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               Spring 2006 Feature Article

Visit the NEW Walleye Tackle

Scorpion Stinger Spoons

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Advanced Walleye Spinner Fishing
Keith Kavajecz and Gary Parsons 

 As we gear up for another greatly anticipated walleye fishing season, everyone is looking for that edge that will get them more bites. So what lures are you stocking up on these days? Next to jigs, spinner style crawler harnesses probably account for more walleyes than any other lure. They should … after all they offer both attracting and triggering characteristics that appeal to fish, and they are incredibly simple to use.  Categorized somewhere between a lure and terminal tackle, spinners are made up of various combinations of hooks, beads, and blades threaded on a monofilament leader. Alone, they don’t do much, but add a juicy nightcrawler, minnow, leech or even a plastic trailer, run it behind a bottom bouncer or other form of weighting system, and they become one of the deadliest walleye presentations ever.

Spinners have been around for decades in various forms, being fished for just about every species that swims. However, the evolutionary strides this group of lures has taken, pushed by the increased interest in walleye fishing the past few years, has been astounding. As with so many innovations in modern walleye fishing, experimentation by the rank and file fishermen as well as the efforts of tournament anglers has rocketed spinner design and fishing techniques to a new dimension of effectiveness. There have been some impressive improvements since the days of wire-shafted June-Bug spinners and Dacron line, and there’s no indication that we’ve reached the peak of this design revolution yet.

Not so many years ago, spinner choices for the walleye angler came down to a few key factors. If an angler wanted a spinner with “flash”, he’d choose a blade with a metallic finish like silver, copper, or gold. If color was more important to the spinner’s success, then a myriad of painted blades could be selected from. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when holographic blades came on the scene, that color and flash were merged together to give anglers the ultimate choice in spinner attraction. That innovation has sparked a revolution in walleye spinners that has elevated this already popular tactic to the forefront of walleye fishing.

The beauty of holographic finishes is that both attracting attributes; flash and color, can be combined to make these lures much more versatile. These blades can be used in a wide variety of water conditions from gin-clear to very dirty.  And the 3-dimensional holographic finish lends itself to much more than just the spinner blade. Working closely with Bass Pro Shops’ tackle designers, we developed a line of hologram spinner components including not only blades, but also spinner bodies. Instead of stringing together a number of beads to separate the blade from the hooks, the XPS Walleye Angler Blade Spacer is a foam body resembling a small baitfish featuring a hologram finish. They come in six colors and two sizes to fit any spinner application.

There was a time when the spinner was thought of as strictly a presentation for use on structure, run behind a bottom bouncer … no more! The open water fisheries of the Great Lakes have proven to be dynamite spinner waters when the right components are put to use. An open water spinner differs from a structure spinner in several ways. The blades are typically bigger (sizes ranging from #4’s to #6’s), treble hooks are often used in place of single hooks, and the weighting systems used are designed more for targeting suspended fish rather than bottom oriented walleyes. Off Shore Tackle Snap Weights have been a popular weighting system for open water spinners since they first made their way into the arsenals of big water walleye trollers. The weights are affixed to a small clip which is attached to the line, usually 25 to 50 feet in front of the spinner, after which additional line is released until the lure reaches the preferred depth. An older form of weighting system that has seen a resurgence over the past couple of years among open water spinner trollers is the in-line weight. Often referred to as “keel weights” or “bead-chain sinkers”, the popularity in these weights led us to develop a set of weights for Bass Pro called the XPS Walleye Angler Keel-Style Trolling Weights. Available in 3 sizes (1, 2 and 3 ounce), these weights are molded to resemble small baitfish, feature the same holographic finish as the blades and bodies mentioned earlier, and work “double-duty”, acting as not only a weighting system but an attractor ahead of the spinner as well. So which weighting system is best? You’ll have to let the walleyes tell you. We've seen days when one way out produces the other, other days when it was about fifty-fifty. We almost always start by running both Snap Weights and in-line weights, and go with what ever presentation is getting the most bites.

The flash and vibration of the blade along with the scent of the bait combine to make spinners deadly walleye catchers. Whether you apply them to fishing structure on small lakes, or trolling the open waters on the Great Lakes, the advancements in spinner fishing is sure to make big waves in your walleye catching success.

Editor's Note: If you have questions or comments on this or other articles of ours you may have read, contact us through our website at