Fishing Tips

  • Tip 32: Rigging Spin Doctors

First which is the fast action and which is the slow action hole? By the fin gives less action to the fly away from the fin gives more action.  The length of your lead will also have a bearing on the action. Generally most anglers use 24 to 30 inches. Spin Doctor is 8" long use it as a guide.

Rigging flies and squids. Depending on what you are using the mono and hook may not be the best of quality. Also check carefully after each fish, Big Kings and Coho will nick 50# to the point of an easy break off on the next fish. Have extra hooks rigged to move the fly/ squid that's catching to a fresh set if they become damaged to any extent. Most Captains tie their own rigs to be safe. It's worth learning how. I use 50# Ande Mono and prefer a two hook set-up as indicated. The treble grabs quick and the single will work into a fish jaw better. Also note the spin-N-Glow added in front of the squid this is, at times,  deadly for Coho and Lakers. Also check past tips for other Spin Doctor ideas.


  • Tip 31: Snelling a Hook for Flies and Squids

Tie a treble hook on the end. You can use whatever you use to tie on swivels. With this heavy line be sure to wet the knots before tightening and make sure knot is pulled down very tight. You can also snell the treble using the same knot as for the single (In Fact that makes a better rig). Use an up turned eye Salmon hook. Pass the line through the eye than loop it back coming back through the eye a second time. Make the loop big enough to easily pass over the treble. Adjust the single hooks position to be just in front of the treble, It will move forward when you secure the knot. Hold the eye of the single hook and the line, wrap the standing end 5 or six times around the hook shank and the two strands of line that are parallel to the shank. Wet and pull knot down secure. With a little practice you can do this quickly. Add a color bead between the hooks. Makes it a little harder to tie but results in a better rig.


  • Tip 30: Fresh Line

Don't lose the fish of a lifetime using old line. re-spool with fresh. Need extra hands to help? Here's a great idea put the line spool a bucket of water just enough so it supports the spool and it touches bottom. Keeps line from coming off too fast, holds spool upright. Simple but effective. With the size of the Kings many Captains have gone to 25#. With all you spend on fishing don't cheap out on the line.  I like to use 30# because of the Sea Fleas.  They are abrasive and the bigger diameter reduces the amount that sticks to the line.


  •  Tip 29: Depth Charts

U-charters, Inc has developed some very detailed charts for determining depth. They have 2 sizes of diver and 3 rings. Charts give depths for line out in feet and bars (passes of the level wind), MPH or KPH, for all 6 settings. Assumption is 20# mono with a 12 foot lead. You can't get any more detailed. According to Randy the developer of the Slide Diver these were determined the hard way, testing with graph and touching bottom. Charts are available at Captain Chuck's. Here is a brief excerpt from the large diver with the super ring showing only 4 settings. To print this chart go to Slide Diver Chart use print on your browser. The charts come laminated to protect them from water. Well worth the money for the serious diver fisherman.
P.S. Slide divers now come with a small spring that helps take stress off the line. This part is available to add to your existing divers.



feet down 0 2 4 6
5 11 13 17 34
10 21 25 33 67
15 32 41 57 95
20 43 56 81 115
25 62 78 111 145
30 81 99 140 170
35 106 123    
40 131 147    


#1 diver (large)/ w/3 ring (super ring)
2.5 knots/ 2.8 miles per


This company provides a series of software data bases for Lake Michigan, for Michigan's Inland Lakes and for several other states. They are high definition maps with contour lines. GPS interface, fishing log, the ability check lat/lon coordinates. Check out their WEB site. Software is reasonably priced. The interface to use and move around is not very intuitive and it could use a rework to make it  more user friendly. But the Maps seem quite good and the information and ability to manage information is very valuable to the computer user/fisherman.


Tip 27: Run Multiple Lead Cores

With the 3 rod rule you have the opportunity to get a few more rods out. Lead core works and many successful Captains run multiple lead cores. Here's one approach that works. Use Big in line planers like the Walleye Board or Off shore to pull the lead cores off to the side, set the shortest core on the outside and the longest on the inside. The Theory being the shorter core runs higher and will come over the top of the deeper running cores when a fish hits. However, the fish may have something to say about that.



