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Fishing Solo


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About half of my trips are solo, when the weather is good I don't wait around I just go...The last couple of years I have done fairly well fishing alone but, there is some drawbacks, netting fish...I hand line my dipsy rods most of the time, and I tail fish a lot of the time. Have I lost some fish, you bet but not really all that many. Does anyone have a particular lightweight net that works well when fishing solo, I've also thought about a saltwater single hook gaff that is long enough?? My nets are just to heavy, just looking for suggestions. Thanks

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It has been a few years, but when I had the boat near the lake I went solo over half the time. I have long/telescoping handle nets (7-8') with bigger size hoops. My technique is to get the net hoop in position out the stern of the boat with the handle resting on the boat. I then lead the fish to the net with one hand/arm on the rod and the other on the net to lift with once the fish is in the net. I also have a stretch cord on the rear of the net handle to make sure the net does not go overboard (don't ask!). Not having two hands on the net is also one of the reasons/inspirations for creating my NetBungee to keep the net bag from drifting into the fish during landing.

When I'm fishing solo here in Michigan I want to maximize my lines so I run all three rods. Generally I will run a diver and rigger on one side of the boat and a long line board presentation on the other. The reason for this is that 90% of the time I will land the fish on the side with the board. The inline board is far enough out to not interfere when the fish is on one of the other rods and if it is the board rod, that side is then completely open. My boat is nice in that with the twin outboards split to the corners of the hull on the catamaran, I can also land fish directly up the chute between the outboards if I need to -- uncooperative fish or weird wave conditions.

I generally run 6-8' diver leads or go with Slide Divers when fishing solo to be able to get the fish close enough to net. When I have someone else on board, this is not a big issue as the person on the rod can walk forward up the side of the boat with a longer lead. Not an option going solo.

I used to carry a gaff on board as my 3rd option after my two nets, but found that the fish needed to be a lot closer to the boat to make it effective compared to a net. I use gaffs much of the time in Florida for Cobia, King Mackerel... but the fishing conditions are different in that it isn't trolling.

One of the main reasons that I originally purchased the SeaCat center console was for the ability to do solo fishing. Having twin engines was my first decision related to going solo (safety out 15 miles from port) and the center console design to allow for ease in docking and 360* fishing. Between the twin outboards and center console, going to the catamaran hull was an easy decision.

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I've fished solo for many years. I cut the handle of my net down to 5 ft. Whenever I get a fish within 15-20 ft of the boat, I'll turn slightly into him & position the net where I can easily reach it. Easiest when you've guided him to the left side. When I'm sure he's not going to make a last ditch run, I net him along side the boat. Netting anything off the stern when solo is ridiculously hard. Last two outings I had doubles and was able to get both of them, both times. (knock on wood for a third)

I fish out of an 18 ft full deck Bluefin and my autopilot was made by an Italian company: "Bungie." :D

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I use a golfclub shaft fitted with a meat hook for a gaff. It's all I use when fishing by myself it works well for me.

I haven't read the rules yet this year but I know in the past it was against the law to use a gaff on trout or salmon, has the rule been changed?

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I haven't read the rules yet this year but I know in the past it was against the law to use a gaff on trout or salmon, has the rule been changed?

I believe the rule (Michigan) is/was that gaffs can't be used on designated trout streams, not that gaffs were illegal for use on salmon/trout on other waters.

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I believe the rule (Michigan) is/was that gaffs can't be used on designated trout streams, not that gaffs were illegal for use on salmon/trout on other waters.

You are correct just looked it up.:)

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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.

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