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hawghunter

Mud Flats

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hawghunter

I tried fishing the mud for the first time yesterday afternoon. I pulled a bouncer and spinner rig around on Myr Mar flats for 4 hours with no luck trying to master the fine art of not dragging my bouncer in the mud but staying in the strike zone. A few of the boats around me were catching fish so asked some questions and found that they were dragging right on the bottom with no concern of the silt cloud. I began doing the same and picked up 4 21"ers and a 15"er in about an hours time.

Are some of these flats not as muddy as others so you can get away with this?

Any tips for mastering this art of mud flat fishing would be greatly appreciated

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bmg

I concur w/ fathead - somebody in this forum please explain the logic behind dragging a bottom bouncer or slip-sinker through the mud. I fished the flats everyday last week, you could always count on some meathead pulling up within 50 ft of my boat and sure enough, drop down a bottom bouncer (at least 4 out of 5 boats). Especially if they're driving by & see you w/ a fish on - they'll stop on a dime & pull up next to you. Sorry I'm venting my frustrations but it shows very little respect to others when out of 130,000 acres of water, some people feel the best spot is on top of somebody else. I use 3-way rigs myself & have had very good success both in staying out of the mud & catching fish ... I wish others would use similar methods - then I wouldn't mind so much being near others.

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Guest

I agree with bmg. and give a little space to anchored boats. They don't like people running over their lines and sending up a dust cloud.

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Pherris

I have never fished bottom bouncers my question is do you fish them the same way as lindy rigs? let the fish take it after a tick? do you use the floating harness? any additional info would be great.

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hawghunter

Thanks for the Great info fathead,

I was hooked on trying to hold my BB as close to bottom as possible because my snell was factory short (Very Frustrating)

If my weight is that 3 to4 feet off the mud and I want my rig running about 8" to 12" from the bottom is their a magic snell length?

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Guest

Snell Length - The Big Debate.
Your snell length is determined by the weight of the bait (Spinner & hook) and the speed you're traveling. In general I tie all of my own terminal tackle. Factory snells never seem to exactly what I want.

If your Sinker is 3 to 4 feet off the bottom and you want to keep the bait 8" off the bottom you will need to adjust the snell length depending on the speed. The faster you're moving, the longer the snell will need to be. Plus, you'll need to get the weight closer to the bottom. (I use a 10ft leader if I'm drifting with a 10 to 15 mph wind.) However, I try to keep my weight within 24" of the bottom.

I suggest that you pre-tie a number of rigs at different lengths and determine what works best for you. (6ft minimum and up to 20 ft in some conditions.)

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Fathead

This is a BAD habit! I would have to say you were fortunate to have the success you did. You will catch WAY more eyes up from the bottom. My suggestion is this...

Use a 2 to 3 ounce BB with a rod that has some backbone (Mheavy, or Md).

Drop your BB to the bottom, and reel up approximately 3 to 4 foot, depending on the length of spinner you are using. One way of determining this, if you do not have a line counter, is to pinch your fingers on the fishing line near your first rod eyelet,and reel one complete revolution. By doing this you will determine what one revolution equals in feet retrieved. Always be conscientious of your bottom. When working the breaklines of the mud, you will need to make frequent (and most necessary) the adjustments to stay in the zone. One way I do this, is what I refer to the"3's" method. This is simply doing what I have told you up to this point, and while you are fishing the break, going deeper or shallower, everytime your depthfinder changes by 3 feet make an adjustment. Going shallower 3 feet = 3 cranks (at least my reel does) and Going deeper, I usually drop to the bottom and readjust my depth. There may be other effective methods, that others use, but I guarantee you will have better results.

Oh by the way, Shermans is a decent flat, but there are others that I think are better and less fished.

Key: stay away from others as much as possible!

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Fathead

Hawghunter,

If I am running my BB 3' to 4' off the bottom, I generally use an 8' snell and at approx 1.5mph (my all around favorite speed, but it can vary at times) your rig should run around 2' off bottom. I realize that there are some who would think this is too high. But the key to spinner fishing is that I am generally targeting aggressive fish, and it is WAY better to be slightly above them, than below them. Aggressive fish will have no problem coming up for the strike. Watch your graph and see where the fish are positioned. If they are 2 to 3 feet off bottom, they are in the mood so to speak. If they are tighter to the bottom, you may consider dropping down slightly, but generally I will either work to find more aggressive fish, or stop and live bait rig or jig them.
Now for snell size.. My buddies use 10 footers, but I see little if any advantage to the longer snell. In fact, I generally boat more fish than them. That could either be due to the snell length, or more attention to detail (always readjusting into the zone). Paying attention to the little things will pay larger dividends of fish in the boat, than the difference of an 8 to 10' snell. I DO believe that less than 8' is less effective, however.

