Tips and Tactics part two
So here’s’ a tip for those who like to fish for the head shaking, bull dogging species like trophy Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Chinook Salmon and Walleye.
First and foremost, forget the multiple pumps on the rod that sets the hook. Patience is the key to landing these fish.
When a fish strikes, load the rod up with the weight of the fish and just give the rod a little extra load and hold. Wait for the fish to make its move and keep the rod loaded. The fish will set the hook for you.
If you choose not to use longer rods or rods with softer tips, you must learn to back reel or live with a lighter drag. This gives you better control over line pressure, rod pressure and drag assistance.
The ability to back reel to release additional line to a running fish and the immediate pick up of line as the fish changes direction is key to keeping these fish on a hook.
The majority of reels today carry ample line capacity to allow you to control a fish with a very light drag. The light drag setting is a back up to a longer, softer rod and non-stretching fishing lines but it will allow the fish to fight longer thus endangering the chance of a live release.
Not all fish are properly hooked, especially when drifting and rigging live baits.
If you are on a boat, you should attempt to stay on top of your quarry as much as possible to prevent the loss of your fish. Fish that are caught on the side of the mouth will often get unhooked as they swim to the side of the boat. Trash caught up in the line and line drag in the water is often the culprits that set these fish free because they are so lightly hooked.
Staying on top of your fish will keep the hook pointed in the general direction of the mouth and you in better control of the situation.
Structure fishing Walleyes is a subject without comparison. Every walleye fisherman uses structure as a basis for searching out this fish.
Structure works for all species of fish.
Structure can be interpreted as irregularities in lake / river bottom, including depth changes and bottom content. Structure can also be interpreted as wind, current, tides, and eddies, temperatures and thermoclines. Furthermore, we can add plant growth or lack of, undercut banks, current obstructions, oxygen deficiencies, light penetration, pollution and man made obstructions to this list.
Do you ever wonder why we still get skunked?
Which is better? Fireline or Spiderwire
Both lines are made from Micro Dyneema fibers. Each line uses four main carrier strands of Micro Dyneema fibers with sixteen interwoven strands to make up the individual lines. Both have similar diameters to strength ratio.
Spiderwire line ends up with a hollow center in the line after manufacture. Fireline manufacturing goes two additional steps to remove this hollow. The Fireline process utilizes heat to fuse the fibers together, making one solid line. As much as I am a Spiderwire fan, Fireline has proven knot strength better than Spiderwire. However, when rigging I use Spiderwire, especially for leeches. The hollow line will float to some degree and keep my leech up and out of the sand grass and debris on the bottom.
Is it worth it?
If you decide to fish with super lines, I will always suggest that you invest in line trimming tools designated for this purpose. The lines are extremely thin and strong. The line can easily cut through wet skin if you attempt to break it. Almost in every situation, I will add a swivel and a short length of mono or fluorocarbon line to tie to my weights and lures. This bit of line makes lure management more simple and user friendly.
Do you think it’s just to look different?
People will see a number of lines today with a myriad of colorations.
Fly lines have used different colors for years. This aids the fisherman when delivering and following a cast. Monofilament and super line users have had basic colors for years.
Today we see pink, yellow, red, bright green and fluorescent colors to name a few in the monofilament and super line categories. These lines are manufactured to give fisherman the edge when detecting bites, fishing in bright sunlight or at night. Use them to your advantage.
If you are concerned with the line colour and do not wish to direct tie to your lure, add a short length of clear monofilament line or new fluorocarbon line to the end of your high visibility line. This way, you will have the best of both worlds.
Sunscreen is a necessary tool in every outdoors persons’ arsenal. Sunscreen, especially those made by Johnson & Johnson is very good for repelling deer flies, sand flies and mosquitoes as well as protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun and wind.
Sunscreen should be applied numerous times through out the day to give you optimum protection. A 60 UV rating is just a threshold number. Higher the better, but reapplication is necessary in all cases.
Fishermen are always concerned about adding unwanted scent to line and lures. Just like the sunscreen lotion, we need to wash our hands of any offending odours or contaminants.
There are products available expressly for this purpose. Many can be found in the hunting section of your favourite sporting goods store. I use the product called Worx. It has a very good skin cleansing quality and easy to rinse off. Great for taking the smell of fish, gas, oil, grease, perfume, etc. off your hands and interior of the boat too.
Keep a bottle around for Sparky when you are out camping. A run in with the local skunk may put you and Sparky at odds. Two good washes with Worx and Sparky will be your travelling companion again. Another simple odour remover is commercially sold. It looks like a bar of soap but it is made of stainless steel. This is an idea that came right out of the kitchen and works extremely well.
Tie a small swivel to the end of your main line when you are jig fishing or adding a mono leader to a super line. The swivel will take out any twists that occur when actively jigging or trolling a jig, preventing premature line failure and catching floating weeds before collecting on your lure.
A mono leader on the end of a superline will enable you to change hooks quicker and easier without having to deal with the properties of a superline and super line tools.
If the weather has been constant for a few days, start looking for fish with a faster presentation. In the case of a jig fisherman, increase the weight of the jig and add a plastic minnow or worm for added bulk and increase your boat speed. Increase your odds by using Gulp or Powerbait products that give you the added advantage of scent. Choose a jig weight that will allow you to present the jig in a hop and glide motion to match your trolling / drifting speed.
When fish are active or feeding heavily, change the jig motion to a snap jigging presentation and the fish will chase down and inhale the offering.
There are many occurrences when different size fish of the same species occupies the same structure. Keep a mental track of your position on the structure or plot on the GPS and note the size of fish you are catching. Do not stay in one spot on the structure until you have checked the entire area. You may find the spot on the structure, and not just a concentration of fish.
When you are moving slow with a jig or a rig, keep the line short and close to the sonar cone as possible. If you happen across a good mark, hold the boat or turn the boat in a tight circle to keep your hook as close as possible to the target. Do what it takes to elicit a bite, even if it means letting your hook lay on the bottom until the fish picks it up.
Circle hooks are a hard sell to most walleye fishermen but not catfish fishermen. The key to working a circle hook is not to load the rod and pump it to set the hook. Circle hooks are meant to stick into the flesh of the fishes’ mouth or in the corner of the mouth as the fish attempts to swim away. The worst thing you can do is try and set the hook. Load the rod lightly and just wait. Fish cannot throw a circle hook once imbedded so keep that in mind when you pass them in the store.
Safety glasses have a place in your home, your boat and in your fishing box. There is nothing worse than encountering unfortunate people who have unwanted jewellery hanging from their body, especially near one’s eyes lips or nose. Protecting your friends and children provides an invaluable lesson.
Safety glasses can come polarized or tinted for reducing glare off the water,
September 06, 2006