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Rookie mistakes or bad luck? Color combos, leader lengths, etc..


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I've been really struggling to put fish in the box. This is my 3rd year running my own show so I know it won't come overnight, but I'm trying to learn from my mistakes and improve. Here are a few questions going through my head:

1)

When using combo's such as a dipsey with spoon, fly with spiny, fly with spiny behind dipsey, etc... Do you generally try and use the same color throughout?

For example:

Blue dipsey with blue spiny and blue fly

versus..

Silver dipsey with white spiny and blue fly

I know it's all about what is working for that day, but as a rule of thumb should I try and make the combo consistent in color throughout?

2)

Are the leader lengths of flies an ok place to start for lead from a spiny or are they way too short? I mostly attach my flies, meat rigs, etc. right to the spiny. Are they designed to be used with additional leaders or best suited just as they are?

3)

I'm using powepro with a snubber on my dipsey rods. I've seen people attach the snubber between the main line and dipsey but also between the dipsey and the lure. Being a shock absorber for powerpro I think I've got it right.. But is there a correct location for the snubber?

4)

With the exception of trying to get the skunk off my boat, do any of you wash your lures to remove human scent or use attractant scents? I might be over thinking, but my old man used to use Dr. Juice when he'd take me out.. But I didn't really learn to catch by example... Just liked to be out :thumb:

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1. Dipsy color hasnt really mattered to me. As far as flasher and fly color i just try different combinations i like and see what works.

my best are big white paddle/blue or green fly

mt dew spinnie, mt dew fly.

white pro troll, mirage fly with green beads

blue spinny, mirage fly blue beads.

2. My general rule of thumb for leaders length on flys is 3 times the length of the flasher, unless im running big paddles where i use 4 times the length.

Try some shorter and some longer but in most cases 3 times the flasher length is good.

For meat rigs i use the length right out of the box.

3. I use my snubber right behind the dipsys attached to the leader. I want it to snub the fish hitting the dipsy, having it the other way would make it very hard to pop the dipsy to bring it in.

4. As long as your hands are clean, and your not smoking all the time you should be ok, but adding scent cant hurt i suppose.

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re: snubbers...only place I see them doing their job is behind dipsy...as Gnarf said, you want to absorb the violent strike and get a good hook set. I see no logic in putting them on the line before the dipsy.

re: scent...I try to keep things clean. Occasionally I worry about sunblock getting on lures, so a good cleaning and some scent probably wouldn't hurt. I've used scent but don't fish enough to be able to say if it helps.

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Don't beat yourself up too bad...fishing is very slwo right now...occassionally guys will get on a bunch of fish and go 10 for xx, but that is pretty rare...you have to remember, for the guy that reports that...there were 100 other boats out that probably didn't do that well (or they would have reported it). We tend to get embarrased and not report when the fishn is not good.

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As long as you aren't getting the sunblock on your lures you are fine. I personally don't believe scent is important I have run Batrix rubber meat strips in all of my meat rigs for years and catch as many or more fish than many of my friends who run real meat strips.There are more important thing like speed direction current direction that effect success .

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I'm going to start posting my reports now that I found this site, but here I'll get you caught up on my season:

June 19 - Fished 5:00 til dark, 1 for 1, 4 LB coho - Port Sheldon - Green fly on white spin dr. Caught on DR down 65 in 110 FT of water.

June 22 - Fished 6:00 AM til noon, 0 for 0 - Port Sheldon

Took break.. discouraged and fishing reports were slow

July 5 - Fished 6:00 AM til 1 PM - 1 for 1, 3 LB Atlantic - Torch Lake - caught 65 feet back on smallest dipsey - UV Greasy Chicken Wing Spoon - 100 FOW

Took break.. discouraged and fishing reports were slow

August 16 - Fished 6:00 AM til 12:30 - 0 for 1 - Holland - Hit on green dolphin 25 FT down on slider in 90 FOW.

August 23 - Fished 6:00 AM til 11:00 - 0 for 0 - Port Sheldon

I enjoy my time on the lake no matter what happens, but how can you not question your approach when a skunk is becoming the norm?

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Dont be affraid to leave the pack if your not getting bit,vary the depths of your rigs until you find a bite.And remember to adjust your speed a lil from time to time also.

When you say vary the depths, are you talking drastic changes or just small adjustments? On a normal day if I'm in 100 FOW and marking fish around 50, I usually put a lure at 40 stacked on one at 60 on DR and another DR at 50. I have two downriggers so I'm generally fishing 1 lure on each rigger, 1 stacker or slider on one side, a dipsey out each side and a 300 CU down the middle. If I vary my depth I usually move everything down 5 foot on the riggers (so now down 45, down 55, down 65) and then let out another 10-20 feet on the dipseys.

