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upgrading the spread.


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Hey, I am out of Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron. I joined this site recently and since have been learning plenty. For salmon, I have been educated mostly from the local fishing community and family.

Around here its certainly seems the "staus quo" to simply down rig with spoons and plugs. I find myself reading tons of info on copper, dipsy's, planer boards, flasher, flys... etc. These tools certainly are not being practised in this area like it appears there are elsewhere.

I Run a 22.5ft key west centre console. It has a 225 Yamaha four stroke with trolling plate. Hummingbird 998c and fishhawk X4. Two Big Jon down riggers which I run 4 rods , 2 with Scotty fixed stacker's. Too say the least an uninspiring spread.

SO With the basic tools in place my Question Is How would you add to this set up?

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Copper is must have to me. The ability to fish deep and away from your other setups added a ton of fish to my boat last year. It especially effect from 7 to 10 am and then again long before sunset when the prime attack anything will reckless abandon bite is off.

Your basic copper setup would be a 8'6 okuma copper rod for about 40 bucks and a 45 or 55 size reel.

Put as much 50 lb power pro or similar braided line on the biggest reel you can afford first, then add 200 to 300 feet of 45 lb copper and then a 10 to 50 feet leader or 20 lb mono of some heavier flourocarbon.

I have a 250 copper on a 45 Okuma Madga with 450 feet of braid backing. I wish it had 900 feet but I put on as much as I could fit on that reel basically. 98 percent of the time fish will not pull out a ton of line do to the weight of the coppe line, but this friday that was tested to the max with a fat 20+ pound king that wanted nothing to do with our boat.

I run that copper rig on a TX 44 but others have ran 150 to 300 coppers on the smaller Church walleye boards as well.

I would definately add some flashers to your mix, pick up a 8 inch green and glow/silver flasher with a green/glow fly 24-26 inches behind the flasher. Put that on a downrigger about 40 feet back. Even if it doesnt catch you a fish the flash should pull some lookers into your spread and they might grab a spoon while they are in town.

Good luck.

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the first thing I would think about adding is some long leadcore lines and a dipsey on each side. For the dipsey start with braid and get used to it before you add wire. I'd also start with lead before going to copper. It'll get you used to those long lines without the pain of copper.

You'll need a dipsy rod (stiffer) and any reel that has a decent drag. For lead core you'll need a reel that's a little bigger than most downrigger reels but you can use the rigger rods. You'll then need planer boards for the lead and dipseys for the other.

You'll also need some rod holders on the side of your boat. Fairly upright for the lead and prefer horizontal for the dipsey.

That's a good start to think about....

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Yeah. Last year we killed the fish at prime time (sunrise, sunset) on everything but after that copper just killed the fish. We would pop 4-6 fish every day after/before prime time which really makes your box better. The only problem is to get a solid copper set up its pretty costly. But a dupery set up isn't that costly so the cheaper route would to be add dipseys. You can use a downright rod with a lot of braided line on it and got get a dipsey and you'll figure it out. It's not that complicated. Dipseys have caught more fish for us than downriggers. But copper has prolly caught more fish then any other set up

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Well I guess a very important question would be what depth do you normally fish and what depth do you catch alot of fish at?

I dont know huron well so if your fishing in 75 feet of water and catching fish 40 feet down you have a million options.

Dipseys are productive as well and will also get some lures away from the boat instead of having 4 lures all right behind the boat in a clump.

A good starting dipsy rig would be a size 30 reel with a counter, spool it up with as much 30 lb mono you can fit and then 50 pound Power Pro 150 yards. A Mag dipsey set on 3, a rubber snubber to absorb the shock of a strike, with a piece of 30 pound mono roughly the length of the rod and then your lure.

I have hit bottom in 90 feet of water with this setup going 2.2 mph on the GPS with 275 feet of line out.

If your not familar with dipsy diver they have a dial on the back and 0 would run straight behind the boat, number 3L will cut out the the right if your facing out the back of the boat. 3R will cut to the left looking out the back of the boat. Run your dipsy rods about 4 feet forward from your riggers and lay then down flat or close to it.

