Slow Drag’n For Winnebago ‘Eyes

For several years, a close friend of mine has been throwing around an interesting description of a technique he uses to catch fish, mostly walleyes, on Lake Winnebago.

“Drag’n.”

I think Jon Markley, of Appleton, WI, used that term to keep me from copying his technique. He wasn’t being secretive, just securing the upper hand.

Since I’m supposed to know how to fish a little bit, I would shrug off my ignorance with evasive follow-up conversation and give him his props. “That ‘drag’n’ thing has been really working for you on ‘Bago,’” is what I usually forced out.

All kidding aside, we make a pretty good team on the water. By the time we get together each fishing season, it’s usually early summer and time to deploy the planner boards to search for active fish. A recent trip, however, brought this whole “drag’n” thing to a head.

“Let’s go try ‘drag’n,’” Jon said, with a voice barely audible over the hum of the trolling motor.

What followed were a few hours of the easiest and most enjoyable fishing I have had in quite some time. It turns out “drag’n” is the perfect description of the technique. Cast a jig tipped with a portion of night crawler and D – R – A – G it across the bottom.

Of course, I wasn’t able to do it correctly at first. Much needed instruction and demonstration from my good-ole fishing partner followed. The instruction included casting the lightest jig possible atop the reefs, letting it sink to the bottom. Instead of hopping it back just above the snags, drag it back right through the snags. The crucial step that triggers the fish is creating the correct d-r-a-g.

When the jig makes contact with the bottom, fight the urge to reel or hop it along. Simply, and slowly, lift your rod tip from a 3 o’clock position to a 1 o’clock position. When you reach the top of the drag, reel up slack line as you re-position your rod back to 3 o’clock. Never does your jig lose contact with the bottom. The key: You must be able to feel the jig bump rocks and slide along as you s-l-o-w-l-y lift the rod.

Position your boat just off your chosen reef and cast as shallow as possible. Drag the jig toward deeper water while maintaining contact with the bottom. I’m not sure how fish zero in on such a subtle presentation when the waves are crashing above, neither do I care. Our job is to set the hook and start the fun.

Snags are impossible to avoid, but the extremely light jigs slid over and around most everything down there. Some reefs are harder to fish than others, but finding your favorite spots is the fun.

Give “drag’n” a shot and work on your own variations of the presentation. If you want to ease into the idea, toss out a couple slip bobbers and do some “drag’n” with your third rod. For the record, this is my official apology to Jon – “drag’n” is the perfect description.

 

John Lindeman

Owner, Kingdom Fishing Innovations

Contributing writer for On Wisconsin Outdoors