Why burbot??? ‘Cuz the walleye/northern/bass season closes here in MN this Sunday (2/23) already, and after that it’s fun catching something that actually fights back — sorry panfish! Plus burbot are so ugly that they’re pretty (can relate):
If you haven’t checked out our complete burbot guide on Target Walleye.com yet, better get on it! It’s jammed full of the best spots, gear and techniques…plus videos on how to fillet ’em and the craziest underwater footage we’ve ever seen.
Realized I didn’t have enough specifics in their on the actual setups and components I use, so just beefed it back up. Here’s a rundown of what I use when specifically targeting bigger-than-average greasers:
Rods: The average walleye stick is typically gonna be a 28-36″ M or MH fast-action rod. No doubt that’ll put fish topside, but if you wanna step up your burbot game — and specifically target bigguns more than a couple times a year — look into getting yourself a whoopin’ stick with some extra ‘oomph!’
I had the chance to play around with the 42″ H fast-action Elliott Rods Greenback and fell head over heels-boots for it. That burbot wand is solid carbon fiber, but reminded me a lot of the OG fiberglass sticks in the way she absorbed the thrashing/rolling of plus-sized burbs. Of course it still has loads of backbone [!] for driving those hooks home in deeper water.
Normally I only buy ice rods with shorter handles, but really dig the loooonger shank on this one. About 95% of the time I’m chasing burbs outside hole-hopping or fishing from a truck door, and that larger grip is super nice for fishing with a big mitt or glove. Larger-diameter eyelets also don’t ice up as often.
Line: …big fan of running 10-lb Sufix Advance mono…doesn’t absorb moisture like braid is prone to = more time fishing and less time stripping ice nuggets off your setup. Also has 50% LESS stretch [!] than standard monos — something about HMPE molecules, the same material braided lines are made from. Low memory and crazy soft/supple. …wasn’t specifically designed for ice fishing, but I sure am digging it.
Swivels: Constantly pounding bottom means your spoon or jig is gonna be twisting and turning in all sorts of directions — a small #12 or #10 VMC Rolling Swivel is gonna save you from twisted line and the headaches it brings. Tie it off to a 12-18″ fluoro leader and forget about it — those swivels are so tiny you’ll hardly notice ’em.
Leader: Burbs are far from line shy, so really no need to lighten up your leader. In fact, I’ll sometimes even bump up to a 12- or 14-lb leader to keep the bait from fouling. Stuff’s slightly stiffer — less like hair — so isn’t gonna wrap itself around the hook as often. Doesn’t seem like a big deal until your bait fouls with a fish on the graph and you’ve gotta reel up from 40′ to fix it….
Snaps: My go-to snap is a size #0 VMC Crankbait Snap = not too big, not too small. The obvious reason for running a snap is it lets you quickly swap out different colors and sizes without having to re-tie. A bigger reason I prefer this snap specifically is it has a “teardrop” almost-rounded bottom that lets the bait do its thing — sorta like a loopknot. Most other snaps have a ‘V’ shape that locks the bait in place:
Reels: Far as reels go, bigger is better. Can even snag one off your open-water setups that are probably collecting dust all winter. Tiny micro-spool ice reels will work, but stepping up to a size 20 — or sometimes even a 30 — is where it’s at for burbs. They simply work better for running larger diameter line (say 10+ lb), have better/smoother drag systems, and crank in more line with every turn of the handle. Comes in key when snatching fish out of deep water, or trying to keep the line tight as the fish is thrashing. Also much more glove/mitt friendly.
Learn waaaay more about burbot fishing here or by clicking the pic below: