Fishing 411 wit Mark Romanack Episode 12 Makoop Lake Jig Casting for Walleye
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Posted On January 07, 2013
Fishing 411 with Mark Romanack
MARK ROMANACK, FISHING 411 EPISODE 12
CASTING JIGS FOR WALLEYE
CASTING JIGS FOR WALLEYE
hard to beat the subtle but distinctive feeling of a walleye slurping up a jig
danced near bottom. Once an angler has mastered the art of casting jigs and
detecting those not so obvious bites, most other fishing presentations pale by
say I’ve had a little experience casting jigs for walleye would be an
understatement. About 40 years ago I caught my first walleye on a jig and since
that moment I’ve had a passion for refining a presentation that is my personal
favorite way to catch fish. Casting jigs for walleye is appealing for a number
of reasons, but mostly what makes this presentation special is it pits man
against fish. The only way to win this match up consistently is to master the
subtle, but critical skills associated with jig casting.
THE RIGHT MIND SET
teaching others the finer points of jig casting, I start by helping them get
the right mind set. Jig casting requires concentration and considerable
practice to master. This is not a fishing presentation for those who are more
interested in relaxing and drowning minnows than fishing!
try to imagine where my jig is and what it is doing from the instant I cast
until that jig is dangling a few inches from my rod tip ready for the next
cast. This visualization helps keep my reaction time sharp and helps to avoid
those surprise bites that ultimately end up in missed fish.
whole process of casting jigs is about keeping the bait moving enticingly and
near bottom. The way I accomplish this is by making a long cast and letting the
jig sink to bottom on a slack line with the reel bail open. This simple start
to the presentation insures that the jig covers the maximum amount of real
estate. If the reel bail is closed when the jig hits the water, the jig will
pendulum towards the boat as it sinks, cutting off precious water from every
the jig hits bottom, it’s easy to tell because the line will simply collapse on
the surface. At this point I point my rod tip directly at the jig and with the
rod at about the 10 o’clock position, I slowly reel up the slack line until I
can feel the weight of the jig in the rod tip.
this crucial instant, I raise the rod tip using my wrist from the 10 o’clock
position to about the 11 o’clock position. In doing so the jig is popped off
bottom and then allowed to pendulum towards me, eventually making contact with
second the jig hits bottom the line once again collapses on the surface. I then
lower the rod tip back to the 10 o’clock position reel up the slack line and
repeat raising the rod to the 11 o’clock position. This simple process moves
the jig a few feet each time and is repeated over and over again until the jig
has been completely retrieved back to the boat.
I tell guests at seminars that this is how I cast jigs for walleye, many are
amazed at how simple the process actually is. The mechanics of casting jigs is
simple, what gets more complicated is understanding what’s going on while this
whole process is being performed.
IT’S A SHALLOW GAME
casting is a presentation that shines best when walleye are found in shallow
water, usually 10 feet deep or less. This is precisely why it is important to
cast the jig rather than to try and fish vertical below the boat or to drag
jigs over top of fish. Casting reaches out and makes contact with fish before
the fish can detect the presence of the angler and get spooked.
jig casting game is almost always played in shallow water and sometimes very
shallow water. In fisheries where there is some color to the water, it’s not
uncommon for walleye to be found feeding in two feet of water or less. Stained
water allows walleye to slip into the shallows undetected and forage at will on
a variety of baitfish species.
and reels suitable for jig casting need to be lightweight, highly sensitive and
of suitable length to pick up slack line. In recent years I’ve been using the
Okuma Dead Eye series of rods designed with walleye fishing in mind. The seven
foot spinning, one piece medium/light action model is my favorite for pitching
jigs from 1/16 to 1/4 ounce in size.
prefer to match this rod with a 25 series Epixor or Dead Eye series spinning
reel. On the reel I load 10 pound test Vicious Braid that has a two pound test
diameter. To the braid I add a three foot leader of eight pound test Vicious
Pro Elite Fluorocarbon line that is tied directly to the jig.
prefer not to tie the braid directly to the jig for a couple of reasons. First
off, braid doesn’t hold common knots as well as fluorocarbon or monofilament.
in order to thread braided line into the eye tie of the jig, the line must be
first cut with a sharp scissors. It’s less time consuming to retie jigs on the
fluorocarbon leader than a main line of super braid.
THE JIG IS ALSO CRITICAL
world of walleye fishing is flooded with hundreds of different jigs touted as
being walleye jigs. Some of these jigs are best suited for vertical jigging,
others better for dragging presentations and a few produce well for casting
jig ideally suited for casting applications must have some specific
characteristics. The most important of these is a stand-up style head that
keeps the hook point aligned upright when the jig comes to a rest on the
bottom. Round head jigs and other jighead styles that allow the jig to tip over
when it hits bottom are useless for casting applications.
half of the bite when casting a jig come seconds after the jig has hit the
bottom and stirred up a little puff of sediment. A walleye will rush in, flare
it’s gills and literally suck the jig right up off the bottom. A jig that has
fallen over will end up in the walleye’s mouth, but the hook point may or may
not be pointed in the right direction to deliver a good hook set once the
angler detects the bite and sets the hook.
style jigs are superior because the hook point is always upright and in perfect
position for a hook set in the roof of the fish’s mouth. Of the stand-up jig
styles on the market, I favor a three models, all of which are produced by Bait
top choice for most jig casting applications is the Odd Ball. This modified
round head style jig stands up at about a 45 degree angle when it hits the
bottom every time. This style of jig can be fished with live bait, soft
plastics or a combination of both.
second jig I favor is called the Slo-Poke. This tear drop shaped jig features
an eye tie that comes out the nose of the jig, allowing it to slip through
weeds, wood and other debris with very few hang ups. Meanwhile the hook point
is always pointed upright and ready for action. Like the Odd Ball, the Slo-Poke
can be fished with live bait or soft plastics.
third jig I often use for casting applications is a new version of the Slo-Poke
called the Slo-Poke Long Shank. The semi stand-up head helps keep the hook
point properly positioned and the long shank hook is ideal for fishing with
larger soft plastics including action tail grubs, shad bodies and other minnow
SUMMING IT UP
casting is about understanding the dynamics of the presentation and matching
that up with gear suitable for the job. It takes concentration and focus to
become a good jig caster, but the most important variable is desire. Any angler
with the desire to master this presentation can do so assuming they are willing
to put in some quality time on the water.