I am always interested in hearing what others have to say regarding spinner fishing the flats. This presentation, in my opinion is the most effective way of fishing the flats, and will allow you to boat the most fish. Some will say that it doesn't produce that real big ones, like Lindy rigging does. I disagree. This year alone, I have boated at least 25 fish over 25" with the biggest stretching to a lovely 29.75". Spinners & BB's WORK!

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GullGuide

I totally agree with the statement by Fathead- "your rig should run around 2' off bottom. I realize that there are some who would think this is too high. But the key to spinner fishing is that I am generally targeting aggressive fish, and it is WAY better to be slightly above them, than below them."
Contrary to popular opinion, Walleye are not bottom feeders. They feed up, not down. Look at how their eyes are positioned in their head, this is to see their prey above them, not below them. Walleye spend their time near the bottom in order to see what's above them and also to use their camoflage so the bait will not see them. They will come up a long ways for a bait if they are feeding. Therefore, I too like to keep my bait a little on the high side.
>"////=<

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Guest

I am new to fishing the mud flats. I tried it for the first time on Sunday and had very little confidence in what I was doing. I have a couple of questions.

First, how much effort do you guys put into staying near the edge of the flat? If there is wind do you just drift over the top of the flat? And what about the bug beds? I heard they are hotspots if you can find them.

Also, do you prefer back or forward trolling?

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Guest

So people can get away with dragging their rig on the bottom of certain flats because they are made of clay not mud. Always try to use a three way rig when pulling spinners on the flats. BB are made for rocks and gravel. To make sure your rig is in the strike zone. Make your dropper 18-24 inches, use a 2-3 oz bell sinker with a med-heavy action rod. The heavy weight keeps you at a 90-45 degree angle. For added confidence i drop my sinker every 50 yards or so to make sure the rig is not tangled. Also try using a superline like fusion. You can feel the blade spinning with a good grapite rod, i can also feel if i have a whole crawler or half bitten crawler.

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Guest

Easy. First find a flat with NO boats. Next you are going to need a decent locator. Its not so much important to find fish but its bait your looking for. Most fish come from the edges or tops of the flats during the day. When fishing the edges you want to fish up and down the edge not along the side. Your locator will not mark fish when going down or along the side of a flat. Only when going up the edge will it mark fish. Alot of guys fish right along the edge not marking fish and they get discouraged and pack up and leave. Back trolling these edges is the best. Front troll when fishing the tops...

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Guest

Three ways are absolutely the way to go for spinnering the mud. YOu can by with dragging a bouncer on the sides of the flat because they are relatively clean. It's the top and off the side thats covered with goo.

Super Ron

------------------
Ron Anlauf's Guide Service http://fishingminnesota.com/ranlauf/ Phone: 320-396-2133

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Fathead

Hi Flick,

I have experienced some short bites this year as well. I seem to get most of them in the afternoon hours, much like you were fishing the other day. I agree with D-man. Lengthen your trailing hook or add a 3rd. I would also suggest going to a #6. Unlike live bait rigging leeches with a #8, where I believe you will see a difference from a larger hook, spinner rigs probably should be fished with a larger hook. Another thing I have found that seems to work on shorter bites is to crank up your speed just a notch. I think you will create more of a reaction from the fish than you would at a slower speed (this works some of the times, but not always).

