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The Salmon Slayer

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  1. I’d have to say if you are trying to establish a larger inland salmon, then you need to research the DNA of some of the largest salmon caught in the great lakes, Alaska and the West Coast states. With today’s ability to study genetics it certainly won’t be a stretch to determine what genes are involved in those salmon that are living more than four years. But from a rather simplistic view why not just separate the roe from the female salmon that are 25 pounds or larger and do the same with the milt from the 25 pound of larger male salmon? This year there certainly should be enough of the 25 pound and over fish to collect enough roe and milt to fertilize and create a number of what should be larger salmon that have adapted to today’s living conditions in the great lakes. Ranchers and farmers have used this approach for years.
  2. I agree that checking your hooks for sharpness is always a good idea. When you sharpen a hook it’s important to not create a burr or round over the point by making it too thin. I like to use a 4-1/2” second cut smooth file to sharpen my hooks. I have found though that there are hooks that are very sharp right out of the package that hold their points. For treble hooks I like the #2 Daiichi (model# D97Q) red round bend 4X hook, these hooks are heat treated and SHARP and hold their point. For siwash hooks it’s tough to beat the VMC Perma Steel 9171PS Open Eye, these hooks are sharper than any Mustad siwash and if you need to sharpen them it usually takes only one or two file strokes at the most per side. The hooks are hardened and sharpening is a little more difficult than sharpening a softer nickel plated hook. The VMC 9171PC holds its point too. Good Luck SS
  3. I’ve wondered too about what baits will produce the 25# and over fish on Lake Michigan. My experience is glow spoons fished middle of the water column in water that is 50 to 70 feet deep. I caught a 31# King on a glow Diamond King #5 spoon and a 26# plus on the same spoon. I caught a 32# Brown on a glow watermelon spoon too. I also have had fewer lines down when I’ve caught my largest fish like 3 or 4 lines. I’ve also caught a hand full of 25# Kings on various silver J-Plug patterns with the marine green (a bluish green over silver plate) and silver #4 J being one of my favorites. Seems like the big ones feed early, like not much past 6 am most days. That’s not to say big fish don’t feed at mid morning or noon time but it’s hard to get a big fish to strike a bait if they have already had a good first light feed. I always run at least one spoon within 10 feet of the bottom too say after 7 am trying to get the big guys to bite. So I’d vote for magnum glow spoons and #4 silver pattern J Plugs fished 125’+ behind the ball. Good Luck SS
  4. Your question is different from what most guys say when changing from mono to braid for diver rods. Braid has a much smaller diameter and easily affords any diver greater overall depth. There’s been talk that braid used with divers achieves basically the same depth as a comparable diver using wire for line. Because super braid fishing lines made from Dyneema or Spectra (both are made from gel spun polyethylene fibers, PE) are a smaller diameter than mono, your divers are running deeper this year if you’re following last year’s presentation patterns. This year here on Lake Michigan the water is colder than previous years. Guys have been reporting catching fish with 30 to 70 foot of line out on their divers even now at the end of July. If you start in the morning before sunrise set your divers at 3 and put one out 40 feet and another out 60 feet and try those lengths until the sun rises. After sunup start adding additional line to your deepest diver say about 10 feet at a time every 30 minutes or so until you reach a depth where you are 10 feet above the water temperature break. Bait selections for diver rods that I use are small flashers like an orange 6” Adgerton Action Flasher or an 8 inch orange Abe & Al, I run these on the high diver. On the diver that I’m running deeper I’ll use either an 8” Spin Doctor in a green blade with lime green holographic tape on one side and a glow crushed ice on the other side or I’ll run a 4” to 5” spoon, glo to start the day and switch to a silver belly green or blue paint/tape top. Color is always a concern when choosing a diver. But if you keep the ROY