North Country Walleyes, 'Meat' The Precision JigBy JP Bushey - February 18, 2015
Inside a shelter, rig up a horizontal rod holder and set your drag to slip a little if a good fish scoops up the jig and minnow when you're not looking. I like shorter rods, from 26 to 32 inches long with a soft tip. A bouncy tip shows what your minnow is doing at all times and gives walleyes a cushion when they pick the bait up. You'll see them hit before they feel the rod. Set the hook by simply lifting firmly and reeling. A good jig hook slips right in, without much effort.B FISH N Tackle's H20 Precision Jigs have emerged as my favorite head for two reasons:
- A sharp, fine-wire Mustad hook does minimal damage to live minnows, so they stay frisky and looking for trouble.
- They're available in huge varieties of weights and colors. They're one of the few companies that makes a true, gold plated jig head. In the tannin/iron-stained lakes in northern Ontario, this color is just aces for me.
Tip-ups with live minnows generate tons of walleye all winter for us too, but nothing beats watching a fish hit right beside you and then fighting it on a light rod and reel outfit. Of course, look for walleye on your sonar as you jig with more aggressive lures. You'll be impressed by how many respond to the jig and minnow.
What's nice about these colder periods is they force me into moving around less and slowing my entire approach way down. How is that even remotely a good thing? For one, camping out on good spots really lends itself to being thorough, meticulous and maximizing what I'm doing. There's nothing better suited to soaking great structure than a baited jig. Use the cold and rougher travel to your advantage. Ma Nature wants to pin me down all day with huge wind chill or deep slush all over the lake? No problem. I'll set up on a sweet spot and kill it softly. Don't fight the bite. If things slow down or you're unable to be as mobile as you'd like, capitalize on it.
It's worth noting that while walleye in the inland lakes we fish 'up north' love the jig and minnow, so too do our big water fish, in places like Georgian Bay and The Bay of Quinte. If you fish anywhere along Ontario's Trent-Severn system, in the Muskokasor on that big beauty they call Lake Nipissing, get a couple different jig and minnow rods set up and play them.
And one more thing: small, heavy, lower-action spoons also make a deadly anchor for a live minnow who's good and irritated. Think Buckshots, Swedish Pimples or my personal favorite, the Custom Jigs & Spins Vertiglo Lightning Spoon. Knick the minnow around the dorsal fin, give the glow paint a good zap and feed it to 'em.