Don’t leave the launch without these hooks in your tackle bag when chasing ‘eyes.
Using sharp, quality hooks on lures and when bait rigging is one of the easiest ways to catch more walleye. There’s no shortage of hook options available. Here are five reliable styles you need.
Let’s face it, some days live-bait rigging is about the only way to catch walleye. If I had to pick one hook for live-bait tactics, such as Lindy Rigs and slip-float set-ups, it would be an octopus style. Compact and made with thin wire, these hooks are perfect for lightly hooking a minnow, night crawler, or leech without impeding the bait’s alluring action. I find sizes 2, 4, and 6 cover most scenarios.
This is a deadly technique for catching walleye whether using live or artificial leeches, worms, and minnows. Anywhere you’d fish a jig is prime turf for a drop-shot rig, and some days one method can outperform the other.
I use size 1 and 1/0 drop-shot specific hooks. Two reliable picks are the Gamakatsu G-Finesse Hook and Owner Down Shot Offset Worm Hook.
Those struggling with line twist should consider the Gamakatsu Swivel Shot G-Finesse Hook, Mustad No-Twist Drop Shot Hook, or VMC Spinshot Drop-shot Hook. These hooks are designed to combat line spin common with this technique.
If you’re not hip to the slow-death groove for walleye, make it a point to start this season. Once a tourney pro’s secret, the industry has spilled the beans on this deadly tactic. In a nutshell, a 1 to 1 1/2-inch piece of worm is threaded on a bent worm hook, tied to a leader, and attached to a bottom bouncer.
The method’s magic is in the specialty hook’s bend. The curve causes the night crawler to corkscrew through the water — an action walleye find irresistible. When fish are keyed-in on mayflies and other small forage, this rig is, well, deadly.
The Berkley Fusion19 Slow-Turn Hook, Mustad UltraPoint Slow Death Hook, VMC Spindrift, and Matzuo Rip-N Roll are examples of products specifically for the technique.
Walleye can be notorious for lightly biting jigs. One way to stick short-striking fish is adding a size 8 or 10 treble stinger hook to extend the hook-point coverage of the presentation.
Attachment methods vary. Stingers with a rubber loop go over the main hook point. While stingers with a clip or loop can be affixed to the jig’s line tie or a separate eye specific for attaching stinger hooks.
Bass Pro Shops, Eagle Claw, Lindy, Owner, Northland, and VMC all make stinger hooks.
Every year I catch plenty of fish trolling crankbaits, casting bladebaits, and working jigging spoons. Bottom contact, catching fish, and getting torqued in a landing net are scenarios that can damage a treble hook. For these reasons, I always carry a supply of spare trebles for on-the-water changes.
Watch this video for Tim’s walleye finesse tactics and bait-rigging options.