Spinner rigs (crawler harnesses) are made up of 2 or 3 hooks snelled on to a section of leader line.(There is one hook rigs,they are generally used for fishing leeches and minnows) Beads are then threaded onto the line acting as spacers, but also to form contrast from the spinning blade. A clevis with a blade are then added, and then usually a single bead completes the package. There are a ton of blade options: Colorado, Indiana, Willow, Dakota, Smile, Hatchet, and I am sure I am missing a few others in that list. “Different blades styles seem to have preferences on different lakes. On the Great lakes you can get away with using much larger sizes than you can on let’s say Lake of the Woods,” Captain Ross Robertson says.
But the bread and butter blade style for most walleye anglers on the Great Lakes is the Colorado blade in a size 5, but number 4 and 6 Colorado’s are also very popular choices. Blades as large as number 8 are used routinely by serious anglers, including tournament guys looking to catch the eye of the largest walleyes in the system.
The color combination an angler could come up with is only limited by their imagination. Color can and does matter at times, but all too often fishermen focus way too much on color and not enough time on getting the rig in the strike zone of the walleye. This is the single most important thing to remember and master when it comes to getting bit while trolling spinner rigs.
Luckily these days we have about as many ways to get the lure down as there are blade types, but we are going to stick to the basics and the most popular methods here.
There are three basic ways of getting the harness down: snap weights, in-line weights and bottom bouncers. Bottom Bouncers are used for trolling along the bottom like their name implies, but to reach the most active fish in the system you have to fish high. When walleyes are up in the water column they are doing one thing and one thing only, and that’s feeding. So, these fish will be your most aggressive fish in that area, and that is where understanding and mastering snap and in-line weights come into play.
A snap weight is a weight that is attached to a clip like those from Offshore Tackle (OR16) that get placed further up the line than what an inline weight would be placed. Robertson says snap weights shine in rough conditions as they tend to surge less with the weight being farther from the lure itself… they are also very good in very clear water because the weight and lure are farther apart. The disadvantage is that the system puts a lot more angles in the system…the angles from board to snap weight and the angle from the snap weight to the lure. This can make hookups and depth control more difficult.
This weight system is deployed 3 to 6 feet from the business end of the spinner rig. Its job is the same as the snap weight, it gets the lure down into the water column. In-lines are the easiest delivery system to use, there is no need to remove it as you bring the fish in like you would have to do with snap weights. Maybe the only thing difficult is learning your own personal dive curve. Different speeds and weights sizes…. trial and error and time on the water is required to fine tune your presentation.Some people use the general rule of a 1oz weight will run about a foot down for ever foot back when ran at 1 mph.
For both of these systems though there is a little help in figuring out just where that weight is running. Author Mark Romanck & Dr. Steven Holt have helped to really shorten the learning curve and get you closer to know exactly where your spinner rig is at. Precision Trolling “The Trollers Bible” is the name of the book. The book now is coming in two different editions the “Pro” and the “Big Water”. The info in these books gives you a little short cut to a lifetime of fishing knowledge. If you want to step up your game trolling track down these books, they are ran in limited numbers every year so they sell out quick every year it seems.
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