With old man winter quickly approaching and the temperatures are dropping, the last chance to fish open water is coming to a close. There are still good quality walleye to be caught and the last chance to stock your freezer before having to drag out the snow mobile and ice drill. With water temperatures hitting the mid-forties, it’s just a matter of time before the first sheet of ice hits the water.
When it comes to catching walleye, I have two favorite Yo-Zuri baits. The first choice is the Duel Hardcore Shad. This bait excels in spring, summer, and fall – especially deadly around this time of year near weed edges in 4-6 foot. The Hardcore Shad has a tight wobble upon retrieve, and the suspending capability makes this a great choice for triggering feeding walleye with a twitch-and-pause retrieve. Lastly the magnetic weight transfer system allows effortless long casting necessary in more clear bodies of water such as the St. Lawrence River.
My second choice is the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe. These lipless crankbaits excels in all seasons for covering various depths. These baits shimmy and rattle vertically on the drop and are equally as effective employing a straight retrieve, or the secret weapon, a yo-yo retrieve. When you contact bottom or a weed bed, a firm snap makes the bait dart and really triggers walleye to crush it. The Vibe works equally well ice fishing for winter ‘eye. So even when the dreadful ice happens, make sure you keep your 3/8oz sizes handy.
For fishing both these lures I prefer to use a 2500 series spinning reel loaded with 20lb Yo-Zuri Superbraid Blue with a four foot leader of 12lb Natural Clear Yo-Zuri TopKnot leader The blue colored braid for helping to detect bites. I rely on a 7ft medium action rod with a fast tip for making long accurate casts, and for keeping fish pinned after the hookset.
Up around the north where I am from it is hard to find a tackle shop that isn’t fully stocked of Yo-Zuri products. Be sure to pick up a few extra of these baits because sometimes the walleye will surprise you in how strong they are. Another rule of thumb is to always rely on your shine/ chrome colors on sunny days and more natural colors on darker days. I always try to hit the water when the weather seems the worth, although fishing in the snow and wind affects the angler, it can produce some of the best days to catch a good stringer of fish.
Lastly, don’t forget the hushpuppies and fries!!!
During the fall run of Striped Bass off the New Jersey coast we see a myriad of baitfish cruise our local waters both off the surf and offshore up to the 3 mile limit which we are allowed to target Striped Bass. One of the most versatile lures we have deployed on both our trolling combos and spin cast combos is the Yo-Zuri High Speed Vibe!
We are able to troll this Vibe on both braid and wire with success and also when the fish are stacked up we can simply cast and let the Vibe sink into the strike zone before we retrieve. At almost 3 ounces in weight this is a great casting lure as you can stay off at a distance if you observe fish feeding on top. Predominate colors we deploy are Bunker and Chrome Sardine when Menhaden/Bunker and Herring are present and in murky or stained water we go with the Holographic Pink. Many fisherman use rubber shads but if toothy Bluefish are around it makes quick work of the body and lost fishing time if you have to make a replacement. The High Speed Vibes are resilient lures with through wire construction and 3X strong treble hooks.
If the weather is not conducive to run our Long Run Fishing Charters 30 foot Triton CC you will find us walking the surf and jetties as we also have a terrific surf bite as Bluefish and Stripers will chase baitfish right up to your feet at the surf line. But, when the fish are beyond casting distance with some lighter weight traditional lures the Vibe is a great casting lure when fished on a 9-10 foot surf rod. Allowing the Vibe to bump the sandy bottom will certainly capture the attention of a Striper on the prowl as this appears to portray an injured baitfish. When the bite is fast and furious all you need to do is cast into the fray and retrieve for success at the surf. So if you’re looking for a versatile lure for the boat, on the troll, or off the surf the High Speed Vibe should be in your arsenal.
Captain Johnny Luchka
Point Pleasant Beach New Jersey
This summer I went up to Alaska for some seasonal work and the fishing of course. I went up with all the essentials including Yo-Zuri top knot fluorocarbon leader line and used that as my tip-it. The methods I used to in corporate this great leader line is I would connect 4ft of my TopKnot leader to a poly leader. I used Both a fast sink and floating Polly leader, and my connection knot used was either a Uni-Uni or the classic loop knot. This allowed me to fish different species on the go I used 10lb, 12lb, and 15lb Clear TopKnot Leader it worked perfectly allowing me to land all my fish this summer. If you are a fly fisher man try this method and you definitely won’t regret the quality of Yo-Zuri TopKnot!
Also never forget the Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow for the days when casting a fly just does not work. Typically I like throwing the Pin’s minnow on light tackle with 6lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid. I’ve had great success throwing the 3 1/2″ model in Hot Pink Trout and Rainbow Trout.
The Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe is a great bait that can be utilized all year-round, however it really shines when you are needing a reaction bite to catch finicky fish. It is also a great baitfish imitator and can work is several different applications.
As soon as the water temps begin to drop in late summer, and the fall transition begins, I tie on the Rattl’n Vibe. This is the time of year when the bass will really begin to concentrate on shad. Any shad imitating color, such as, Metallic Bleeding Shad, or Blue Chrome. (which ever color best represents the bait in your lake) will work best. I will continue to use the shad colors until late fall/ early winter. Once the water temps start to get around or below 60 degrees, the shad will begin to get less and less active. This is when I will switch to a red/ crawfish color. I will stick with the crawfish colors all the way through winter and into the early stages of the spawn. When the water really begins to warm up and the females begin to get on beds, I will switch to a bluegill/ perch color. The fish will be protecting their beds and fry from the perch and will be aggressive.
During the late summer/ early fall when I begin chasing shad, I will begin in the mouths of the major creeks that stem directly from the main lake. As the water temperature continues to drop the shad will continue to migrate further and further into the creeks, and you will need to follow them, by using your electronics. Most of the time these fish will suspend in the middle of the creeks instead of around the bank. Look for fish busting the surface, and don’t be scared to throw the Rattl’n Vibe over deep water. When you change to the red/ crawfish colors, I will begin to fish tighter to the cover. The crawfish will be buried under rocks and deep in vegetation. I will also concentrate on harder breaks that are close to deep water, channel swings, and points. As you make the transition to chasing spawning fish and change to your perch colors, you will have a few more options. The fish will spawn anywhere from the very back of the creeks to big main lake flats. I will move up shallow, and cover water until I find the females.
Since the Rattl’n Vibe is best used as a reaction bait, speed is key. I use a very high-speed reel, anything that is 7.1:1 or faster. I use a rod that has a fast tip to keep from pulling the treble hooks from the fish’s mouth. If you are fishing heavy vegetation you will need a rod with a little heavier backbone, so you can rip the bait free of debris. Make long casts and a very speedy retrieve. Keep your rod tip pointed at the bait to keep it from rolling sideways. You will also need to adjust the height of your rod tip according to the desired depth you want the bait to run. If you are fishing heavy vegetation, you want the bait to skim just above the top of the vegetation bumping it on occasion. If your bait begins to bury up, a swift jerk of the rod( almost like a hook-set) will free the bait. If you are staying buried up, you may need to switch to a smaller size bait or raise your rod tip.
CHUNK- CRANK FAST- HANG ON