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Guest

8's work fine. You may have well just ran upon some perch. Normally when pulling spinners, the presentation makes for a now or never situation. Meaning when you pull it past a walleye he has very little time to decide if he needs to eat or not. The vibration of the blade cause's sound to thump through the water along with the flash and color. Since sound travels faster through water than light does i believe this is what triggers the strike. And most strikes on spinners are violent. You should only have to drop you rod tip back before setting the hook, Giving out line is uneccessary, you should have a good hard wack. If your getting subtle machine gun hits then giving out line only to set the hook and come up with a half bitten crawler its a good chance you may have come across some perch. Try using berkley power crawlers next time.. Good Luck

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hawghunter

Flick, I've had luck just cutting off the crawler after the last trailer hook, giving the fish 3 feet of tot line (no slack) and setting the hook

As long as your hooks are sharp I don't think it should matter that much

One more thing to try is to adjust your speed one way or the other to try to make the fish commit better

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Fathead

D-man,

I agree with you about the highest percentage of strikes being violent. I also agree with only dropping the line back towards the fish and setting (no need to feed them line). There are times however, where walleyes will short bite. I am not talking about the rat-a-tat-tat bites, they are obviously perch. But when you get the tug-tug or the fish thumps it half way. I would suspect that most of those are eyes.
Like I mentioned in the previous post. I think that some of these fish get a little more lethargic as the midday approaches, and they are in a mood halfway between aggressive and neutral. Not sure what they want, but not lazy enough to let that spinner pass without some sort of reaction.

Just my thoughts, and as always, interested on what others have to say about this.

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Guest

Fathead: Yes i too have had those types of bites. But i have reason to believe those fish have hit "with the bait" and continue to move with the bait until stopping. That's were the tug tug affect comes from.

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Flick

I know they weren't perch bites because we all said they felt exactly the same as the bite we got when we did manage to hook an eye. Our trailers were also probably only half way down the crawler. Another thing, how do you guys tie your own trailers on. I just tied a regular knot to the gap on the hook and then a 3" piece of line to another hook.

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Flick

Fished the flats on Mon. from 12-5p.m. Three of us used either three-ways or bouncers for a while and were getting a lot of action. We only caught three fish though. We missed 7-8 good bites. We had a real hard time hooking them, would reach back as far as we could and then set the hook on nothing, only to bring up an inch of crawler or nothing at all. We then drifted with rigs and spinners and caught three more, only missing one. Maybe they needed that extra few seconds to get a good hold on the bait. Good colors were the old fashioned daredevil and gold, hammered or not. Anybody else ever have problems hooking fish? Maybe it's because it was our first time. No huge fish 15-22.5" with one in the slot. Bobber fished a SE rockpile in 16 ft. from 8-10 in the evening and caught 7 more 14-25" with one slot. Tuesday went to the flats in the morning and got 1 all morning. It was really windy out and hard to get around in our 16 ft boat, also couldn't get to where we caught them the day before.

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Guest

Flick Id say you did pretty good for your first time. Try lengthing your trailer hook on your spinner rigs so its hooked futher back in your crawler.

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Flick

Yeah I tried that a little bit but I also should have been using bigger hooks. Was using #8's. 6's or even 4's would have probably worked better-what size do you guys use?

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Fathead

Flick,

I have tied those type of trailers in a pinch. But for the most part, you should try using standard crawler snells. They are fairly easy to tie once you get the hang of it. There are a few ways to tying a crawler snell, the way I do it is by using two #6 bent shank hooks, and a pre-cut 8' piece of fishing line (12LB green Stren sensi-thin). Insert one end of the line thru the top of the bent shank hook so it extends down approximately 1". Pinch the 1" section and hook with your fingers, then pinch the remaining line above the hook eyelet and pull down and wrap around the shank of the hook 6 to 8 times.Pinch the wrapped section. Now take the free end of the line and insert it back thru the hook eyelet, but this time insert from the bottom of the eyelet and thread thru up and out. Pull tight by pulling on the line, and cinching the wrapped section of the hook as well. This is your first hook. The second hook should be slid down on the line and spaced to your liking. I usually space mine around 2" to 3". Repeat the same wrap procedure that was mentioned before. Now your hooks are tied and you are ready to add your beads and clevis. One note about this is that you should always have enough beads on you spinner so when the blade is attached, the bottom of the blade is 1/8" to 1/4" above the top of the hook.

Some other things I have found to be helpful for making my own spinners, is that I buy all of my beads (I like 5mm) from Fabric stores (Jo-ann fabric). They are ALOT less expensive, and have a wider variety of colors. My preference for Mille Lacs is Gold and/or Silver beads combined with Red. I think the gold and silver adds more flash. In my opinion, including red is a must. Other colors will work, but I have a larger percentage of pickups using red in my presentation.

I hope this helps. Making your own spinners is the way to go. The stuff in the stores are expensive and not very refined. I can make all my spinners at around 40cents each (that includies everything).

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Flick

Thanks Fathead I'll try that.

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