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  • Writer's pictureMallick Adventures

Preparing for the 2024 Fishing Season: Bait, Tips, & Tricks

This is the third article in a series on apparel, equipment, and tips to make your 2024 fishing season more enjoyable and productive.

As winter fades away and spring approaches, anglers are getting their tackle boxes ready and counting down the days until they can hit the water. Whether you're new to fishing or a seasoned pro, there's something special about spending a day out on the water, hoping for that big catch.

For many, the mystery of each touch and bite is part of the thrill. From the aggressive strikes of northern pike to the subtle nibbles of crappie, every encounter with a fish holds the promise of excitement and challenge. And as we gear up for the 2024 season, one thing is certain: we must be prepared for anything.

One of the most important things to think about when you're getting ready for fishing season is what bait to use. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we want to introduce a tried-and-true favorite: Jacks Jig's. These jigs are known for their dependability and effectiveness, making them a must-have for any fishing trip.

The versatility of Jacks Jig's is especially advantageous when targeting walleye. Whether fishing in shallow waters or probing deeper depths, these jigs can be adapted to various conditions with ease. Their ability to mimic the natural movements of prey, coupled with the option to customize with different trailers, increases the likelihood of enticing a strike from a walleye. To the quality of the hook and the soft softness of the weed guard, the 1/8oz Weedless Jig will practically have walleye jumping into your boat. This original design comes standard with #2 hook and 8 strand fiber guard. These jigs come in an affordable five pack for only $7 and a bulk pack for $33.25, and many attest to their fast shipping and high-quality customer service.

Another product I highly recommend you keep in your tackle box is the 3/8 Roundball Jig from Jack's Jigs as it offers a perfect balance of weight and compactness. Its streamlined design allows for precise casting and control over depth, crucial factors when enticing bites from the depths where walleye often lurk. One of the key advantages of the Roundball Jig is its ability to maintain stability in various water conditions. Whether fishing in turbulent currents or calm waters, this jig maintains its steady trajectory, ensuring a natural presentation that appeals to the discerning palate of walleye.

One of Jack's Jigs flagship products that I swear by is the 3/32 Stand Up Weedless Jig. This jig offers a perfect combination of finesse and functionality, making it an ideal choice for navigating through weedy or debris-ridden waters. Its weedless design ensures minimal snagging, allowing anglers to confidently navigate through vegetation-rich areas and fish closer to structures, which will increase your effectiveness in making that catch. It also helps you save time from retying and money from not having to replace as many lures, lost leaders or jig heads. With 19 color-combination options to choose from, these jigs are sure to be a standout product in your tackle box this season.

Furthermore, I recommend you have a healthy supply of Red Tail Chub minnows to use with your Jack's Jigs, or on a simple size 6 hook. Tackle Box in Land O' Lakes and Tadpoles in Eagle River keep small, medium, large, and extra large options in stock as the season allows, but for many anglers that frequent Mallick Adventures, we find the 3-4" and 4-5" lengths to be perfect. The small minnow is optimal for catching walleye and smallmouth bass whereas the medium minnow extends its lure to not only walleye and smallmouth bass, but northern pike too. With its vibrant red tail and lively movement, the Red Tail Chub minnow stands as a reliable bait option for enticing a range of freshwater gamefish.

Leeches are an exceptional natural bait choice for targeting walleye due to their enticing movement and natural scent. Walleye, renowned for their keen sense of smell and preference for live bait, are particularly attracted to the wriggling motion of leeches in the water. Additionally, leeches exude a scent that mimics the natural prey of walleye, further enhancing their effectiveness as bait. I recommend the Gulp! Alive! Leeches from Berkley, which are also available for purchase at The Tackle Box and Tadpoles. Ranging in lengths from 1" to 3" and weights .103 oz and .422 oz, these leeches have a natural presentation in movement and scent and ares sure to expand your strike zone. Their durability on the hook makes them ideal for extended fishing trips, ensuring a longer presentation in the water to entice even the most cautious walleye. Whether rigged on a jig head or presented beneath a slip bobber, leeches remain a reliable and productive option for anglers seeking success in walleye fishing.

Finally, look for rock-bars early in the season and as water temperatures improve and the fish migrate to weed beds, look for bays and inlets that have weeds similar to those below. These areas of the lake often hold large schools of fish and can be very productive hotspots.

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