By Sam Rutherford
Walleye anglers are picky about their boats for many good reasons. Walleye fishing requires specialized marine accessories and tackle to be successful. The best walleye boats, like the Skeeter WX2200 , come standard with features that are optional on other rigs. This allows anglers to add finishing touches that create the ultimate walleye rig.
As a 20-year professional walleye tour angler, it’s easy to understand why John Gillman calls his Skeeter WX2200 his single most valuable piece of equipment, more so than the dozens of tackle boxes filled with baits that put him on fish and in the money. Here are Gillman’s must-haves for his boat.
“Trolling motors are now technical, just like the electronic graphs you can sync them with,” said Gillman. “Keep it simple and choose a trolling motor based on your style of fishing.”
Walleye fishing styles are simply divided between casting and vertical jigging, drifting, and trolling. Most non-tournament anglers fall into the latter category. The Ulterra® series can be deployed, stowed, and maneuvered from the cockpit using a remote fob or a Humminbird® fishfinder.
For casting and jigging, a recent breakthrough now widely used by bass tournament anglers has made its way to the walleye scene. The technology allows anglers to see fish and structure in shallow water in real-time. Garmin® PanOptix LiveScope and Humminbird’s® MEGA Live (available this summer) are examples of the products.
“That’s a breakthrough for walleye anglers that do a lot of casting to structure and fish,” said Gillman. “You have a pair of high-definition underwater eyes to show you precisely where to cast.”
The units are mounted at the bow, making the Minn Kota® Ultrex™ ideal for such a setup. The external transducer and pole can be mounted on the trolling motor shaft, depending on the electronics brand.
Gillman uses such a setup with a twist. He uses an aftermarket, telescoping pole that raises the unit off the front deck.
“It reduces eye strain and a sore neck from having to bend over and squint at a screen, otherwise flush-mounted on the bow,” he said.
Another must-have add-on are track systems that allow multiple accessories to be mounted along the gunwale. Traxstech® Mounts are optional accessories from Skeeter, and there are many aftermarket solutions.
“What those do is allow you to mount rod holders, tool holders, and many other accessories for easy access,” said Gillman.
His most significant find are marine bean bags made popular on offshore center console boats. The bags are comfortable, can be easily stowed, and create more open space in the cockpit for maneuvering around when trolling.
“They are just ideal for walleye boats,” he said. “They are just really comfortable, don’t take up any space.”
Gillman removes the rear pedestal passenger seats and replaces them with the bean bags, which he stows beneath the driver and passenger console when it comes time to troll.
“I even toss them up on the front deck for my wife and the kids to use while we are fishing in the back,” he added.
The biggest Deep-V boat Skeeter has ever produced, the WX2200 is engineered to handle the most grueling conditions that can be thrown at it. With a hull stretching 22 feet, it offers the room needed to fish comfortably and efficiently. With improved front and rear deck space and a larger cockpit area, the WX2200 is designed with the tournament angler in mind.
Standard features of the WX2200 include a 25-gallon insulated stern livewell and a 9-gallon insulated bow baitwell. The massive center storage has built-in Mega Tubes for keeping rods from tangling and better organized. A Hamby Keep Protector, industry-exclusive front and rear aluminum deck grid inserts, and Minn-Kota® 10-amp x 4 bank charger are all standard. The boat rides on a custom Skeeter Built® Trailer with tandem axles.
Add Gillman’s suggestions, and you have the ultimate walleye rig for fun fishing or serious angling on the big waters of the Midwest and elsewhere.
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