Opening day is knocking on my door as I write this. Every year the anticipation in my home is so high it consumes ever aspect of daily life. What mood will the fish be in? Is it gonna snow, rain, or be 80 degrees outside? Whats the water temp? Do I fish for bass or walleyes? Right now my brain is on walleyes. So here are a few common opener walleye tactics often seen in my boat opening day.
One of my favorites the last couple of years is the rapala rippin rap. A lipless shad profile bait with great action and rattles. Mostly targeting weedlines but sometimes shallow rock reefs. Now this lure will catch fish on a standard cast and retrieve method but i prefer to really work this bait. Rippin the lure and then almost giving it slack line really brings out the dying baitfish action. I work the rod tip from about the 9 o'clock to the 12 o'clock position aggressively then allowing the bait to stop and sink a little. Most bites come right at the beginning of the pause and are very aggressive. The smallies and pike also find this method irresistible. Don't skimp on the hookset and hold on!
Another bait I work in a similar fashion is the Sebile Vibrato. First one of these I ever tried was on the natural shiner color pattern. I dropped it next to the boat and gave it one rip - instantly new it was a winner and the next day cleared the peg and purchased them all. Yep it looks that good.. Like I stated before I will work this the same was I work the rippin rap. I do avoid that tactic on the rock reefs as this little guy tends to hold the rocks well when not worked vertically. But deadly in the weeds! The strong vibrations on shinny color flashes really give it the fleeing shiner look! This lure is great for vertical jigging as well. Working my weedline and watching my sonar when i notice we are going over lots of fish this is my "go to" jigging bait. Again with aggressive jigging and sporadic pauses
Swim baits. Man I could write all bight about swim baits.. Short and simple for now. I prefer the keitec. This spring i will be most likely running the 3 inch easy shiner. There are lots of good swim baits on the market these days and i highly recommend them for lots of different situations.. Opener swimbait tactics for me are pretty simple. Tie it on, chuck it out there, and slow role it back in. Often pauses and slight pumps with the rod will entice the less aggressive fish. Every single fish in the lake will eat a swim bait. If you haven't tried it already... well...
The last tactic I'm gonna talk about is the single most common fishing tactic on Mille Lacs lake. The slip bobber/leech combo. Now certain years the leech might be a bit early. But this year that will be the bait of choice. I will delicate a full blog and video to the ins and outs of using the slip bobber to its fullest potential later this season. But as far as opener goes I often have 1 or 2 guys in my boat working a slip bobber with a 3rd aggressively jigging. I will slowly work the boat around shallow rock structures looking for pods of fish. Spot locking on fish as were getting bites and moving as the fish do. By staying mobile and not waiting for the fish to come to us greatly increases out catch numbers.
Were almost ready to rock and the weather is looking beautiful for the weekend. No matter what your tactic enjoy the weather and the lake! Fishing should be fantastic which is a added bonus! These are my favorite tactics and most likely one or more of these will put the bulk of fish in my boat come Saturday. I cant wait!
Keep your rods bent,