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The set-up

Dubuque Rig

Tackle Talk Thursday!

    This week’s showcase item is more of a technique than a bait itself, I’ll be going over the Dubuque Rig!  If you fish the Mississippi on Pool 4 this is a staple and you more than likely know how well these can work.  Now note to everyone this is NOT legal to use on inland Minnesota lakes it is specifically for the boarder water of the Mississippi River here in Minnesota.  Check your local regulations before using this.  Now with that being said this is my goto bait on the Mississippi Pool 4.  It’s a super great way to dial in them early spring walleyes.  Let’s start off with what the Dubuque Rig is, it’s pretty simple it’s a 3-way rig simply replacing the bottom dropper weight with a jig.  This allows you to essentially fish two lines using one rod, which for me is key because I feel jigging two rods on the Mississippi is hard for myself (some guys are great at it myself not so much). This lets me get two presentations down there and able to focus just on my one main rod.  

    So let’s go-to how to set these rigs up, you need a couple components to do so.  First lets start with the rod everyone has their own preference when it comes to this.  I like a shorter light tipped rod such as a 6’ med-light when using these vertically.  I use 10lb Sufix 832 Braid for my main line on a spinning set-up.  From that you attach a 3-way swivel to your main line, off the first swivel I will run a mono leader about 12”-18” long to a plain #2 drop-shot hook.  Off the bottom swivel I run a 12”-18” mono leader to a jig head, jig size all depends on the amount of current I am fishing.  If it’s an area with no current I’ll drop down to a 1/8oz compared to in heavy current I will up to a 3/8oz sometimes even 1/2oz.  I like to go with the lightest jig I can where I still can maintain and feel bottom contact.  

    So now that we know how to rig this technique up, what does one use for bait on these you may ask yourself?  This is where I love this technique, being you have two lines dropping down there I like to run two separate baits, example generally I will start with a minnow on my top line with just the plain hook and a plastic such as Bfishn Tackle Moxi, Ringworm or Pulse-R on the bottom jig.  What this allows me to do is zone in on what the walleyes and sauger are eating that day.  If I am getting a majority of my bites on the plastic I will switch the minnow out for a plastic of a different color and see if they start eating that more than the one on my jig.  This helps you really key in on what the fish want and are eating on that day.  Once I have it dialed in its simple, you just wait for the fish to keep coming topside!

    Now let’s talk about how to fish this.  Everyone has their own ways of fishing these, like I said above I will generally fish these vertically as if you were to fish a normal jig.  I know some guys have other ways and that’s the fun part you can experiment and see what works best for you.  I like to run these going against the current where you find a current seam of slack water this helps these stay vertical better in my opinion.  Now running against the current I will vary my speed according to what I’m getting bites on that specific day.  Most the time I will run .3mph-.5mph, some days slower and some faster, I let the fish dictate that.  Going against the current I feel for bottom and simply lift the jig up a few inches and just hold the rod at that point.  I don’t jig these like a normal jig and minnow I keep minimal movement with them as if I were dragging the bait and let the current do the work for me.

    So next time your fishing down on the boarder water of the Mississippi River try this technique out and see how you like it.  For spring pre-spawn walleyes when the water is still cold and they are not eating heavy it can be a lethal approach.  I want to thank everyone that reads these and hope it helps educate you to some new baits and techniques you have not used while fishing.  I appreciate everyone that likes and shares these posts it makes my dreams a reality in helping this great community of fishermen around the world.  Tight lines everyone!

Dubuque Rig: About
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