G BIV name in mind using an orange diver up and darker color down deeper if you believe the diver color attracts fish. Frankly more fish are caught on orange, cohos, rainbows even kings. After 40 feet orange light rays can no longer penetrate the water column and orange colors begin to turn a shade of gray or become neutral in color so orange below 40 feet isn’t attracting fish by color nor should orange spook fish either because it appears gray. Some guys worry about the color of the braid they use too. I’ve always used gray or moss green, I recommend gray because it is a neutral color. Snubbers I recommend a 12” clear vinyl snubber. Leader length I recommend a 40# low vis green mono or 40# fluorocarbon leader from 5 to 7 foot in length after the snubber. Wire for divers is more trouble than it’s worth to me. If you get another line tangled with the wire diver you’re going to cut the mono line or at best knick it and have to splice or replace the mono line. Constant pig tails and cutting and retying the swivel knot. Yeah wire has a different harmonic or acoustic resonance than mono or braid but … Good Luck SS
  5. Dawood; I understand your reason now for watching the surface temperature maps but you have got to resolve your HDS-7 sonar interference issues to locate fish. If you haven’t I’d contact Lowrance Customer Support online first and explain your problem and see what the Lowrance Techs might consider your interference issue to come from. You’ll need your unit’s model# and serial#. http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Contact-Us/ I have always owned Lowrance units starting with an old paper graph, 1510C and moved up to a LMS-350A and then a LCX-27C all of which I could mark fish and bottom at full throttle, my last rig would travel 49 mph. I’d look at the HDS-7 wiring connections and if you haven’t connect directly to the battery. I’d also take a look at the wiring that lays next the transducer cable and see if you can run the transducer cable away from other wiring. You could also clean the ground wire connections for your motor(s). You definitely shouldn’t have interference on the sonar by increasing the throttle position my buddy has a HDS-7 and doesn’t have sonar interference. Good Luck SS
  6. The surface temperature maps aren’t of much use to me here on the Western shore of Lake Michigan. What I recommend is a quality graph that has the sensitivity adjusted to pick up fish and bait, usually slightly less than getting a double bottom echo, not set on fish ID, and will mark bait and fish at least 30 mph. While motoring along stop periodically when you’ve marked large schools of bait with fish present underneath or in the bait. Check the temperature where the bait is and check the temperature at 10’ increments to the bottom..If you notice a temperature split greater than 4 or 5 degrees I strongly consider stopping and setting up there. If bait is present with marks I fish there first no matter what the temperature. The point I’m trying to make is that if the bait is present and the fish are too why look somewhere else. The key is a graph that is adjusted to pick up fish while at traveling speed. Good Luck
  7. Yeah first you have to learn the lingo for the divers, in-line boards, rods ...etc Then the bait names are a challenge too. To me if you stick to the manufactures names at least you should be able to buy like in kind baits but seems like every port has a different name for what's hot. Very confusing if you're not in that clique. So pictures are the best way to identify baits.
  8. If you have an Evinrude ETEC the etec owners forum is the best for help with almost any problem. http://www.etecownersgroup.com/?forum=115573
  9. I set my Walleye boards to not release. I too wrap the line around the standard walleye board release 1/2 a wrap. I saw this done on Infisherman when they were using the Walleye boards for 30# Strippers,
  10. I like to use the improved clinch knot where you make a double loop through the hook's eye and then tie a standard improved clinch knot. The really nice feature of the VMC 9170's is the wide barb distance. I also kirb the hooks. Good Luck SS
  11. I prefer to use just one siwash hook on my flies for Kings and Lakers. The VMC 9170PS Permasteel 4X Closed Eye Siwash Hook in a 4/0 size is what I use. This is the same style hook I use on my magnum spoons only on spoons I use the 9171PS open eye. For Magnum spoons I use the 4/0 VMC 9171PS open eye. I use a 3/0 VMC 9170PS for smaller flies and the 3/0 9171PS siwash hooks for standard size spoons. You can buy 25 VMC permasteel siwash hooks for around $4 plus shipping, $13 for 100. These VMC siwash are popular with Striper fisherman. The hooks are 4X strong and sharp out of the package. Good Luck SS
