Ask the Pros

March 1, 2016

Q: Jim Hammond

Jim’s question:
Myself, 2 sons and grandson are going to Vermilion Lake over Memorial day weekend and we are looking for tips on catching smallmouths and walleyes. Any tips on lures and  areas to fish that time of the year. Big fan of Al’s. Appreciate any help you can give us.


A: from Jeremy Smith

Hey Jim,
Thanks for reaching out.

That should be a great time of year to be on Vermilion. Depending on the water temps, you should be able to have a really good bite fishing jerk baits, like X-Raps and Shadow Raps, on rock flats between 4′-8′.


The nice thing about jerk baits is you’ll catch both walleye and bass.

If the smallmouth are building nests, a classic tube on the bottom is a great way to catch them. For walleyes, that time of year is still primetime jig/minnow or jig/plastic.
Most of the fish will be in 10′ or less.
Hope you have a great trip with your boys and grandson!

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July 2, 2015

Q: What are some keys to catching walleye at night?
I’m typically off the water as the sun is setting, so I’ve never tried night fishing.
Are there any major presentation differences between daytime and nighttime fishing?​

A: from Dave Csanda
Walleye can be caught at night during all year round.
Here are two different presentation techniques for night stalking walleye.
1. Flat line trolling original Rapala Minnows (size: #9 or #11).
Focus on shallow rock flats and developing weed beds in the 5′ to 8′ depth range,
slow trolling with the trolling motor at .8 mph.

2. An alternative technique is to slip bobber fish with live leeches.
Focus on boulder piles and high spots on main lake points or humps.
You want to set the stop knot at a depth where the lively leech is wriggling about 18″ off the bottom.

Night time is often the right time to catch big walleye!

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July 2, 2015

Q: What is the best line for fishing topwater baits for bass?

A: from James Lindner
My preferred line for casting prop baits, poppers, and jump baits would be monofilament;
14-17 lb. test clear Sufix Siege.
In most more recent years, some tournament bass pros have gone to 15-20 lb. braid
with a short fluorocarbon leader.

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July 2, 2015

Q: What is the best knot for tying a flourocarbon leader onto braid?

A: from Dave Csanda
One of the simplest knots for tying a fluorocarbon leader to braid is a double uni knot.
Here is an illustration on how to tie the knot.
I’ve used this same knot connection for all different angling situations in both fresh and saltwater.

Click here for Illustration

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July 2, 2015

Q: I’ve been using the Jigging Rap through the ice for years now
and would like to try it for open water walleye sometime this year.
Any tips? (ie. water temp, color, presentation)

A: from Al Lindner
Bar none, one of my favorite techniques for catching walleye from late spring
throughout the fall in depths from 15 to 30 feet of water.
I’m typically targeting sunken islands and the perimeter of main lake points.
The retrieve is critical.  Short casts, let it sink to the bottom.
Snap the bait off the bottom with four foot rod sweeps, then let it fall
on a slack line back to the bottom.
Repeat the process.

It’s a fantastic way to trigger reactionary strikes from deep water walleye.

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