Yes, you can still use the old fashioned leaded jig heads of you want. This may be a great option if you are going with kids. It’s much easier to cast a lead jig. Here is how to do it.
In about 2005, everyone switched to the modified Maumee River Carolina rig to fish for walleye. It kept the jig heads afloat and in the strike zone longer.
Before this, anglers used jigs tied straight to the lines to accomplish a similar result. Basically, you would use a Palomar knot to tie your lead jig head straight to your braid. And tip it with a chartreuse twister tail.
This offered several advantages, the biggest being that you could feel the fish bite much better. You could even use monofilament or fluorocarbon line, but essentially, you had less parts, and could feel the bites much better.
The current Carolina rig has too many parts and it’s much harder to detect bites.
Modified Carolina rig pictured above.
Your braid is tied to your weight, with two swivels, then mono, then the jig. When a walleye bites on the jig, it has to pull the mono, then the weight, before you might even feel anything. Walleye are very sensitive to feel, and may spit your jig back out without you ever feeling anything. They don’t like when something doesn’t feel right.
With lead head jigs, there is nothing between you and the walleye, you will feel the bite immediately, and every single time. So you may catch more fish this way.
The only issue, will be using lighter weights. With a Carolina rig, it needs to be a heavy weight to reach the bottom of the river in heavy flowing water. Sometimes, the weights can be as heavy as 1 ounce. With a lead head jig, you need lighter weights so that the jig won’t hit bottom and flows with the water naturally suspended in the water column.
Which one casts further?
This is an excellent question that can go either way. First of all, make sure you know how to cast properly. That said, there is a difference.
With lighter weights, you won’t be able to cast them as far. So take that into consideration if you want to fish from shore.
With lead head jigs, you can cast them further compared to similar weight Carolina rigs. But usually, you will need less weight for lead jigs.
With Carolina rigs, you can use heavier weights, even 1 ounce, but because of the way it’s rigged, a lot of wind will catch it in the air and slow it down and it won’t go as far, especially with longer leaders.
Take both setups and experiment with it and let us know how it worked out for you!