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Bottom bouncing 101


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As I sit here today waiting for the guy to come fix my Tv.lol. I thought I might write a little bit about how myself and friends bottom bounce for walleye.  I get questions almost everyday on the topic. First I will preface this by stating that the opinions here are mine.lol  I am not here to say that there are not a hundred other ways to do this method.  But rather give some insight to what I have learned over the past few years.  I started walleye fishing about 11 years ago.  By going on a trip to nunguesser lake in Ontario Canada.   When I returned I decided to look into walleye fishing in missouri.  I started researching lakes and found Stockton to have a good population  of walleye so I decided to make that my home lake.  I have been fishing for about 45 years.  For almost all the usual species found in Missouri.  I fell in love with walleye fishing because of the challenge of catching walleye on a regular basis is not something everyone does.  When I started looking into walleye on Stockton.  I started with a jig and night crawler. With reasonable success.  And it is still a great method to catching them. And to be honest there is nothing better than catching a walleye on a jigging rod. Imo.  About 3 years into learning Stockton and its walleye population i decided to try some new methods i had been hearing about on Ozark anglers. So bottom bouncing caught my eye.  I started acquiring  all the necessary  gear to fish this method.  After 7 or so years of doing it this is the system I currently  use. I used bass pro bottom bouncing rods with pro qualifier II reels. With 30lb suffix 832 braided line.  Tied to a 2oz bottom bouncer. I tie most of my crawler harnesses  using 17lb vanish fluorocarbon.  I use mainly northland bait fish image crawler harnesses or there components  to make my own version. I used 2oz bottom bouncer exclusively  because I rarely bottom bounce deeper than 25ft.  When I am fishing points or rocky banks for the sake of few hang up and broken harnesses  I do the usual method of letting the wire on my bottom bouncer just tick the bottom keeping the harnesses above the bottom. I also use harnesses with floats on them as apposed to beads. It tends to keep them off the bottom better.  I hear  fishermen all the time talk about keeping the line at a 45 degree angle or as vertical  as possible. I don't worry about that at all.  I get going the speed I want to be going usually anywhere from .8 to 1.2 then drop the bouncer to the bottom and adjust my depth as it starts to pull behind the boat if I am not hitting bottom let out more line.  Let the fish tell you what they want if your not catching fish speed up or slow down till you catch fish then repeat. Weave in and out at different depths till you catch a walleye then try to stay that depth.  Every day is different. A little wind helps but not mandatory. For example one day the wife and I where fishing in a lets say 15 to 20 mph wind. We caught 65 walleye that day in 8 to 11 ft of water. The next day almost none existent wind. We went to the same spot could not get bit.  Started searching found the fish on same structure position different  in about 18 ft of water.  Didnt catch nearly as many but still had a great day of 28 walleye.  Not all were keepers either one of those days but could have kept several limits both days.  All that to say wind, clouds, sun time of day will change where the fish are and there mood. But they didn't leave the lake. When I am fishing a mud bottom. I don't just let the bottom bouncer tick the bottom. I let out an extra 3 to 5 ft of line and let the bouncer drag along the bottom.  I know...I know. Not how your supposed to do it.  But I believe that the bouncer pulling along the bottom stirring up mud gets the fishes attention.  But hey that is just my theory or opinion.  I use a half of a night crawler never a full one. First you use half as many crawlers  and second you don't have to wait for the walleye to work all the way up a full worm to get to your hooks..  Boat control and speed are very important if not the most important thing when it comes to catching walleye.  Color. I believe does at certain time make a difference at other times not so much.  Well there it is pretty much how we do it.  Main thing is pay attention to details.  And to adjust when things are not going the way you like.  Do we go out and catch limits all the time absolutely not.  I am the most guilty person for not adjusting to what they want instead of what I want to give them.  Most importantly take out friends and loved ones and get out on the lake.  

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21 minutes ago, DADAKOTA said:

When "weaving" in and out how do you ascertain the depth your bait is at?  

Well the bottom bouncer isnt usually all that far behind the back of the boat..    Also when i say i am in 18 ft of water i have baits on the left side of boat that may be in 15 ft of water. The baits on the other side r in 20.  If you have rod sticking strait out each side of the boat you are covering  approximately 20ft of water.  I have a transducer in my trolling motor and a transducer center of my boat just in front of the big motor. They can be reading same or different depths.  The main point is if I catch a fish whether  I am weaving in or out or in a straight line drop a way point and try to hit that way point when you go back through that area.  Or if you catch a fish whether on right or left rod.  Look at your depth on your sonar and try to repeat. Hope this answers your question.

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4 hours ago, Teeshirtslave said:

When bottom bouncing,  do you see a difference between electric trolling motor,  or using outboard?   I guess the root of my question is does the sound of the outboard motor affect your success? 

Few outboards can troll at 1 mph. Many years ago the old Fishing Facts magazine recommended what they called back trolling. Trolling in reverse slows the boat way down. Problem is, unless you have tiller steer, turning the boat to stay with a contour becomes a problem. Of course, in those days trolling motors were more positioning motors. Today's generation can practically tow skiers.

I think the key is that modern trolling motors do not spook the walleye, even in 8-10' of water.

 

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True Randy.  It’s all about boat control; you can still get by using the main engine for slow trolling if you get set up properly with drift bags.  In fact, in rough water two bags deployed from the bow(one on each side with a harness)and main engine trolling can be your best choice.  To your point, however, I almost never use bags because I have simpler solutions in a GPS trolling motor and kicker.  And if the wind is howling I am typically on spot lock and casting from the rear deck.

Mike

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5 hours ago, Teeshirtslave said:

When bottom bouncing,  do you see a difference between electric trolling motor,  or using outboard?   I guess the root of my question is does the sound of the outboard motor affect your success? 

I don't use my big motor at all.  I use my trolling motor in any wind.  

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Several, if not the majority, of the serious walleye fishermen on this forum have chimed in. I urge you to heed what they say.

As to the rest, where are you Rangerman and  Mike Alley?

Dan Hufferd, do you bottom bounce?

 

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