Many anglers rig chubs in the fall for big walleye. Traditionally, rigging chubs means dragging a chub below or behind the boat. Scott Mackner however has developed some unique shallow water chub methods that incorporate casting chubs at fish with the use of forward facing sonar.
Mackner spends a lot of time targeting big walleye in western Minnesota’s Ottertail County. Many of these lakes offer clear water and good weed growth. Despite the water clarity, these fish can often remain shallow and there are times when Mackner can physically see fish.
“Just last week, I found some nice fish in twelve feet of water that had four foot tall weeds and the big fish were laying or positioned right above the weeds,” explained Mackner. Mackner often used side imaging or forward facing sonar to cast at fish and slowly reel the rig and chub past fish. Often, a burst of speed triggers a reaction strike from a following fish.
Mackner’s chub rig resembles what you would use to rig with chubs below the boat but the rig does require a hang time in that the rig is typically reeled over weeds and not dragged along the bottom. A 1/4 ounce tungsten worm weight works well for getting the distance required on a cast and also keeping the chub above the weeds. Because of the water clarity, most of these shallow fish need to be reached by casting.
“I use a lot of eight or ten pound fluorocarbon and often tie 8-10 feet of fluorocarbon above the weight and barrel swivel to the braid and then use a four to six foot snell of the same fluorocarbon. In stained water, I will also shorten down to a two foot snell at times,” stressed Mackner.
Mackner’s favorite chub hook is a Finesse Wide Gap in a size four or six for four to six inch chubs and a size 1/0 for bigger chubs.
As fall fishing progresses and the bite really develops, don’t be afraid to use the biggest chubs you can find up to 8-10 inches in length. These big chubs routinely produce some of Mackner’s biggest fall walleye.
Another chub trick Mackner will employ on fish that won’t chase is to tail hook a chub and let the chub simply sit in the fish while using forward facing sonar. When tail hooking chubs for casting, Mackner will run the hook all the way through the chub right near the tail while missing the backbone. For casting nose hooked chubs for the cast and reel method, Mackner prefers to run the hook just through the top jaw in a location that chub fishing enthusiasts call “the horn” which is a small piece of hard tissue right behind the outer lip. Hooking the chub through this horn on the upper lip gives the chub much better action.
Green stands of weeds will hold many big walleye shallow well into the fall and casting chubs is a deadly way to trigger these fish that are notorious for spooking from the presence of a boat.