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"Lite Bite" Walleyes

Hi northwoods fisherman, this is guide Jim Cheshire of Jim's Northwoods Guide Service.

 
Those walleyes have been hitting jigs well, but extremely lightly all season. For inexperienced or poorly equipped fisherman, it may be difficult to even tell that a walleye has taken your jig.
 
For some reason this year, you seldom feel that tell-tale "thump" when you get a hit. Often you just feel a little resistance, a slight weight, or see your line moving. A friend of mine described it as feeling like you "hooked a wet leaf". It may also feel similar to hooking yet another weed. Other times, you may simply no longer feel the weight of your jig when a walleye grabs it. So watch your rod tip and line closely and maintain concentration. 
 
In order to have this kind of feel, you need a sensitive graphite rod. I prefer a 7-foot, St.Croix Premier, medium-light action. Also, use light line in no heavier than 6-pound test and the lightest jig possible. Ninety percent of the time, I use 1/32nd or 1/16th-ounce jigs.
 
When you do detect a subtle walleye hit, usually you'll miss the fish if you set the hood immediately. Upon a hit, first drop your rod tip to give the fish slack and time to fully take the bait. Some days it may be necessary to open the bail on your reel for the same reason. After retrieving the slack, set the hook hard in an upward, sweeping motion and "cross their eyeballs".
 
This is an  overly simplistic explanation and only time on the water will develop that feel and timing needed to consistently catch walleyes while jigging. However, once you develop that touch, old marble-eyes doesn't stand a chance.

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