Preparing for the SLAM
Fall is here, and around the walleye world anglers are waiting for the best chance of the year to net a true trophy walleye. Walleye see fall as the last opportunity to feed up and get fat enough to survive the upcoming winter an the rigors of spring spawning. While walleye can be easy to catch in the fall, BIG walleye are a different creature and need a different approach.
Fishing for tophy walleye means patience. Even in Lake Erie, the BEST place in the world to catch a trophy walleye, true giants are few and far between. Big walleye are very rarely with smaller walleye, and leaving an area where you are catching a lot of nice fish can be hard, but is necessary if an angler truly wants that once in a lifetime fish. Studying lake maps and understanding what baitfish are available are great steps to being in the right spot at the right time.
Fall is a time of change and both bait and walleye like the most consistency they can find. Areas that stay a little warmer like back bays and river mouths attract bait and walleye, espeically if they have quick access to deep water. Steep dropping breaks and areas with current are also places that need to be checked.
Since truly BIG fish are rare, there is no substitute for time on the water! You can’t catch your trophy on the coach or in the hotel room…get in your boat and FISH! Long days, even extending into night often pay off if you are looking for a trophy. Because days can be long and the weather cold, be sure to dress warm and stay hydrated and fueled by eating and drinking while you are on the boat. Food and water keeps you alert, helps you think and helps keep you warm.
Be ready for that fish of a lifetime by having your boat clean and organized. Keep everything off the floor, keep extra rods and lures put away and have your net(s) in a place that is easy to get to and where they won’t snag on anything. Fresh line on your reels is also important before you start your trophy quest. Use high quality terminal tackle, check hooks and split rings and re-tie often! Nothing hurts more than seeing a giant walleye swim away due to faulty tackle.
Chasing BIG walleye is truly an adventure and totally different than just going fishing! Pay attention to details, do some planning, have your equipment in order, get on the water, have patience and your chances of catching the fish of a lifetime will definitely increase.