Targeting Walleye with Mag Lip®
RESEARCHED, TESTED, PROVEN, AND FREE ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
The Mag Lip family of wobbling plugs has quickly carved out a niche as one of the most productive plugs of all time. Anglers coast to coast are killing it using Mag Lip to catch steelhead, brown trout, lakers, chinook, pink and coho salmon and Atlantics! It seems these cold water species simply can’t resist the wide wobble and “skip beat” action of the Mag Lip.
It was only a matter of time before anglers who target warm water species like walleye discovered the magic of the Mag Lip! Wobbling plugs, aka crankbaits, are among the most popular lures for targeting walleye. Most walleye plugs however typically feature either a shad or minnow profile. Shad and minnow diving cranks feature a tight action that for decades has been considered the “go to” approach for targeting walleye.
It’s true that walleye eagerly slurp up tight action crankbaits, but it’s also true that at certain times of year, a more aggressively wobbling plug is even more productive. During late spring and throughout the summer months, a high action crankbait like the Mag Lip is deadly effective on walleye. It’s during this warm water portion of the year that walleye are especially active and constantly on the prowl for forage.
The Mag Lip family of crankbaits all feature a round snap attached to the pull point on the diving lip. This snap is designed to give the lure freedom to achieve it’s signature “wide wobbling” action. “The Mag Lip’s wide wobbling action can be increased even more by tying a round snap to the end of the fishing line and connecting the snap on the line directly to the snap on the bait,” says lure designer and legendary angler Buzz Ramsey. “Attaching a snap to a snap may seem redundant, but this simple strategy gives the Mag Lip a pronounced “skip beat” action that does an amazing job of triggering explosive strikes.”
MAG LIP SIZES
The Mag Lip family of baits is made up of several sizes including the 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 models. For walleye fishing applications the 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 sizes are the most productive sizes. These three sizes of Mag Lip do an excellent job of replicating the size forage fish walleye spend most of their time hunting.
The best way to troll with Mag Lip is to rig a snap to a snap such as pictured here. Adding a snap to the end of the line increases the freedom of movement the Mag Lip enjoys allowing this lure’s unique “skip beat” action to come to life.
FLAT LINE TROLLING
Mag Lip is a deep diving plug and can be trolled directly out the back of the boat. To get the most diving depth out of the Mag Lip an ultra thin super line such as Berkley’s 10/4 Fireline is a good choice. Super lines have near zero stretch, making it easy to detect strikes and also to deliver bone crushing hook sets. Super braid lines also allow the angler to detect when the plug is working properly and when it has fouled on bottom debris. When the plug is working properly the rod tip should be vibrating violently as the plug wobbles. If the plug fouls on a leaf or other bottom debris, the violent vibrating of the rod tip will stop, tipping off the angler to reel in, clear away the debris from the lure and resume fishing.
Flat line trolling (rod in hand) in rivers is an especially effective way to target walleye with Mag LIp. Because the friction of the current can reduce the diving depth of plugs, using in- line trolling weights, three way swivel rigs or lead core line can help anglers stay in contact with the bottom.
Using a double uni knot, tie a 48 to 72 inch long length of fluorocarbon leader material to the super line and then add a No. 3 size snap to the leader. For most walleye fishing applications the ideal leader material is 10 to 15 pound test.
Play out line a little at a time until the Mag Lip can be felt hitting the bottom. Crankbaits like the Mag Lip often produce best when they are fished in contact with the bottom.
Hold the rod in your hand and every few seconds sweep the rod forward a few feet, then suddenly drop the rod back to it’s original position. Sweeping the rod increases the action of the Mag Lip. Dropping the rod back, creates slack in the line that allows attacking walleye to easily inhale the plug.
Most strikes will be detected as the bait is dropping back on a slack line. Because there is slack in the line, the bite will feel like suddenly an increased sensation of weight is on the line. A smooth sweep style hook set is the best way to hook walleye. Once the fish can be felt struggling keep steady pressure on the fish all the way to the net. A walleye’s mouth is solid bone and it’s surprisingly difficult to keep a hooked fish on the line.
Traditional walleye crankbaits are normally shad or minnow profile lures, but the author suggests trying high action baits like the Yakima Bait Mag Lip during the spring and summer months when water temperatures are warm and walleye are especially active.
