Bottom bouncing is one of the most popular ways to target walleye, but it’s never been a favorite of mine. This is somewhat due to the snagging factor, but mostly because you can troll for a long period of time only to realize that your nightcrawler (or minnow) is completely gone. There is also no visual indicator (vibration) like there is with crank-baits. Therefore you may have trolled for a long period of time with no bait.
That’s why I have become obsessed with beef heart. It’s a tougher and more sustainable solution that allows me to keep my line in the water for longer – and have piece-of-mind.
Of course, I’m NOT crediting myself with this technique. I’ve fished for walleye my entire life and never once considered using something like it.
Rather, I picked up this method from a seasoned guide, John Wolters (Bakers Narrows Lodge), and have simply taken it home with me.
WHY USE BEEF HEART
Beef heart isn’t exclusive to bottom bouncing. In fact, it can be used on multiple presentations. The reason it’s become a favorite for bottom bouncing has much more to do with its durability than innovation. Beef heart works well because:
- It can be cut to resemble a nightcrawler
- It’s tougher than a nightcrawler and therefore stays on your hook longer
- It’s affordable (once you find it)
- It’s easy to transport
Sometimes the most convenient baits are the best to fish with.
WHERE TO GET BEEF HEART
Once you decide you want to give beef heart a try, you’ll need to figure out where to get it. There is a good chance that you won’t find beef heart at your everyday grocery store, or even bait shop for that matter. However, there are places you in your community that will have it if you put some effort into looking for it.
In most instances, you are going to have to hunt down a meat processor/butcher or meat specialty store. Many places have local smokehouses or barbecue stores that also do their own processing. These are good places to start looking. A quick Google search should find these businesses. Once you find a place, I highly recommend stocking up.
HOW TO PREPARE IT
Although beef heart could probably be used in multiple ways, for this instance, we need it to replicate nightcrawlers. Therefore, the strips must be slender, long, and able to be put on a spinner or harness.
All you will need to achieve this (other than your traditional fishing equipment) is:
- Beef Heart
- Spinner & Bottom Bouncer for trolling.
It doesn’t get any more simple than that.
1. Cut the beef heart into long pieces
Cutting up beef heart is as easy as it sounds. Take a package of thawed beef heart out on the boat with you, or cut it up beforehand. Find a knife and start cutting the beef into long, thin strips. Remember, the key here is to make the beef resemble a night-crawler.
2. Take a pair of scissors to cut it into multiple narrow strips
It’s going to be hard to get it thin and precise with a knife, that’s why scissors are important. Once you have the beef heart cut into sections, you are going to thin those sections even more with a pair of scissors.
3. Attach it to a spinner/bouncing setup
Once you have a long, thin piece of beef heart ready, it’s time to hook it on to your spinner. If you are using a traditional single hook spinner, make sure to hook the meat securely on one end. If you are using a worm harness, then connect both hooks to the piece – just as you would with a nightcrawler.
4. Get out there and troll (watch out walleye!)
That’s it. It’s pretty simple, right? The best part is that once you have your beef heart strip attached, it’s going to take a lot of trolling to lose. This, of course, helps limit the amount of time your lure is out of the water; therefore improving your odds of catching more fish.
PUTTING IT INTO PERSPECTIVE
Of course, with all fishing, there isn’t a “one size matches all” solution. However, if you are looking for another tool to add to your tackle box, then beef heart is a perfect addition for you. It’s cheap, tough, easy to use, and best of all – it’s unique. It’s the perfect bait to try when you need to grind it out all day to catch that walleye!