Fish Stories: Beautiful Penmanship

A Little Red Ink Might Land You More Fish

You may look at your favorite crankbait and think it looks good enough to eat. But the walleye you're trying to catch might want a little something extra. So doctoring your walleye crankbaits with paint pens, permanent markers and even colored hooks is worth a place in your repertoire. On the famous walleye waters of Lake Erie, most notably in water tinged an emerald green, walleyes respond when you paint a red belly on a Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk-a long, thin stickbait. In other places red works on crankbait bellies and even bills include in stained as opposed to clear water.

To paint metal bills of erratic baits such as Storm Hot 'n' Tots, try either a permanent marker or an application called Dykem, which comes in specialized pens used to color steel to inspect for cracks (www.americanmarking.com ). Turns out it's perfect for metal-billed Tots, too.

For additional color accents, try replacing your hooks with red trebles, and also try varying their size and weight. Over on the Central and Eastern basins of Lake Erie, a killer pattern is to doctor Renosky crankbaits and run them on leadcore line for greater diving depth (five feet of depth per color, or every 10 yards, of color-coded lead). Remove the front treble, replace the middle one with a red #4 and switch out the tail treble for a red #2. The larger and heavier hooks toward the tail create a wider wobble. Remember, add a little color, and the walleyes will see red.