"Night Bite" walleye baits

Discussion in 'Tackle Making' started by TIGGER, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Hey everyone, Well it is on the eve of my most favorite thing to do.............. Night walleye fishing.

    I was introduced to it about 7 years ago. It started out fishing off the rocks at Mosquito and has progressed to the "BIG" waters of Lake Erie. The pattern was always fish Mosquito in the spring and follow them untill they moved out into the late spring. Then catch them in the fall when they return to the shallows at night with the cooler temps. Well thanks to this site and meeting people like "dixie chicken" Larry has opened a whole new world of the "night bite" for me. The Lake Erie bite I have been doing for only 1-1/2 seasons. I will never claim to be an expert but I am starting to learn what works and does not.
    After fishing with VC111 this summer there one thing that was clear to me is that he really makes his baits to fish specific conditions,weather patterns,times of year and lakes that he fishes. As he was firing cast after cast all I could do was to go through his box and look at all the lures he has made. It was really hard to find and lure that he didn't make. I make alot of musky lures. It seems I never keep any of them. They are pretty and work well but I just don't have that specific target zone of personal colors and sizes yet for my deadly weapons arsenal. It will come as I get more swallowed up by the muskies, but for now I have the cross hairs on the my most favorite thing "Night bite" walleyes.

    What I have noticed: Over the last 1-1/2 seasons on Erie I was stunned what was brought to light for me. I had always thought that the night walleyes were the deep shadows that creeped around the depths only to invade the shallows of the lake edges for only minutes to grab their meal and disappear as fast as they came. I was very suprise to hear the night boats talking on the radios " Took one 5 back on chrome and blue" What the heck is 5 back? 5 wraps back? .............No.......... 5 feet back behind an inline board. "We are only going 1.5 mph!" ........."That can't be down more than 2 feet down!.............. "We are in 40 feet depth in "open" water!"

    I started to think alot different about baits for walleye. Specifically baits for "Night" walleye.

    As the season progresses the are always subtle but important changes that take place that I hope to take advantage of. The with custom making specific colors and actions to help me increase the odds.

    There are so many great baits out there already. Rapala, Storm, and Renouski's. Why change you ask. Well there is always the search for the ultimate bait. Maybe the ultimate color or action. Only thing with fishing there is always adjustments to be made. :p

    The most major thing that suprised me was the preference of the walleye to eat smelt instead of the shad. Yes they eat shad but seem to like the longer slender baits are better. The other factor was how to get the baits to stand out from all the other bait fish that are everywhere. Action and Color

    Actions: As the season progresses the water gets cooler. With the cooler water the actions of the fish slow down. They will not chase as much from further distances. Thus the speed has to be reduced. As the speed reduces the bait works less. The wobble reduces. I had spent endless hours laying awake in bed thinking about this. I have been only making the baits for a year but I have noticed some factors that come into play. The first is lip angle/shape and lip thickness. I have been playing around with different materials to use in the lips. I have heard of people using cd disks as lips on smaller baits. I went to the hobby shop and got some 1/16" thick aluminum. Here is a pic of the difference in the thickness


    With the thinner material the bait seems to widen its wobble. The wobble widens to 4-6" range. With the warmer temps I don't think it will be a factor in them catching it. What I am really hoping for is that when the trolling speed hits the .8 to 1.2 mph that the wobble we be 1" to 2" range to help them single it out. We will see how this plays out. :) I have been playing around with the lip angles verses bait size. I hope to run the baits and record what I have noticed through this season.

    Colors: As you know there are lots of colors of baits out there. The problem that there are only so many to pick from in the specific type of bait that you want. I wanted to try some really bright colors to start off the season. Some really bright colors!!!!!!!!! Here are some very shallow runners with the bright colors. They are in the 7" range.


    I like to do the foil on the baits as a base and then layer the paint over it. Here are a couple more. The top one has real copper foil and the bottom has HVAC metal duct tape in silver as its base.


    These two I have real high hopes with. They are metal base also. I can't wait to try these.




    Well I hope to get out this weekend on the big water and start this journey. It will lead to shore casting after ice out on the inland lakes that I fish and back to the spring big water bite of Lake Erie. I have many ideas to try. So tag along and please feel free to add your pics. It doesn't matter if the bait was made by hand or bought right off the rack. It is all good information!:) There is a fall Lake Erie tournament I hope to fish. Maybe we can do this together and see what comes from it. I hope to have some pics soon with these baits and teeth marks. LOL Wish me luck!

    sonar and FlickerShad like this.
  2. Gju42486

    Gju42486 Banned

    wow---they are impressive

  3. ezbite

    ezbite the Susan Lucci of OGF

    those look great. i think you and i are thinking alike. i have not been out since i got this one, but i think it's gonna be a good one. kind of like the one you are holding, just without the black bars. keep us updated. im going tuesday to try this one.