  • Tip 26: Easy to add some weight to your leadcore. Make the Full core run like a 1-1/2


Got this idea from a X Pentwater Charter Captain "Joe Cool". He now fishes in the Keys and this is how they add weight to line and than drop it off to fight the fish. They use an egg sinker but a 1/2 lb with a hole should work fine. Push the doubled over leader through the hole, Place a segment of a rubber band in the loop and pull it up in to the sinker. Fish hits pulls the loop through the sinker and it drops off. All gone no release etc.You'll need to play with the thickness of rubber band and length.


  • Tip 25: Spin Doctors have been hot
The white with glow and green with glow have been particularly good. Many anglers report problems with line twist. They rotate 360 and even with the Sampo BB swivel you can get some twist. Try shorter leads from the ball. 10-15 feet seems to work. What I've done is take both BB swivels that come with the Doctor and tie them together with a 24" piece of 50# mono. This gives you two BB swivels to reduce twist. The 50# line being thicker has more resistance to twisting and provides added protection against fish rolling up and cutting off. I use a downrigger ball swivel for the fly. They are less expensive and a BB swivel is overkill.



  • Tip 24: Better Hook ups with Flies or Squids with less cut offs!
 Leaders get frayed and it's a @#$% to tie a hook harness the way the manufactures do. Big Kings also tear up the mono even when it's 50#. Try using a set of J-plug hooks. Add a bead or two, tie on a 50# piece of mono slip the fly or squid back down and you're in business. You may want to shorten the cord loop, just add a overhand knot. Treble hooks, hook more fish. A single well placed hold fish better.  What's better? Tandem singles or a big treble. WHY NOT DO BOTH. Make the lead hook a good single, Salmon hook (straight eye works best). The treble will hook'em and allow the single, time to dig in. I'm finding the treble deeper in the fishes mouth (softer tissue) and the single embedded in the jaw.


  • Tip 23: Albright Knot
Here is a great knot that is an alternative to the uni-knot. It's designed to join line of dissimilar diameters. Lead core and copper to leader, lead core and copper to backing, super braids to leader etc. You can tie it with the lead and place and the leader or backing digs in and holds. I always like to add a dab of super glue. For extra security when using super braid, tie a clinch knot using the tag end of the mono around the standing part of the mono leader.


  • Tip 22: Keep the Dipsey from banging around
What to do with that Dipsey diver for the ride in. Here's one approach. Use a rubber band around the rod and than figure "8" it  around the ridge of the diver. Let out enough line so the diver is near the rod butt, Take turn around the reel handle and than attach the bait to the rod tip guide. Secure the diver with a rubber band. Keeps it from swinging and banging


  • Tip 21: Maximize your fishing time in the STRIKE ZONE !

This idea comes from Captain Mike Bucholtz of the Philly "J". Normally you will have your riggers at different depths. If you take a hit on a rigger quickly lower or raise another rigger to that same depth. Makes sense. Using that idea Mike recently limited out a party of two in a couple of hours. The fish were deep. His deepest rigger was 110' as soon as it took a hit he lowered another rigger to 110, brought the other one up landed the fish, and soon took a hit on the rigger he just lowered. This is just keeping a bait constantly in the strike zone.


  • Tip: 20
Wind catches your net as you're ready to land the big one and it tangles on the rigger, on another rod etc. Fish is a little bit behind the boat you reach with the net and it floats out tangles in the hooks. By.. By.. fish. Rig a release clip to your net handle and hold the bag in place. Use a short piece of wire or mono, a plastic wire tie to fasten to the handle and a little tape to hold in place. When you lift the fish the clip releases the net and fish drops in. While your waiting for the next bite the net is kept reasonably tangle free. Magna Dyne and off Shore releases work real well for this set up.



  • Tip:19
 Check your local convenience store for this handy downrigger ball holder.



  • TIP: 18

  These are great. Fireline Scissors from Berkley. Special designed blade cuts fireline and other braids like a hot knife through butter. Trims knots up nice and clean so they won't unravel or hang up.  This also helps in cutting mono to easily insert into lead core.  A rough cut leaves a burr and does not insert into the core sheath easily.


  • TIP: 17.... HOW DEEP ???

