Splitshot rig: The original ‘finesse’ presentation?
Great write-up from Gary Howey talking about a finesse-y presentation that was being used far before the word “finesse” was even applied to fishing techniques = the splitshot rig. His full write-up here, but a few excerpts below:
> Early-spring fishing can be tough. With the cool weather we have been facing this year and heavy winds pounding the water, it seems to guarantee a lack of success.
> In a normal spring, we usually look for warming water brought about by higher temps…. Find the warmest water in the lake and you will find walleye…. Now water temps are in the low 50s. If we can just get a week of normal, warming weather…fish activity will heat up.
> I have a suggestion that has worked well for me over the years under the toughest of conditions. …it only works when fish are in shallow water, say 10′ or less. It’s the simplest of presentations. It’s been my go-to set up since the 1970s…so it’s nothing new, but I’m afraid most anglers have simply forgotten about it.
> …a simple hook on the end of your line. About 15″ above the hook is a split-shot about the size of a pea. For walleyes, attach a medium-sized minnow….
> Years ago, we simply used an Aberdeen-style gold hook, either a Mustad or Eagle Claw, in #4. That will still work just fine, but another hook option is the short-shanked, up-eye hook used most often for walleyes. I like a #4 for smaller minnows.
> There’s a couple different kinds of splitshots. Some come with short “ears” that can open the splitshot after it’s attached to the line…but those little ears tend to hang up [in] rock-rubble areas [and] the little pulses they send up the line as they tap the rocks is irritating. I prefer to use the simple, round splitshots…tend to move across the bottom much better and will not pick up any weeds or other debris.
> Certainly don’t use [line] above 6-lb test and 4 is even better. There’s not much weight to get you down on the bottom so smaller diameter line is best. …I prefer fluorocarbon…it’s nearly invisible to the fish [and] it sinks. Mono floats…really little detail, but successful fishing is often brought about by little details.
> …most walleyes will have already spawned. But you should still seek out spawning areas because not all walleyes spawn at the same time, and the smaller males will stay on the spawning grounds for at least a couple of weeks.
> In natural lakes…look for rock-rubble areas associated with the shoreline. Fish water from about 4′ to 10′. Slow is important this time of year, and one advantage of the splitshot rig is it will force you to fish slowly. You want to be on the bottom so stop-and-go trolling techniques are the best. Don’t work in a straight line…walleyes will spook out from under a boat in shallow water. If you troll in a zig-zag fashion, you will be pulling your rig over water you haven’t covered with your boat.
> I prefer long, light rods for splitshot rig fishing. A 6′ 6″ or 7′ ML spinning rod is perfect. The longer rod will allow you to hook fish better because a lot of slack can develop in this rig. The extra length can mean the difference between hooking up to a light-biting walleye or missing the fish.