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zgrinder on Fin Warrior

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Posts posted by zgrinder on Fin Warrior

  1. Thanks for bringing this up.  Berried in catch reports that I post, I include (N) if the fish has an adipose fin.  I might go through my data to proved specific numbers but off the top of my head, 9 of 10 kings I caught this year in the second to last year of life, the bigger ones, were naturals - similar to your data.  Perhaps this might be skewed due to the decrease in stocking in Lake Mac but it doesn't explain why the big fish are typically naturals.  What does the Fish Whisper PUG have to say about this?

  2. Fished from 5:30 to about 30min post sunset before ripping lines.  Went south of the harbor out from the sliders and set up in 130FOW.  2 deep riggers down above and below 80' (big white paddle and fly and a spoon on SWR), 2 side divers spaced between 60-70' (green spinny & fly and a spoon) and 300 weighted steel down the chute with a large paddle and Brads Cut Plug.  Lot of current and the chop made for a difficult N/S troll so we stuck to E/SE and W/NW.  Due to the current, decided not to push out to 200' and stuck to 170' as the turn around point.  Plus I wanted to fish a little shallower at dusk.  Through 7:00pm and few lure changes, we marked very few fish and got only one tip on a mag white spoon on SWR down 82'.  Changing over for the night bite I ran by Janet my lure change options.  She dead panned "it doesn't matter what put down cause we are not marking fish or catching fish".  Hard to have hurt feelings when that was the truth.  So I made the changes and swung into 130-120 FOW based on the bait I saw last night hoping the fish would move inside.  Well, I was right on one of two things.  The bait inside was incredible and mostly pinned near the bottom.  One bait ball completely filled up my fish finder - never had that happen before.  And at least one more came close to that.  Unfortunately, nothing bit what we passed through the bait and we finished the evening with an empty box.  Reflecting on passing through the bait, pulling the high dipseys cause frankly they were too high to the Good Eats below, and running 4 riggers down below 100' with clean spoons and meat, exactly the opposite of my typical strategy might have been a better program.  But that is all hind sight and I never anticipated the bait pinned so low in the water column at dusk.  Only two boats that I could see were out post sunset and there was no chatter on 68.  Perhaps we will give it a go during the week.  A lot of east wind in the forecast might keep things interesting.  Best of luck to all on your fall fishing.








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  3. Fished from 3:30 to about 7:00pm on Friday.  Almost zero wind on the lake.  Port Sheldon buoy thermistors are spot on - had to get below 80' to find any cold water.  Settled in on working 190-220 FOW as we were getting consistent good size marks down 90-95' but I just could not get anything to bite the deep riggers, one set with a big paddle and a Brads Cut Plug and the stealth line set with a spoon or a J-plug.  The stealth rigger was 88-92' down in 50-52 degree water via Smart Troll.  The big paddle was slightly above that.  Ran N, S, E & W but it didn't make a difference.  Side divers were down 63' & 70' for most of the trip in that 68 degree water with orange and blue spoons looking for steelhead - no takers.  300 weighted steel down the middle with a silver J-plug saw no action as well.  Caught one small shaker king on the stealth rigger line when tipped with a holographic green dolphin spoon.  Coming in we found the same marks in 170-175 FOW.  Likely will go back out tonight but later in the evening and stay to dusk.

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  4. Did not make it out today.  Father-in-law who taught me much about GL fishing back when I ran out of of Waukegan, is now 88 with a hip replacement.  It was not that rough out today but bouncy enough that I did not feel he could get up and grab a reel on the back of the boat.  Plus he and his lady friend have a narrow window when they can go about their business so timing it right was tough.  I have had him on my old boat with a Becks in his hand fishing so it was not a full missed opportunity, just not one we could squeeze in today.

    So sad to have someone go missing on the water.  I think of that all the time when I am out alone . . . what could go wrong that I am in the water unexpectedly.  Can't say I have always lived by that rule but this reminds me I need to be safe ALL THE TIME.

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  5. I fully expected you would be out tonight and wanted to get out in a bad as well way but in-laws are in town for the week and we had other plans.  If flat tomorrow, we might attempt a short mid-day float. Will not have PUG the 'Fish Whisperer' on board so we will take what we can get.  Glad you got out and at least bagged a few.  The King looks very meaty :)

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  6. Pushed off a little after 10:00am on a mid day solo trip knowing the good salmon bite in shallow water would be gone and set out to look for Steelhead.  Went north and found a nice slick that I could run out on a northwest troll.  Unfortunately there was nothing biting from 80 to 150 FOW.  Ran out to 175 FOW and ran a N-S troll but still nothing.  Decided since the water was so flat to test out the new rigging I came up with on one of my outriggers where the Offshore board stays on the outrigger line pulling out to the side while the long line breaks free when a fish hits.  It was a great day to mess around with this and I finally got the program working right but admit it is a lot of work.  Pulled that out of the water and headed back in closer since nothing was happening in the deep water.  Around 2:00pm had back-to-back hits running east at about 120 FOW.  Landed two kings, one on my favorite Brads Cut Plug down 92' at the ball on a downrigger and the second came on a dipsey, 60' down via Smart Troll on a Caddy Shack UV Stingray spoon.  Stayed in the shallower water for the rest of the float but no other takers.  Counted 18 boats out for the evening bite after ripping lines 3:30-4:00 and thought I caught what might have been the Parker racing north in the skinny water towards Muskegon.