Knowing how deep you are running your rigs is critical. With the super ring for divers, extra thin line, and lead drops of 1 , 1 1/2, and 2 it's hard to know. We've often talked about the GMT 40's capabilities to give you that information. However when you have time to fish you would rather fish than check out how deep stuff is running. I know I've had a hard time finding the time to check things out. A second problem I've run into is that as you run out a lead drop or diver, it goes to a certain depth and than the depth adjusts after you stop letting line out and trolling speed stabilizes depth. In the case of a lead drop moving up and in the case of a diver moving up or down depending on the setting. The GMT 40 shuts off after it stops descending for 15 seconds so it can get  an incorrect reading.


gtm40.jpg (2500 bytes)

You can do this while fishing and in fact you'll get much more accurate results because you are taking measurements under actual conditions, lure being pulled, other riggers etc down. First rig up your GTM 40 as indicated in the picture.

Be sure to use a large snap swivel of good quality, use weights you can change and make good connections (I use downrigger wire). While fishing before you pull your diver or lead drop, clip the GTM 40 to the line, turn it on and let it slide down the line until it reaches the end (sinker release or diver)  reel it in and read the depth it was running at.  Do this regularly and pretty soon you'll have a very good idea where a 1 lb drop 300 back, or a diver with a super ring  200 back set to 1 is running. Lots of things impact depth so take several readings with the same set and use an average. This is easy, you lose no fishing time, it's taking readings under actual conditions  and you minimize risk (loss damage etc) to the GMT 40.   I have found that when checking 1 lb verses (for example) 1 1/2 that because the angle is not as steep the unit may stop descending for 15 seconds giving  you an incorrect reading. Solve this by using more weight. Not too much because it will impact depth. Other things that help include  lowering the rod tip into the water so the water grabs the unit and  it starts quickly down the line than raise the rod tip high to increase the angle. Gently pumping the rod will also keep it moving down.


  • TIP: 16 Tune your J-Plugs

Almost all swivels come open at some time. Big Coho rolling in the line cause you the most problems. McMahon Snap Swivels (that's a design) CAN'T come open.  They are a little more cumbersome  to use and you need a split ring on your spoon. Over 40 be sure to wear your glasses. Several companies make them in regular and ball bearing styles. A Berkley Size 7 in a regular barrel has a 40 lb. strength and when used with a J-plug harness can pass through the plug allowing it to float free if the fish wins. The longer harness in the picture has a swivel attached.

J_plug.jpg (3951 bytes)

J-plug hooks, and I use the term J-plug as a generic name for a style of plug, tend to come with ineffective hooks. They are strong but not very sharp and if you try to sharpen them they don't hold a point. Kings and in particular as the get into the spawning stage often slash at the bait (short strike). To make your Plugs more effective and increase your hook-ups and landing percentage. Use a better quality hook like the eagle Claw 2/0 that comes on Dreamweaver Magnum's. Also tie a slightly longer harness to catch the quick short strike. Have it extend beyond the plug.  Be sure to use a cord/line that won't rot. Heavy duty muskie line or even fire line are good bets.


  • Tip 15: Dropping tackle over the side? Need a place to hold stuff without  scratching the boat?

Go to your favorite variety or hardware store and pick-up some drawer organizers. They come in all shapes and sizes and they can fit together to form all kinds storage arrangements. To hold them in place go to the carpeting department and get a piece of the non-skid material sold to place under rugs. You can get it at the boating stores, but you'll pay more. Use a file or some other tool to remove the small legs on the bottom of the trays. Glue a piece non-skid material to the bottom. The perfect tray to hold tackle items, it stays put, and won't scratch the boat. I have several sizes on my dash board. The non-skid stuff also works great under the cooler to keep in place.

tray.jpg (4522 bytes)

Instead of the non-skid material you can get a heavy duty Velcro (plastic teeth on both sides) Made by 3M called dual lock and use it to fasten trays to gunnels (or any other surface) to hold stuff like pliers and lures. After fishing the trays will pop off to store, out of the sun. I've only found this heavy duty stuff at Boaters World.


  • Tip 14: Comfort when you fish the summer months

If you use AVON Skin-So-Soft as a fly repellent you'll be a happy angler. They have a variety of products. This time of year when the sun comes up and the wind goes down flies come from HELL to bite you! Frankly it's the only stuff that seems to work! They seem to feed on other insect repellents. Anybody else got any good repellent solutions???
Contact your favorite Ding Dong lady or get it on-line from   AVON.


