It doesn’t matter if you are a fisherman, mechanic or even a heart surgeon, having the right tools to do the job makes all of the difference in the world.
For the walleye fisherman, selection of rods is often a major factor in determining consistent success.
Walleye are one of the most sensitive, selective and consequently difficult fish to catch of all the freshwater species in North America. It is for this reason that anglers need to prepare themselves for any eventuality to catch fish under changing conditions.
The first key in matching presentations to satisfy the constantly shifting attitude of walleye is to select the right rod for the situation. Since walleye are commonly targeted by different methods, your rods must compliment the style. Here are some guidelines that will help you take the guesswork and mystery out of choosing the right rod.
Jigging rods are typically lightweight, fast action, short and have a sensitive tip to detect subtle strikes, but strong enough in the butt section to handle big fish and securely set the hook in relatively deep water.
A great line of jigging rods is the Cabela’s XML . The XML is based on a charcoal colored 44-million modulus graphite blank, which is extremely sensitive and lightweight. The package is finished off with Fuji Hardloy guides, a Fuji reels seat and high quality Portuguese cork.
G.Loomis also makes several great jigging rods in their Walleye Series. All of the rods of the G. Loomis Walleye Series are designed to perfectly match a specific kind of walleye fishing technique. Their jigging rods are no exception. These rods are not only built on a world-renowned G.Loomis blank, but the are also finished off with low-frame Fuji guides, cork grips and a rich green finish.
G. Loomis makes three jigging rods to handle both vertical jigging and casting. Their 6’ 2", fast action (WJR741S) model is ideal for pitching jigs in the 1/16- 5/16-ounce weight range and is available in either a one or two-piece configuration.
Their vertical jigging rod is also an ideal match for the specific situation. It is similar to the jig casting rod but is stiffer and has a faster action. It is capable of handling heavier weights (specifically up to 1/2 ounce) while still retaining enough integrity to effectively set the hook. This fast action rod is the ideal ticket for deep vertical jigging with heavy jigs.
G. Loomis is not the only manufacturer tailoring rods specifically to the rigors of serious walleye fishing. For other great jigging rods, take a look at the Cabela’s Fish Eagle II, Cabela’s Pro Guide IM6, and the Cabela’s Tourney Trail IM7. All of these rods, in their shorter versions, make terrific jigging rods with features and prices that will match your style and budget.
The Cabela’s Depthmaster trolling series rods match performance with exceptional value. There are 8 different length and weight configurations in this series that will optimize most fishing situations from trolling lead core line to using planer boards.
The Cabela’s Depthmaster Tournament Innerflow Rods incorporate a unique design allowing the line to flow through the middle of the rod, thereby eliminating many of the problems associated with conventional guides. The internal design eliminates stress points and creates the perfect fighting arch, which equally disperses the strain along the entire blank. The Innerflow rods are available in five lengths and actions to cover all applications from standard trolling to running downriggers or planer boards. All Innerflow rods are of a two-piece design that will conveniently breakdown to store in the back of a truck or boat storage locker. All of the Depthmaster Innerflow rods come complete with a removable rubber butt cap that conceals a gimbal butt which will work with any gimbal rod holder.
Daiwa also is offering an excellent internal component trolling rod. The two-piece, Interline series rods were built expressly for walleye fishermen who desire deep controlled trolling with down riggers and Dipsy divers.
The Interline rods are offered in four configurations from 8’ to 10’6". The 8’ and the 8’6" rods are both medium action and designed for 12- to 20-pound line. The 9’ and the 10’6 rods are both heavy action models rated for 12- to 30-pound line.
Berkley offers three trolling rods in the Gary Roach Walleye Rod series designed to match the specific fishing situation. For those that prefer to utilize planer boards while trolling, Berkeley designed both the 7’10" and the 8’6" medium-action rods with this in mind. The 7’10" is capable of fishing 1/4- to 1-ounce baits while the 8’6" rod is capable of 3/8- to 3/4-ounce offerings. The 6’10" rod is ideally suited for trolling crankbaits (see crankbait section for more info).
Braided lines are great for trolling. They are strong, thin and sink quickly in the water column to the desired depth, but the down side is that they are very abrasive on guides. Now G.Loomis has addressed this problem and has possibly created the ultimate trolling rod. This 7’10" Extra-Fast action rod is capable of trolling 1/4- to 5/8-ounce lures and comes complete with guides that can withstand the punishment that braided material can dish out.
If you are looking for a crankbait trolling rod, the medium-heavy action, 6’6" Cabela’s TXS rod is ideal. It is capable of handling 3/8- to 3/4-ounces of lure weight and is rated for an 8- to 14-pound line.
G.Loomis is also offering a Crankbait Series rod that is just a hair lighter than the Cabela’s. These moderately fast-action casting rods are designed to meet and satisfy the specialized, technical demands of crankbait fishing.
As you can see, all rods are not created equal. If you want to be more effective this walleye season and catch more fish with different techniques, be sure to hit the water prepared for all eventualities -starting with the right rods.