    Attached Files:

  4. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    Awesome baits as usual TIGGER. I've never fished the night bite, except those hot summer nights around home. Due to extenuating circumstances, it doesn't look like I'll make it over for the fall bite at all this year. Hopefully things will be more stable and I'll make it next year. That gives me a whole year to build baits for it. :D I'll definitely be back out there in April to start the year off at Turtle Creek.

    Definitely keep us posted. The way you and Vince always talk about Muskies, I never knew you were a walleye man. Now you're talking baits I would use. I just started my next one, a 4" version of the walleye without the back fin. (Doing one at a time til I know more about what I'm doing) But you're right, I better think larger scale for those fall 'eyes. You think a 7" version of this bait might be too thick? Hmmm, maybe just stretch it without adding to the width. OK, it's too early in the morning for my brain to be working this hard. LOL

    Best of luck. Let's see those teeth marks!
  5. All I can say is, "What time should I be there".
    sonar likes this.
  6. Really nice John, love the colors and the shape. You have inspired me to make some more Walleye baits for next year now....give the Musky baits a rest this winter...Except....I am going to hit it hard again this weekend and keep going until ice. We usually catch our biggest fish from now until the end.

    Have you tried making any of those jointed? I bet they would be awesome. I do well with my jointed baits for walleye here, don't see why they wouldn't do well there. Seems like the jointed baits have great action even at the slow speeds used for Walleye.

    Anyway, good luck, I know your baits will catch fish!

  7. I like them all but especially the top right and the third one down on the left. They'll really look good with some 10# hanging from the John.
  8. sick paint and plugs big john, dont know how you do it as i cant make a bomber style bait to save my life

  9. TIG -looks like you have that foiling 'down pat'- great looking lures, killer paints with foil flashing through. pete
  10. Well good mourning everyone. Well I made it out last night to test some of the lures. I headed out with "Dixie Chicken", "Jig", and "Wrong way". Hit the Big water of dowtown CLeveland at dark. Though we didn't mark alot of fish we did manage to go 6 for 8 on the walleyes.

    The first fish came on the yellow tail bait. It was a nice 21" Here is a pic. the bait was 25 feet back while trolling 2.25 mph. Five minutes later the emarld green one went pulling back but no hook up. Darn! LOL


    Some interesting observations last night: The bait was really in close to the shore. I still can't believe the fish find the baits. After we has landed a fish on of the inline boards fell into the water. We made our turn to retrieve it and I pointed the spot light into the water to look at the water clarity and behold a midsize chunk walleye was swimming with its dorsal out of the water. It quickly darted back deep. After seeing that Larry turned my bait world upside down with a new bait called a "chatter trick stick" from Renouski. It has no lip and one of those chatter blades in the front of the body. He said it runs only 2 to 4 feet down. The vibration is off the wall! He put it back only 10 feet and 5 minutes later we were netting. Ran it back out and another 10 minutes we netted another. This brings me back to the ideas of rattles and lure action. I want to try putting rattles into the baits put it will be challenging to do with such a small body.

    As the night continued we started to make changes on colors and bait sizes. We scaled down the size with some success at midnight. The chatter sticks shut down hit was hit and miss with the colors. The copper black head went off but Jig and I kept grabbing the wrong rod while finally got tired of being towed around and let go of the bait. Dang ! LOL Jig ran out a size 18 firetiger rapala to change it up a 1 am and a nice 22" cracked it.

    It seems that the fish might be the local resident fish that feed there all year round. They are all 2003 brood. All the fish came on different lures with the exception of the 2 on the chatters. The same for the colors. Going to try some new ideas this weekend on sizes and colors. It was a fun night with more info to use in the workshop



    Rod, I am going to try some jointed ones I think. New ground for me.

    Ezebite. I know that will catch on tuesday for you. Those glass minnows are incredible baits. I am trying to figure a way to make them. plexiglass maybe! LOL
    sonar likes this.
  11. Columbusslim31

    Columbusslim31 Student of Finjitsu

    Congrats Tigger. There's nothing like benefitting from the fruits of your labor!
  12. He is very tallented when it comes to wood and paint! Dont see many guys maken lures like he does. Takes it to a new level. Good to meet and fishin with you guys. Larry and Dan! Ill think of you guys ever BITE!!!!!!!!!!!!:D
    sonar likes this.
  13. true2plue

    true2plue TEAM BATO!!

