I remember when the Lindy Rig was born, right here where I live in
the Brainerd Lakes area of central Minnesota. Some of the best
walleye men who have ever wetted a line made it legendary. And if I
had to guess at the number of walleyes I have caught on a Lindy Rig,
I honestly couldn't give you a number. It's in the several
Even though the Lindy Rig technique is famous, I know
there are people out there who have never tried it. So I wanted to
introduce you to the basics and offer a few rigging pointers along
the way. For those who do know about it, read on anyway, because a
return to the fundamentals is always a good thing.
As I mentioned above, the Lindy Rig is a live-bait delivery
method. It is most often associated with night crawlers, leeches and
minnows. Although sometimes crayfish, mudpuppies, or even frogs have
been Lindy Rigged.
From your rod tip down, this is what this simple setup includes:
On your main line you thread a slip sinker. The original Lindy Rig
sinker has a telltale shape that allows it to "swim" with stability
while resisting snags from rocks and other structure. As noted, it's
a "slip" sinker, meaning it has a hole through it that allows it to
slide up and down on your line. After threading it on, you tie on a
simple barrel swivel. The swivel is your sinker stop that also
prevents line twist when dragging live bait (which can often
corkscrew as it's being pulled).
On the other split ring of your swivel, you tie on what's called
a snell. A snell is a length of fishing line, usually monofilament
or fluorocarbon, with a hook attached to it. Snell lengths vary to
whatever your preference is. And length choices often vary based on
water clarity, the aggressiveness level of the walleyes on a
particular day and other factors. A 3- to 4-foot snell is average.
Sometimes the choice at the end of the line is a basic, small
hook. Sometimes it's a hook with a second "stinger" hook attached.
Or, as is the choice of many walleye anglers, the offering is a
spinner rig with colored beads and a spinner blade (Colorado,
Indiana or Willow style). Whatever setup you go with, this is where
you affix your live bait.
When fishing with leeches, the hook point goes right through the
"sucker." With minnows, typically they're lip-hooked, although some
anglers like to hook them through the center of the upper back to
make them appear more distressed as they get pulled along sideways.
Tail-hooking them works too, so they're being pulled backward. With
crawlers, they're usually hooked through the snout. But sometimes,
when fish are particularly negative and just nipping at tails,
hooking a crawler "wacky style" through the middle of the body can
lead to better results. It makes for a fatter profile in the water
(with two dangling ends), and because it effectively shortens the
length of the crawler by half, it can reduce short strikes.
[to top of second column]
After the Lindy Rig is all set up with sinker, snell, hooks,
spinners, bait, etc., the next step is presenting the bait on
structure that's holding walleyes. You simply open your bail and
drop the Lindy Rig to the bottom, then slowly troll or drift at a
speed that keeps the bait hugging bottom. A 3/8-ounce sinker usually
works great at most depths and speeds. For faster trolling or Lindy
Rigging in very deep water, switch to a half-ounce sinker.
As you troll or drift along, have your bail open, with your line
on your index finger. As soon as you feel a "thump" or "tap, tap,"
drop the line and give the walleye a free spool. As he runs, the
line flows through the slip sinker so he never feels that weight.
After giving him some time to ingest the live bait -- times vary
based on the feeding mood of the fish -- click over your bail, wait
for the line to get taut, then set the hook.
It's that easy.
In addition to walleye fishing, Lindy Rigging works for a lot of
other species as well. Fishing pike with Lindys and big suckers can
be dynamite. It's a great way to present baits to bass (often
referred to as a Carolina Rig). Even some redfish and snook anglers
use derivatives of Lindy Rigs in saltwater.
But hey, we're talking about walleyes here, and for my money, the
most deadly and simple bait delivery technique there is for 'eyes is
the venerable, magical, diabolical Lindy Rig.
[By BABE WINKELMAN]
Babe Winkelman hosts "Good Fishing" and
"Outdoor Secrets," the most-watched fishing and hunting programs on
television. Tune in on NBC Sports Network, Destination America,
Velocity, Time Warner Sports Texas & New York, and many local
broadcast channels. Visit
Winkelman.com for airtimes and more information.