  • Tip 13: What do you really see on your Graph ? How far down are you?

graph_diagram.GIF (1658 bytes)

Now that the fish are on the deep side there a are few things to consider. If you haven't read TIPS 6 & 7 go to fishing tips and take a look. Knowing how deep the fish are and how deep your stuff is running is very important. In general fish see better up than down so it's better to be a little high than too deep. Factors to consider; Speed of the boat, current and weight of your cannon balls. These all impact carry back. Your down rigger counter tells amount of wire out (not depth). Remember your Graph sends out a cone shaped signal. The angle of the cone varies based on manufacturer and many come with two angles.  The narrow angle is for shallow depths and the wide angle for deeper marking. YES....  that's not a typo that's the way it is. The position of transducer is also important, is it on the stern or is it somewhere forward. Your graph is taking a 3D image and putting it on a 2D screen. What your graph is telling you is how far from the transducer,  the ball is, NOT DEPTH. These measurements are very close at short lengths but vary at higher depths. How deep are the fish? The same holds true here. You are seeing distance from the transducer. The three fish in the diagram are at the same depth but will show up on the screen as three different depths. The graph also picks up targets to the side. With a little high school trig, if you really want to, you can work some of this out.

You CAN NOT tell what kind of fish you are marking. Your graph sends a signal and records the time and strength of the return. That's all!  Based on that it knows the distance and how direct and large the object is. Bigger object, more directly under the boat the stronger the signal return. Why a Hook shape? When it first sees a target it's a little further away and weaker , gets closer (stronger) , than further away (weaker). Hence a Hook shape. Shape of the hook is impacted by depth, boat speed,  graph horizontal travel speed, and angle of the transducer to the surface.

Confused? ... One way to take the guess work out of cannon ball depth is the GTM40. Attach this unit to a cannon ball, put the boat in trolling speed lower the ball, leave it down 20 sec, bring it up and it will tell you what the actual depth was. As a bonus it gives you the temperature at 5 foot intervals. The biggest error factor is cannon ball depth. If you bracket the fish you are marking with downriggers, 1lb's and divers you'll get'em.

  • TIP 12: Using the Surface Temperature Maps

When you pull up a surface temperature map here's a couple of things to keep in mind. If today's map is cloudy (all dark) check the Most recent image for each satellite pass AND Image archive link near the bottom of the page. This contains a history of  Maps and you may find something of use from a day or so ago. Check the wind vectors and take some guess's as to how the water behaved. The closer the temp lines are together the sharper the break. The breaks move and change but if navigate to an area that has breaks on the Map you'll generally find some temperature differences and in many cases more dramatic than the Map would indicate. Watch for them visually, scum, slick water. Also watch for pools of slick water. Often after a storm the water breaks into pools not lines and working the pools and their edges can be very effective. Trying to stay on temp breaks or pools with lat/lon coordinates can at times be difficult. It's working, moving water. Many times you have to stay with the breaks visually. I've seen pools of water no larger than a football field move several miles in a matter of an hour. The fish stayed with the water.

  • Tip 11: Marine Charts for the area

Many Anglers  have asked for Marine Charts for the area. You can get them through any of the Marine catalog stores. Some carry individual charts and most carry complete books with lots of other information. You can also order individual charts from NOAA. They will send you a FREE catalog and guide to purchasing.

NOAA Distribution Branch N/CG33
National Ocean Service
Riverdale, Maryland 20737-1199

  • TIP 10: Stackers sliders and other extra lures

Adding a few extra baits to your spread will always result in a few more in the box. One of the easiest and most effective is to rig a slider.  Tie your normal swivel on one end of a leader 4' up to a rod length long, than add a slightly larger swivel to the other end. The larger size makes it easier to work with and holds up better when it works against the bottom bait while fighting a fish. After you set your rod on the down rigger clip the large swivel to the line and toss it over. It will ride down about 1/2 way to the ball in the belly of the line. This bait will have a lot more action (poping back and forward)  than the one pulled behind the ball. Steelhead often hit a slider.


stack.GIF (3901 bytes)