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  7. Pushed off with Janet about 5:15pm and headed south to fish 60-70FOW near Saugatuck.  In search of big kings, we ran 3 riggers with meat (2 with paddles and SWR clean), 2 dipseys with spoons and 300' weighted steel with a Brad's Lucky Charm Cut Plug.  The weighted steel line took the first king (10lb, natural) in 75 FOW while making a hard South-to-North turn just south of Saugatuck.  The second king (also a 10lb natural that was released) came on a dipsey 1.5 set, 100' out (38' down on Smart Troll) with a standard alewife spoon in 62 FOW right at sun down.  Tighter in to the Saugatuck harbor mouth was busy so we stayed a bit out.  There were about 10 boats out deeper.  Channel 68 was silent.  Got a pic from a friend with Best Chance (I, II, Jr?) racking 30 fish from the morning.  Nothing of the size 2MD put in the box.  Last, passed over 4 bait balls 50' down to the bottom.

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  8. I have not fished Frankfurt.  What I can pass on from Holland and way back to Waukegan, IL, if there is a big blow, it will be a crap shoot inside 100 FOW.  If that is where you are trolling, try closer to the bottom mid-day before hitting the entire water column sun up or sun down.  A plug down on a long line or SWR is a good set up.  Put mag spoons down and raise them if you are fishing the dusk bite.  Some starting points - hope that helps.  This time of year, stealth is not a must, fish will strike hard on short set ups.

  9. Fished from ~ 1:00 to 5:00pm starting off in front of the sliders working 105 to 125 FOW.   About 40min after setting down, had a big king hit a KGF meat rig down 97' at the ball in 114 FOW.  Got it to the back of the boat enough where I could easily see it but the fish kept running to the starboard side.  Move the SB line out, gave the boat a turn, squared up the fish to the back of the transom and our luck ran out as it came off.  Felt bad for Juli as she was now 0 for 2 with two nice size kings.  She did land a small laker later in the day and that is all the action we had for the day.  Video clip below.

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  10. Good friends of ours Ben and Juli came in from out of town for a couple of days to fish and have fun.  With high hopes, we pushed off Fin Warrior at 4:30pm for an evening run.  I had not been out since August 5th and really needed to wet some lines.  Planed out north toward Port Sheldon and set down with a south troll in 130 FOW to give my guests a smooth float.  Ran a 4 rigger (95-108’ down at the ball), 2 dipsey (60-65’ down via Smart Troll) spread.  Had some copper and weighted steel long lines at the ready but the water was just too warm at that depth.  2 ½ hours of no action with just a tip up.  After a complete change-out we had a KGF meat rig and Brad’s cut plug on 11” paddles on the outside riggers down ~95’ at the ball.  At the aft, all white mag spoon on the 12# test line (yes, I was running the spoon give-a-way light line again – this was my back-up rod) and a blue-silver J-plug on SWR 104-108' at the ball.  The dipsey rods were set with spoons, mag 57 Chevy and a holographic mag spoon from the GR Outdoors show.  Just before 8:00pm south of the sliders, I figure we cross over a pod of stacked up kings in 110-105 FOW as we had 4 hits in 25 min.  Brad’s cut plug delivered a 16.5# king.  No sooner we got that rig back in the water and the light line lit up.  We almost got that one to the back of the boat and it came off on a bent hook.  The fish stayed down in the water and never surfaced so it likely was a good size.  Right after that, the meat rig hit and produces a modest 8# king.  And somewhere in all of this, the 57 Chevy dipsey got a drive by hit.  We turned around trolling north to try to recapture that magic and had one bite about 9:00pm on the other outside dipsey but never got the fish to the boat.  No hits after the sun went down.  Ben landed the big king for the evening.  Juli had the misfortune of a big strike miss on the light line.  Data below.


    # Time Fish FOW Latitude Troll Rod Bait Depth Bait
    1 7:52PM King 16.5# (N) 110 42o44.300' S DR 96B Brads Cut Plug - Lucky Charm
    2 8:09PM Miss 105 42o43.450' S DR 104B Mag White Spoon
    3 8:16PM King 8# (N) 105 42o43.400' S DR 94B KGF Meat Rig
    4 9:01PM Miss 98 ? N Dipsey 63 Mag Holographic Gold/Green Spoon




    Bens King 8-25-23.jpg

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  11. Sea Foam, sorry about your downrigger ball loss.  Last year I had a large white paddle white fly, the last line out of the water that . . .  I for got to get out of the water.  I am on a plane coming in and thinking, man it sounds like a drag is screaming.  Well in fact it was, and when the sound stopped, I took the boat off a plane to check things out and found one rod in the back downrigger rod holder completely spooled.  Pulled the ball up but not the gear.  I felt like an idiot.  Yep it happens.

    For what its worth, as much as I am temped, I never leave my 15lb balls on the rigger hooks.  I worry about bad things happening, like ripping the rigger off the back of the boat if the ball goes down so I just leave them in the aft compartment until I set down.  I am sure you are contemplating the same.  Glad you only lost the ball and wire and not the rigger.

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