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  1. Burning down the house

    Last entry I talked about using cadence changes to trigger fish and using the sweep method to trigger neutral fish. Today, I will talk about another similar method which is burning baits across flats and ripping. As summer water temps continue to rise many walleyes will begin to transition from post spawn staging areas on shallow weed edges to the deeper edge of the weedline near the first break into the basin. In many lakes this will put you into the 12 to 15' range. This is prime habitat for a ripping retrieve. Typically I will fish this edge with rattling raps or ripping raps using a 7' medium action spinning rod with the reel spooled up with 20# braid. If there is a large population of pike or muskies I will beef up to 50# braid on a 7' medium heavy rod with a bait caster. The heavier setup decreases the odds of bite offs. Natural shad or bluegill is a good starting point for lure color in many lakes but sometimes the firetiger and perch colored baits will out perform the lighter colors. The ripping method is fairly simple, make long casts parallel to the weed edges and out into the basin, let the bait fall to the bottom on slack line and once it reaches bottom begin a series of sharper sweeps pulling the bait ahead 3-4' at a time and letting it plummet to the bottom before ripping it up and ahead another 3-4'. One of the keys to this method is watching the line for any sharp taps or watching for the bait to stop falling prematurely before reaching bottom. When either of these things occur sweep the rod up and set the hook. It becomes fairly easy to tell a strike as they tend to be reaction strikes and the fish really pound the bait. This method is aggressive and will trigger neutral and negative fish into reaction bites when they would typically not pay any attention to a bait presented with a normal straight retrieve. Incidentally, this is fast becoming a favorite way to fish jigging raps during open water where #7 and #9 size jigging raps have come to find a niche. Burning baits for walleyes seems a bit counter intuitive because many walleye techniques are slow finesse presentations like bottom bouncers and spinners or drifting live bait rigs but when the water temps come up so does a fishes metabolism and they are feeding regular and often. Burning is great technique along shallower weedlines and sand flats during the summer using lipless rattle baits and spinner baits for walleyes and this is the simplest presentation yet. Simply make a long cast, count the bait down and reel it quickly back to the boat. This method will allow you to cover alot of water and trigger active fish found along the inside weedlines and the shallow sand flats adjascent to them. The key is getting the bait moving just fast enough that it occassionally ticks bottom. Once bottom contact is made raise the rod tip slightly and increase the speed of your retrieve slowly lowering the rod as the bait moves closer to the boat to keep it in the strike zone. This type of retrieve will cause reaction strikes from bottom hugging fish well into July. I like to work 5/16th and 1/2 oz baits using this technique and you will want a reel with a high retrieve rate for this to be effective like a shimano symetre 3000 or Garcia C4. Good luck and tightlines! Tunrevir~