The bottom bouncer rig is a well-known trolling method for walleye anglers.
A properly-rigged bottom bouncer equipped with a slow death spinner is simply amazing.
Simple design, complex consequences. The more you know this rig, you will be able to produce more fish.
Bottom Bouncer 101
A bottom bouncer rig is a simple way to troll off the bottom and give erratic action to your lure.
Cabela’s bottom bouncer rig has a looped-line attachment site.
These rigs are properly weighted to your depth and speed. They slide over the bottom at a 45-degree angle. This allows you to fully use your electronics. Pros know that big walleye fishing is possible with a properly rigged bottom bouncer, regardless of whether it’s shallow or deep.
This design has a magic ingredient: an inverted “L”. Attached at the right angle to your main line, the lower weighted arm contacts the bottom and creates irresistible action. Your terminal tackle will remain close to the bottom by connecting to the upper arm.
This combination is deadly.
Cabela’s has a great bottom bouncer, which is available in chartreuse, orange, and plain metal at weights of 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/2, 2, and 3 ounces. This should provide you with enough coverage to reach a depth of about 30 feet.
Northland Fishing Tackle offers a lighter version in 1/2-ounce and 1-ounce weights.
There are also countless other rigs.
Know your Attachment Point Strengths and Weaknesses
Bottom bouncer veterans will tell you that not all bottom bouncers rigs are created equal.
The attachment point is what makes a model different. There are many attachment options, including looped and crimped as well as twisted and looped and “R” styles. But the most important distinction is whether it’s closed or open.
It is easy to identify which door is open and which one is closed.
This is important because your attachment style will determine how you connect the bottom bouncer with your main line.
–It’s best to attach an “R”-style attachment to your mainline. If so, you can run it straight to the bottom bouncer rig using a tight knot such as the Uni.
This open design allows the knot to slide and possibly move out onto the upper arm.
This attachment is preferred by some anglers to a closed attachment. It can catch, tangle and cut your main line if it’s attached to the rig.
–A strong snap swivel connector is ideal for any closed attachment.
It won’t get tangled and it will hold firm.
Both methods work well. However, walleye anglers tend to find that snap swivels and open attachments don’t mix well.
How to Rig your Bottom Bouncer like a Pro
Bottom bouncers can be very easy to use and are quite forgiving. However, you don’t have to just grab any rig and put any leader or lure on it.
Jason Mitchell, a professional, recommends that you add 1 ounce to your rig for every 10 feet in depth.
He explains that it is crucial to choose the right weight so the bottom bouncer can be kept upright and close the boat. While there are exceptions, we may sometimes run lighter bottom bouncers behind boats at higher speeds on shallow flats.
Common bottom bouncer weights range from 1/2 ounce to 3 ounces. They are usually sold in 1/2-ounce increments.
Don’t be alarmed if your weight is 1/2-ounce too light or heavy. Bottom bouncers can be finicky and calculations don’t have to be exact. Your rig will be proud if you go heavy.
Material and length for leaders
Bottom bouncer rigs are best if you use nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon as leaders.
Both have good shock resistance and large diameters will reduce tangling.
Mono is my preferred choice for reasons we have discussed in detail. It’s simpler to tie and create stronger knots and it comes in many colors.
You can find out more about monofilament and fluorocarbon in our analysis in Best Fishing Line Monofilament Vs. Fluorocarbon.
I recommend that you start with 5 feet of mono, between 12 and 20 pounds like Stren Original. For my snap swivel connection at the end my upper arm, I use a Uni tie. If I encounter tangling while trolling I will either reduce my leader by one foot or increase the test strength to yield an even stiffer leader.
I can quickly adjust my leader length and test to find the perfect combination that keeps me snag-free.Remember, however, that the faster your leader is and the slower your speed, the closer your terminal tackle will be to the bottom.
You can always upgrade to heavier mono if pike are causing damage to your walleye fishing line with their sharp teeth.
A double-hooked nightcrawler is the best and most reliable option. This Berkley model is one example.
The so-called “slow die rig”, like this Mack’s Lure model, is a newer product that’s proven to be remarkably efficient.
Both designs have the same purpose: to create a twisting, gyrating eveningcrawler that rings for hungry walleye. You won’t be disappointed, no matter what soft plastic you choose or the real deal.