Captain Kevin Swartz has the Lake Erie Bomber bite dialed in. Swartz, who operates Captain Kevin’s Lake Erie Charters out of Port Clinton, Ohio, has crushing it by trolling Bomber 25As in recent weeks.

“I’ll sometimes start out with Bombers on one side and something else on the other side, and day after day the Bombers have been putting the fish in the boat,” Swartz said.

The Bomber 25A has a different swimming action than other popular Lake Erie crankbaits, and Swartz believes that can be a difference-maker. He’s also a big fan of the new colors, many of which were created largely for walleye fishing. Fruity Crush is his favorite of the new colors. Other top producers include Sorbet Crush and Northern Lights.

A lot of factors play a part in figuring out a big-water trolling program, so Swartz is systematic about figuring out things like the best colors, trolling speed, distance back, and bottom depth.

He’ll run two lines per angler, splitting lines on both side of the boat and spreading them with planers and will run a mix of colors and sometimes models. Using dive curve data as a baseline, he’ll stagger distances by 5 to 10 feet. He’ll also watch the rod tips very closely as he trolls to see if the deepest baits are hitting bottom at all.

When one rod draws all the action, the next step is to alter other lines to figure out whether the lure or the distance back is the difference maker.

For precise patterning, little things make major difference. Swartz pointed toward calibrating line counters as an example. If reels don’t have the same amount of line on them, the line counters won’t be accurate or consistent with one another.

“It doesn’t do any good to put them all at 55 if that doesn’t actually put them the same distance back,” he said.

Swartz also pays very careful attention to his trolling speed. His default it to troll about 1.7 or 1.8 mph, but he’ll commonly go up to half a mile an hour faster or a bit slower. He’ll start with the default and will stick with that for a while, but will adjust it a little at a time if he is marking fish but is not getting bit or if he gets word from trustworthy sources that the fish are favoring baits that are moving faster.

Swartz’ paths for trolling Bombers are also anything but random. While trolling does involve getting to an area and covering a lot of water in search of active fish, he uses detailed mapping on his electronics to find subtle breaks in the bottom depth and often will troll along a break. He also goes back and forth between watching rod tips and watching his electronics to identify depth zones and specific areas that are producing fish.

When one or more lures get hit in a spot where Swartz has marked fish, he’ll often make a waypoint so he can circle back to the same area. Related to circling back, trolling direction also can make a very big difference some days, and the same basic trolling path will produce well in one direction but not the other.

The real key to figuring out a trolling program is to “listen to the fish.” Anglers who just do things the way they always do thing sometimes catch fish, but anglers like Swartz, who experiment and pay careful attention to what the walleyes respond to, catch more fish more often.