When braid is not available I will also use 12-15 lb. monofilament and there are
many anglers that still prefer mono line for a more natural presentation. Some
anglers like the fact that mono sinks so it never seems to get in the way of the
walking baits track. The line stretch can also be a positive factor depending on
how you fish and can absorb some of the shock of the initial strike, enabling
fish to really engulf the entire bait that split second before your set
transfers to the bait. In these instances mono can prevent the walking bait from
ripping out of the fish’s mouth due to an over-zealous hookset (which I have
done many a time), and is also why mono can sometimes be a better choice for
other topwater baits including buzzbaits and poppers.
The DUO Pencil is a modern take on
the walker and it is a good one!
Rods and Reels: Now that you have selected your lure and line it is time
to spool up. It is possible to use just about any stiffer and fast action rod
for walking these baits but achieving that perfect walk is made easier with the
right spinning and baitcasting outfits. I personally prefer to use baitcasting
gear in most cases, mostly because I can leverage a rod that I already have on
the boat for a wider array of techniques, rather than bringing another dedicated spinning
A shorter and faster with a crisp
tip helps generate a walk without touching the water's surface
Shorter baitcasting rods ranging from 6’6” to 7’6” are preferable for this
technique as they deliver the right combination of casting capability without
feeling unwieldy when constantly worked. When using longer rods I sometimes find
myself tapping the surface of the water or feeling strain on my wrists after
walking these lures for extended periods.
A medium heavy rod with fast action is
ideal to ensure those instant hooksets and plenty of power to both drive hooks
and muscle fish back to the boat or shore.
A 7.1:1 reel is my sweet spot for
walkers but a 6.3:1 can also be used with a brisk retrieve
Probably just as debated as the type of line to use for walking baits is the
baitcaster selection. A lot of anglers overthink this one and go for the fastest
burner reels they can get their hands on to more easily get the baits moving.
This can be a mistake as pulling in too much line can actually make it more
difficult to enable the lure to swing between rod twitches, and having to
constantly remind yourself to slow down is often easier than speeding up.
anglers can walk the dog just fine with a multi-purpose 6:3:1 retrieve baitcaster but for me the 7:1:1 gear ratio is the sweet spot, delivering just
the right amount of line pickup without having to consciously think about
altering cranking speed.
A light reel is not a must, but one that balances out
with the fast rod of your choice will only help make it easier to deliver the
right twitch over and over again without getting fatigued.
Walkers can deliver plenty of fish
and are an absolute blast to toss
When using spinning gear for the walking technique rods that are 6’6” to 7 feet
are ideal and ones that have a fast or extra fast action helps provide enough
tip to properly work baits. A 2500 size reel works great for bass applications,
especially with braid, and will provide a good balance without feeling heavy
when making all those rod twitches. Though not my preferred setup it is hard to
deny how easy it is to work walking baits with the yo-yo feel that spinning gear
Feel free to bust out the walk all
day but it is a definite must try in lower light conditions, especially at
sunrise on a calm day or over known structure
When to bust out the Walk: There is no reason to wait for the apocalypse to deal
with “Walkers.” These baits and this technique can be absolutely deadly for
targeting those green monsters whenever the water’s surface is relatively calm.
Cast your lure whenever you see surface activity, as these fish are already
pushing bait, and target suspended fish over points, drop offs, flats, and any
area that you see shad activity. As with all techniques practice makes perfect,
and use a combo that feels right for your preferred cadence, and keep at it…
nothing builds confidence like landing a few explosive topwater fish!