When the walleye bite gets tough, these lures can save the day
EXPERT ANGLER: MATT KOPRASH
GO-TO LURE: ROUND-HEAD JIG
Multispecies angler Matt Koprash from North Bay, Ontario, is pretty sure that as a kid, the first lure he ever tied onto his spincasting combo was a jig. Even today, he still loves the simple round-head jig. “Since then, I’ve gained immense confidence in jigs, and learned how to fish them properly,” says Koprash, who fishes the northeastern Ontario tournament circuit. “Their versatility is endless, but dragging, popping and swimming jigs are three of my favourite ways to fish them. Plus, they’re easy to use, and ridiculously cheap.”
Traditionally, Koprash tipped his jigs with a nightcrawler or minnow, but he’s been increasingly relying on soft-plastics, which typically attract the biggest fish from a school. His squishy favourites include PowerBait Rib Worms, Pro Grubs and Power Swimmers, and three-inch Gulp! Alive! Minnows. Says Koprash: “You put a jig dressed with one of those baits into any spot and you’re going to catch walleye.”
HOW TO FISH IT
Koprash searches for walleye where there’s a transition in the bottom, especially a change from sand to rock when he can feel his jig drag over every pebble. He also loves fishing fast-flowing northern Ontario rivers, such as the Spanish and French. “I target the current seams, and areas where timber lay-downs provide cover for the fish,” he says. “I can make a jig shine in those spots.”
Koprash’s standard jig rod is a six-foot six-inch to seven-foot Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye or Berkley Series One spinning rod, in either medium or medium-heavy action with a fast tip. He teams his sticks with size 2500 to 3000 spinning reels, which pick up a lot of line on the initial hookset and provide a larger surface area for a smoother drag. As for line, his top choice is FireLine Ultra 8 Carrier braid with a leader of Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Professional Grade. When using half-ounce jigs or lighter, he sticks with a 15-pound-test main line and six- to 10-pound leader. For heavier jigs, he increases the leader strength to eight to 15 pounds.