Tips and Tactics – part 3
How do you double the life of a fishing line? First, store the line or the reel in a dark place and keep out of direct sunlight when not in use. Second, remove the line from the reel when you feel the line has been stretched or damaged. Do not put the line in a pile but stretch it out behind the house or in the park. Do not throw the line away. Go back to the end that was used and tie it back to the reel. Wind up the line and put it back on the spool it came off of. The line you will fish with is the line that has never seen the light of day or felt the weight of a fighting fish.
A good Spiderwire or Fireline will give you at least two years of hard fishing on both ends of the spool.
Always turn the fish towards the net and lead it to the mouth of the net, head first. Never chase the fish with your net. Always purse the net as the fish is being turned. If the fish takes a run, there is a lesser chance of the fish and the hook tangling in the net mesh.
Drop the pursed mesh as soon as the fish is committed to the basket of the net.
The best way to find life in a big fish is touch the tail. Touching the tail can create a natural reaction from the fish. The natural reaction is to get away from a predator and the fish will find a renewed energy that you can use to determine if the fish is ready for the net or not.
Big walleye are often the lightest biters. Many walleye just chomp down on a hook with live bait and start swimming away. The fisherman is often tricked into believing the fish is hooked.
When you catch a walleye and it appears to be ready for the net, do yourself a big favour. Do not hurry the netting process by lifting the rod and pulling the fish toward the net. This action just elicits another response from the fish. A walleye with his head out of water will start thrashing about and inevitably open it’s mouth, releasing the bait and hook. Much to the astonishment of the angler
Here is a true story about an eleven-pound walleye caught during a tournament. This fish was caught on a Lindy rig with a leech as bait during a fishing tournament. The fish was not boated until a flight of fifty boats had passed and the water settled down. When the fish hit the deck of the boat, it opened its mouth. Much to my surprise, I watched the #8 hook slide off one of the teeth in the fishes’ mouth. Had I hurried the netting process, I know the fish would have been lost.
Using planer boards offers the fisherman a number of advantages. One of the major advantages allows a number of fishermen in a boat to separate their lures. This reduces the opportunities to tangle line and lures with each other or the propeller as well as spooking shallow fish.
Planer boards can offer you the opportunity to fish very shallow without spooking the fish. When you put shallow running bait on your line, you can let out approximately fifteen feet of line. Attach the planer board to the main line and drop into the water. The bevelled edge of the planer board will take the lure away from the boat to the shallow side. You can run baits up to 150′ to the side of the boat. As the board passes over shallow fish, the fish disperse to the sides. They will re-group after the board has passed, just in time to see the lure.
Many people think that crank baits have to be digging in to attract fish. This action does affect fish behaviour and at times is the way to go.
What does this digging in and kissing bottom really do to a crank bait?
All that you are accomplishing is changing the presentation of the lure by offering a more erratic action and speed changes. This may be all that is required to trigger your fish into biting or you may want to change up crank baits with a completely different action.
Most people will tell you to troll with the wind and in most cases this is true. The only time this becomes a problem is when the wind speed is too great and your trolling speed is affected. There will be additional tips in this regard later. However, if you are trolling suspended ‘eyes, trolling against the wind can do some wonderful things to your catch rate. You can control the effects of the wind using your bow mount trolling motor, set your trolling speed with a kicker or main engine and settle back to fine tune your presentation. The effects of bucking the swells changes the action of your lure, making it stutter, hesitate and speed up. This added action often triggers the best bites. In most cases, if food fell in your mouth, you would have to eat it.
I like to troll hot fish with a large bulky spinner crawler harness. The whole rig from first bead to the end of the 10-inch Gulp worm is approximately 14 inches long. If I use natural crawlers, the rig usually ends up about a 12″.
I will use tandem blades and multiple beads to make up the front end. The first blade is usually a number three Indiana followed by a number five or six Indiana or Colorado blade. If the troll speed is fast, both will be willow leaf blades. If I think my fish want good movement, I will stay with the Indiana blade combination and really put action to the rig with Colorado blades.
I use the size combination of blades for two reasons. First, I want the blades to turn and make the rounded shape of baitfish. Second, I want the blades to be spaced just so the front blade touches the back blade. Because they are not similar in size, they turn at different speeds. This differing speed allows the blades to touch and make noise as they travel through the water column. If you overlap the blades too much, the larger blade will dictate the rotation of the smaller blade. I try and avoid this situation as much as possible by choosing beads sizes that give me the desired space between the blades.
Each style of blade imparts a different action to the overall presentation. However, a 14″ presentation should have a lot of sideways movement and lift, which seems to bring on the fish. My favourite combination will use either a #5 or #6 Indiana or Colorado behind the lead blade.
The other difference attributed to trolling into the wind is how the boat tracks. You can get a more defined zigzag trolling track if the wind quarters the bow of the boat. The directional changes in the trolling pattern also affect the speed of your presentation. Add them all up and you could have the fishing day you always knew was possible.
Good housekeeping requires constant attention to detail. It doesn’t matter if it concerns a rod and reel, tackle boxes, travel information, tow vehicle or boat. Good housekeeping is always important, but more so, if you have passengers or the weather conditions are far from optimal. Always put tackle bags, lures and terminal gear in their assigned compartments. An open deck is great when you have to net a fish and you are not working around tripping hazards or worried that other will stumble and wear some extra jewellery.
Eurasian Milfoil, Orange Roughy, Quagga mussels and Zebra mussels are examples where good housekeeping was taken literally and too lightly. Now all our fisheries and water bodies are at severe risk or habitat loss due to these invasive species. The current programs instituted years too late by government are insufficient. All water users must be self- policing to slow the invasive species encroachment, and responsible water users must be encouraged to speak up and inform those who disrespect the practise of clean, drain and dry.
Trolling shallow running lures during an algae bloom can be very productive. Many fish cruise the underside of the floating algae to preditate on smaller baitfish.
The canopy of algae would appear as a visual barrier that prevents airborne predators from sighting their quarry and a safe place to cruise and feed for small minnows.
Encountering floating weeds or slime when trolling is often bothersome and a potential for line twist. Add in a small bead chain in line above your bait to alleviate the possibility of line twist.
The multiple bearing surfaces found on a bead chain are more forgiving than a single swivel used for the same purpose.
Adding a bead chain or swivel above your lure will stop the weeds and slime from following the line down to the lure which will impact the lures’ performance.
Adding a light gauge metal floor to the boat trailer and an added bow guard will eliminate the majority of rocks, stones and gravel that give boat hulls road rash.
Road rash will slow your boat speed considerably and reduce the selling price when sold.
Sep 21, 2006