Tips for targeting walleye when the water’s cool and the days are still short
#5 Use a slip-bobber with live bait
Whether you’re fishing from shore or from a boat, try using a slip bobber to suspend live bait such as a leech or minnow tipped on a small jig head or single hook. For the best results, suspend the offering about six inches off the lake bottom. Using a bobber is fun, because it adds a visual dimension to fishing.
There’s no question that when a bobber slowly disappears under the water’s surface, a fish is biting and it’s time to reel in the slack and set the hook the moment you feel resistance. If the bobber suddenly falls over on its side, meanwhile, that means a walleye has grabbed the bait and is swimming upwards; when that happens, quickly reel in and set the hook.
Give the bobber neutral buoyancy by attaching just enough splitshot to the line so only the top portion of the float is sticking out of the water. That way, a fish won’t feel resistance when it grabs the bait, and even the slightest of bites can be detected.
A spinning reel spooled with abrasion-resistant line such as Berkley XT in six- or eight-pound test, along with a seven-foot medium-power, medium-action rod is perfect for slip-bobber fishing. The longer rod and flexible tip lets you cast the bobber farther, while the medium action absorbs some of the shock for making clean hooksets.