When I first started fishing with plastic for walleye I was amazed at the fact that I could catch them on a plastic tail and a jig, often better than when using live bait. While walleye and sauger would mouth a large fathead or nibble on a half crawler, those same fish would slam a 4-6" Moxi like my dog grabbing his rawhide chew bone!
While a jig and plastic is still my top way to approach these walleye on both rivers and lakes in fall and spring, I've since added a few more plastic presentations to my arsenal like a weedless jig, Chatterbait and the Tokyo Rig. Each has their time and place, read on to find out.
One Hot Jig & 3 Cool Plastics
A jig is still the most versatile way to present plastic. The B-Fish-N H20 jig has been my go-to jig for years now. The primary reason I love it is its streamlined head that cuts and holds the jig in the current. The H2O comes in 9 weights and 11 colors. The weight is stamped on the bottom of the head so you can find the right one fast.
Choose the right jig weight
No matter how you fish a jig, the weight you choose is very important. Walleye and sauger are sensitive to weight unless they are in competition with another fish or on a suicide feeding spree.
Once you become a better jig fisherman, you will begin to use lighter weights and coincidentally begin to catch more fish. The key is to use just enough weight to stay within a few inches off bottom. When vertical jigging, bottom contact once in a while is most important especially when river fishing.
The Bucktail Rip-N-Paddle
Rip jigging is a triggering motion that really fires the walleye up. Bucktail jigs are commonly used in this rip technique that entices walleye to strike.
There are several styles of Bucktail and synthetic hair jigs out there but my favorite is "Bucktail" Wayne's Jig made by B-Fish-N Tackle. It uses the same head as the H20 Jig.
I like to add a twist to mine by adding an AuthentX Paddletail swim bait on the hook. The Paddletail is streamlined and has a small high speed tail that reacts to the slightest motion. Couple it a fast moving bucktail and it's got a great rigging motion.
Ripping is quite the opposite of vertical jigging in that heavier weights are good because you get a reaction strike from the fish. The ripping technique is a two to three foot rip and then reel in the slack. Sometimes a double rip followed by a single in the key...you'll want to imitate a fleeing or dying fish that a walleye won't resist!
As we anglers know, walleye like to hide in weeds, brush, rocks and generally snaggy areas. Throwing a standard jig into this hornet nest will usually result in a break-off, so some sort of snagless jig is the way to go.
B-Fish-N Tackle's Draggin' Jig is THE most snagless jig I know of and it really digs those temperamental walleye out of cover.
Whether you use soft plastic like an AuthentX Ringworm or 3" Moxi, you'll appreciate the wire keeper that holds your plastic tight to the head. It creates a better action and you will catch more fish.
Chatter 'Em Up
I've caught my share of walleye while bass fishing with a Chatterbait. The tight wobble and vibration that a Chatterbait produces is an absolute trigger to walleye if they are around. While the Chatterbait is not the best selection for every fall walleye scenario, there are certain areas that the Chatterbait really shines.
When the walleye are shallow a little extra action the Chatterbait provides really attracts those fish in. While I have tried all types of trailers, my absolute favorite is an AuthentX Ribb-Finn. The Ribb-Finn has a ribbed body and a little tail that wiggles and swims as giving while not messing up the vibration and attraction of the Chatterbait. This is a big walleye killer.
Try a Tokyo Rig
My final option is a Tokyo Rig. This simple rig is really effective in thick cover, weeds, rocks, brush...you name it. I like to rig mine weedless with a big gaudy AuthentX 4" Moxi tail and cast it into the thickest stuff I can find.
This is a new method that I really haven't perfected yet, but it's destined to be a classic.
There are many ways to catch a walleye, but pitching plastic bait is my go-to favorite way to fish. With all the different ways to present plastic, I'll need to get out fishing more!
For more information about fishing plastic and to check out some hot walleye products contact B-Fish-N Tackle at 800-831-5535 for a FREE Tips and Tricks catalog.