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BIG fish ?'s


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Alright,..I'm keeping an eye on the Big Red Classic results and Im blown away at some of the 5 fish totals. I know how big and kinda rare these days a 20+ pounder is but there are teams that are averaging that or more for 5 fish. WOW!! So,... what are some of the things people do to target the larger fish? I know there may not be any definitive answers here, but do the big ones "prefer" plugs vs spoons vs spinnies? deeper water maybe? speed? Port location? Day vs evening? Or is it just sheer numbers like catch 10 or 12 and 1 is bound to be big. Any tips or statistical info is much appreciated.

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You had better read the rules on catching ad using Alewives. I do believe that is a no no.

Cast nets are legal but limited to an 8' diameter -- which is not very big. You can use the alewife like any other bait fish in that it must be used on the same body of water where it was caught.

I have found that since the change in Michigan regs to allows up to 6 hooks/lures on a single line, it is easier to catch them with a sabiki rig. I then brine them and have had great success with them in Big Weenie heads behind flashers.

This year 20# salmon are pretty common and 30#+ are not unusual. Way more 30+ already this year than 20+ caught last year. The K/D Derby in Wisconsin had over 400 20# or bigger salmon weighed in. Lots of fish in the upper 20's to low 30's were the norm at both Ludington and Manistee tournaments in the last few weeks. Have heard them caught on almost all common salmon lures but flashers with flies or cut bait/whole bait rigs and plugs seem to be better presentations than others.

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One question with the big fish though is, is there a way to get these fish to the boat faster? Is there a different reel that would help with this? We run mostly Penn 209's, which are very dependable, but not very high speed. Does a higher speed reel make a difference?

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One question with the big fish though is, is there a way to get these fish to the boat faster? Is there a different reel that would help with this? We run mostly Penn 209's, which are very dependable, but not very high speed. Does a higher speed reel make a difference?

High speed reels will help a little.. The best thing we've found is to just put the boat in neutral and slowly bring those big hogs in cause when your bring a green 20+ pound king in by the boat odds are he's gonna go run off and through all your other lines and might get off

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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

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One question with the big fish though is, is there a way to get these fish to the boat faster? Is there a different reel that would help with this? We run mostly Penn 209's, which are very dependable, but not very high speed. Does a higher speed reel make a difference?

A higher retrieve ratio might help a little, but fighting a 20# King vs a 15 or 16 is really different. It may only be 1/3 bigger but is 2x stronger. Go to a 25+ and it is 3x. It is just going to take longer to wear them out and there is no way around it. Be happy to fight the fish.

People have been using Penn 209 reels for a very long time to catch salmon -- the only advantge I see to a higher speed retrieve ratio is if you are having trouble taking up the line when the fish runs at the boat. Generally we always have someone on the throttle and on my boat I play quarterback whether I'm fighting the fish or not. Until the fish is worn out, I don't want it near the boat. If the fish is still green we will speed up to take line off the reel and get it back out to at least 75' off the boat. Two reasons... first, I don't want it able to make a quick run at the boat and secondly, I don't want it near the other lines until it can be controlled and led to the net. Honestly, the 20#+ fish are not usually a problem keeping them at a reasonable distance... it is the 10 to 17's that are quicker and more likely to come in "hot".

How you fight the fish has a lot to do with how long it takes to land a fish. You have to keep pressure on ALL the time. If the fish isn't taking line the angler needs to be trying to get the fish closer to the boat. On smaller fish this can be done by holding the rod at a 60* angle and continually reeling. On a big fish this will work, but it will take a lot longer to land it too. I always pump and reel on salmon but it is even more important on big fish to make them work and expend energy. This requires that the drag on the reel be set correctly. Setting the drag right should also eliminate any break offs except for when there is a flaw in the tackle (weak spot in the line or bad hooks).

I would rather fight a 30# King for 45 minutes than land two or three 15# fish any day of the week... and I hope to have that "problem" in a week or two!

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Have had at least 25 fish over 20 lbs this year so far................had 4 bites one day on the same 10 oz bait and some were dinks............and then one went 29 lbs. I'd rather have 10 fish that are 10 lbs than 5 20's unless its tourney day.

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I'd rather have 10 fish that are 10 lbs than 5 20's

Champ - I'm not sure I would agree with you on this but then again I'm not a charter Captain with a boat load of clients to keep happy... Nice job putting those hogs in the boat BTW.:thumb:

I don't think any one presentation has that much of an advantage over the next in putting big fish in the boat, but I do think that how you present your spread and lure location in the spread do make a difference. I think having to many lures in a given area will push the bigger kings away at times. One thing I like to do is pull a clean spoon just outside a FF spread, usually just below and behind. Another thing I have noticed is running a little deeper spread in colder water will increase the average size of fish you catch but it will also decrease the amount of fish you catch. IMO

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The only consistent theme on my big kings is that I was all by myself when I caught them. Biggest came on a standard green dolphin on a full core at 11am long after we gave up on kings and were grinding Lakers, but left out some cores just in case. One before that was on a skinny and fly at 1 pm pulling lines in bath water heading in. Boat record before that was a j plug ticking bottom at the thermocline in late August at sunset.

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