  12. An 8†UV Spin Doctor Netminder number SD70056-8 with the Oceana Mirage fly on a diver rod. An 8†Spin Doctor Lite Green Crush Glow, number SD70353-8 with the Pickled Sunshine fly on a diver or downrigger. Good Luck SS
  13. Let’s start with the trolling speed first. Spoons will run in the widest trolling speed range. That 225 Yamaha even with a trolling plate maybe going too fast to use some presentations effectively. I say this because dodgers need to be trolled anywhere from 1.4 to 2.0 mph and a dodger is usually spinning instead of wagging at 2.0mph. Flashers will allow a higher trolling speed and do need to be trolled between 1.7 to 2.5 mph depending upon type of flasher. Spoons will troll from 1.5 to 3.5 mph again depending upon the spoon, the weight of the spoon is a good indicator on how fast to troll it. Light spoons will have good action at slow speeds and heavy spoons will troll better at higher speeds. Plugs similar to J-Plugs have their best action at about 2.2 to 3.0 mph but I’ve caught a lot of fish on plugs when the speed was as low as 1.5 mph. One important note on trolling speed is that it is relative to each speedometer manufacture, each boat hull design and the direction trolled like whether into or with a current if present. My trolling speed numbers are just to give you an idea of the variance that exists between baits and attractors. Fish Hawk units generally indicate a higher speed than Depth Raider speedometers. You’ll have to learn what speed your baits catch the most fish and mixing spoons, plugs and flashers requires some trial and error before you hit on a spoon and flasher type that work well trolled at the same speed. When talking with a guy who caught a bunch of fish ask what type of speedometer he is using as well as how fast and what type of baits and attractors he’s catching his fish on before buying something you don’t already own to try. Rarely will what works for one guy be as successful for someone else. If the water you fish is clear, getting your baits away from the boat’s shadow or any type of turbulence created by the hull, motor(s) or downrigger weights will improve your hook up ratio on wary fish. As the other guys have already said you need to add two diver rods and two stealth rods with leadcore or copper wire to your trolling presentation. The diver rods should be stiffer and longer than your downrigger rods. For a diver rod I like Extra Heavy or Heavy rods rated for 15 to 30 lb. line. I like a diver rod to be 9’-6” or 10’ because I use a 12” clear snubber and a minimum of six foot of line between the snubber and the snap swivel, if you use an 8” flasher or dodger plus a 24” to 30” fly leader you need the extra rod length when landing a fish. Trying to land a fish that’s ten feet behind the diver is a challenge even on a 10’ rod. For divers I’d recommend the Walker Deeper Divers in 107mm size to try first because they are 4-1/4” in diameter without a ring like a #1 dipsy diver has that always gets messed up at the worst time. The Magnum divers, 124mm, are heavier and really are much more of a challenge to reel in and they will really stress your rod pulling them trolling. For diver rods I’d recommend a super braid 50# line in a neutral color, moss green or gray. Set the divers on 2-1/2 to 3. I like to run spoons in the dark or early morning and switch to flasher/flies if the spoons didn’t produce on the divers. I will also at times will run one flasher/fly combo in the dark as an attractor to bring fish in for a look see, maybe they pass on the flasher/fly but see another bait that they strike and get hooked. Stealth rigs are great for catching fish and building Popeye forearms. Leadcore is easier to fish with because leadcore has no memory and deploys much easier than a copper line, but leadcore doesn’t get your bait as deep per yard as copper line does. Either leadcore or copper is best fished away from the boat with an in-line planer board like the Church Walleye board with the clip set to NOT release when a fish is hooked. I recommend a 8’ to 8’-6” heavy medium rod rated at 12 to 25 pound line. You will need a higher line capacity reel, a line counter is not needed because the line is already measured, leadcore