Fine Tuning Walleye with the Yakima Bait Finesse Walleye Spinner
By: Mark Romanack
Contrary to popular belief, small spinner blades catch big walleye.
Sometimes less is more when it comes to catching walleye. Walleye are one of those predator species that often survive and thrive by feeding on some amazingly small forage species. Sculpins, stickleback, and fathead minnows are three of the most common forage species in the natural lakes and rivers where walleye are commonly found.
When walleye find themselves foraging for these tiny bottom dwellers, often the best fishing approach also tends to be downsized live bait presentations. The Yakima Bait Finesse Walleye Spinner is a product designed especially for targeting walleye found in natural lakes and rivers.
“The Finesse Walleye Spinner is available in eight fish catching colors,” says Jamie Robinson a tournament professional who fishes the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail. “Anglers can choose from either a modest No. 1 or slightly larger No. 2 Colorado style blade.”
The blades on the Finesse Walleye Spinner may be small, but the fish these rigs catch are often anything but modest. “Many anglers feel that small blades are primarily used for targeting small “eating sized” walleye,” adds Robinson. “Actually, I find that the downsized flash produced by the Finesse Walleye Spinner is ideal for targeting walleye of all sizes.”
The Finesse Walleye Spinner features premium octopus style hooks and they are tied on 15 pound test fluorocarbon. “I like that these rigs are a full 60 inches long,” says Brett Robinson a Wawa, Ontario based fishing guide and tournament professional. “The added length of these live bait rigs makes them more versatile in my mind. In ultra clear waters I fish this rig full length, but I can just as easily shorten up the rig when I’m faced with stained or off color water conditions.”
SLIP SINKER RIGGING
The Finesse Walleye Spinner is perfectly suited to using traditional slip sinker rigging applications. The classic slip sinker rig has caught countless walleye over the years. Start by threading a walking style sinker onto the line, next add a small bead and then tie in a small barrel swivel to the terminal end of the main line. Finish the rig by adding the Finesse Walleye Spinner to the barrel swivel and baiting using a fresh nightcrawler.
In clear water it’s best to leave the harness full length. For targeting walleye in stained waters, the harness can easily be shortened.
“The Finesse Walleye Spinner comes with a pair of No. 4 beak hooks ideal for fishing with nightcrawlers,” explains Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 TV. “This rig can easily be modified for fishing with leeches or minnows by simply cutting off the back hook.”
The advantage of slip sinker rigging is the angler can feed the fish line when a bite is detected. Most anglers use a spinning rod/reel outfit and keep the reel bail open and their index finger holding the line. When a fish bites, line can easily be released and allowed to play off the spool so the fish has a chance to turn and swallow the bait before the hook is set.
NO SNAG STYLE SINKERS
The Finesse Walleye Spinner can also be fished with the popular “No Snag” style sinkers when faced with chunk rock, rubble and other places where bottom snags become an issue. These sinkers thread on the line similar to walking sinkers, but help position the bait a little further off bottom.
Like the walking style sinker, using No Snag weights allows the angler to easily feed line to a fish when it bites.
Slinky sinkers are made by placing lead shot in hollow cordage and heat sealing the ends. These unique sinkers slide through some of the most snag ridden bottoms without so much as a hiccup, making them ideal for walleye live bait rigging applications.
Off Shore Tackle Pro Staffer Rob Barnes spends a lot of time targeting walleye on Lake St. Clair using spinner rigs.
SINGLE ARM BOTTOM BOUNCERS
The single arm bottom bouncer is a variation of the traditional slip sinker. A single arm bottom bouncer normally stands about 12 inches tall and is routinely rigged to slide on the line in much the same way as a walking style sinker or a No Snag sinker. The biggest difference is a single arm bottom bouncer positions the bait further off bottom, making the presentation best suited to situations where fish are scattered and it’s important to move faster and cover more water while hunting for fish.
All four of these common bottom fishing set ups are typically used in combination with spinning rods/reels and ultra sensitive low stretch super lines. Most anglers prefer to move the boat along by drifting, using an electric motor or back-trolling with a small gasoline engine.
TRADITIONAL BOTTOM BOUNCERS
The traditional two arm bottom bouncer is also a useful tool for presenting the Finesse Walleye Spinner near bottom. Often employed in deeper water where two and even three ounce bottom bouncers are required to maintain bottom contact, these larger size sinkers are best fished in combination with a baitcasting rod/reel and monofilament lines in the 10 to 12 pound test sizes.
Because of the extra size and weight of these rigs and the gear needed to fish them, many anglers prefer to fish a bottom bouncer and spinner rig by putting the rod in a conveniently located rod holder and slow trolling using either an electric trolling motor or a small gasoline kicker motor.
A slow action rod with a very light tip is needed to help determine light walleye strikes. The idea is to use a light enough rod that when a fish bites, the rod tip will telegraph the bite before the fish feels resistance and drops the bait.
SPIN-N-GLO BOTTOM WALKER
The Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo Bottom Walker represents an unique twist in live bait rigging. This two arm bottom bouncer features a Spin-n-Glo float and attractor on the short arm that acts as an added attractor and also helps to keep the bottom bouncer riding upright in the water.
Available in several color options and also in 1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 4 ounce models, the Spin-n-Glo Bottom Walker can be used in a wealth of water depths and live bait rigging applications. Both the Yakima Bait Finesse Walleye Spinner and the HammerTime Walleye Spinner are commonly used in combination with the Spin-n-Glo Bottom Walker.
Walleye spinners are a popular and productive presentation for walleye everywhere they are found. The author recommends finesse blades when targeting walleye during frontal conditions.
WRAPPING IT UP
The Yakima Bait Finesse Walleye Spinner takes spinner fishing to a whole new level. The premium hooks, full length fluorocarbon leader and legendary Hildebrandt blades make for the perfect walleye spinner.