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I would add some slide divers, they are more flexible than standard dypsies as you can run leads as long as you want and don't have to hand line fish in when using flasher fly or meat setups.

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Depths vary on conditions and ports for me .... but usually in mid summer running in 120 fow and fish being anywhere from 40-80... sometimes deeper would be generally normal.

So with my two riggers mounted on the corners three rod holder on the sides and multiple on the back for the center seat and t-top... would most of these copper, lead and dipsey set ups be used with planner boards?

Definitely eager enough to add 2 more lines right away. So For simplicity lets assume we are only added 2 lines to the mix.

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Do not run the dipseys on planer boards.

You want riggers in the back of the boat, then one dipsey per side a couple feet further away from the transom with those rods laid just about flat on each side of the boat. Then run one planer board per side up even further towards the front of the boat. Those rods should stand up tall with the tips just about straight up the in the air.

Best picture I can do at the moment. Riggers in back, silver rod holders flat for dipsey on the side and one planer board per side are close to where the camera man is.

100_0294.jpg?w=585&h=440

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I started a few years ago with manual riggers and small divers and did ok.

Your current setup covers the "vertical", top to bottom, now you need to cover the "horizontal" , out to the sides. Do this with Church Tackle Walleye boards and whatever you want to pull behind them, copper, leadcore or braid and mono with different weight dive bombs or torpedo weights added for the depth you want to reach.

Once you add some distance between the boat and your presentation, your hookup rate will increase and then you will have a "spread".

Good Luck and let us know how you do!

Dave

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great thanks for the replies... certainly everyone has been helpful. I'm leaning towards two copper set ups with church boards to widen the spread first then add two dipseys later on with a similar set up as bluecollaroutdoors recommended. The guys around here will surely take notice. lets hope I get the results.

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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

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This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for. I'm new to boating and fishing. It can be over whelming with all the different advice/opinions. A couple of new reels ,rods and my wife and I are good to go.

Thanks again

:thumb:

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Hello Ron from the island

I was up your way last month fishing for trout/steelhead in the Manitou River. We soon discovered how ill equipt we were for this sort of fishing. Now we have a couple of float rods and reels to order in addition to our boat equipment. The weather was a little of everything, snow , rain and sunshine. Trout were being caught with roe, but nothing for me. What part of the Island are you from?

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Salmon slayer that is some great advice. My boat will actually troll down to 1.2 currently which has been a surprise. This is going by the fish hawk primarily... there are variances between it, the GPS and speedometer. I think you have made the mission quite clear. Now its time to hit up the tackle shop and water this weekend.

I'm certainly a little curious as to what my "fish on" procedure will be once there are several more lines. Seems like i will be learning through a couple of tangle ups that's for sure.

Yup, "Patio" it is unreal the quality and well explained information you get from this site. Sorting through posts has certainly helped me understand a lot more than other resources have ever. I generalize when I say I'm from the island because essentially, from a fishing perspective you are. however, I live in little current fish out of providence bay, south bay mouth, gore bay, west bay, meld-rum bay. they are all easily accessible on weekends and most even for week-nights.

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Literally spreading everything out will help your "fish on" procedure.

I run a simple and effective 6 rod spread and we rarely truly tangle anything.

I would love to run 2 more boards but I typically only fish with one other guy in the boat.

My typical boards are a 250 copper and a fullcore, so adding a 5-7 color and a 2 color for rainbows would not really complicate anything at all.

6 clean rods in the zone off a small boat with an easy to run spread will get you plenty of action.

Good luck.

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Hi Ron

I've been to Wisconsin and very much enjoyed the area. Haven't fished there yet. Being from Ontario Canada the rules are different. Not entirely sure but I think we are only allowed 4 hooks per line and max 2 lines/rods per person. Our limits may differ from yours also. Strange thing is we may be fishing in the boat next to yours and the numbers game is different. Thanks for the info. I to will be making a larger spread, within limits.

Patio:D

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