawler. This simple setup is a great technique to catch fish and can be used in many different ways.
When we talk about rigging, there are three things to consider when setting up your presentation:
- Bait choice (minnows vs leeches or crawlers)
- Water clarity
These factors will influence your presentation in terms of your leader material, leader length, and style of hook.
How to Choose Leader Material: Fluoro vs. Mono
When choosing the best material for a leader, consider the bait choice. Typically, when fishing clear water you’d choose fluorocarbon for increased invisibility. This works well when rigging chubs because they will stay off the bottom and fight to keep the line up.
However, if you’re fishing leeches (or crawlers), switching to a smaller diameter monofilament (such as 6 lb test) will help keep that bait riding higher in the water column. Fluoro is heavy and will sink which will tend to bring your leech down into the mud at the bottom.
How to Choose Leader Length: Short vs Long
When choosing leader length, there are a few things to consider. For leeches (and crawlers), use a longer length leader to help keep them higher in the water column. Use a shorter leader for chubs. This is important as it allows you to keep your chub in the fish’s face.
How to Choose Your Hook: Narrow vs Wide Gap
When fishing chubs, choose a wide gab hook so you can hook that bait properly. For leeches and crawlers, downsize to a more narrow live bait hook.
A Final Tip for Added Success When Rigging
Another lesser-known key when rigging for walleye is to use a tungsten sinker. If you’re dealing with gravel or rocks, tungsten will emit sound when it bounces off those hard surfaces. Fish are curious, so this added sound will often help bring fish in and trigger more reaction bites. You’ll also be able to feel the difference in transition zones from sand to mud easily when using a tungsten sinker.
Be sure to checkout more walleye tips here.