Full scoop in this NWT Insider Report, few details below:
Duane said he drove 30-40 miles north from Marinette – staying on the west shore and heading up towards Big Bay de Noc. There, he sampled offshore structure or what he called resting spots:
> Duane Hjelm: “They’re starting to set up on their summer homes. We were keying in on areas that didn’t have as much baitfish. There was tons and tons of baitfish around, but up there, there wasn’t hardly any. It wasn’t like it was everywhere else…they seemed more friendly.
> “It was basically little shoals or little knobs that had current deflections. Walleyes could get in front of it or behind it, depending if they were resting or feeding. Rocks were a good thing, but if it didn’t have rock, we didn’t rule it out.”
He was fishing ultra-clear water in 18-24′ and said the fish were suspended 2′ to 10′ off the bottom. At times, he would slide up as shallow as 14′.
> “I wasn’t making a cast unless I saw a fish. I had my head down on my Lowrance ActiveTarget the whole time. You knew you were casting on or around fish. I never really understood it until I fished Green Bay, but these walleyes never stop moving. They are constantly on the swim, and you can just watch them come and go on the graph. You’ll get super excited, and then they’ll completely vanish.”
Said he threw a variety of “glide baits” in natural colors to catch his fish:
> “We had our trolling rods ready in case the wind and weather wouldn’t let us execute. But the conditions were almost perfect for glide baits. We would let it hit bottom, then rip it up. You get most of your bites right before it hits bottom or near the top of the stroke. Sometimes when you go to lift up again they already have it. The action at the top of the stroke, it just makes them super mad.”
Said they saw 5 or 6 schools right off the bat at their starting spot, but they weren’t interested at all. Then all of a sudden they’d get a 45-min bite window where they’d catch 3 or 4. Then a lull. Then another bite window. Walleyes being walleyes!
> “Winning any of these tournaments is a huge accomplishment. I don’t take any of this for granted. I’m super blessed and super grateful. I know what it takes to win one of these, and to walk away with another one is crazy. Two weeks ago I married my longtime girlfriend Valerie, and my parents have been traveling with us for the last few events. It’s overwhelming the amount of support I’ve received lately. They all plan on coming to [the NWT championship at] Dunkirk too.”
BIG congrats, man! 🙌 Tho it doesn’t stop there…