Fishing Gear

God enters by a private door into every individual 

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

(For me, it's when I fish.) 

Line

We tried branded line and liked it for casting very much. Trolling with braided line was problematic, however, as it kinked up more quickly than monofilament. Clearly it is superior in strength. 

 2008 Update on Braided Line

I used Stren Super Braid (20 pound test, 8 pond diameter) for a whole week and found it superior to the other braided line. It did not kink when trolled and it casted a country mile. I did have one instance of knot failure (Palimar) and its resistance to abrasion is in question. I will test it more. Despite the failures I liked it very much.

Flourocarbon line, while invisible underwater and great for timid fish, is horrible to cast with as it is too stiff. We do not recommend flourocarbon line except for use as leaders, once again when fishing for timid fish.

Rods

Graphite rods are great for timid biters like walleye or perch, hardly an issue with pike. Graphite rods tend to shatter when used with down riggers if the line does not release from the ball properly and you use too much force. Fiberglass rods are more forgiving. We use a medium rod rated for 10 to 14 pound test. This will challenge your fishing skills when you hook into a 20 pounder. We bring 2 rods per man.

Reels

We prefer open face spinning reelswith as many ball bearings as you can afford.We really don't see the point of buying the expensive baitcasting reels touted by the fishing programs. Inexpensive reels work ok too although not as smooth reeling as a multi ball bearing reel but that is a feature which pleases the fisherman and makes no difference to catching fish. Be sure to check that the shaft attached to the reel handle is square and not hexagonal. On a cheap reel, the hexagonal shafts soon round off after catching a few big fish making it impossible to reel the line in. We bring 2 reels per man.

Terminal Tackle

We buy quality ball bearing snap swivels then add a quality but inexpensive steel leader to it, changing the leader as it becomes kinked.Generally we go through 30 leaders in a week.Buying ball bearing leaders is just throwing money away in our opinion. We use a steel leader rated at 20 pound test and a minimum of 9 inches in length. 10 snap swivels and 30 leader will suffice for a week in the wild.

Lures

Quality here is a must. Use the big name lures. We use mostly plugs and spoons, although we have caught big pike vertical jigging in deep water next to structure, when nothing else was working. We used a lead headed jig dressed with a plastic tail and a minnow.

To get down deep try either a plug with a large diving bill and troll fast or a downrigger. You will need a heavier pole with to troll fast with a large diving bill. After a week of fishing like this, you will have forearms like Popeye.

We bring a good selection (20) of plugs, deep divers, mid range, and surface lures. Also spinner baits (10), including those with a propeller to froth up the surface. Spoons (20) seen to be our favorite for pike. We also bring a few lead headed jigs and plastic tails.

Downriggers

We have used a mini downrigger with good success when the lake had a large area of deep water.We caught both lake trout and pike this way. Use a stacker to get two lines on the downrigger, setting the second line at least five feet above the other. When one person gets a hit, the other must reel in quickly and then raise the ball. Otherwise the lines get hopelessly tangled with the downrigger steel line and you risk losing the fish.

Accessories

A good fillet knifeis a must for cleaning fish properly. Again, we only take those fish so badly wounded that they will not survive. The last fish we lost was 10 years ago. Do not skimp on quality here. I have had the same fillet knife for 40 years.
We use large forceps and jaw spreaders for removing hooks from pike.
Line clippers on a retractable tether is very handy.

Polarized sun glasses aid in seeing fish and rocks while in the boat.

Always have an alternative form of propulsion, whether it be oars, paddles, or a trolling motor.

A rod tip repair kit is a must.

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