Using a bottom bouncer is an easy and perfect way to keep your bait near the bottom and catch walleyes. We got started using a bottom bouncer for dragging spinner rigs by placing our rods in holders and when one of these rods would bend back from a fish,
one of us would grab it and be careful not to grab too fast causing the walleye to sense you and spit the bait out.
The main function of a bottom bouncer is to help avoid snags while holding the spinner rig (or other baits) above but near the bottom where a walleye may easily see and attack it. When the bottom bouncer wire touches bottom, and preferably just barely ticking bottom, it tells us we have the correct setup along with giving some different action to our spinner rig. We try to run two to four medium-light graphite rods with bottom bouncers in holders. These light rod tips prevent walleyes from feeling too much resistance when they take the bait. Anytime you are in shallow water it is best to use long rods out to the sides of the boat to avoid spooking the walleyes. You may even try using planer boards to get baits out farther from boat.
Many times I will keeping one or two rods in my hand with bait-casting reels and we have found the ones with a flipping switch make it easier to control line out by just pressing the thumb bar to let line out and release it to stop.
When setting up our bottom-bouncing presentations, depth will determine the weight, speed and leader length or the rig. Most times we use our electric motor but will at times use the kicker motor to maintain a trolling speed needed to keep your line dragging at a 45-degree angle.
Spots we like to cover are around or over humps and points, along drop-offs, breaks off flats, along weed edges and our favorite the irregular edges on inside turns where we find walleyes will congregate. Walleyes will many times scatter along breaklines and this is when we will just troll along about 1 mph or enough to keep the spinner going, which allows us to cover lots of water. To determine what speed barely keeps the blade turning, run the spinner rig under the surface next to the boat while watching the blade.
The rods we have in holders in front are set to nearly horizontal to the water to get lures out farthest from the boat and are easier to read. With the rod in my hand, as I feel a strike on, I slowly drop the rod tip back and let it load up before setting the hook. With these rods I am holding, I find myself doing a slow lift and drop or a back and forward motion of the rod to make regular contact with the bottom which I feel helps trigger strikes.
Next the bottom bouncer weight is determined by the speed you will use and for most cases we use from 1/2 ounce to 2 ounce and for leader lengths, we usually use 24 – 42 inch. If your spinner continually hangs bottom or is snagging weeds, we just shorten it 6 inches at a time until it runs free. But if you think walleyes are shy to bite and snags are not a problem, go with a longer leader. As you can see, longer leaders will help you touch bottom more.
If in clear and murky water, walleyes are drawn to the flash and vibration of the spinner or the commotion of the bottom bouncer than to the bait.
We will often make up our own rigs and have used gold, nickel, silver and even colored blades and not sure which is best but let the fish tell you what they prefer. Whatever blade you use just make sure to put on enough red or chartreuse beads to keep the blade in front of hook eye. You can use a quick-change clevis but make sure it will let the blade spin easily. We use single hook rigs for minnows or leeches and a double hook rig for crawlers.
The bottom bouncer rig can be productive in most seasons, most all weather conditions and even in rough waters and have produced walleyes for us in 9-24 foot water and we have also used stick type crankbaits behind a bottom bouncer and find the floating type work best.
I have talked mostly of walleye in this article, however, we find this presentation will catch any fish holding near the bottom as we have caught Big Bluegills, Bass and Catfish so give this simple presentation a try.
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Till Next Time GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !