Catch More Summer Walleye with a Slow Death Rig

Young Man showing off big Ontario walleye.

The Slow Death Rig is very popular for catching walleye in many areas because of its simplicity to rig and its effectiveness at slow speeds. The irresistible spinning action of an erratically spinning nightcrawler is apparently something even a disinterested walleye has a hard time passing up. Walleye will hit a nightcrawler that's spinning crazy all out of control, what the heck? After spending an entire fishing career trying to make sure my nightcrawler rigs won't spin, this weird walleye rig was a certainly shock to my previously established belief system. Adding this rig to your lure arsenal can possibly save the day.

The Slow Death Rig is designed for making a rigged nightcrawler spin tantalizingly while being slow trolled or drifted at about 1/4 to 1/2 mph. However this unique rig is very effective even up to speeds of 1.5 mph but the faster speeds also require a heavier weight to keep it down. These rigs were actually designed originally for those hot quiet summer days after the action has slowed and the walleye have become completely inactive and are not in a chasing mood but can't resist something moving slowly with all that action.

Click on the picture and watch this video that explains fishing and rigging the original Slow Death Rig.

Rigging Up for the Slow Death Rig

The standard way to fish the rig is with a baitcasting rod and reel that is spooled with 10# or 12# test braided line. Anglers often pull these on a three foot fluorocarbon leader behind a 1 oz. to 3 oz. bottom bouncer. The most important component in this rig is the Mustad 33682 Ultra Point Slow Death Aberdeene Crawler Hooks. These hooks are available in a few sizes but the most common size for walleye fishing has been #2.

Mustad 33862 Ultra Point Slow Death Crawler Hooks feature an opti-angle needle point which is chemically sharpened aberdeene wire for superior penetration. These specially designed ringed eye hooks feature a kinked shank that when rigged correctly with a crawler, produces the Slow Death spinning action.

Mustad Slow Death Hook
Illustration of Slow Death Walleye Rig.

Alternate Light Tackle Rigging

A. Light tackle anglers can also use this rig effectively by simply scaling down slightly to compensate for the stretch in their 6# monofilament line. Use a 6 or 6.5 ft. medium spinning rod spooled with a good quality 1000 to 2000 series spinning reel spooled with 6# test monofilament. On light tackle a 1/4 oz. to 1/2 oz. bottom bouncer will take your bait to the bottom and keep in there (depending on the wind).

Note: The light weight bottom bouncers can be a bit more difficult to find but they are available all the way down to 1/4 oz. and work perfectly for allowing the angler to pull through cover that would otherwise snag a rig. They also have an advantage when pulling lures, jigs and rigs anywhere around weeds by protecting the bait's hooks from the weeds. The heavier bottom bouncer tends to collect the weeds while the hook stays unfouled.

B. With the advent of lightweight plastic spinner blades another unique slow death rig has also become popular and may be the most effective of all. It's basically the same #2 Mustad 33682 Slow Death Hook with a spinner added directly in front specifically designed to spin at very slow speeds rigged on a fluorocarbon leader. Experiment with leader lengths between 18" and 36" but if you are pulling this slow and on lighter mono line there is less chance of hanging up with and 18" to 20" leader length.

Slow Death Walleye Rig with spinner.
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