When the fish are deep a slider maybe operating in a NO FISH zone. Also It can be effective to run two baits one over the top of the other STACKED. Use your same slider rig, after clipping in the main line lower the rigger 10' or so, Loop a rubber band onto the line. Clip the slider to the line and the loop in the rubber band. Now it will stay in place. Lower the whole thing to the action depth. If the fish gets caught on the bottom bait, someone will have to pop the rubber band to land the fish. If the fish hits the stack it usually breaks the rubber band.

tube_stack.gif (3618 bytes)

Easy stacker..... All it takes is a piece of surgical tubing, a barrel swivel and a bead. Take a 1 inch piece of tubing and cut a notch in it so that the eye of the barrel swivel passes freely into the tube. Hint fold in half and cut off the corner. You'll get the hang for the size. On your main line thread the bead, than run the line through the tube and eye of the barrel swivel. The bead keeps you from reeling the rig past your rod tip. You need to hold the rig in your hand as you set your lure letting line out. Clip into your release, still holding the rig lower the ball 10 or more feet than attach a slider rig (piece of leader with two snap swivels) to the barrel swivel and lower away. Water pressure and the friction of the rubber will hold your stacker in place. When you reel in it will slide down. If you pre-rig all your rods this way you don't have to add the stacker but they are ready, and if not used cause no problem. This works well if you want to add a second lure to a diver rig.
stack_snag.GIF (1560 bytes)


One more idea with our friend the rubber band. This idea comes from Capt. Bob Yeagar of the Bob E Ann. Set your line in the cannon ball clip lower to the point you want to add the stacker. Use a whole rubber band and with an overhand knot to attach it to the main line, clip the loops off leaving about a 1/4 inch. You can also use a single strand of rubber band. Clip your slider below the rubber band and lower away. The natural bow in the line and water pressure will move the slider up the line and hang up in the rubber band. No breaking the rubber band when you land a fish and you'll find it reels right up with no problems. I prefer to use the whole rubber band but using a single segment is quicker and works as well.


  • TIP 9: Side planers


There are lots of side planers out there. The most popular are the Yellow birds, Yeck (similar to the Big Jon) and Willie. Two that are a little larger are the Walleye Board By Gary Roach and Off Shore. The major disadvantage to most of these, except for the Tru-Trac and Off Shore is the release. They are unpredictable, hard to set-up and often won't release and you fight the board more than the fish. The Willie Great lakes model comes with no release. You use what you want. The Willie standard release goes in the circle file. Each of these boards has certain strengths. But before using, unless it's a Tru-Trac or Off shore, pitch all the hardware and releases. Replace with better quality hardware and use either the Tru-Trac barrel release or an Off Shore release. I favor the Yeck. Overall the best board for a lot of reasons is the Walleye Board. I have a set of these but also use a set of Yellow birds. If I was starting out today I'd use the Tru-Trac's over the yellow birds.


releases.GIF (5293 bytes)
The most important aspect of the side planner is the release. If it doesn't come lose it can be a real chore landing the fish. Off shore makes a high quality product in three strengths, yellow, black and red (in order of holding power) and they each have two settings. Under normal use yellow or black are fine. In heavy seas or for boards with more pull the reds are a better choice. With a split ring it's easy to change releases, to adjust for conditions. The best release for side planners (in my opinion) is the barrel release that comes with Tru-Trac's or Big Jon's. Any type of clip release can be  set too tight. Even if set properly if you don't get the proper angle to the board it may be hard to trip. The last thing you want to be doing is jerking on the fish repeatedly to free a stuck release. The push pin concept of the barrel release makes it difficult to set it too tight. If you do make it a little snug ...the whole time the fish is on, it's working the pin out. Tension on the line forces the pin out. It's not fail proof but as close as you can get.



What's the best board to use??? Well that depends. The function of the board is to take your line/lure out and away from the boat and give your bait some action. The heavier or bigger the board the more weight it can pull and by pulling harder it takes less line to get out to the side. All boards go out and drop back. The harder they pull the more they go to the side and less back. A heavy board tracks better but will have less skipping action in calm water. A light board will have problems in heavier seas. If you want to pull lead core line you need Walleye or Off Shore boards. Willies can do the job. But......  All boards except for the Walleye can go a little crazy when landing a fish, in particular if they don't release. The Walleye boards special design makes it stay on top. Another plus for the Walleye board is it's adjustable keel to compensate for the drag of line or bait. It can pull deep diving plugs or a full lead core. One last feature to consider. The Tru Trac and Willie are reversible. They can be used left or right.