is 30’ per color and there are 10 colors(100 yards) per spool of standard 27# leadcore. Do yourself a favor when buying a high line capacity reel for leadcore or copper line and get a reel that has a higher retrieve ratio. Bringing in 500’ of line isn’t a task that most people find as fun, the fist 200’ or so has the weight and resistance of the trolling board plus the line and bait and if you’re lucky a big fish too. Get a reel with a minimum of a 5.0:1 ratio but a 6.X:1 ratio is better, you will be glad you did it and you’ll find using leadcore and copper line more enjoyable. If nothing else buy one reel like the Diawa Saltist STTlW50HA or have a reel’s gear ratio changed by Tuna Tom’s Reel Repair. The STTlW50HA has a ratio of 6.4:1, with a line retrieval rate of 47” per turn of the handle and line capacity of 350 yards of 30# line. You’ll able to get 25’ of 20 to 25# mono to start with, mono won’t slip on the reel spool like super braid can, 250 yards of 50# super braid as backing and seven colors of lead plus a 30’ of 20# fluorocarbon as a leader on the reel. This setup should run about 30’ deep ± 5 to 10 feet depending on your trolling speed. Adding a snap weight in the middle of the leadcore with increase the depth this setup will run at by roughly 5’ per ounce of added weight. So adding a 4 ounce snap weight would get the 7 color leadcore to about 50’ depending on the trolling speed. You will catch plenty of fish on a seven color leadcore rod, try the snap weight addition when the water warms up and the fish are deeper. Having at least one stealth rod in your presentation will put more fish in the box guaranteed. One other tactic to try off of your downriggers is the secret weapon rod or rig commonly called just an SWR. An SWR is generally a 2 or 3 color leadcore, that’s what’s left over after you make a 7 color leadcore. An SWR is more like your typical downrigger setup in that the rod is an 8’ to 8’-6” medium heavy to medium rod rated for 12 to 20 pound line and uses mono for backing. I like to use the Daiwa SG47LCA reel with 150 yards of 20# Trilene Big Game sliced to 100 yards of 50# super braid then the three colors of leadcore and then 20’ of 20# fluorocarbon leader. The SWR is about 110’ between the downrigger release and weight and runs about 12’ to 15’ below the downrigger weight. An SWR is generally the deepest bait in the presentation and is used when trying to avoid the turbulence caused by downrigger weights in the presentation. Guys will still run a dodger or flasher/fly down deeper on a short lead of about 20’ that is deeper than the SWR but because of the long lead of the SWR most turbulence are thought to have dissipated by the time the SWR bait arrives. An SWR also doubles as a three color leadcore used with an in-line planer board. Adding snap weights will get the 3 color leadcore deeper if desired. Every presentation needs to use one SWR at sometime during the day because an SWR will increase your daily catch too and it is relatively simple to do. Just one more thing. Using divers and stealth rigs will mean you'll be needing a bigger cooler or you'll have to strengthen the handles because of the additional weight. Good Luck
  14. I would agree that trolling speed at the bait is more important than temperature but having speed and temperature at the bait is best. We’ve all seen the fish on the graph in too warm or cold of water but they’re in that temperature of the water column feeding, maybe not for long periods of time but fish will frequent unusual temperatures to feed. If you have the resources buy the Fish Hawk X4 without the depth reading function. The Fish Hawk X4 is a great unit in that it also has the surface speed and temp. I feel it’s better to have one unit that provides the surface and downrigger speed and temp. I say this because trolling speed will vary between speedometers. Have one unit that provides both just makes the readings more consistent and makes judging the current more reliable. I say this because guys stagger the depths that they position baits in their presentation. Knowing the surface speed and the speed at the downrigger allows you to choose a happy median for trolling speed depending upon what depth your baits are set. There are guys running two speed and temp probes at times because the current varies depending on the depth. Knowing the speed your baits/attractors work best at and then dialing the trolling speed based on current changes will improve your trip catch ratio.
