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New Tadpole Tricks

The author often uses Tadpole Divers rigged with
Big Al Fish Flash to target Great Lakes walleye.
By Mark Romanack

The Off Shore Tackle Tadpole Diver has quickly become a “go-to” product for targeting walleye, trout and salmon. Available in four sizes including the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and the Magnum, these non-toxic and non-directional divers are simple to use, ingenious in design and best of all they can be used as flat lines or fished in combination with planer boards. About the only time Tadpoles don’t work is when they sit in the tackle box!

One of the new ways of fishing Tadpole divers is by rigging them in combination with a popular attractor called a Big Al Fish Flash, produced by Yakima Bait Company. These attractors simply spin in the water giving off rapid bursts of light. The flashes generated by the Fish Flash mimic the natural pulsations of light that occur when baitfish are darting to escape predators.

Fish Flash are triangle in shape and come in 4”, 6”, 8” and 10” versions and the smaller 4” versions are ideal for fishing in combination with Tadpole Divers. Because these attractors simply spin in the water, they have very little resistance and don’t prevent the Tadpole from diving as designed.
Shown here are the four sizes of the Off Shore Tackle Tadpole
Diver, each rigged with a 4" Big Al Fish Flash.  For more
information on these products, visit

Rigging up a Tadpole with a Fish Flash is simple. Take one of the heavy duty snaps provided with the Tadpole and attach it to the terminal end of your fishing rod. Take the second provided snap and open up both ends of the snap. Put the ball bearing swivel that comes on the front of the Fish Flash into the small end of the snap and close it, then put the large end of the snap through the hole provided at the back of the Tadpole Diver and close it. Complete the rig by simply adding a leader and lure of choice to the back of the Fish Flash.

This simple rigging method attaches the Fish Flash directly to the back of the Tadpole Diver, creating a diver and in-line attractor that is absolutely deadly on walleye, trout, salmon and steelhead. This diver/attractor rig can be fished in combination with planer boards or as a bonus flat-line straight out the back of the boat.

Lure suggestions for this diver/attractor combination include crawler harnesses, trolling spoons, shallow diving crankbaits, in-line spinners and small wobbling style crankbaits.

Precision Trolling Data, LLC has tested and documented the trolling depths
of all four sizes of the Tadpole Diver based on both trolling speed and "feet back"
variables.  This information is available in the printed "sticker" format shown
here or on both the iPhone and Android app versions of Precision Trolling Data.
The diving depth of all the Tadpole sizes has been tested, documented and published by Precision Trolling Data, LLC. This information is available in Precision Trolling “Stickers” which are printed on waterproof vinyl suitable for adhering to tackle boxes ( and also in the Precision Trolling iPhone and Android version apps. Tadpole diving depths are determined by both trolling speed and the amount of “feet back” these divers are fished on.

Because the Tadpole dives like a crankbait, they reach much deeper depths on modest trolling leads than similar sized keel sinkers and other in-line trolling weights. The advantage comes in the ability to target a wider variety of depth zones. Also, because Tadpoles are diving they have “bite” in the water. When a fish strikes a lure towed by the Tadpole, this bite or resistance helps to insure the fish is hooked solidly.

Even better, when a fish is hooked, the snap that attaches to the Tadpole tow arm slides into the forward position preventing the Tadpole from diving and making it much easier to reel in hooked fish. With other diver designs the angler is fighting both the resistance of the diver and the struggling fish.

Tadpole Divers fished in combination with Big Al Fish Flash are an excellent
alternative to trolling lead core and copper lines.  The advantage of the Tadpole
Diver is they achieve significant depths without having to use the super long
lead lengths required with lead core and copper lines.
The 4” Fish Flash can be incorporated with any size Tadpole Diver. For walleye fishing applications the smaller No. 1 and No. 2 Tadpoles are ideal and for deeper applications targeting trout and salmon, the larger No. 3 and Magnum versions get the nod.

Combining the diving powers of the Tadpole Diver with the fish attracting powers of the Big Al Fish Flash may be the best combination since peanut butter and jelly! One thing is for certain, combining divers with attractors is a trolling tip every angler needs to explore.