The boards in terms of pull power ranking low to max. Yellow birds, Tru Trac's, Willie, Off Shore, Walleye. Action in calm water is the reverse. To be truly ready for all conditions you should have at least two types.  My recommendation would be some Walleye boards to pull lead core and rough water use and some light weight boards, yellow birds or Tru Trac's for all around use. If you use the Off shore releases use blacks but have some reds when it gets rougher.


rig_release_1.GIF (6991 bytes)rig_release_2.GIF (8666 bytes)


When putting a new release on a Yellow bird the following are two good approaches. The small rubber O ring that comes with the bird deteriorates in the water and sun quickly. I prefer to use a small wire bundle strap or an extra large split ring to keep the release in place. I like the split ring approach. More freedom and durable.



Part IV

planner_release.jpg (1903 bytes)

Lots of anglers have asked about  Big planner boards run from masts and how they compare to in-line planners. Again there are pros and cons for both. A major plus for the Big Boards is the fish releases clean and you get a better fight. Lets face it Steelhead are fun for a bit but tend to wear down quickly. When you have an in-line planner in the mix it doesn't help. Some guys claim the in-lines provide more action to the lure, due to the hop and skip of the small boards. I feel it's much the same for the Big boards. The in-lines are easier and quicker to deploy and offer more control in a pack. You can always toss out one or two and bring them in quickly. The same releases I favor for the in-lines work great for the BIG boards. You need lots of releases. Buy'em bulk, get a package of shower curtain hooks and you're in business.



To be effective Big boards need to be towed from the forward part of the boat and up as high as you can. Run from masts or the roof of a flybridge. Big boards involve more equipment and more $$ EXPENSE $$.

I use both. But,...... I'm a gadget freak. I like in-lines for leadcore, and when fishing a mixed presentation, divers, riggers, lead core and a few  top baits. When off-shore and going 100% for Steelhead I like to rig the Big Boards. Once set up it's easier fishing, clean releases and maximizes the fight.

IMPORTANT  Believe it or not....  I've seen it happen.
Put your name, boat name, and phone number on your side planners. Waterproof marker, engrave, raised marking tape etc. Fisherman are good guy's and if you break one off odds are good it will be returned if identified. Also helps when the fishing is Hot and the boats are packed in. Lots of boards floating around. You'll know yours.


The Walleye board is made by Gary Roach. It's actual name is "Gary Roach's Mr Walleye board" His company is Church Tackle Co. and of course Captain Chuck's carries them.

The Walleye board, I believe is the best all around board on the market today. My only issue with it is the release. They feature the release as high tech, able to grip even slipper fireline. But unless you want to bring the board in before landing the fish, and many walleye fisherman do, I recommend changing the release it's too hard to adjust. A second problem with the release is active fish and rough water can easily tangle the line in the clip, spring etc. resulting in break OFFs. There is just too much hardware. Not necessarily an issue with walleye.  Replace it with a barrel release or Off shore. However, If using the board to pull Leadcore you may want to keep the original release and quickly bring the board rather than let it slide the long distance.

Positive features of the board include... Ability to pull heavy loads and track. An adjustable keel weight, move forward to pull heavy loads. (lots of line out, lead core or  hard diving baits). A stabilizer tab which also helps with heavy loads and also keeps the board coming to the surface after it's released ( very helpful). The in-line clip (release pin) very simple to operate and very clean (no hang ups). Pull the pin up to attach or remove it from the line. One caution early versions of the board had a brass pin GREAT, next came a plastic version which broke, now they have a plastic version which seems to hold up. They will replace defective pins. You have to remove the float material to make the repair.


walleye_board.jpg (8454 bytes)

Early version of the board feature a one piece arm with the release built in. Latter versions have the release pop riveted to the arm. When I modified my old style boards I simply unscrewed the release, drilled a new hole closer to the end and rounded the edges on a grinder (file will work). On the new versions drill out the rivet. Keep the release with a suitable nut and bolt and than you can reattach it, based on how you are fishing. Having the ability to use different releases gives you great versatility.