  15. I’d ask this question of you, “Do you guys catch fish using the boat owners spoon presentation?†If you’re looking to catch more fish by adding flasher fly combos to the spoon spread you may find yourself catching fewer fish because there are lessons to be learned and dollars to be spent searching for a combination that works well together. I say this for two reasons, the boat owner apparently prefers spoons and knows how to run the spoons to catch the fish that you guys come home with and he already has an investment in his spoons and you will not necessarily have the same success as someone using a brand of flasher at a speed they find works in their presentation. Trolling speed varies greatly between boats, speed units and trolling direction. I’m not about to say you shouldn’t try adding F/F combos to a spoon presentation but just as spoons by different manufactures require a particular trolling speed for optimum bait action so do flashers. Each manufacture’s flasher performs best at a particular speed. Then there is always the fly leader length that works best and trolling speed factors into that as well. It’s important to remember to stick with what works for you. It’s just like the old saying, “You Never Leave Fish, To Find Fish.†If the trip catch numbers are good don’t make changes. If you’re determined to add F/F to the spoon spread I’d recommend you attend some seminars about Greatlakes fishing, like Jason Woda puts on each spring. Yeah it’ll cost some money but you’ll gain knowledge on different presentations that work together instead of spending money of the flashy new baits and attractors that catch your eye in the bait shop. Make sure the boat owner goes along with you to the seminar too. As some have already posted, you certainly can use a flasher on downriggers, diving planes and different weighted line types. You may not catch more fish on F/F combos but you may find the flasher(s) actually attract fish to your presentation, but flashers can also spook fish too at times. If you want to add a flasher as an attractor try adding a flasher with or without a hook less bait to a downrigger as an option. Use about 24†of line ahead of the flasher and attach the flasher to the downrigger weight. Use a stacker release and attach the baited rod line about 5’ above the flasher, this will minimize line tangles. When selecting a flasher color it’s good to remember that light wave colors are absorbed the deeper you go down into the water column. So if you want to attract fish in the top 30’ use an orange flasher, 0 to 50’ use chartreuse, 0 to 70’ green 0 to 100’ blue. White or glow flashers can be used 0’ to infinity. All silver flashers in today’s gin clear water may actually spook fish because there’s too much flash but a silver flasher should work in 0’ to 125’. The coho fishing right now is best done using a 00, 6â€, orange/red herring dodger with a 1-1/2†to 2†tinsel fly with a leader length of about 12â€. The hot setup is an orange Dipsy Diver, set at 3, followed by a clear 12†snubber, four to six foot of line a snap swivel the 00 dodger and a green crinkle with gold banded mylar peanut fly. Dodgers require a slower trolling speed, usually 1.6 to 1.8 mph to have the right action which will mean you’ll need to use lighter spoons in the presentation similar to Diamond Kings, Evil Eyes, Pro Kings or Michigan Stinger spoons. Good Luck
  16. What war was ever won in modern warfare without having a cannon? The Cannon Mag 10’s are another pretty much bullet proof electric downriggers. I bought two of the original electric models used in 1984 and they were still working perfectly in 2012 when I sold them. In that time I replaced one circuit breaker, one toggle switch and the rubber boots that cover the toggle switch. If you think about the electrical components and gear drive system on a downrigger probably see one to two hours run time per fishing trip. So if you fish 20 to 50 times a season that means you’re putting no more than 50 to 100 hours on an electric downrigger a season. Any unit should meet the needs of a hobby fisherman. I think features are what you need to consider when selecting a downrigger. Find the unit with the swivel base, rod holder(s), auto stop system, weight capacity and deploy/retrieval speed you like best. I say this because you’re not going to wear it out. Good Luck
  17. When fishing alone there are two methods I’ve found that have worked well for me. Best option is a Dotline extendable net with 28†hoop. I leave the handle retracted which puts the handle at about 4-1/2’ long and light enough to maneuver with one hand by grabbing the net handle in at the midpoint. Diver rods can be a challenge due to the overall length of line, snubber, flasher/fly combo and I’ll end up doing some hand line technique to get the fish to the net. The snubber gets a workout most times with bigger fish. I take all my fish from a side of the boat where I’ve cleared all of lines. The other system I use to land fish alone is a hand gaff I made up out of 5/16†aluminum rod. It has a 7/8†oak dowel for a Tee handle with a 6†shank that has a 3†diameter round bend sharp hook point. I have some mason string tied to this “Hay Bale Hook†I loop around my hand so I don’t drop it overboard during the heat of the battle. The hand gaff works great when using treble hooks that seem to always catch the net webbing. I’m able to hook the fish in the mouth with this gaff.
  18. The LakeMaster ProMaps Wisconsin LKPM-WI MMC/SD chip has all of Lake Michigan in 5' contours. That's about as good as it gets for a body of water that large and that dee. The LKPM-WI chip has Green Bay (3-Foot Contours) too. This definition is on their WI chips from 2007 through 2012. LakeMaster stopped making chips for Lowrance products in 2012.
