Radioworld Pro-Staff, Shane Turcotte, shares his experiences on the Detroit River recently while fishing a Walleye Tournament!
Now that I have had some time to rest a little I wanted to do a wrap up of what worked the best and add of gallery of pics from this great walleye factory. With spring being early this year, most of the big females were already back in the lake but the odd big fish still remained. This being new water to us, I spent a considerable amount of time researching on the Internet before going down to Detroit. I wanted to zero in on areas most popular for spawning walleyes. I then wanted to focus on structure that was below the spawning beds. Most times walleye will slip back after the spawn and rest in areas that will have slack and fast water. This way they can still feed but slip back to calm waters to rest. After the spawn they are exhausted and always looking for an easy meal with little effort.
We had a few areas picked out and worked them extremely hard. Our Crestliner Raptor 1850 with a 175 Merc Pro XS lead the charge. It wasn’t long that we figured out the areas thanks to our HDS units equipped with Structure Scan and Navionics Platinum Chip supplied by Radioworld.
We caught some nice fish prefishing in the 8-10 lb range. Unfortunately as tournaments go, they were not around on the important days. We decided not to use any live bait. I wanted to use plastics so that I can gain confidence in this technique. Also, the innovation into artificial baits has really taken off. I truly believe once you learn how to fish with artificial baits, you will never go back to live bait. Staying vertical was the key and our Minn Kota 101 Terrova equipped with I-Pilot was a workhorse that never let us down, great technology.
Our most successful setup was the 1/2 oz FireBall jig tipped with 2 different styles of minnow baits from Northland Tackles Impulse Reactionary Baits (see pics) and a slide on Northland stinger hook. This stinger hook played a key role in getting fish in the boat. The bite is reactionary but very lite. The right rod and line for sensitivity was important for being able to set the hook. The Streamside 6 ft medium action Predator was the rod of choice for these hogs. The IM8 graphite blank through the handle creates superior sensitivity and incredible strength, very impressive. I went with 6 lb Berkley Fireline Fused Crystal. This line is extremely durable and low visibility. Never lost a fish in the tournament!
We ended up in 40th spot with 50+ lbs, a good 5 lb per fish average for the 2 days. Not bad for our first time on this system. Lots of notes and pic were taken so that next year we can build on that result. The pre-tournament information gathering really paid off. The Internet can provide tons of important details on any system.
I also want to comment on the fact the Rod Glove, Bait Glove, Rod Glove Saver and Rod Glove Wraps kept all my rods together in one piece on the trip. Keeps your rods organized on the boat with no line tangles. Much more efficient and time saving. Next up is the Team Canada vs Team USA Walleye shootout. This will be a 3 day total weight using the Catch, Record and Release system. No fish are kept in the livewell. Great conservation technique!