Is it time to use crawlers yet?

It’s been a long time coming this spring, but hopefully the warmer weather is finally on its way. I can’t remember a time, living here in Port Clinton over the last 13 years, where I have had to wear my long underwear and the full body Mustang suit this long into the month of May. It’s really quite exhausting! Just like everyone else, I’m longing for the days where I can wear shorts and flip flops in the boat again.

Walleye fishing has been good, but not great, this last week. The strong winds and cold temperatures we have endured have scattered the fish around their normal feeding areas, and locating and catching them has been a bit of a challenge, though not impossible.  

The water temperatures took a little step backwards, from the low 50’s back to the high 40’s, but are on the rise again now.

The biggest question I’ve been reading on the fishing websites is, “Is anyone using crawler harnesses yet?” And, the answer is, “Yes!” So, pull them out of storage and start using them. They have been very successful enticing finicky fish to bite, but it’s also been a challenge keeping fish hooked all the way to the boat, since they are biting so lightly.

When trolling, I use the Off Shore Tackle in line planer board that attaches directly to my main fishing line. One trick I use to entice a fish to bite a little harder is when there is a tell tale sign a fish is biting, but it doesn’t look like it’s hooking up, I quickly free spool the line back to the fish about 5-10 feet, and engage the spool again. This makes the crawler harness fall, and then shoot forward again, making that walleye hit with a reaction bite. The reaction bite is a serious, “I’m going to eat you” bite, where as the opportunistic bite, is that of a fish hitting a bait that happens to be passing by and it isn’t all that serious about eating it. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, the hooks are deeply embedded in the walleye’s mouth and it will make it all the way into the boat.

Word has it that the jig fishermen are still catching fish on the reefs with much success right now, too. So, no matter how big your boat is, or what experience level you are, there are fishing opportunities for everyone. Don’t own a boat? There are several walk on charters and head boats in the area to fish from too. Just check with your local bait shop for a good reference, and then go have some fun.

Good luck on the water this weekend, and be safe.

Captain Juls can be contacted by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or by phone at 419-835-7347. Her website address is

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