Lindy RiggingBy Dave Duwe - September 1, 2013
With clients, and young people, live bait is the easiest and most productive way to catch fish. Anyone who has fished with me over the last twenty years of guiding knows my love of Lindy rigging. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to present live bait. I rig for walleyes, smallmouth and northern pike.
The lindy rig is a walking sinker or Lindy no-snagg sinker, a ball bearing swivel, a snell from two feet to 10 feet and a hook. When fishing nightcrawlers or leeches a #4 or #6 size octopus hook is one of the best. For minnows I choose a larger #2 hook. The size of the weight is determined by a couple of factors. First is the water depth you are fishing, the deeper the water, the heavier the weight. Walking sinkers come in a whole bunch of sizes, 1/8 oz to 1 ½ oz is what I use the most. Secondly, how fast you are trolling makes a difference. You want the rig on the bottom and the line at a 45 degree angle off the bottom. A simple rule, the faster you troll the heavier the weight. The snell length is a bit more complicated. There are a myriad of factors including, clarity of water, where the fish are located in the water column, how skittish the fish are, etc. The most important component to the lindy rig is the quality ball bearing swivel. Without one you will have a day full of line twists.
Rigging with customers I almost always position fish or back troll very slowly. The need for a heavy weight isn't necessary. I choose a leader length of two to three feet.
For bass or walleye I use a spinning outfit, a Pflueger President reel spooled with 8 lb Silver Thread monofilament and a 6'6" medium action Fenwick rod. For Northern Pike, I use 20 lb monofilament on an Abu Garcia 6500 with a bait clicker on a 7' medium heavy Berkley lightening rod. The areas I concentrate on are "spot" on spots, which make my presentation stationary and vertical.
For walleye, the bait of choice is nightcrawlers or leeches. For smallmouth use minnows, chubs and leeches and for Northern Pike, I use exclusively "meat" ,suckers or chubs.
As an avid Lindy fisherman, I wanted to gain some pro walleye angler's perspective so I called a couple of buddies who are in the know. I contacted Brad Davis, a Skeeter boat pro who fishes the pro walleye trail and Jon Thelen, field promotion manager for Pradco Outdoor Brands, the company that now owns Lindy Legendary fishing tackle.
Jon's approach to lindy rigging was quite comparable. Jon fishes defined edges with scattered rubble deeper than 15 ft. of water. He uses a medium sized walking sinker 3/8 oz to ¾ oz or Lindy no-snagg sinkers with at least an eight foot snell. He trolls at 0.7 to 1.0 mph, half the speed of Brad Davis. The rod and reel combo is exactly the same as Brad's with the only exception being his reel is spooled with monofilament. Jon only uses a fluorocarbon snell in a 10lb line diameter. Jon believes the Lindy no-snagg sinkers allow him to catch more fish on a given day. Once a walleye bites, Jon waits about as long as I do to set the hook, 10-15 seconds.
To recap, here are the keys to Lindy rigging everyone should use.
- The deeper the water, the heavier the weight.
- Ball bearing swivels are a must.
- The clearer the water, the longer the snell
- When trolling, make sure your line remains at a 45 degree angle to the bottom.