Minnesota guide Brian “Bro” Brosdahl thinks weedbed walleyes represent one of the most productive and least exploited bites out there. But although he and Thelen both use spinners to root them out of the salad, Bro’s methods have nothing to do with trolling. Instead, he trims them to only 6 to 12 inches long, runs them behind a sliding bullet sinker, and casts and retrieves them in fish-holding spots.
For him, the departure from convention is all about efficiency.
“If you have the spot dialed in you can stop and pitch into the weeds and catch fish faster than by making full trolling passes.”
The bullet sinker is an obvious choice for this presentation because it casts easily and slides through the weeds better than split shot or other weighting options.
“A neat trick is to slide the sinker on the line backward—the cupped surface imparts a subtle swimming action on the retrieve,” he says.
As for the spinner setup itself, Brosdahl prefers single-hook setups over two- and three-hook harnesses. “I don’t like to use harnesses much—I’d rather use a single hook spinner with more beads.”
He’s also not shy about beefing up hook size.
“I’ll go with one size 2 hook over two No. 4s,” he says.
With that, he folds his ’crawlers in half and hooks them in the middle, essentially creating a twin-tail bait. The rigging offers several benefits. First, because the worm is shorter, Bro gets fewer short hits. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that since hordes of small perch and bluegills inhabit the weeds—that’s why the walleyes are there— running conventionally hooked crawler is begging for trouble. Small fish will quickly tear apart the bait and it’s easy for a stubborn perch to tear the entire crawler off a harness.
Bro’s system, however, makes these pesky nibbles less common, because the bait is more compact and running closer to the beads and blade. Even when panfish do attack, the ‘crawler will break apart at the hook like a wishbone—the bluegill gets one half, but the other stays on the hook, which means it’s still available to walleyes. Plus, it’s more weedless then harness-hooked worms.
“I don’t think the walleyes care that the ’crawler looks different. Actually, the doubled-over bait creates more turbulence, plus it resembles a crayfish,” he says.
A vital component of the system is a high-quality barrel swivel between the spinner rig and main line to prevent twist.
“Get the kind of swivels that make you feel ripped off when you buy them,” he laughs. “You definitely need them to keep the setup from coiling into a big mess, though.”
In shallow water, Brosdahl uses a mono main line—its buoyant formulation and smooth, springy texture helps it stay up and out of the weeds, or deflect off them if it does make contact. However, when conditions allow, he’ll go to a FireLine main line. No stretch means you can see and feel more, but Bro is sure to incorporate a bit of forgiveness into the system. “I’ll always run FireLine with a 6- to 10-foot mono shock leader.”