  • TIP 8: Brown trout ideas
  1.  Stay away from the pack! If you're not there first find another area. Pounding the same shallow water over and over is not productive.
  2.  Browns range the entire shoreline from Little Sable point to the other side of Big Sable. Top spots are the little creeks and rivers that flow into the Lake. Check some good maps. There are a few more out there, than the obvious ones everyone knows about. DO YOUR HOME WORK.
  3.  Old wisdom says troll slowly. But, sometimes faster and or burst of speed will trigger strikes.
  4.  Old wisdom says stick baits (Rapala's etc) they look like smelt. But smelt are a little scarce. Try Thin fins they look like alewives, and light weight spoons work well at slow speeds. Or small spoons Cleo's, Kroc's.
  5.  Fish way back. Ok but when it's crowded not wise. Side in line planners are your best bets. Get them way, WAY out. Watch for the other guy he's got'em out as well.
  6.  Bird core. A   2 or 3 segment of lead core rather than a weight can be a brown killer. Rig like a normal lead core but only 2 or 3 segments. So you are running 10' or so down and way back. Works great with Walleye boards.
  7.  Fish often,  in the right place, at the right time, with the right bait!


  • TIP 7: Get the lead out...

Leadcore line is like the energizer bunny it just keeps working. With Boat shy kings if you can keep it out of the track of the boat so much the better! Fished from an outrigger or pulled behind a in-line planer board. Not all boards are created equal. The two best to get leadcore to the side are the Off Shore and Gary Roach walleye. The latter is the best! It has an adjustable keel and tracks like a shot. One problem is after you get a hit the board has a long way to slide (100 yds+). Leadcore line being what it is can be damaged by this repeated sliding and fighting monster fish at the same time. If you use a rubber band or clip type release at the back end to hold the board in place after it's released you can avoid the problem! The fish hits and pulls free of the main release so the board is no longer pulling to the side. The second release or rubber band on the back holds the board in place, keeping it from sliding down the line. When it comes to the boat un-clip or pop the rubber band, take the board off and 100+ yards latter you'll land your fish. Best of all you are fighting him clean with nothing on the line.


  • TIP 6: Dodgers and Squids Catch Fish!!!!!

Dodgers and Squids are Hot fish catching machines this time of year. You can work them over a wide range of speeds and get them deep where the BIG boys are hanging out If you know HOW!!

The traditional approach to dodger fishing is to fish them off riggers. With a 10 to 15 foot lead. Boat speed needs to be slow so that the dodger just rock's back and forth giving the squid, fly or spin-N-glo some action. Too fast and they spin making a mess. Slow generally means under 2.0. Some dodgers are more speed tolerant (Advance Tackles Side Kick for one). Unfortunately fishing this way forces you to go to an all dodger program or at least to baits or spoons that work slow. There is a better approach! As you increase your lead to the dodger you can increase speed without spinning. What does happen.... is the dodger rocks but also swings wide. If you try this off riggers you have to set the rigger at a depth not even close to other riggers or the dodger will EAT your other lines and you'll have the MOTHER of all tangles. The answer is the Big Jon Jetison release. Fish the dodger combo using a lead drop rig. Using a lead of 30 to 40 feet you can still run Spoons and Plugs at a normal speeds while the dodger works like crazy (catching BIG TUNA) no where near your other stuff.

Rigging TIPS....
The length of the lead to the squid is not all that critical when fishing them the lead drop way. Off riggers it's generally recommended that the lead be one and one half the length of the dodger used. Fishing a lead drop is usually done with a diver rod with a counter reel. Reels spooled with fireline or spider wire will give better performance (depth) but you do need at least a 40 foot leader for the drop release. As a rule of thumb with 20# mono if you have 200' feet of line out with a 1 pound you'll be somewhere around 70 to 80 down. A GMT40T+ will help know where you actually are. A good idea is to start at around 150' back and keep going back in 25' increments until you start getting HITS or get over 300' out. Bring it in re-rig and start over. Using 1 1/2 pound balls will get you deeper quicker also it's a good way to run two rods. One using a 1 pound and the other using a pound and 1/2.

