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 spring and 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 [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.
HOOKS & BULLETS
• Huron County deer hunters who like to plan ahead might want to buy a ticket now for the 17th annual Deerassic Classic which will be held on Aug. 2 and 3 at Deerassic Park in Cambridge. It's a giveaway and outdoor expo and it's touted as the largest most unique outdoor events in the U.S. There'll be over 100 exhibitors, outdoor celebrities, drawings and more. Call 740-436-9500 for more details.
• The Ashland County Park District will hold its annual spring turkey lottery at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6. The event will be at the Ashland County Conservation League, 1930 County Road 1035 in conjunction with the League annual fish fry. For a $10 fee, hunters in the county and counties around can put their name in the lottery. Winning lottery hunters will be able to pick the park and day they want to hunt and will be allowed one hunting partner each day. There will also be a youth turkey season lottery held at no charge. For questions and more information call 419-289-3524.
• Winter fish kills ma be common as ice retreats from Ohio's ponds and lakes this spring according to the ODNR. The kills are most common in shallow ponds, especially weedy ones, and are caused by diminishing oxygen. Dead and dying fish are the most obvious indication. For information on what to do, go to wildohio.gov. or call 800-WILDLIFE.
• Outdoor enthusiasts interested in learning to process a turkey after the hunt are encouraged to attend a free informational seminar on Wednesday, April 10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The seminar will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Antwerp Conservation Club, located at 17814 Road 53, Antwerp. It is free of charge, but preregistration is required by April 9, as space is limited. To register, visit https://apps.ohiodnr.gov/wildlife/educationregistration/. Registration questions can be directed to the Division of Wildlife District Two Office at 419-424-5000. Trained professionals from the Division of Wildlife and Antwerp Conservation Club will cover topics including multiple ways to process a turkey after the hunt and how to preserve the fan, beard, feet and spurs. Turkey cooking techniques and recipes will also be shared. For more information on turkey hunting and meal preparation, visit wildohio.gov.