Walleye fishing is no longer going out with a bobber and minnow or just casting a jerk bait in search of a hungry walleye. Walleye fishing has evolved into a very popular tournament sport where walleye anglers will use various techniques to catch these wary fish. One of the most popular and most versatile ways to pick up walleye is by utilizing a bottom bouncer to slowly fish the bottom of a lake.
There are some techniques when using a bottom bouncer that will make you a lot more successful when fishing with a bottom bouncer searching for walleye.
First lets go over what the heck a bottom bouncer is and how to rig one. A bottom bouncer is weight attached to metal wire that is in the shape of an upside down L. Here is a photo of a common bottom bouncer. How you rig a bottom bouncer is by attaching you main line to the corner of the bottom bouncer and then attaching a 2 to 4 foot section of line to the swivel end of a bottom bouncer. I will generally remove the swivel that comes with the bottom bouncer and put on a larger barrel swivel.
How to fish a bottom bouncer is directly under the boat and utilizing either the wind or a electric trolling motor to drag the bottom bouncer along the bottom. The absolute best way to fish a bottom bouncer is to be utilizing a baitcast reel that has a flipping switch. An excellent example of a reel that many walleye anglers use is the Shimano Castaic which has a excellent flipping switch or the Quantum Keven VanDam series reels have a flipping switch on them as well. Using a reel with a flipping switch will allow you to let out line to stay on the bottom by simply pushing the button on the reel to let out more line when needed. This reel alone will make you a much more effective bottom bouncer fishermen. The next tip when using a bottom bouncer is to always be lifting the weight up off the bottom then dropping it back to the bottom. This will make the attached bait look like it is darting along the bottom and wildly dropping back to the bottom.
Now what to attach to the bottom bouncer will depend on how active the walleye are and what time of year you are fishing for walleye. During the summer months walleye are more likely to hit a lure that is quickly passing by which causes a reaction strike to occur. Baits such as Crawler Harness with flashy blades are an excellent choice when using a bottom bouncer at faster speeds to get that reaction strike. Another method is slowly moving along using a rig such as Northland's Gum-Drop rigs with either a Shiner or a Nightcrawler attached to the Gum-Drop rig. Using Gum-Drop will float your bait up off the bottom and will allow you to troll along at a much slower speed. This is an excellent way to use a bottom bouncer when the walleye are being a bit pickier and are not willing to attack a fast moving crawler harness.
Here are some photos of different baits that can be attached to a bottom bouncer.
So next time you go out walleye fishing pick yourself up some bottom bouncers and a couple dozen of nightcrawlers and catch some monster walleye.