Precision can be the key to success on well-fed fish! As a predator fisherman targeting Walleye and Pike, I find many situations where the fish I am targeting have so much food they start to become lazy. I hate that word because truly they are educated fish that simply wait for opportune moments to feed. Either way you look at it, the only way anglers can succeed is to deliver a perfect presentation.
In my opinion the most important part of that presentation is putting your bait in the zone. A lot of people think of the zone as being a couple feet, but I think of that window as mere inches. My ultimate goal is to always place my bait 3″ above the fish. That in many situations is the key. I believe a major problem anglers have is they place their bait below their fish and the fish never see the bait. A lot of anglers think that is crazy but I have seen it time and time again.
For example I have been trolling at Chatfield for Walleye at night since mid-March this season. I am trolling a variety of stick baits but they all average about 1 foot of depth for every 10 feet of line I let out. I have had 4 nights now that the fish won’t come up 6 inches to hit the bait! I was trolling 70 back (7′ down) and not catching, the rod next to that one was 65 back (6’6″ down) and getting hit constantly. As I moved my baits from 70 to 65 feet back, I began getting hits. I promise this happens more than people realize. The key is first, being able to pick apart the water column, and second, caring enough to check all depths. I am able to do this with the use of an Abu Garcia 6500 line counter with 10lb. Trilene XT mono and a full spool of line. All of my rigs are identical with the same amount of line so my counts are accurate. If you don’t have a line counter then figure out another way to count or invest in a Garcia line counter because being in the zone will put more and bigger fish in your boat. No matter what species you’re targeting, if you can place your bait in the zone, I promise you will be happy with the results.