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Mastering Glide Baits for Late-Summer Walleyes

Few presentations have taken the walleye world by storm to the same extent as glide baits. These hard-bodied jigging lures have successfully made the leap from cold- or frozen-water favorites to warm water essentials, and have proven incredibly successful at converting walleyes in the lake into fish in the tank. Inducing strikes using glide baits is not without its own learning curve and supporting tackle needs, and these presentation tips will help anglers target walleyes using glide baits throughout the open water season.

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Start with the right rod

Aggressively snap-jigging glide baits for hours at a time can be a taxing experience without the right rod in hand. Stiff rods designed with extreme sensitivity in mind for finesse live bait or soft plastic presentations are best left in the locker when fishing glide baits. Rather, select spinning rods between 6’8” and 7’4” in length, with Medium or Medium Light power and Fast action ratings. The 6’10” BLF Instinct Spinning Rod from the Mustad Rodworks is an outstanding choice. The Medium Light power of this rod makes it forgiving enough to use with braided line, while the fast action rating ensures that its sensitive tip transitions quickly to hook-setting backbone when walleyes attack. Anglers will also appreciate the unique reel seat that provides palm and wrist support on the side of the rod opposite the reel, enhancing comfort at the grip. This reel seat is much like the lumbar support in your vehicle or desk chair; once you experience it, you’ll never want to fish without it again.

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Line and leader connect you with success

While some aficionados profess the benefits of old-school monofilament for snappin’ glide baits, it can be difficult to justify a single mono combo swimming in a sea of 21st-century braids. As long as you build in a little shock absorption somewhere in your tackle system – such as a forgiving Medium Light power rod – you can certainly present glide baits successfully with braided line. Select a smooth, long-casting 8-carrier braid, like 20-pound-test DOMIN8 from TUF-LINE. With DOMIN8, you’ll be able to bomb glide baits on long casts, feel every nuance in the bottom, and drive the hook home when walleyes connect. Add an 18-inch leader of 15-pound-test Fluorocarbon XS from TUF-LINE; using a relatively heavy leader helps to prevent the lure from fouling in the line during the cast or when snapping aggressively in the water. Join the braided line to the fluorocarbon leader with a high-quality Mustad swivel to eliminate line twist that might otherwise occur as the glide bait helicopters while airborne. Attach the glide bait to the leader using a cross-lock snap to make lure changes quick and easy.

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Choose colors wisely

Glide baits are so effective in summer and fall – calendar periods when the food web is in full bloom and prey is abundant – because of their ability to trigger impulsive, reaction strikes. Nevertheless, lure color and appearance can make the difference between slow days and trips of epic proportions. When dealing with extreme water clarity or heavily pressured fish, select lure colors that mimic those of natural finned forage, especially perch patterns on inland bodies of water and goby patterns on the Great Lakes. When crawfish are abundant, be sure to mix in some red, brown, and orange colors. On turbid or tannin-stained waters, brighter patterns like the classic firetiger often outperform other options. When dealing with bluebird skies and bright sun, metallic finishes that disperse flash into the water column work well. The prime-time bites at first and last light can often be extended by using glow finishes.

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Think outside of the box

The aggressive reaction strikes that are associated with glide baits can be induced by other lures as well. Frequently, when a lake full of anglers has been snappin’ glide baits for weeks at a time, pivoting to an alternate – yet equally strike-provoking – option can put otherwise neutral fish in the box. Lipless rattlebaits share many of the same effective properties as glide baits, with the extra benefits of a more realistic baitfish profile and internal rattles for dingy water or low-light conditions. The Yellow Perch Rattlebait from LIVETARGET is an excellent choice for clear walleye waters where Match-The-Hatch realism is necessary for converting lookers into biters; choose the ⅝ oz size to enhance the lure’s rate of fall. In stained or turbid water, select a ½ oz LIVETARGET Golden Shiner Rattlebait in Glow/Gold or Glow/White finishes. Glide baits and related reaction strike-inducing lures are extremely effective at triggering walleyes in late summer and fall. Be sure to add them to your bag of tricks this season!


Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-Line and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.

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