Why some people in a boat catch fish and others don't always fascinates me, particularly when walleye fishing using sliding sinker rigs, or what commonly are called "Lindy Rigs.''

This came to mind most recently on opening weekend on Crane Lake. A lot of walleyes were caught that weekend near the mouth of the Vermilion River, and many of them were 25 inches or longer.

Most anglers were using sliding sinker rigs, but fish didn't seem to be hitting baits uniformly, angler to angler. Why not?

That question can never be answered completely, because there are too many unknowns. Speed of the boat, obviously, would be the same from one fisherman to the next when both are in the same craft. But how about weights? Is everyone using the same amount? And even if they are, is one angler maintaining a shorter line than another — a critical factor that will affect placement of the bait in the water column.

My brother owns a cabin on Crane Lake, and he and his friends have a few basic rules about "rigging'' on that lake.

One is: no spinners. Fishing without them, he says, produces more fish.

Another is length of snell: Something roughly equivalent to the length of rod being used seems to work best.

The goal of rigging, of course, is to put the bait being fished where walleyes are. Too little weight or a speed set too fast likely will mean the bait you're fishing won't be near enough to the bottom to catch walleyes.

Another variable at Crane Lake on the opener was the current near the lake bottom from the Vermilion River. If you didn't account for this, chances are you were fishing with too little weight to keep the bait at or near the bottom.

Similarly, some anglers fished with floats on their rigs, again probably resulting in the bait being too far off the bottom.

Oftentimes I've found that a bottom bouncer, rather than sliding sinkers, gives you better control of your bait placement — something you might try.

The key is: mix up your presentation. Especially if you're not catching fish and your buddy is. Add more weight, if necessary. Change the length of the snell. If he has a colored hook on the end of his line and he's catching fish, try that type of hook, also.

Just saying you're "Lindy Rigging'' without given sufficient consideration to the many ways bait can be presented using sliding sinkers or bottom bouncers, will shortchange your chances of catching fish.

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