A quartet of techniques - and their counterpart St. Croix rods - to seize spring walleyes
Park Falls, WI - For states with closed walleye seasons, the gap between when the ice is too treacherous to traipse and legal fishing begins anew can be a painful one. During that bleak span, however, walleye fishing strategies are built, trips booked, reels spooled and tackleboxes replenished.
For those lucky guys and gals who've bankrolled for new rods, St Croix Rod offers a model for every spring walleye endeavor. The vaunted Eyecon series was developed to accommodate every conceivable method in your bag of tricks, and at a price-tag that'll leave plenty of coin for lures, line…and a pound or more of leeches.
Here are some personalized selections to maximize your spring walleye fishing:
Lindy, or live bait rigging, is perhaps walleye fishing's most versatile and venerable technique. The ingredients are simple, too. Thread a sliding sinker up your main line, tie in a swivel, connect a leader line to the swivel's open end and affix a plain hook. Sinker weights and styles, leader lengths and strengths, hook styles and sizes, and live bait selections are as variable as fish moods, each configuration predicated by depth, speed of presentation and what the fish are gnawing on. Regardless, the Eyecon Riggin' spinning rod, one or two-piece, puts feel in your hand and walleyes in the boat. At 7', with a medium-light power and fast-action, the Eyecon Riggin' rod telegraphs bottom bumps and yields a sweet, sweeping hookset. Drop the tip, let 'ol marble eye get a solid taste, and put the soft pins to tonight's main course.
Admit it. No matter how old you get or how many fish are brought boat-side, nothing eclipses the exhilaration of seeing your float slip away and out of sight. (Perhaps even more thrilling at night with a lit float.) Could be anything from an eater male walleye to that fish you've dreamt about immortalizing for the office. Setting the fish, however, can be a challenge, especially with a rod too short and stiff. To the contrary, spanning 8' from butt to tip, the medium-light power, fast-action Eyecon Drift-N-Float mops up the slack, so you set the fish, not a bunch of limp line and shattered dreams. Float fishing might seem like child's play, but trust that you'll see things differently after whiffing in front of your buddies. Let the Eyecon Drift-N-Float take that solid hit and drive it home.
The jig - the most basic bait in your arsenal - in its humblest form, consisting of only lead and a hook. Walleyes, however, lose their minds over the methodic rise and fall, the jig tipped with anything from a live minnow, leech or half-crawler, to modern plastics like paddle-tail grubs and ringworms. One of the more recent adaptations to jigging is "snap jigging." Instead of rhythmically pumping or hopping the jig, you snap it like nobody's business, then let the jig freefall or descend on a semi-taunt line. Counterintuitive to the spring mindset - fish slow in cold water - the snap often compels even antisocial walleyes to leave their resting posture on the bottom. Fortunately, St. Croix has designed a rod specifically for this precision technique. The 6'8", medium-power, extra-fast-action Eyecon Snap Jigging rod has the brute strength to jerk a jig with impunity, giving it immediate and aggressive animation, yet the fighting-function to play a lunker walleye to the landing net.
Crankbaits might be the most underappreciated bait for catching spring walleyes. Stereotyping tells us to deliver actual flesh and blood in a slow, controlled fashion to match the sluggishness of the fish. When in real life, even if the walleyes aren't bouncing off the buoys, baitfish don't just sit idle awaiting execution. Quite the contrary. If there's a walleye in their midst, hightailing is in quick order. Crankbaits, more specifically, stickbaits - think Original Rapala or contemporary LIVETARGET Rainbow Smelt Jerkbait - sashay through the water like the real McCoy. And with intermittent snaps, the stickbait appears to be fleeing, and walleyes aren't wired to let food get away. At 7', boasting medium-power and moderate-action, the new-for-2017 Eyecon Crankin' rod is tailormade for chucking stickbaits great distances; yielding the sensitivity to feel the throb of the wobble; and eliciting the right amount of power to close the deal.
Whether your walleye season is about to get underway, or its open 24/7/365, these spring tactics and specific rod recommendations will put you on the path to walleye fishing success.
Eyecon spinning rods retail from $120 to $140.
Eyecon Spinning Features:
- Premium-quality SCII graphite
- Technique-specific walleye series designed and built for superior performance
- Kigan Master Hand 3D guides featuring slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings with black frames
- Fuji® IPS reel seat /black hood on spinning models
- Split-grip /premium-grade cork handle with EVA trim
- Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
- 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service