It's a simple rig, basically a half to one ounce slip sinker sliding loose on your line with a swivel to stop it at lines end. Two feet of monofilament is tied to the swivel with a No. 4 or 6 hook attached. You can make one yourself or buy some from the Lindy folks that might come with a colored bead near the hook or even small spinners. It works very simply, too. To use it, you hook a nightcrawler by its head only so the rest can undulate through the water. Then lower the rig to bottom, raise it a few inches, and start drifting on your chosen water.
The rig is fished with the bail open, the line held with a finger, and the rod tip held high. Drop the tip occasionally to make sure you're close to the bottom, and wait for a bite. When it comes, drop the tip, release line and count to 10 while the fish eats the worm, then tighten up until you feel weight and strike. Like I said, it's lethal, and I've used this fish finder rig literally hundreds of times.
Why does it work? Because most fish will be very near the bottom, walleye, bass, perch, and other species, and every one loves a nightcrawler, though you can use a lip hooked minnow sometimes. If there are holes and reefs, the rig will find them and keep just above them, thanks to your frequent tapping to find bottom. And they cover ground. Lots of the ground might be empty, but you'll find a cluster of hungry fish sooner or later, and drift over the hotspot again and again until you fill your limit.
I well remember a trip made years ago on Lake Erie when I was catching nothing around a reef using weight forward spinners. A friend and I decided to move in close to North Bass Island and maneuvered to a side where the wind would take us from shallow to deep. We started in about six foot of water and caught several very nice yellow perch and rockbass. Then at about 10 to 12 feet we began picking up smallmouth bass and sheepshead, and on a small unknown reef about 18 feet down we started catching walleyes, this with no one around to share our spot. We went shallow again moving about 50 feet west first, had similar luck, and drifted more times until we filled our limit.
I've done the same on inland lakes and upground reservoirs, drifting until I found a pocket of fish, then hitting it again and again until I had enough. It's hard to lose because you'll be covering territory until sooner or later you strike gold. Try the rigs this summer and I'm betting you'll be pleased with results. I've certainly been happy with them.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.
HOOKS & BULLETS
• Readers who like to catch some very big bluegills will find them at the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in northwest Ohio, and it has new regulations this year. The Area will be open for fishing May 3 through Aug. 2 with fishing permitted on Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from sunrise to sunset. Sunfish bag limits will be 15 fish daily, with no more than five fish being eight inches or larger (imagine that). Largemouth bass will have an 18-inch minimum length limit with a five fish daily bag limit, and channel cats will have a two fish daily bag limit.
• The spring season has arrived, which means there are lots of young wild creatures around from fawns to baby squirrels and rabbits. The Division of Wildlife is asking readers to leave such young animals alone. A young wild animal's best chance for survival is with its mother, and most of those taken in by people do not survive. Chances are excellent that mom is hiding close by, and if you walk away will be back with her young ones again soon. Only if a young animal is visibly injured or clearly in severe stress should people visit wildohio.gov/staywild and get advice.
• Like to see a good hunting film or two, and enjoy an evening with other hunters? The Sportsmen's Alliance will host its 2019 Hunting Film Tour with some of the best short movies the hunting industry offers from waterfowl hunting to even scaled quail hunts in Texas. The Film Tour stop will occur on Thursday, May 23 at the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E.Main St., Columbus with doors opening at 6 p.m. There will also be a raffle with prizes from Cabela's, Camlbak, and Yeti and a grand prize of a head-to-toe camouflage system. Tickets are $12, children 12 and younger: $6 For details, call 614-888-4868.