Finesse - Pitching Light Jigs For Walleye Spring, Summer & Fall with Carrot Stix Fishing Rods

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Finesse - Pitching Light Jigs For Walleye Spring, Summer & Fall with Carrot Stix Fishing Rods


Finesse Jig Pitching

                Here in the Midwest, pitching light weight jigs rigged with live bait for Walleye is about as second nature and essential as flipping to beds for big bass for all you bass fisherman out there.  Today’s advances in tackle and yesterday’s tried and true techniques arm the modern Walleye fisherman with so many different approaches, it can leave you wondering what to do and when to do it.  The fact is, you can catch big “eyes” in Spring, Summer and Fall on this elementary technique.  Now, don’t let me fool you, because this technique has been around forever and the fact that it is relatively straightforward, doesn’t mean you will be able to reach in to your box, tie on any jighead/minnow and flip it into any wind-swept bank to fill your live well.  This finesse approach isn’t for everyone.  It takes a lot of patience and feel and is not something you can read about and immediately apply, you must get out there and practice, practice, practice.  Pitching jigs is very cerebral and the fisherman must play very close attention to why a fish chooses to bite.  All of the variables that contributed to making that fish bite must be absorbed and filed in the memory bank and re-applied. 


Tools of the Trade

                Once you have a little experience  and success under your belt applying this technique, let me be the first to tell you how important your rod selection will be and how upgrading that $100 combo you are holding in your right hand will change the game.  The single most important aspect of this approach to catching walleye is presentation and by presentation, for the most part, I mean size.  Overwhelmingly, the smaller the jighead, the more fish you will catch around here and a smaller jig head means a lighter blank and lighter line.  The ideal blank would be at least 7ft, Medium Light action with a fast or extra fast tip.  The Wild Wild line of blanks from Carrot Stix offers this configuration in 3 different models, Orange, Black and Green.  All three are absolutely deadly for finesse pitching.  The key to these blanks is how incredibly light weight and strong they are, most weighing in at under 80 grams.  Believe me, pitching jigs for 8-10 hours with a heavy rod is no fun and nowhere near as effective.  Carrot Stix is able to create such a light weight, strong rod blank by using Nano Cellulose Bio Fibers which are intertwined in a 90 degree weave which give the blank unmatched strength and feel.  Combined with proprietary split reel seats, which allow you to hold the blank and feel everything your jig comes in contact with.  Add in the AirWave guides, you have one powerful tool that separates you from the competition.  The second most important component of this setup is your line.  You will want to use braided line, in the lightest test you can get away with.  Braided line doesn’t stretch and when pitching jigs, you can’t afford any line stretch.  For your leader, you will want to use fluorocarbon.  The length will depend on how clear your water is.  As for test, my general rule is your fluorocarbon leader is it should be 2 lbs lighter than your braid.


General Rules

                In the spring, look for spawning areas, these are typically shallow gravel beds, sandy  or rocky shores that receive the predominant wind for that body of water.  This time of the  year is very weather dependent and warming water is your best friend.  During pre-spawn, males will be scouting this area or will be just off this area waiting for females to come lay their eggs.  Females will be feeding ahead of their spawn as well, so you may be able to find some nice fish moving into these areas.  During the spawn this area will be holding a lot of fish.  Males waiting to fertilize beds or that have already fertilized beds will be there, no question about that, however getting them to feed is another task altogether.  This is often one of the toughest couple weeks of the season.  During post spawn as the females move to deeper water to recover, males will stick around these areas for many weeks, sometimes a month depending on conditions with the hopes that there are some late arriving females coming to do their thing.  This is often an overlooked strategy by many fishermen who think they need to head to deeper water to catch post-spawn fish.  Post spawn is all about transition.  Both males and females will be transitioning from their spring spawning habitat to their summer patterns and these fish can be very active, though often harder to pin down as they are spread out.  Look for muddy or sandy flats between the spawning areas and deeper water or areas that produce weed beds until the weeds come in.  The Summer in the Midwest means the Walleyes will be in the weeds, lurking the edges to ambush prey.  Pitching jigs along these edges, working jigs just on top of sunken weed beds or even working a weedless jighead through the weeds is a must to put these fish in the boat.  It is worth mentioning that even though they are in the weeds, conditions may not line up for these fish to be active when you are there.  Sometimes a simple wind blowing against that side of the lake is needed to turn them on or maybe it could be some cloud cover.  Paying close attention to these factors will help you dial in these fish.  The Fall can bring some of the best fishing of the year, but it can also be the most frustrating.  Weather, like the Spring plays such a major roll in what these fish are doing that it can drive you nuts.  One day you are on a great bite and crushing fish left and right and the next day, you can’t buy a bite because the temps dropped 10 degrees.  As the days become shorter and nights get colder these fish sense the changing of the seasons and will start to eat aggressively in general, however, you must remain versatile and key in on what is working and why from day to day.  As the weeds begin to die off, bait will move to the nearest structure and that’s where to target Walleyes. 



                The deadly combination of the elite equipment from Carrot Stix and a great presentation will put more fish in your boat and make your time on the water more enjoyable.  Throughout the soft water season here in the Midwest, don’t overlook a tried and true approach to consistently catching Walleyes and that’s pitching the lightest jigs you can get away with.  On our waters, that means a 1/16th oz jig and on windy days a 1/8th oz jig.  Utilizing this technique will allow you to reach these fish all three seasons and give you an advantage over other guys trolling or dragging rigs.  Remember to play close attention to what the fish want and the conditions that surround each and every bite and you will increase your success by a large percentage.  Tight lines.