Walleye have the reputation to be short strikers. Most fishermen do not give them the opportunity to take and eat the bait. Since they are not tentative eaters they will likely hit the bait without getting hooked.
What to do?
- You have to understand how a walleye eats. Sometimes they approach and flare their gills to get a sniff of the water around the bait. If this is the approach and they get an interruption of water in the gills you get a strike or nothing at all. Other times they hit it hard like a bass or muskie.
- Your lure and line need a decrease in resistance, as a combo, to allow the bait to flow into the walleye’s mouth.
Try these tips:
Line Weight: The lighter the weight, the less resistance. Less resistance lets the walleye suck in the lure or bait.
Live Bait Bouncing: With a bottom bouncer rig you’ll get some slack in the line due to the L-shaped wires connected to the lead weight molded to the shaft. That weight should bounce off the bottom, creating slack and less resistance allowing the fish to inhale the bait more easily.
Don’t Stroke So Hard: Use short strokes as opposed to the long vertical strokes that can pull the bait out of a walleye’s mouth.
Give More: Larger bait is easier for a fish to bite at and inhale. It may seem counterproductive, but if you add a plastic body jig you’ll gain more surface area for the fish’s sucking force.
Steady Crank: Get your lure to the proper depth then proceed to lift the rod, reel in the slack – don’t go too fast, though. Repeat. A steady retrieve can hook an aggressive fish, deliberate feeding fish may need more stop and go.
Chop and Troll: If there is a chop in the water you should try to go with the flow. Hitting the waves on turns gives good slack in the line as well and allows for more solid strikes.