whackin’ walleyes with willocats

whackin’ walleyes with willocats

The mighty Miss is as low as it ever gets right now–620′ @ Genoa. Navigation beyond the main channel is beyond treacherous BUT this is a profound opportunity to locate structure which will eventually be covered with water again.

The last time the River got this low was back in ’06. Dozens of spots which paid off handsomely over the past 15 years are now visible again. Of course for the short haul the fish have moved on.

Besides being ultra-low, the River is also ultra-clear. I’ve actually gone to flouro leaders on some finesse rigs instead of straight braid.

Movement has been a major key to hooking up lately. Countless fish will follow a lure the entire length of a cast then ghost away at boatside–just like a muskie.

Hooking up now usually requires considerable animation of the lure–twitches, pops, hops, rips….dozens of fish hit right at boatside when you do a “figure L” –changing direction with 5′ of line out.

SMB are jumping all over Pop-Rs and Chug Bugs when the water is flat, provided there is shade or overcast. Clouds or a little breeze to deflect light penetration are part of hooking up consistently, too.

Lately I’ve been catching a pile of walleyes–many too big to keep–on live willocats, or soft plastic willocats and leeches doused with “da juice” from www.liquidwillowcat.com

Most of the time the basic egg sinker/barrel swivel/#1 octopus hook and tightlining the leading edge of a hole is an effective way to hook up–maybe with an ultra-slow drag back toward the boat.

But on the last several trips, many hook-ups happened when moving the bait or lure rapidly–pretty much at the ‘reel ‘er in, let’s try another spot’ speed.

When this happens once or twice, it isn’t a pattern, BUT a half-dozen times a day over several days and it becomes a senseless retrieve that makes sense.

The next issue of Big River magazine will be out in a couple weeks. One feature is about self-rescue when stuck out on the River. This ALMOST happens to me every day. So far I’ve only had to jump out of the boat once to push. This was semi-planned, as it was the only way to get over closing dam rocks without tearing up a motor.

Willocats cost about $2 each. Not cheap. But when chasing quality walleyes, they are a pretty much sure-thing lottery ticket…if you’re fishing where the fish are.

Care & feeding means keeping the willocats aeriated and in the dark. A couple days ago I bought 5 dozen. Two dozen died overnight after bringing them home cuz the battery on the aerator died. Watching Grant turn to ashes by burning a $50 bill would have been less painless.

I save/freeze the dead ones to barter with Eric Ingvalson for his Liquid Willowcat product, a.k.a “da juice”. Just sayin’….

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