Invention and Walleye Season Go Together
Inside the Outdoors, May 25
, 2012

Now that walleye season is underway (began may 5), there’s always been the question as to bait or lure choice. When I was in business, leeches were very popular, but trying them, I found it took more skill than just sticking them on a hook. I decided to search out for something more.

Each year, I visit the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show for no other reason than to meet up with a gifted angler, Keith Eshbaugh. I always like to use this adjective, because he seems to come up with something new each year that proves to catch large fish whereby anglers win tournaments with his baits. That’s impressive.

So when I attended one of his seminars, his newest invention caught my eye to the point that I had to ask him how he constructs his walleye spinner rig. It started with a clevis and blade combination.

First of all, I have to point out that many people do not know what a clevis is. I can understand that. Draw a circle and then cut it in half, disposing of one half. You have left something that resembles a sideways “C”. The old clevis is metal and has a hole in either side for the line to slide through connecting to the blade in the middle.

Eshbaugh invented an interchangeable plastic clevis that has a little tube on one side to string the line and a snap on clevis to interchange the blade color. How cool is that. By the way, he makes and sells everything that is needed to make the rigs.

He told me to go to a craft store and procure a bag of beads to string onto a monofilament line and then tie a series of hooks to it using loop knots, one in the middle and the other at the end. These are the easiest and fastest to tie with little effort. They will never come undone. To tie a loop knot, take the line and fold it so you hold the main line plus the looped end. Grasp it in the middle and tie a half granny, inserting the loop into the circle. Pull it around and do the same and then pull the line taught. Clip off the excess line.

According to the expert, “Spinner blades are an absolute must for any walleye fisherman. Custom painted spinner blades are a whole new level. Even though crankbaits are a crucial part of any serious fisherman’s equipment, running crawlers with spinner rigs are second to none,” he said.

Eshbaugh went on to state, “Crawler harnesses are versatile. A harness can be pulled in and around cover. Fishermen can easily change blade styles with the quick, flexible interchangeable snap clip clevises for different vibrations.”

The Claysville resident emphasized, “The size of the spinner blade can be as important as anything from one day to the next. Custom spinner rigs continue to prove themselves to fishermen at all levels. Tournament anglers continue to bring in larger baskets every year. Many times this increased fishing success is due to the innovative painting that goes into custom rigs.”

Blade clevises come in three different colors, white, black, red and yellow. “I have invented softer plastic ones just recently,” he said. “In addition, I will be coming out with smaller blades this summer.”

One may visit Keith's website to learn more about his products. Owner of Dutch Fork Trophy Plaques, Keith also may be reached by calling him at 724-884-3977. Tell him you read them in my column. The website will show viewers some of the really big walleye that have been caught.

I have a few I made in quick order that I can show anyone who wishes to stop at my old shop. Call first at 724-539-8850. Maybe I’ll even give you one to try. While you are here, I might even show you the Bobber With the Brain rig. It also incorporates the loop knot. Once one gets the hang of tying that knot, you find fishing so much more enjoyable.

Since I’m on the subject of new products, one particular lure caught my attention, and here again, I can’t wait to try it. Distributed by Koppers Fishing and Tackle out of Grand Island, New York, the company developed a field mouse that is said to be a deadly topwater bait especially working around heavy cover and thick grass mats. “The intricate life-like details make this rodent so realistic, you’ll swear it is alive.”

Just by looking at it, you would think you have yourself a pet, sitting on the table. From my point of view, it sure looks alive just boxed in front of me. I can just imagine how it will look in the water.

In as much as it is new, you may have to visit their website to find out how to purchase it. Take a look at it and decide for yourself. I suggest you buy it. Tell them you saw the write-up in my column.


Heard there was some excitement up in the 800 block of Weldon St. last week. A deer was seen walking on the street. These aren’t the first sightings of animals up on top of the hill, or down around Irving Ave., for instance. Periodically, our four-legged friends make their rounds on our city streets. But when you consider our little town is amidst the Laurel Mountains, who knows what will show up. Remain calm, and all of them will be on their way. Have a good week. Hope to hear from you soon.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.