Three Tips To Stay On The Fish
Editor's note: This blog installment comes from Fishhound pro staffer Capt. Lou Borrelli and is the final part of a 4-part series. Links to parts 1, 2 and 3 can be found at the end of the story.
Now that you've got your rods in the water and your lures are working at a good down temperature and down speed, it's time to catch fish. And just as important, it's time to catch more fish. Here are a few tips to help ensure continued success.
Within a few minutes the first fish is on. It hit the deep down rigger (90 feet). You get the fish in the boat and are ready to reset the rod. Stop right there! Make sure you duplicate exactly what you did the first time you set up. And I mean exactly. So you'll need to think about it for a second.
Keep in mind the distance the lure was behind the boat, the depth of the lure, the speed you were going and in which direction you were travelling.
A good example of this came on a recent charter trip. I had five consecutive fish take the same lure. The lure was 30 feet off the downrigger ball 94 feet down. I was going 2.3 mph (down speed) and every time a fish hit the lure, I was trolling west.
There are many currents in the lake and the action of the lure was just right within the above-stated conditions. If I'd simply put the lure back down without duplicating the lead off the ball, the down speed and everything else, I may not have taken five fish in a row.
A helpful hint is to keep a logbook or notepad close by and make notes as you're fishing. These notes will come in handy on future trips. You'll start to recognize that specific colors work on certain days. Eventually it'll become second nature – you'll be conscious of the conditions and you'll have your lures ready to go as soon as you hit the water.
Maintain Your Equipment
Frayed lines are the main reason why people lose fish. Every time you put your lures in the water, check the integrity of the line. If there are any signs of fraying, cut it out and retie your swivel.
It's easy to ignore this and think to yourself, "The line won't break." But before you know it, you'll lose a big fish and wonder why the line broke. So always check the line immediately after the swivel. This is the most common area where the line will get damaged.
Dull hooks are another contributing factor. The more a lure takes fish, the more the hook will dull. A sharp hook is mandatory for catching chinook salmon, especially toward the fall. The fish's jaw will start to harden and make it difficult to get a good hookset. Before your lures hit the water, check the hook. Carry a pocket hook-sharpener and dress the hooks as needed. This will ensure a good hookset and bring those big fish to the net.
Reel maintenance is important too. Every spring before my boat gets in the water, I respool my reels with fresh line. Fishing line doesn't last forever and as it gets wet, then dries in the sun, the line starts to break down and become brittle. It's worth the few dollars each year to spool your reel with new line.
Another important step in reel maintenance is lubrication. Every trolling reel will have a lubrication point. Typically it's on the side of the reel under a small cap. Most reels come with oil. If not, you can purchase it at any sporting-goods store. A few drops every year will lengthen the life of the reel and ensure smooth operation when fighting fish.
It's easy to get excited when you're going fishing. You do everything you can to get on the water and get fishing as quickly as possible. This is when mistakes happen and something goes wrong. Take your time and slow down. Think about your trip a few hours before you go. Make a list of things you need to do or prepare for before you leave the dock. Have your rods ready to go and your lures accessible.
Most times equipment will break, or injuries will occur, when people are rushing around. Fishing's supposed to be relaxing. Take your time on the water and enjoy the experience. In the long run, it'll make you a much better angler.
Salmon and trout fishing on the great lakes can be an awesome experience. I hope this information was useful. If you have any questions on this article or previous articles, feel free to contact me at the address below.
Other Articles In This Series
Part 1: Great Lakes Trolling: How To Gear Up
Part 2: How To Deploy Downriggers And Dipsy Divers
Part 3: Zero In On Temperatures To Target Individual Species
Capt. Lou Borrelli learned to fish with his grandfather and now owns and operates Get The Net Charters out of Rochester, N.Y. Capt. Lou runs trips along the south shore of Lake Ontario from Wilson to Fair Haven, N.Y. Visit GTNFishing.com or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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