Fishing Tips

Snap jigging plastics for shallow fall walleyes

by Will Stolski

Over the last 4-5 years, snap jigging has become a hot topic within the world of walleye fishing. Much of this is due to (who many would call) the pioneer of the technique: Al Lindner. While snap jigging has become a popular summer technique, it also transitions nicely into the fall months.

I tracked down walleye-nut Will Pappenfus to get the down-low on this bite ‘cuz it’s a big part of his fall rotation…and clearly has been putting it to good use:

Location

> Will: It’s definitely more of a shallow-water deal…usually less than 10′. A lot of guys go deep in the fall but if you can find green weeds (cabbage or coontail) in 4-7′ there’s going to be fish/bait hanging around.

> Aside from weeds, I like to look for wind-blown points, stuff with rocks or gravel in 4-10′. Don’t necessarily need deep water nearby…. Fish roam around more in the fall than people think, so finding the bait is key.

Gear

> A 1/4-oz Northland Current Cutter Jig is my go-to. The longer shank and bait-keeper seems to keep the plastic pinned better than most jigs.

> Dress the jig with either an Impulse Core Swimbait or an AuthentX Pulse-R Paddle Tail. I usually stick with natural colors (shiner, smelt) unless the water is really stirred up, then I’ll switch to something brighter (chartreuse and pinks).

> Plastics ‘cuz they stay on the jig a lot better than live bait…allows me to fish faster and be more aggressive until I find a pod of fish.

> As far as rods go, I like a 6’ 8” medium, extra-fast action stick. I feel that quicker action allows you to get more of a snap out of the jig.

> 10-lb braid to a 10-lb fluorocarbon leader. The leader doesn’t have to be long, 2-3’ max. I like using fluoro because it has less stretch and visibility than mono. I use a double-uni knot, no swivel.

Retrieve

> Long casts…I want that jig as far away from the boat as possible. Once it hits the water, I’m letting it sink to the bottom before I do anything — bottom contact is key.

> Make a quick snap, then let it sit on the bottom for few seconds…a lot of times fish will be following the bait, so that 1- or 2-second pause is when they eat it.

> If they don’t eat it on the bottom, usually that quick snap will get a reaction bite out of fish and they’ll eat it on the fall.

> Position your boat so you can fish the edge of the structure. A lot of times the fish won’t be up in the weeds or rocks, but hanging right outside of the structure waiting to ambush.

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