Trolling crankbaits with lead core line helped Ted Takasaki win the FLW Walleye tournament on the Mississippi River at Red Wing last week. I asked Takasaki when and where he uses lead core line, and how he rigs it for walleyes.
Q What was your strategy on the Mississippi, using lead core line?
A We could weigh five fish a day, walleyes and sauger, and my strategy was to get some good-sized sauger first, if I could, then look for big fish. As it turned out, in addition to sauger, I caught two 28-inch walleyes trolling lead core about where the Mississippi enters Lake Pepin.
Q When do you use lead core?
A Typically, I use it in a reservoir or river environment. Lead core is good when you want to troll lures deeper than they normally dive. Lead core is especially good to keep your lures at specific depths along contours, say along a shoreline that bends in and out.
Q What kind of reel do you use with lead core?
A Usually a line counter reel. Lead core line is colored differently every 10 yards, and usually I'll put out six to 10 colors. It depends on the depth I want and the speed of the boat, of course.
Typically I'll use 18-pound-test lead core. I'll use a barrel swivel to connect it to a leader that is as long as the rod I'm using.
I use 15-pound-test PowerPro for my leaders. Then I'll have a snap, and the crankbait.
Q How fast were you trolling?
A I was in about 20 feet of water, and would let out 100 to 125 feet of line, trolling 2.1 to 2.2 miles an hour. That combination kept me 6 inches to a foot off the bottom.
Of course, you have to feel for the bottom. If your crankbait starts bumping the bottom, you shorten the line some.
Q: Which crankbaits were you using?
A: No. 7 Shad Raps and No. 5 Wally Divers.
Q On the river, fishing with a partner, you could troll four rods. Is that possible with lead core?
A Yes, but you have to run a couple of 10- to 10 1/2-foot rods out to each side, with shorter ones straight back.