Bottom Bouncing Walleye
By Lance Valentine
In today’s fast paced world of forward-facing sonar, fishing apps on our phones, Live GPS mapping, and other high-tech fishing gadgets, sometimes it is good to get back to basics. Catching walleye on a bottom bouncer is one technique that will never go out of style and produces whenever and wherever anglers chase walleye.
Bottom bouncing for walleye is one of the oldest and most effective techniques for catching walleye and nothing could be simpler. A piece of wire with a lead weight, a few hooks and beads, a spinner blade and a big fat juicy nightcrawler are all you need to catch walleye on bottom bouncers. Now, even though this technique is “simple” there are a few tricks that can help you catch more walleye on a bottom bouncer:
1) Use enough weight: When picking the best weight for your bouncer, don’t worry about the depth of water you are fishing. Use a bouncer heavy enough to be easy to feel when it hits bottom and heavy enough to stay at about a 45-degree angle to the rod tip when you are drifting or moving.
2) Make the right connection: Bottom bouncers come with basically two different ways of connecting your line. The first is the “closed loop” the other is the “R Bend”. Closed loop bottom bouncers are best used with a snap swivel and are preferred for trolling with rods in a holder or behind planer boards. The “R Bend” style is preferred when the angler will be holding the rod in their hand and “work” the bouncer. Bouncers with an R Bend should be tied directly to the fishing line.
3) Pick the right blade: Bottom bouncers are fished close to the bottom at slow speeds for traditionally inactive walleye. Because of this a spinner blade that spins at slow speeds is best. Willow leaf blades are a favorite if using metal blades. A great alternative is a plastic Mack’s “Smile” Blade that will spin at the slowest speeds possible.
4) Don’t drag bottom: They are called bottom “bouncers” not bottom “draggers”! Keep your bouncer just above the bottom or occasionally “ticking” the bottom. Fishing bottom bouncers is one of the oldest and most effective presentations for catching walleye anywhere they swim. Be sure to have this presentation ready to go every day on the water. You may be surprised how slowing down and going “low-tech” will fill your livewell.