    Wow!! These baits are truly amazing!! I was wondering Tigger if you have any of these topwaters with broken tails!! I was out last night and went 5 for 5 with a gold and a silver broken tail rapalas. I haven't seen many of the colorful broken tails, and thought they'd work great ...thx!!!
  14. hey Tigger - This is my first attempt at FOIL, talk about fiddly, a guy needs the patience of a rabbit trap to do this. That being said I'm on the hunt for foils, watch out ladies with those flashing foil shopping bags, I could quite easily become a chronic bag snatcher. Pete

  15. Tigger,

    Great job on the eyes!!! You did better than I did today. Is that a yearly bite in that area?

  16. eyesman_01

    eyesman_01 getting wEYESer every day

    Way to go on the 'eyes. Wishing I could make another trip, but doesn't look like it's gonna happen. Guess I'll start gearing up for next year. Just posted in the "mother" thread, but here's a pic of my most recent. Looks like "perch" is in.

  17. Wow Pete. That thing looks great. The trout and walleye would really really tear that thing up. That body shape is "off the wall" crazy! .......... I hear you on the foil bag thing. LOL I went into the gift/card section at a birthday card store and was looking at all the different foiled things. Many many ideas!:D

    Eyes! You have got to be kinding me. You are all ready doing baits like that! Where will you be by the end of winter? :p That thing is incredible.

    Rod, Yes it is a yearly cycle here. I am still learning alot about it. The pattern is generally when the water temp hits the 60 degree range it acts as a trigger to start and end the whole thing. below starts it in the fall and the opposite in the spring........water hits 60 it ends it. The fish and bait move to the shore line and the eating is easy for them. They all gather together. The walleye are fattening up for the winter. Easy pickings for them. As the water hits the 52 to 55 range it really gets on from there. The very very big ones move in. The fishing is world class as you will see. It is not uncommon to pull several fish over ten pounds every night. Last year we had a double go off with one being a 12-1/2 lber and the other a 10-1/2 lber. I lost a super fish last last night. I will think about that one for a while. Through the winter the fish will stay in the area and move to the traditional spawning areas. It is like a rest and feed stop at downtown Cleveland. When the ice gets off the lake the fish finish their spawn and will pass through again for a stop as they migrate East . They visit the feeding areas untill temp pushes them out to deep water and turns into a day bight.

    The weather plays a factor. The winter can come fast and the amount of trips can be very limited. Last year was the bonus round!!!!!!! We had the boats in the water untill 1 st week of January. Very rare.

    Well went to hit it last night again. "Jig" and his friend were coming up to try again. They would not make it up until 9 ish so I decided to get a jump and pick them up when they arrived. I got there at 6 ish and went out for a bit. I could tell the weather was breaking down fast. started at a 2 foot chop but went downhill fast! I made up my mind to call Bob and tell him not to come. He had a 1-1/2 hr trip up. The waves where getting to the 3 foot range on the edge of the open water zone. I had the two rods go off at the same time. That was some fun by myself! The boat was spinning and bouncing like a top! They were both 22" range. Good news one was on that green foil one that I had the pull back last night. The other came on a broken tail rebel bait. Thanks to "true2plue" I put one on that I found from my brown trout days in the bottom of the box. It caught the other.


    I called Bob not to come. I decide to head behind the breakwall where it was more protected. There were about 6 boats out. I heard a couple that were caught along with some steelies. The bait was so thick in there. I decided to hit the road knowing I had to cross the "open" bay to get to the ramp. The waves were getting to the 5 foot range. I set a straight line troll to the cut for the ramp. I had a #12 glass minnow Husky jerk. In the center of the bay a hooked up with a monster. It took the inline board 6 feet under the water. I could see the light way down deep. The dang surging waves pulled the hooks out. Still not sure if I would be able to net the fish in the waves. I was thinking of trying to tow it into the cut at the ramp in the protected area. I never got the chance. :( That is fishing. "fishcrazy" said I was saving it for the big tourney coming up. Maybe he is right. It should a fun one.

    One thing that I have noticed with the fish I have caught is that they are hooked on the front hook. I would think that they would come up from behind and be hooked on the back one. They must be "t" boning them in a towards the head kinda strike. I will have to keep an eye on that for the front hook placement.

    Here is a pic of the husky jerk and the rebel "broken tail" I want to try to copy these this week. I will see what I come up with. I am also seeing that have a bit of a preference for white / pearl patterns. I may have to start to add a third hook on the baits. The mid-gap range may be to big. It may cost me a nice fish later without it. That glass minnow will be a tough one to copy!:eek:

    sonar likes this.
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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009