Dodgers and squids/flies come in as many colors as creative lure companies can come up with. As a rule of thumb White (pearl) with either a patch of glow or patch of pink fish scale is the number one choice for Kings and Lakers. Number 2 is Chartreuse with a patch of pink fish scale. Number one choice of squids is "kermit" a green glow squid. However, other squid and dodger colors work well including laser's, black, green etc. The Triple skirt glows made by Richey at times are very productive. COHO like the brighter painted dodgers, clown, orange, or silver and seem to eat flies made of mylar or tinsel a little better than squids. Lakers are often suckers for a chrome dodger with a peanut or Spin-N-Glo. Green, clown, white with pink dots some of the best colors. But... don't lock yourself into one rig.... Be creative. Several weeks ago one of the boats killed the Salmon on a silver dodger with a Green metallic fly.


  • TIP 5:Solunar information on the WEB

To be successful you need to be in the right place at that right time. Easy to say but not so easy to accomplish. Over the years many Fishermen and Hunters have come to believe that game movement and feeding activity is often triggered by the Moon's gravitational pull on the earth. Fishermen have used Solunar Tables that predict major activity periods. You can now calculate these activity periods for your area from a site on the WEB.
Major Feed
The time labeled Moon Transit is the major activity period for the day. Another follows in 12 1/2 hours. Try to plan your fishing to take advantage of these periods. Start a little earlier or fish a little latter. The more these periods coincide with the normally good times, first light, etc the better!

The phase of the moon also impacts fishing. Many anglers believe that periods of a full moon are poor for fishing. Fish feed at night or possibly these are times of increased gravitational force. You may just want to know when the sun will set or rise in your area. Check out.
For this information and much more.

From my personnel experience when we have had outstanding non-stop action it's generally been during a Major period.

"But in the final analysis the best time to be fishing is anytime you can get away!"


  • Tip 4: Summer fishing...

That means fishing deep and going after Lake Trout. Downriggers will accurately place you where you see the fish or mark the thermo but on calm days they don't give the lure a lot of action and the boat spooks the fish. Back and away is the key to success. The two best ways to get more movement and get away from the boat are with divers and lead drops. If you fish a diver with the new thin, no stretch lines you can get down 80 or 90 feet and still trip the diver. Fishing 1 # lead weights that drop off when you get a hit is another effective approach. The Big Jon Jetison release does an outstanding job. Experienced fishermen know how much line to let out to get to the desired depth. If you haven't a clue or just want to be sure, there is a little unit the GMT40T+ that tells you how deep your diver or lead ball is and what's the temperature as bonus. We are now selling the units for $79.00. See more about the unit click >> GMT40T+.


  • Tip 3: GO GLOW...

Baits with glow tape are fish catching machines. You should always have a few down in the morning or when the sky is overcast. A glow bait that is properly charged up will last 15 to 20 min. Glow tape picks up and stores energy from light and than releases it as light. What goes in comes out. To get the most out of your glow baits you need to charge them up. The lower the light level the longer time they need to be exposed. Your best bet is a portable flash attachment from a camera. One touch of the button and you get maximum charge every time. If you don't want to risk exposing your flash attachment to the elements, Luhr Jensen makes an inexpensive ($19.95) unit that does the job. It's 10 time more effective than a flashlight.

GO GLOW but charg'em up first!!!


  • TIP 2: Joining leadcore to Mono
uni.JPG (4597 bytes) This is a very useful and strong knot for joining leadcore line to Mono backing or leader. It's important to take the lead out leaving only the cover to work with. The knot should be tied as close as possiable at the point where the lead ends. This gives you a smoother knot but it's not important from a strength point of view. Use a drop of knot glue as you tighten it down. This adds strength to the knot and also keeps the leadcore from unraveling.

More on lead core go LEAD CORE


Tip 1: Using Jet divers and Mini divers for more depth

Trolling behind side planers ( Tru-Trac's, Roach Walleye boards, etc) is very effective. However unlike Steelhead, Salmon are often a little deeper. Lead will get you down but a Big Jon Mini diver or Luhr Jensen Jet diver is a better approach giving the bait more action. The jet diver also gives you varying depth based on the size you use, 20', 30' etc. The jet diver floats up when you slow down making the lure appear to be escaping. Both of these can be rigged in line. Another technique with the jet diver is to put a release like an Off Shore Red (strongest they make) on the jet diver and then clip it to the line. That way the diver can be further from the bait. The diver is unclipped as you land the fish.