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Cranking and Pausing For Fall Walleye!

By Captain Marty Papke - October 1, 2002
Fifteen feet of water and less, "crank and pause" a simple method that can take lot's of fall-time walleyes whether on Little Bay de Noc or any waters in this Midwest! Not being crank bait specific our choices most often are the Frenzy Baits. Lipped crank baits with varied diving lips and I'd choose several to cover different depths of water covering close this fifteen feet of water and less we are talking about. Casting a crank bait and it lets us know what lies under the water; weeds, sand or rock. A crank bait is like another sonar device for us only on the end of our fishing line. The key ingredient with all diving crank baits is that although floating when on the surface and cranking them down whatever they may bump into will tail first raise and be somewhat neutral buoyant placing themselves into the face of the fish. Working areas where weeds are present a crank bait will catch itself there and with a ripping action can be pulled through triggering walleye strikes.

Colors choices and shad, fire-tiger and perch are picks hard to beat and just plain work. Where to start on the Bay's water? The reefs and flats can be narrowed down pretty quickly when getting out a good map and Fishing Hot Spots Maps indeed detail all of what's needing in finding good fishing places. Weed beds, rock piles, sand and river mouth areas are great starts for this fishing method.

"Pausing is the trick that takes a lot of fish on our waters and its easy to understand why?" Walleyes at this time of the year are definitely looking at putting on the feed bag and stocking up for the upcoming winter. Crank baits imitate minnows and this is what the fish are feeding on. Key sizes in baits and stick to baits in the three to five inch range. Crank baits also get those aggressive, active fish working these weed beds and flats and this steady retrieve with the "pause" put in every few seconds of the retrieve triggers strikes. Let's process through an entire cast foot by foot. Two fishing combinations, either a medium action spinning rod in six to seven feet long like Fenwicks Techna AV, a medium size spinning reel like the Abu Garcia Center Drag CD6 spooled with six or eight pound XL or XT Berkley line. The other option is a bait casting rod and reel like the Abu Garcia Morrum bait caster spooled with 10 pound XT on a Berkley Series One rod is a perfect combination. Long casts to cover as much water as possible is important along with boat control and positioning the boat along the weed lines or edges make your cast, crank the bait down with a steady retrieve, "pause" and start the retrieve again, "pause" and continue on until to the boat, " one more little trick!" When approaching the boat stop your retrieve ten to twelve feet completely and just let the bait stall out for several seconds, so many times in the last several years we have taken some great catches of walleyes with only a few feet of line from the boat. What I've concluded in the last years is that these fish using this pausing method think this bait fish presentation is trying to elude its prey, pausing of the bait makes the fish assume the stillness of the bait its trying to fool this walleye, but who wins????????

Author Captain Marty Papke

Captain Marty Papke
Captain Marty Papke is the owner of Little Bay De Noc Fishing Charters. Captain Papke wears many hats as a full-time fishing educator, communicator and guide. Marty authors dozens of articles annually for fishing publications, and is frequently used as a source of information by other outdoor writers. You can get a hold of Marty at 1-800-708-2347 or email him at [email protected]. You can also get more information about his guide service by visiting
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