I don’t need to tell you that multi-lure rigs are effective—trollers have long used them to juice their spreads. But when I got in a boat with NAFC member and tournament pro Dan Plautz this past summer, I knew I was looking at a wrinkle that hardcore walleye trollers simply had to see. His unique double-lure rig places baits with precision while letting him quickly dial in an effective pattern.
Control & Finesse
It consists of two lures: The lead bait is tied to a 2-foot leader and connected to the main line with a three-way swivel. The rear lure trails behind on a 4- to 6-foot leader also tied off the swivel. Plautz uses 15-pound Vanish fluorocarbon for both leaders and 10-pound Trilene XT for the main line.
The lead lure is a deep-diving crankbait; the second is a smaller-bodied floating minnowbait, spinner-rigged ’crawler harness or small slab spoon. He decides which rear bait to use based on several factors, which we’ll cover later.
The lead lure gives the presentation a large profile and dictates running depth. Aggressive fish usually hit the bigger lure. The downsized second bait catches more finicky walleyes.
In early May through late June, Plautz starts with a black-and-gold shallow-diving crank for the rear lure. He matches this with a firetiger lead deep diver. If regulations let him use a second double-rigged line, he ties that with a firetiger rear lure and a black-and-gold lead bait.
If that spread doesn’t draw strikes, Plautz swaps in a spinner rigged ’crawler harness in place of the rear bait. For super-slow trolling, he uses Colorado blades; speeds over 1.5 mph call for willow-leaf blades.
As summer progresses and baitfish hatch, Plautz abandons the shallow divers at the outset, instead opting for a small slab spoon like a Michigan Stinger for the rear lure. These subtle lures mimic young-of-the-year baitfish well as they flutter behind the hard-wobbling deep diver.
As he fishes the rig, Plautz tweaks. For example, if only the smaller, shallow-diving rear lure triggers strikes, he swaps the lead lure for a small-bodied deep diver to better match size. It’s critical that the lead lure stays a deep diver—a shallow diver will rise up and tangle with the leader of the second lure. He also switches both baits to the same color scheme once he’s developed an effective pattern.
As always when trolling cranks, properly calculating diving depth is critical, something Plautz says is surprisingly easy with his rig. “Because the rear lure has such a subtle action, it doesn’t really hinder the diving depth of the lead crank,” he says. “To compensate, I simply add about 10 percent to my letbacks to achieve the same diving depths as I would if I were trolling the lead bait alone.”
Plautz has enjoyed such success while fishing this rig on the tournament trail, it’s a permanent part of his trolling arsenal. “Where double-lure rigs are legal, it doesn’t make sense to not use this setup,” he says.