The fishing in Canada is as good or better than it has ever been. With tighter catch limits in place and more and more anglers practicing catch and release, fishing for pike and walleye has improved in Canadian lakes everywhere.
Because of recently-introduced regulations on live bait, it has been more difficult to get the type of live bait you used to use in Canada and more lakes are becoming “artificial-only” bodies of water. We anglers have to adapt. Walleye and pike will bite all types of artificial baits, but if you want to catch walleye and pike in tough conditions—cold fronts and such—it’s time to use a jig and plastic combo.
My favorites jig and plastic combos are from the B-Fish-N Tackle company. They make two really effective jig heads in different weights from 1/16- to 5/8-ounce, and eight different styles of plastic to attach to the jigs that will work in all situations.
Let’s start with the jighead. A jig is a hook and weight combined into one that allows you to work cover, structure, and different depths effectively. B-Fish-N Tackle makes their H20 Jigs from 1/16th of an ounce up to 5/8 of an ounce; each has its purpose. These jigs are best used on medium-light to medium-heavy 6-1/2-foot to 7-1/2-foot spinning rods. I prefer the St. Croix Avid series teamed up with a Shimano Symetre 1500 or 2500 with 15- to 30-pound Power Pro ultra-thin braided line. With this system you can feel every “tic” as your jig touches bottom, plus you will feel the slightest bites from fish which are often very light when jig fishing.
B-Fish-N Tackles Draggin’ Jigs are weedless jigs that allow you to cast into thick cover like weeds and wood. They have a unique fiber weed guard and come in 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 ounce sizes. Walleye don’t just relate to rock bottoms. As long as there are baitfish present, walleye will move shallow to feed, especially in stained water.
There are six types of plastic that I use on the H20 and Draggin’ jigs and they are B-Fish-N Tackle’s 4″ Super-Doo, 3.25″ Paddletail, 4″ Ringworm, 5″ K-Grub, 4″ and 3″ Moxi Ringworm and 3.25″ and 2.45″ Pulse-R Paddletail. One advantage of the B-Fish-N Jigs is that they have a wire “keeper” molded into the head which will keep the plastic from sliding down the jig hook when fish bite. Let’s take a quick look at how to work these rigged jigs.
The Super-Doo is a Finesse tail. It is great fished shallow, skipped and worked through the weeds. It excels in clear water especially in some of the natural colors. You can fish it deep hopping it off bottom, most fish will hit on the drop. Walleye and smallmouth bass really love ‘em.
The 3.25″ Paddletail is a unique tail. The tail has a lot of wiggle, it seems to always be moving even when the jig is not! Cast it shallow, along rock/rubble shores for spring walleye. It is also a great drift bait. Cast off, let it settle to the bottom and jiggle the rod every so often as you drift a shore or drop off.
The 4″ Ringworm is multipurpose. You can use it full length or break it in half or even smaller, depending on the mood of the fish. You can crawl it along bottom, work it through weeds and hop it along gravel.
The 5″ K-Grub is a big walleye and pike magnet. The large curly tail pushes a lot of water which in turn attracts the fish. It has a large profile making it a great summer and fall choice. Simply cast ti out and reel it in, reel and pause or hop it along bottom. The K-Grub will really catch you some monster fish in tough simulations.
Current attracts walleye and pike and if you are fishing a river B-Fish-N Tackles new 4″ Moxi Ringworm and 3.25″ Pulse-R Paddletail at big walleye magnets. These baits have a unique body never seen before in the industry. They have been big walleye producers on the Rainy River and Winnipeg River systems. B-Fish-N has added smaller sizes of the Moxi and the Pulse-R for clearer water in both rivers and lakes.
Tough situations are cold fronts, a fall in barometric pressure and bluebird cloudless skies. When the going gets tough, pull out the plastic baits. A lot of anglers make the mistake of only fishing large baits, especially for pike. I’ve found that in Canada a lot of times walleye will move into a feeding area first and then get pushed out by the pike. When this happens and you catch a pike, bulk up to a larger plastic tail like the 5″ K-Grub and you will catch those fish. Pike also tend to favor bright flashy colors like golden shiner and pearl/chartreuse.
On your next Canadian trip bring along a few dozen H20 Jigs and several bags of B-Fish-N Tackles plastic tails, you will be surprised at the size and quantity of pike and walleye that you’ll catch up north this year.
Walt Matan is a tackle designer for B-Fish-N Tackle (a subsidiary of Custom Jigs & Spins). For more information of their line-up of jigs-n-plastics log on th www.bfishntackle.com. You can pick up a free “Tips and Tricks” catalog by calling 1-800-831-5535.
Image courtesy Walt Matan