When it comes to catching fish, there are a lot of different ways to do so. In the past twenty years there have been numerous lure and lure presentation developments. Many of these new lures and presentation ideas have resulted in anglers catching more fish. However, there are days when the fish are finicky and want just a plain presentation. Those are the days when a simple hook, sinker, line and bait will do the best job. Live-bait rigs like a Roach Rig, especially in the summer months, will put fish in the boat when nothing else will.
The key to using live-bait rigs is to put the bait where the fish are. On a recent trip to a well-known Midwest walleye lake, the fish were right on the breakline. The wind was creating a perfect speed for a drift. We simply set up on the downwind end of the break and allowed the wind to push us along. By keeping a close eye on the sonar, we were able to stay right in the productive zone as we drifted along. The new color sonar units from Humminbird draw such a good picture that we were able to see walleyes lying belly to the bottom, which insured that we were able to keep our baits where the fish were.
Something as simple as a live-bait rig can be improved upon, and one of those improvements is the sinker. The Rock-Runner Slip Bouncer slides on your line, so when a fish takes, it can run without feeling resistance. The Rock-Runner Slip Bouncer slides on your line on a sleeve that has a slot in it. This enables an angler to change sinker weight without cutting and re-tying, and that’s a big advantage.
Live bait that is lively will greatly increase the effectiveness of a live-bait rig. Frabill makes aerated bait containers that keep minnows and leeches lively, even in the hottest of weather. If you’re going to be using live bait in the summer, these containers will enable you to keep the bait lively much more effectively.
The recent introduction of the Gulp! leech has changed the way many folks think about live-bait rigs. The Gulp! leech, so far this summer, in many situations, has proven itself to be a very effective substitute to live bait. These leeches come in the three and five inch size and several colors. They look, feel, smell, and, I’m told, taste like a real leech. I can’t vouch for the taste thing, but they certainly look and feel like a leech, and you can keep them indefinitely in your tackle box.
Live-bait rigs are effective on a variety of fish, especially walleyes and smallmouth bass. They’ve been a relied-upon fish catcher for decades, and they still do a great job. They may look simple, but sometimes, simple is best. When the fish are finicky, and you have them pinpointed, a live-bait rig will often be the best way to catch them.