Hard-bodied swimming lures like the Lindy Darter are deadly weapons for winter walleyes. Their moves and looks are hard for hungry ’eyes to resist, and they’re perfect for attracting fish from a distance, then making them bite.

Of course, such lures are only as good as the hand of the jigger who fishes them. Which begs a brief discussion on manipulating Darters and similar baits for maximum effectiveness.

As with many presentations, a basic lift-fall-hold progression lies at the heart of most swimming lure performances. The lift attracts fish, while the settling portion of the fall and the stationary hold that comes next are the triggering parts of the act.

During the settling phase, walleyes that have moved in for a better look can consider whether or not the lure looks fit to eat.

Aggressive fish often rush in and grab the bait at the tail end of the settle or the beginning of the hold. But when cynical walleyes require additional coaxing, the ability to deploy subtle triggering moves can be key to turning lookers into biters.

When you see a walleye move in on your sonar or underwater camera but it won’t strike, experimenting with a blend of three tried and true — yet often overlooked — triggering moves can help you seal the deal.

The first, often called a “nod,” entails moving the lure up and down ever so slightly once it has settled. Use your hand to lift the bait via the line, because raising the rodtip can be over the top. Sometimes a single nod is all it takes to trip a walleye’s trigger, but other times you need to make a series of nod-hold-nod sleights of hand.

“Jiggles” are another option. A bit faster and slightly larger than nods, they make the lure roll on its axis, adding extra flash and vibration to the illusion.

Slightly more aggressive than jiggles, “shakes” can be use to call walleyes in, but also work in the triggering phase. To do the shake, use your wrist to rapidly work the Darter in half- to inch-high movements for three to four seconds, then hold it still.

Feel free to test the mood of the fish by mixing and matching lifts, falls, nods, jiggles and shakes into your theatrics until the walleyes let you know the magic combination at the moment.