Live Bait Riggin’ Fall Walleye’s
Location: Gull Lake Brainerd, Mn
Water Temp: 58.3F
Ambient Temp: 54F
Wind: SE 10-15mph
The last couple of weeks I have been having a lot of success live bait rigging big Redtails and Creek Chubs for fall walleye’s. While live bait rigging minnows is nothing new, there are some slight modifications you can do to put more fish in your boat.
This was very evident to me yesterday while fishing on Gull Lake near Brainerd, Mn. I have been spending a lot of time on Gull Lake this fall. A week ago I fished Walleye Dan’s Fishing To End Hunger Tournament on the lake. My tournament partner Doug Robinson and I had a solid showing, taking 5th Place with 16.81lbs (6 fish) out of 80-some teams. We pre-fished several days, and had fish going in several areas.
The main pattern for us was working deep (35’-45’) wind-blown underwater points and inside turns. We used a two-step approach while pre-fishing and for the tournament. One angler would try an aggressive approach working a #7 or #9 Jigging Rapala, while the other would rig a lively minnow. Both worked, but the minnow rig was the most consistent for bigger fish.
“The word” is out so to speak on this lake right now. When I arrived to one of the areas yesterday, there were already a dozen or so boats working a particular deep water structure. I grabbed my rigging rod, and picked out a nice lively 5” Redtail minnow.
Here is the little trick-instead of hooking the minnow in the head like 95% of the people do when lindy rigging. I hooked the minnow towards the tail! When you tail hook bigger minnows two things happen. First, big Redtails and Creek Chubs are strong swimmers. Tail hooking these minnows provides A LOT of action to your bait.
Second, when you tail hook a minnow you can set the hook a little quicker as the fish will always take it head first. Your hook doesn’t need to turn around like it does if the minnow was hooked through its head. No doubt, both methods work.
But, if your fishing pressured fish I suggest trying tail hooking your offering. While everyone yesterday was catching an occasional fish, I was by far catching the most in this area. I had two different boats what I was doing differently---those are FUN days!
My Jigging Rap rods are Medium Heavy 7’ Guide Series in IM8 graphite. I use Pflugar reels spooled with #6 smoke Fireline. A small ant swivel is attached, and I use a 2’ leader of #8 Trileene XT attached to a quick-snap.
My rigging rods are Medium 7’ Guide Series in IM8 graphite. Again, I use Pflugar reels spooled with #6 smoke Fireline. Another small key to my set-up I feel is using a small red bead and using either a ¾ oz. or 1oz egg sinker opposed to a walking style sinker ahead of a small ant swivel.
The red bead adds a tiny bit of color. More importantly, when the bead and sinker hit each other, it gives off a bit of a rattling sound. I then tie on my mono leader. For this, I use a 36” to 48” leader of #6 Berkley Sensation and attach a #2 Daiichi red hook (I will use#1 if my minnows are really big).
I try to hold the sinker up off the bottom 6” to 18” and will occasionally contact bottom with it. With these big minnows, using Fireline, weather you realize it or not, is a huge factor. The line has near zero stretch, which allows me to feel the minnow getting active almost telegraphing a strike. Another factor for using this particular line for this application is to drive that hook into the fish’s mouth in the deeper water.
Give this method a try next time you’re out. You won’t be disappointed in the results!