ANGLER'S TIPS Jack Wollitz
It's jig-and-minnow time at the local walleye hot spots as anglers eager to cure cabin fever take advantage of April sunshine.
With the April 3 snowstorm a distant memory, fishermen will be out in force this weekend. Many of them will be heading to Mosquito, Pymatuning, Berlin and other walleye waters.
It's a good bet that a drive across the Ohio 305 dam at Mosquito late this afternoon will reveal -- weather permitting -- hundreds of drifting boats and dozens of wading anglers.
The rocks at the dam and Ohio 88 causeway will be shoulder to shoulder with anglers casting for spring walleyes.
And it's another safe bet that the majority of those who hook up will do so thanks to the tried-and-true jig sweetened with a minnow. It's really about all you need this time of year. Any walleye in the mood to eat will strike the rig.
The best set-up for spring walleye jig fishing is a 61/2-foot medium-light action spinning rod and a reel spooled with 8-pound test mono. Lighter line will work if you don't mind losing a few jigs to snag-induced break-offs.
Anglers don't need a lot of fancy jigs to get the job done this time of year. A plain ball-head jig often is just as productive as a painted jig dressed with marabou or a twister tail.
Those who do want color on their jigs typically do best with chartreuse, hot pink or orange. The brighter colors work best when the water is murky.
Add a nose-hooked 2- to 3-inch fathead minnow and you're ready for action.
Walleyes like to hang close to the bottom, so you'll need to work your jig so it's just ticking the rocks.
To increase your chances of catching fish, time your visit so you're on the water around dusk. Sometimes the best action is well after sunset, so don't be in a big hurry to get home.
After all, you've been watching TV all winter and now it's walleye time -- the perfect cure for a long winter of cabin fever.