Walleye Rod Buyers Guide

Walleye Rod Buyers Guide

By Dan Baker

Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota. It is arguably the most sought-after species during the summer and winter months. Walleye offer excellent table fare, an exciting fight, and they are one of the few game fish that remain active throughout the cold winter months. Because of the popularity of the walleye and the challenge they provide for anglers, many methods have been developed for catching them. At Tuned Up Custom Rods, we have designed a whole arsenal of rods to be used for every known walleye technique. In this blog, we will break down which rods are best for each technique to help you make the best choice in your rod purchase.

            All the different lures and presentations can be broken down into two main ways to fish for walleye: Jigging and Dead Sticking. Jigging means you are actively moving your bait and lure with your hand by lifting the rod tip up and down. This lets your lure imitate the movement of live bait. Dead Sticking means you have your rod stationary and you are using live bait (usually minnows). The bait itself makes the action underwater and you wait for a fish to bite.

            Let’s look at jigging first. Jigging is active. You are constantly involved in the process and you often are trying to tempt fish with your offering. Sometimes, fish will respond best to large, aggressively jigged lures. Other times, the fish will prefer moderated jigging of a spoon. Still other times, the fish will want you to barely move a small spoon or jig. Having multiple presentations rigged up and ready to go, will allow you to home in on the fish’s mood quickly and effectively.

            Different lures have different weights. At Tuned Up Custom Rods, our rods are built to be matched to specific weight ranges of lures. If you fish too heavy of a rod on a light lure, you will not feel or see the bite as well. If you fish too heavy of a lure on too light of rod, you will not have the control of the bait when jigging. It comes down to balance.

            We offer three main walleye rods for most lure weights. These rods will be effective for most walleye presentations. The rods are the Precision, the Power Precision, and the Commander.

            The Precision is a Light to Medium Light power, fast actions jigging rod. It is designed to handle lures from 1/10 ounce to 1/4 ounce. This is the range most walleye spoons fall into. The Precision is our most versatile walleye rod and will handle most walleye situations. The Precision works great with popular walleye spoons like the VMC Tingler Spoon, Lindy Rattln’ Flyer, and Swedish Pimple. It can also be used for small minnow profile baits like the Rapala Ultra-Light Rippn Rap 04.

28 1/2″ Walleye caught on a Precision

            The Power Precision is a Medium Power, fast action jigging rod. This rod is heavier than the Precision and can support baits from 1/8 ounce to 3/8 ounce. The Power Precision really shines with minnow profile baits like the Rapala Rippn Raps and Lindy Darters. It also works well for heavier spoons.

            The Commander is a Medium to Medium-Heavy power, fast action jigging rod. This rod is our premiere walleye rod. It is very versatile, being able to handle medium spoons up to the largest minnow profile baits and swimbaits. It handles lures in the ranges of 1/8 ounce to 5/16 ounce. The Commander is excellent for targeting the largest walleye and pike in a lake. It has a remarkably sensitive tip and a backbone that can comfortably fight nearly all trophy fish.

29″ Walleye Caught on Commander

            If you are looking for a rod that can be used for walleye and for smaller species, such as perch and crappie, we offer two, very different rods for you; the Fusion and the QuickTip. Both rods are intended to be jigging rods and accommodate the smaller end of the baits people use for walleye, including the smallest Rippn Rap 03 and the smallest spoons.

            The Fusion is a Light Power, Moderate-Fast action rod. Its slower action allows the rod to load up more during the hookset. The Fusion is a great blend between panfish and walleye, especially if you are targeting eater sized walleye.

            The QuickTip is a Light Power, Extra-Fast action rod. The tip transitions lightning quick to the backbone. This allows you to set the hook as soon as you feel a bite. Because the tip is so quick, the QuickTip is somewhat limited in the size of lures it fishes well. You will want to stay at or under the 1/8 ounce size. It is also very important to keep the QuickTip parallel to the ice when you set the hook and fight the fish. High sticking might lead to a broken tip.

            Finally, if you are looking for a dead stick rod to place in a rod holder with a slip bobber or a bait feeder reel, the Tuned Up Custom Rods DeadStick is your perfect choice. This is a Medium Power, Slow Action rod. The slow action and the light fiberglass tip allow you to visually watch when a fish begins biting your minnow. You can see the bite happen before the fish knows that they are attached to the rod. This technique is expertly demonstrated in the attached video from In-Depth Outdoors. The DeadStick also works very well in an iFishPro tip-up system.

Walleye caught on a DeadStick

            If you made it all the way to the end, you know now just how much thought and care went into the designing of the Tuned Up Custom Rods Walleye line-up. Which rod is right for you depends on how you like to fish. For many people, the Precision is the perfect starting point. But many people prefer to have multiple rods, to cover all their walleye bases.

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