Ask any fisherman to pack for a fishing trip, and you may see their eyes sparkle with delight! That is for a very short moment before they head to their mancave, garage, or wherever they store their gear, and don’t return for days. Ask them to pack with a weight limit of 10 pounds, and the response is most likely going to be about the same as telling them their night is going to be taken over by a RomCom.
Yes, there truly is an infinite amount of tackle out there to be used, and we want to use it all. Windy, calm, sunny, cloudy, low and high pressures, clear water, dirty water, moon phases….the list goes on, and with it a different presentation for each. Since we are bound by the takeoff weight of the aircraft, it’s best to really take the important, no fail tackle and keep it as light as possible. What’s easy for us, is we only have to pack for walleye and pike. Trout at WN are only fished using fly rods.
On with the goods! I’m going to start with walleye. 99 out of 100 people who have ever fished walleye, have probably used a jig head and a minnow or crawler. The reason is the simple setup and ease of fishing with it. The hardest part is picking a colour. In my experience walleyes colour palette changes daily, so a good assortment is always nice. I prefer ‘fireball’ jigs with the shorter hook, and the ability to throw on a stinger hook when they seem to be grabbing the bait without hitting the hook. The other presentation I go for, especially in the spring or when it slows in the flat hot days, is the lindy rig. I’ve had luck going after the larger ones deep with a #2 circle hook and either a leech or minnow. The beauty of the lindy rig is leaving the bail open and feeling the bite. Letting them gulp it all before setting the hook. A 3/8-1/2oz sliding sinker works well here, with a variety of different coloured beads should you choose to use them. If I’m not using live bait, I like to use 3-4” soft minnow, and I don’t stray too much from a shiner look, or a bit of brown. The fake leeches like the Berkley gulp, are also very lifelike. And for good measure, usually a pack of white twister tails makes it into the box.
On to the pike!
Like the jig above, the same 99 people that were fishing walleye probably also caught a pike doing so. The good news, all that walleye tackle can be used to fish pike too! Now since we’re targeting them and not walleye, here is what I add to the list: Jerkbaits. No they’re not cheap, but boy do they work! My favourite here is the 5” husky jerk. I’ll usually change the hooks to gamakatsu and add a teaser tail to the end. A variety of colours fits the bill with the Blue Shiner sitting at the top of my list. My next go to is the soft jerkbait. The fluke and superfluke on a weightless 4/0 hook, rigged weedless allows you to through it in the weeds, around logs, through rocks in 3-4’ of water and not have to worry about snags. With pike I find 2 maybe 3 fish caught are enough to turn the fluke into ripped shredded mess, so a few packs are good to have. On windy days when the jerk baits aren’t doing the trick, I like to throw a white spinner bait. A straight moderate retrieve is usually enough to do the trick here. Another spinner that I pack is the inline spinner, or ‘mepps’ as its commonly called. Spoons. I like the classic ‘daredevil’ spoon, but bright colours (Chartreuse, orange, yellow) also favour well.
Great, we’ve got the tackle down, but we still need tools to make our day on the water smoother. To round off my gear, I’ll have a spool of 8-10lb braid, 6-10lb flourcarbon, and when I start losing baits its handy to have a few 6-10” leaders. Good needle nose pliers are also a must. A pair of nail clippers round out my arsenal. Total weight under 6 pounds! I challenge you to do the same!