Pro fisherman Korey Sprengel teaches us how to troll soft plastics using slow-turn hooks and bottom bouncers to contact active walleyes and appeal to their innate curiosity through the sense of smell and vision. New-age plastics such as Berkley Gulp! are chemically engineered, and laboratory tested to appeal to a walleye’s sense of smell — this, coupled with the seductive spinning action of a worm on a slow-turn hook, has proven a potent olfactory and visual combo.
- PLASTIC – Berkley Gulp! Nightcrawler
- HOOK – Berkley Fusion19 Slow-Turn Hook
- BLADE – Mack’s Smile Blade
- BEADS – Dutch Fork Premium Beads
- WEIGHT – Eagle Claw Bottom Bouncer
While the system may seem complex, the setup consists of a weight, leader, hook, and plastic. There are, however, several things to keep in mind. First off, select a bottom bouncer weight that maintains a 45-degree line angle when trolling. Next, use a longer rod with a moderate action to provide walleyes time to eat the bait without feeling you and keep them hooked. Sprengle recommends a no-stretch superline to cut the water (less resistance), get down deeper and faster, and perhaps most importantly, transmit bottom composition to your hands. And a fluorocarbon leader in the 15-pound range provides excellent strength and durability, so you won’t have to re-rig much.
When it comes to bait rigging, use a hook with a keeper toward the eye to prevent the plastic from sliding down the shank. And if there ever was a time to thread your plastic crooked, this is it! Off straight rigging enhances the spin factor that walleye love in this worm presentation. Unlike live bait, plastics allow you to experiment with different scents and colors, so mix it up between rods to find out what works best.
- ROD – Fenwick Eagle 2 Telescoping Trolling Rod
- REEL – Abu Garcia Max DLC
- LINE (Main) – Berkley X9 Braided Line, 15-pound
- LINE (Leader) – Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, 15-pound