Bottom bouncers great for walleye

Although I have known for years what a bottom bouncer is and how they function, my first real introduction to using them came at a walleye tournament I fished a couple of years ago on Wabigoon Lake.
I had not fished Wabigoon before and it was a pro-am style of tournament, so I did not have a partner in the boat with me who knew the water.
My friend, Scott Dingwall, was fishing the tournament, as well. He is familiar with the lake and ended up doing very well in the event.
Well, after I had a tough first day of the tournament, Scott gave me some bottom bouncers and spinner rigs to try.
I ended up having two much better days of fishing—and came away from that event a more complete walleye angler.
Today, bottom bouncers are part of my arsenal every time I hit the water in search of walleyes. Anglers across Sunset Country can use bouncers to catch walleyes throughout the open water season.
I have been in walleye mode for the past week since I returned from bass fishing down in Wisconsin, and my buddies and I have caught a lot of walleyes trolling a variety of spinner rigs behind bottom bouncers.
The beauty of using bottom bouncers is they are great for covering water.
In case you don’t know what a bottom bouncer is, it is an L-shaped device with lead weight built on to the long part of the ‘L.’ They are a weight designed for trolling, and the reason they are so popular and effective is that they are relatively snag-proof.
The wire keeps the weight and the bait close to the bottom, but generally keeps the hook from rubbing on the bottom where it will snag.
There are more subtle and sophisticated weight systems available, but none that are as simple and easy to use as bottom bouncers. You just let them down to the bottom, start trolling, and hang on.
For anglers interested in getting started with bottom bouncers, you should get yourself a handful of bouncers in the half-ounce to one ounce size. These may seem on the heavy side, but it is important that you constantly stay in contact with the bottom.
I generally favour heavier over lighter.
Some anglers tie their own spinner rigs up or you can buy quality rigs like the ones I use from Northland Fishing Tackle. My preference is for the crawler harness style of spinner rigs, which come with two small hooks behind the blade.
We have been using worms on our rigs, and caught an equal number of fish over the past week on artificial worms as we did on live night crawlers.
The advantage to the artificial baits is they are much hardier and they don’t get pecked off the hook like live crawlers do if there are a lot of perch around.
The rod and line combination is important to successful bottom bouncer fishing, as well, at least if you want to land numbers of big walleyes.
I prefer a longer-than-normal fishing rod. My favourite is a 7’6” Shimano Cumara spinning rod.
The advantage to the longer rod is that you have a lot more shock absorption when you are fighting fish, so you won’t tear the small hooks out of a walleyes mouth as easily.
I like to use 10-pound Power Pro line, which is extremely sensitive. This is important because some walleyes will bite extremely soft but you can feel everything with this stuff.
If you have GPS on your boat, always pay attention to the speed at which you’re trolling when you get bites. Over the past week, the best speed has been between .60-.70 m.p.h.
Later in the season, when the water warms and walleye activity levels increase, faster speeds from 1–1.2 m.p.h. will trigger fish to strike.
Get yourself some bottom bouncers and spinner rigs, and you will not have a problem catching walleyes this summer no matter where you fish in Sunset Country.

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