Posted on 18 September 2014.
John Huyser with a small mouth bass caught on a crawler and a spinner.
by Jack Payne
Recently we were taking advantage of the quick change in water temperatures on Lake Michigan. Whenever the lake flips over, the walleye move into the connecting waters. For most anglers this means trolling many rods and the use of planner boards.
We found the fish stacked just behind the pier heads and with a good breeze, casting was far more productive. That got me to thinking, which can be dangerous, and I remember many such days where we casted crawler harness rigs for both walleye and bass.
First with the walleye. When the walleye are suspended at a set depth and stacked into tight locations, casting keeps your bait in their face. Second, when trolling you are into the fish quickly and then out of them as fast. A slow drift or using the trolling motor will keep you over the pod of fish.
Jack Baar with a spinner walleye.
When casting for bass or walleye matching the sinker weight and style of sinker is very important. We use egg sinkers most of the time and we place them onto our main line above a barrel swivel or snap swivel. Then we attach our Ultra Violet Colorado crawler rigs from Stopper Lures. Add on a fat crawler and you are set to go.
Cast out and count down to the depth that the fish appear on your graph. Then a nice steady retrieve keeping the harness rig in the strike zone. You might need to play with your sinker weights. Some days an eighth ounce works best, other days it might take a half ounce weight.
Besides suspended fish coming in from the great lakes, this system will work over rock piles, reefs or even deep holes is your favorite river. An over looked location is any type of wood. Docks, standing timber and fallen trees are great casting locations.
On all of the connecting lakes to Lake Michigan, anglers will find many points to fish. You can spend an entire day just running the points and working each one for a few minutes. Throw in docks that run tight to the drop-off and you will stay busy all day.
Bass anglers should look for the same locations plus a healthy weed bed. Nothing beats a cabbage weed patch that borders a deep point. Work the spinner over the tops of the weeds and alongside of the weeds.
When working the deep side of the weeds or a deep point, cast out and let it sink to the bottom. Then start a nice retrieve that keeps the blade spinning. I know that a lot of bass anglers turn their nose up at the mere thought of live bait, but a crawler harness rig is the fastest way to a limit of bass. With the two hook rigs most of your bass will hit the last hook and be hooked in the jaw. This greatly reduces the chance of a gut hooked fish.
Right now I like the deepest structure when chasing bass. A deep point or a weed bed that drops off into a very deep hole are favorites. Fishing deep or over the tops of the weeds reduces the number of hits from small panfish. You still will get picked at but many times if you increase your retrieval speed the panfish will leave you alone.
The Ultra Violet Rigs from Stopper Lures are more visible than a standard rig in deep water or when faced with dingy water. That being said, it is also much easier to catch a walleye in dark water or dingy water during the day than when fishing clear water. The same applies to bass fishing.
On your favorite bass lakes fish the deep points, the deep weed beds or timber. Walleye anglers concentrate on suspended fish or deep points and any type of concrete or rock ruble. Carry along 2-3 dozen fat crawlers and a handful of Ultra Violet Spinner Rigs and be ready to do battle.