  19. I would not go larger than a 20 HP OB for a kicker especially if you’re planning on a trolling speed control like a TrollMaster as they only work on OBs with one carburetor. I fished on a wooden 32’ boat that used a 2 cycle 20HP outboard for trolling. Selecting a kicker should be based on engine displacement. The Honda BFP20 has 350cc, Yamaha T25 is 498cc and the Tohatsu 20 is 351cc. The shaft length for 20 to 30 horsepower motors shows 20†shafts as the longest posted on the OEM websites. If you’re not concerned about having a TrollMaster the Evinrude direct inject 25 and 30 horsepower ETECs have 577cc of displacement as well as having a 56 amp alternator but the shaft size is 20â€. Tohatsu makes Mercury small four stroke motors. The Tohatsu 20 is 351cc, with a 12 amp alternator and 20†shaft. The Tohatsu 25 and 30 horsepower motors have 3 cylinders and 526cc with a 15 amp alternator and 20’ shaft. A 20 HP outboard should handle a 27†to 30’ boat in most trolling on conditions. On days when the waves are 4' or better using a 20HP or even 30HP OB will be somewhat difficult trolling into the waves. The shaft length of 20†might be an issue depending on how it’s mounted on the transom. A 25HP or 30HP ETEC would have the best torque but speed control for trolling might be challenging, but the ETEC 15HO has a botton on the tiller that when pushed increases RPMs by 50, that option may be available for other models.
  20. Here's a quick 54 second video of some Good Ol' Boys trying to start an outboard motor with "Redneck Ether", mosquito spray. I think Jo Bob used MORE than was needed! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=541806692496290
  21. As already posted by Supertramp "I see a couple of boats out of ST JOE using red led strips inside the gunwales of their boats. It doesn't bother your night vision and lets you see what is going on in the back of the boat." I learned this trick about using lighting from a buddy with military experience on night missions in helicopters. My buddy told me red lighting won't mess up your eyes for night vision. So I use red light fixtures under the gunnels. You can also paint the inside of a fixture's lens red as well. I wear a LED head light to set lines and net fish.
  22. Great Lakes Brown trout didn't get their football bellies swimming to find cold water or food. So if you caught them in the Spring in shallow and there's bait in shallow you will find brown trout any time of year. The Browns are more active as mentioned when the water is in the low 50's. Browns differ from some fisherman in that they never leave fish (food) to find fish. They just lay on the bottom waiting for any easy meal. I find smaller spoons and J's take big Browns fished slow 1.8 to 2.2 MPH.
  23. Here on the Western Shore of Lake Michigan I’d agree the Chinook bite really doesn’t start in earnest until mid to late May with July being the best time to catch the big Chinooks. In May and June the Chinooks can be caught later in the morning. But come July, August, September and October we launch at 3AM with lines down by 3:30 AM and the bites starts then too. A full moon changes the bite to night fishing and earlier in the morning if you can stand starting at 2 AM or sooner. Warm water shortens the feeding time, so in late July through early September the mature Chinooks seem to feed in the dark and right as it starts to get light and the feeding period is maybe a 30 to 45 minute duration. This is probably also due to the Chinook bodies going through their physiology changes for spawning, i.e. their stomachs shrink and stop functioning. Overall though if you want to be a Chinook fisherman you’d better start earlier in the morning and stay later in the evening. Sleep when you’re dead!
  24. I'd second buying a Powerwinch RC-30. Great unit use mine with a Lund Baron Magnum OB on a bunk trailer. I can sit in the truck and use the remote control to pull the boat up the trailer. I back up when I hear the winch sound increases. You'll be loading by yourself with no problem. I'm not certain if the Powerwinch RC-23 would work but it has a faster rate for line retrieving.
  25. I've been using the 20# Big Game Green for 10 years and never have had an issue catching fish on it. The last five years I've added a 20# fluorocarbon leader that is about 25' long to the Big Game because the water clarity over here is gin clear.
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