More Fishing Tips

Modified December 31, 2007 

Fishing Tips Continued

Casting toward the weeds in the Spring can be productive. Spinner baits and spoons work well here. Try using a weedless spoons like the Barney Spoon or the  Johnson Silver Minnow. Cast well into the weeds holding the pole tip high and reeling fast. This keeps the lure skittering across the top of the water making lots of noise. Don't give up near the boat. We have seen a fish miss a lure at boat side on the way out of the water, only to nail it on the way down. You go to love this agressive determination.

When reeling in a lure,the steel leader sometimes touches the ceramic eye of the rod tip. If this is repeated often enough, it chips the eye making grooves in its surface. Subsequently, the line pulling against the sharp grooves becomes frayed. To alleviate this problem, we put a plastic bead on the line before tying on the steel leader.

It was fun as we cast out watching the bead sliding out with the line, sometimes it would stay close to the leader, sometimes not.

<----Double Rainbow

In our 2000 trip the pike taught us yet another lesson. As I cast towards the shore, the bead wound up ten feet from the lure. Two things happened in quit succession. One pike hit the bead, cutting my line and a second pike nearly hit the lure but lost interest when in quit moving in the water as it was no longer connected to my reel. Now we tie an overhand knot around the bead keeping it tight against the steel leader.

Sometimes the pike clear the top of the water totaling missing the lure only to make a second or third try. Do not give up until the lure is out of the water by at least two feet. We have seen a pike hit a lure that dangled a few inches above the water while the fisherman tinkered with his reel. His surprise was a delight to watch. Yes, he did manage to catch the fish.

In 1999, we started using a mini-downrigger to bring our lures down to where the fish are. This has brought more excitement to our fishing. We transplanted this strategy from Lake Erie, where the water made clear by Zebra mussels has moved the walleye to depths of 40 - 65 feet, to deeper Canadian lakes where there are lake trout as well as northern pike.

Although trolling fast with a deep diving lure will get you there also, it put a lot of strain on the rod which caused us to switch to a medium-heavy rods.

Now back to using lighter poles, there is, once again, sheer panic when a large fish strikes. We catch both pike and lake trout this way.

A word of caution regarding connecting your line to the downrigger release. In Lake Erie I got into the habit of making a loop in the line holding it between my thumb and forefinger, putting a finger from my other hand into the loop to give it the recommended four twists before connecting to the release.

For those who are not familiar with downriggers, at this time the lure is in the water and the down rigger ball has not been lowered. The lure, in this case a spoon, has been cast out into the water and is moving at whatever depth it would normally troll.

One time while my finger was in the loop, a pike hit the lure. I was fortunate enough to get my finger out of the loop before the pike cut it to the bone. A lesson well learned with no injury.

Think about redefining your definition of "catching a fish". If you are using barb less hooks, giving it a little slack at the side of the boat might result in its virtually swimming off the hook. A perfect way to set a fish free, no handling and very little trauma. Those are "caught" fish to our way of thinking.

An effective way to cast a spoon is up high. As the spoon is 2 or 3 feet above the water, jerk the line towards you. This makes the lure slap the water which seems to attract the pike and trigger a feeding response.

Set your drag at 25% of line rating, e.g., on a 12 lb test line, set the drag to release line at 3 lbs. Use a fish scale to measure when the drag begins to slip.

Drag settings on stranded line need to be somewhat less as it has a tendency to dig into the spooled line and bury itself. Be careful when handling a snag while using this line. Examine the reel carefully to see that the line is properly spooled when completely retrieved.

Snagged lures can be retrieved by retracing the boat's path. Keep tension on the line. Who knows? That snap could be the biggest fish you have ever hooked. We have used a lure retriever successfully. It pays to have one in the tackle box.

Line twist can be eliminated by letting out 100 feet of line with only the leader attached while moving the boat at a fairly fast speed.

When the barometer is low or falling, fish will be off their feed. When this happens you'll have a difficult time fooling a fish into eating. On the the other hand, when the opposite is true, and the barometer is rising, your chances of catching a fish, is far greater, because they feel more like eating.

Put line on your spinning reel the same way it comes off the spool. Lay the spool flat on the ground and wind the line on the reel to match the curve already memorized by the line.

If line is bouncing off bottom, check line for abrasion. Cut off bottom 6 feet of line and retie.

To increase your odds, realize that predator fish face the current awaiting prey to drift their way. This means your lure must travel with the current to be easily seen. In a lake, the current is often caused by the wind. Which means, you would troll with the wind at you back and cast (unfortunately) into the wind to maximize the visibility of your lure.

Fish like certain scents and dislike others. Two scents proven to turn off the fish are insect repellent and sunblock lotions. If you are fishing and apply these to your body, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching any bait or lures.

An impromptu anchor - a small stuff sack or mesh bag with 50 feet of ¼ inch rope. Use with a few rocks in the bag as needed.

After handling gasoline wash hands thoroughly for 5 minutes with scentless soap and water before touching anything the fish might want to bite. Fill fuel tanks the night before. Smokers catch less fish than non smokers.

Nothing gets a big monster pike PO'ed more than watching another fish trying to eat. Pike are extremely competitive and like to assert their dominance in the food chain. When a pike sees a fish chasing another fish, it's time for lunch.

With this in mind, take the hooks off of a broken plug. Then attached a black steel leader. Then attach another leader to the back of the plug with a spring-slip-ring. Then attach your spoon or what ever you want to use. This appears like a fish chasing another fish and provokes the pike to strike.

Good fishing knots are paramount

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