Jigging Baits For Giant Fall Walleye
Jigging Raps, Slab Raps, Moontail bucktail jigs, and spoons are must-haves for fall walleye fishing. These jigging baits sink quickly, pack ample attraction features, and trigger strikes from big ‘eyes. Here’s how to catch walleye from three reliable autumn locations with jigging baits.
Deep, Rocky Structure
It’s hard to go wrong fishing deep structure in lakes and rivers in the fall. Humps, saddles, island points, wing dams, and bridge pilings in the 20 to 35 foot range are all great autumn locations for walleye. As for tactics, vertically jigging is a potent way to catch walleye from deep, rocky structure without encountering too many snags.
A Jigging Rap is excellent for vertical jigging. Walleye can’t resist its natural profile, alluring swimming action, and drying baitfish fall. Also good are jigging spoons, like the Rattle Spoon, Flash Bang, Cast Champ, and Crippled Herring.
How To Vertical Jig:
Experiment with either a steady lift or a hard snap to raise the bait (the bitting walleye will tell you what’s best). Next, let the lure fall on semi-slack line, then rest for a moment once the line is tight before jigging again. It’s good practice to make the bait touch bottom occasionally. This helps stay in the strike zone and can prompt hits.
Aquatic plants remain important autumn habitat for walleye and their prey, including yellow perch and minnows. Large, vegetation beds near deep water are often productive fishing areas. Likewise for isolated clumps of cabbage, milfoil, and other veg on flats, points, and sand bars. In all instances ripping a bucktail jig is tough to beat in the fall.
VMC’s new Moontail Jig and Bucktail Jig are perfect for rip-jigging walleye relating to vegetation. Built rugged with strong, needle-sharp VMC hooks, these jigs are made to take the abuse of getting pulled through plants and being eaten by toothy walleye.
Depending on the waterbody and conditions, anglers may find themselves jigging anywhere from 5 to 15 feet. Generally, 1/4 and 3/8-ounce jigs work best for fishing vegetation and the adjacent open-water.
How To Rip Jig:
This tactic is far from an exact science but here are some pointers. Long casts are good for covering water. Shorter pitches are better for dissecting clumps, edges, lanes, weed fingers, and areas where different plant species converge.
Once the jig hits the water, let it fall on slack line to ensure it falls straight down. Allow the jig to rest for a couple seconds on the floor to give pursuing walleye an opportunity to pounce. Next, aggressively snap the rod upwards 1 to 2 feet, then let the jig to free fall again. Repeat.
Tip: Rip jigging is best with a medium-heavy spinning rod and no-stretch like, like 20-pound Sufix ProMix Braid, tied to a short, 15- or 20-pound 100% Fluorocarbon Invisiline leader. See our rip-jigging blog for more info on the technique tips and recommended gear
Sand Bars And Soft-Bottom Flats
Walleye love sand. Find a long sand bar pushing into deep water with some rock - maybe a few grass patches - and you’ve likely found yourself a great fishing spot.
Flats are another location where walleye relate to sand as well as clay and mud. Walleye roam flats to feed on yellow perch, baitfish, and crayfish, but will relate to any edges when travelling. Use electronics to find rock veins, isolated logs, dips, and grass lines to pinpoint productive spots.
Sand bars and soft-bottom flats as less snaggy than rocky areas. This makes both locations excellent for casting jigging baits.
A 3/8-ounce Slab Rap and 1/2-ounce Rippin’ Rap are potent choices for casting bars and flats. These lures cast far, sink fast, and produce strong vibrations. All these qualities help cover water, attract fish, and trigger strikes.
When clear-water walleye are feeding on baitfish, casting a flashy 3/8- and 1/2-ounce Krocodile flutter spoon is deadly. Anglers will also catch walleye snapping a Jigging Rap or Moontail Jig in these areas.
How To Cast Jigging Baits:
Let the lure fall on semi slack line. This makes it easy to know when the lure touches bottom or when a walleye strikes the sinking lure.
Work the lure along bottom using a lift-fall jigging sequence. Cold water and inactive walleye may require a slow, steady lift. Also try short, hard snaps, which appeal to active fish, but can also trigger reaction strikes.
Want to catch more big walleye this autumn? Then you’ll definitely want to fish Jigging Raps, Slab Raps, Rippin Raps, Cast Champs, Moontail Jigs, and other jigging baits around deep rock, sand bars and flats, as well as deep, healthy vegetation.