PLANER BOARD TROLLING WITH MAG LIP
Flat line trolling is a very productive way to use Mag Lip, but in-line style planer boards allow anglers to use multiple rods/reels and lures to create a fish trap like none other. Before using multiple lines, check with your local fishing regulations. Most states allow anglers to fish multiple lines, but some states only allow one line per angler.
When using in-line planer boards, the Mag Lip is deployed behind the boat the desired distance required to achieve the target depth. The phone app Precision Trolling Data provides the diving depths of all the Mag Lip plug sizes based on two line types including 10 pound test mono lament and also 10/4 Fireline. This unique app is invaluable for determining how much line to deploy to reach fish at specific depths.
Once the desired amount of line is deployed, the planer board is attached to the line and placed in the water. As the boat trolls forward, play off addition line from the reel to allow the planer board to work it’s way out to the side of the boat.
In most situations running two or three board lines per side of the boat is ideal for walleye trolling. This style of trolling requires placing the rods in conveniently located rod holders. The rod paired to the outside line will be positioned in the furthest forward rod holder. The middle board line will rest in the middle rod holder and the inside board line will be positioned in the rod holder nearest the back of the boat. To help keep planer board lines from crossing during turns, position the rod holders at least a couple feet apart.
TROLLING IN RIVERS
The Mag Lip is unique in that it can be trolled in natural lakes, impoundments, the Great Lakes and even in rivers. Plugs with an aggressive action are often the best choices for river trolling. Mag Lip is ideal for targeting walleye in rivers, but it’s important to note that the friction of flowing water will prevent the Mag Lip from diving as deep in rivers as it would in a lake situation. To compensate anglers can deploy longer trolling leads or they can add weight to the line to increase the diving depth.
Lead core line is a common method used to increase the diving depth of a Mag Lip. Using lead core and slowly trolling Mag Lip upstream is a highly productive method for both finding and catching river walleye.
A simple three way swivel rig can also be used to troll Mag Lip in rivers when the water depth is deeper than the lure will naturally dive.
Anglers can also use in-line trolling sinkers like the popular Snap Weight to increase the diving depth of Mag Lip for river trolling situations.
One of the biggest advantages of the Mag Lip family of plugs is how versatile these lures are to various fishing applications. Mag Lip has great action at very slow (1.0 MPH) speeds and the action just gets better as trolling speed is increased. Mag Lip will easily handle trolling speeds up to 4.0 MPH.
For summer time walleye trolling situations, the most productive speeds are normally going to be 2.0 to 2.5 MPH, but in some instances faster speeds up to 3.0 MPH can be very effective.
TIPS FOR FIGHTING FISH
When trolling a lot of line is going to be deployed and getting a hook to penetrate past the barb is often very difficult. When a fish is hooked using a planer board keep the boat moving at the same speed and resist the temptation to set the hook. Instead simply reel in the board and fish together using the rod to keep steady pressure on the fish. When the board is close enough to remove it from the line, take a second to remove the board then continue fighting the fish using a slow and steady retrieve.
Pumping the rod while fighting a walleye tends to tear a hole in the fish’s mouth, increasing the odds of a fish escaping. Steady pressure is the best way to get walleye to the net.
Walleye will be attracted to a host of Mag Lip colors. Some of the best choices among standard stock color options include the Grinch, Metallic Gold Flame, Double Trouble, Mad Man, Green Pirate, Blue Pirate, Firetiger, Metallic Rainbow Trout and Glitter Watermelon.
The new “walleye series” line up of Mag Lip colors focuses on some classic walleye patterns with a Yakima Bait twist. When experimenting with lure colors, 20 to 30 minutes is an appropriate amount of time to run a lure. If after this period no bites occur, replace that bait with a different color option.
Lure color is an important option, but in most cases finding walleye and presenting Mag Lip at the depths they are using are the fundamentals for success.
Mag Lip are deadly effective plugs for targeting walleye during the warm water periods of the year. The unique “skip beat” action of the Mag Lip trigger explosive strikes from walleye.
Don’t forget that adding a natural scent is always helpful. The Rooster Tail Scent Spray, featuring Pro Cure is a great way to add an attractive scent stream in the water when trolling for walleye. Garlic Nightcrawler and Shad would be two great options to try.
Summer time is the perfect time to target walleye using high action plugs like the Yakima Bait Mag Lip. Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 TV has caught so many walleye on this 3.5 Mad Man, the paint is barely visible!!