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Late Summer Walleye's on Little Bay de Noc!

By Captain Marty Papke - September 1, 2004
Catching walleye is a full time business for us, although the "fishing" is always a bunch of fun sometimes the "catching" can be a challenge! Let's examine a method of jigging that tends to produce some fish for us all through the year. "Snap-jigging" is nothing new to the walleye fisherman out there but as many fishing techniques are always introduced and talked about we all are guilty of not always using them!

This method of fishing does catch lots of fish when other methods fail. Two pieces of tackle to use consist of a 1/4 ounce jig like Northland's Round Head and several assorted sizes of Power Baits and the "new" Berkley "Gulp" artificials. Color choices and sticking with natural colors; blacks, whites along with pumpkinseed. As mentioned earlier by using a certain method of fishing and sticking to it does pay off. A Power Grub or "Gulp" slid up and over the bait-keeper of the jig head holding it in place combined with a 6 to 7 foot medium action jigging rod and spinning reel spooled with 8 pound XL. Using heavier line allows the snap-jigging method to work at its best.

An explanation of using this method is pretty straightforward. Choosing you're fishing area and casting out your jig/grub combination let this 1/4-ounce jig settle to the lake floor. Once on the lake floor, hold you're fishing rod at an approximate 45-degree angle begins with a wrist pop, snapping action. Popping this jig off bottom about a foot or so stop and let the jig/grub drop back to the lake floor. Continue this process until your vertical below the boat and begin again with another cast. Many times strikes usually occur with the drop of the jig/grub combo. Although fishing open water is the easiest approach fishing weedbeds can be a bit "tougher!" Watching the jig/grub drop it many times will settle into a weed clump or weed stem and become hung up, by lightly snapping the jig you will rip it free of the weeds and it will again begin to descend to the lake floor upon where slack line meaning on bottom again doing the wrist pop method.

Another method is back-trolling, making your cast long lining the jig combination and while going backwards on structure keep snapping the rod tip giving the bait lots of action! If you're having troubles working weedbeds with a Round Head jig you might choose a weedless type jig like the Weed Weasel, its fiber gaurds do a great job working heavy cabbage or coontail and can still be tipped with a Power Grub. It's important to always remember that this fishing method is a fast method of getting reaction strikes. Using a hook file will keep those hooks extremely sharp slicing through the weeds and ensuring good hook sets.

"Good beds of cabbage and coontail weeds not to mention my favorite weeds to fish the elodia weed a short but thickly growing weed that covers the lake floor creating good cover, oxygen and places for baitfish to be found."
The "best areas" to using this snap-jigging method can be throughout the bay waters from depths of as shallow as 2 feet to 22 feet or deeper. Whether fishing open water areas or working the abundant green, lush weedbeds of cabbage, coontail and elodia snap-jigging works! Personally I feel this fishing method is more of a "strike-response" or "quick-reaction" method of triggering walleye to bite. Good beds of cabbage and coontail weeds not to mention my favorite weeds to fish the elodia weed a short but thickly growing weed that covers the lake floor creating good cover, oxygen and places for baitfish to be found. Open water snap-jigging areas: spend time over some of the main breaklines dropping from 20 to 30 feet of water like off the Center Reef, eastern upper shoreline drops, south of Gladstone and the deeper water of the Black Bottoms, off the Escanaba River mouth are some good starts. Weed bed areas: the Kipling Bay, 1st. 2nd. and 3rd. Reefs, the river mouths of the Days, Whitefish and Rapid and Nelson's Bay.

The last several years with the water becoming clearer, noticeable weed beds are popping up in the northern most part of the bay. Areas like these hold "walleye" all the time! Other areas to concentrate on would be the Beach House areas in Gladstone and following both the east and west shorelines to and beyond Escanaba have some great green weedbeds.

The next time you're looking for another alternate plan to fishing walleye try a "snap-jigging" method and find how much fun you really can have! Our goals throughout the past 25 years and counting of being a fishing guide and Charter Captain have been, "teaching people how to fish!" and we'll continue that legacy for a long time to come. If you're looking to fishing and learning more about Little and Big Bay de Noc let us take you out on the water and enjoy fishing!

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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