Speed adjustments usually consist of an adjustment from 2.5 up to 2.8 (over ground) going in the same direction, then a change in direction by 45*, try 2.5 to 2.8, change 180*, swing a full 90*... Just trying to try each direction and each speed since I don't have a speed/temp at the ball.

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Darrin,

All the advice given so far has been great. The best advice I can give you is to go on other people's boats. I've used this as both a learning experience and to network with other fisherman. It helps to be able to pick up your phone and call others when you are struggling. Just be willing to share information when asked.

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All good responses so far. We all have bad days but as you learn more you should be able to become more consistent. Riding with other people, or inviting others on your boat is always a good idea. Doing some research in the offseason helps, too. Both Dan Keating books are well written and contain a lot of info. I reread Keating on Kings evry other year or so as a refresher. Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions.

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I was going to say the same thing as Tung. Riding with people to learn and network is a great opportunity. I'm always suprized that I can post up a "looking for riders" thread and get no responses because that is the best way I learned.

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Great Lakes Salmon and Trout has a lot of the set up info and groundwork. Keating on Kings is in depth. You should of seen him casting jigs in the Detroit River for the first hour though.....I thought " this is the only guy that is not going to catch a fish" :eek: He caught on quick after I landed 3 or 4 :grin: All teasing aside I re read my autographed copies of his books every year. Captain Dan Keating has taught me a TON on salmon fishing ! Which is pretty tough for a walleye guy :thumb: Get his books and read them alot !

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Try to be very consistent in tying your leader lengths, about 3 time on 8" spin doctor and 4x on big paddles is a good place to be, your boat speed will then dictate the action of the fly.

Don't be afraid of starting higher in the water column early in the morning, and then drop down as it brightens up.

Also, don't hesitate to kick up the speed, as you fish you will figure out how your boat likes to fish, then fish to its strengths.

Justin

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One thing you may wish to try is browsing your speed range I have had to run from 2 to 3.5 sog to get the correct speed at the ball at times depending if yor going with or against the current to just pick 2.5 - 2.8 may be part of your problem.

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Mid-season you may want to set lines a bit earlier. I like to have my entire spread out and be fishing for about an hour before official sunrise time. Some days the easy early bite may be all there is for several hours.

The other point of advice that no one has mentioned is to fish more, not less. I'll take a week or so off in June when fishing is traditionally slow, but fishing out of Holland/Port Sheldon was just picking up when you got discouraged. With holidays and vacations I've been able to string together a few days in close succession and usually catch more at the end than I do at the beginning. One of the main advantages the charters have in catching fish is they are out there doing it every day.

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yes, sounds about right, i fish my riggers like you,i usually start with 2 riggers mag spoons on bottom free sliders with smaller spoons,1, 5 color on a board 1 300 copper on a board on 1 side then on the other a mag wire diver and another copper [200] on a board. 2.2-3 mph and i kinda navigate like you. i have a smaller boat run 6 rods usually and sometimes i drive slow s curves to try to figure what speed makes my baits tasty to the fish.

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The biggest factor working against you is lack of time on the water. This is a great thread with good information that should help cut the learning curve. Experience is the best teacher, if you have an opportunity to get out with another fisher, DO IT. Over time you will gain knowledge through your experiences. It's like anything else, it just can't happen quick enough. Don't get frustrated, keep your eye on the prize and remember that you're out there to have fun. Good luck. :thumb:

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Thanks everyone for the feedback, ideas, tips, etc. Hopefully I'll get a bigger boat for next year so I can get out there more often than I am now and try and string together more days. I'm hoping to get a speed/temp probe, but regardless I'll try varying my speeds even more and make sure to try everything in between (including the S pattern). 3x spinny for leaders and 4-5x paddle for leaders. Staying away from the pack. Get out earlier and start high early. Definitely pick up Great Lakes Salmon & Trout and Keating on Kings. Hopefully I can get out with a few experienced anglers next year as well.

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  • 1 month later...

i fish out of grand haven and port sheldon. Run 20lb mono on riggers of course with 10 to 15 lb cannon balls. Also i will let you in on a secret, as being a first mate i learned not everyone does good when others do. in late july through spring run silver horde green splatter back plugs #4s, usually on coppers or 10 colors. on the riggers when the fly bite is on trust me, run dreamweaver 11in paddle 28in leader to a poofster or oceana fly, works every summer no matter what. run them 65-95 ft down, when you are fishing in 80 ft of water or more. on cloudy days run blue bubble spinnies with a poofster or a blue bubble fly. hope that helps. oh one moe thing troll 2.0 to 2.7 with flies and plugs later in the summer, early when the spoon bite is on run 2.5 to 3.0.

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All of the above responses are great. The fishing was very slow this year. We were not catching many kings at all in frankfort until August. One thing that improved my fishing in the last two years is the use of Florocarbon leader. (pardon the spelling) For my downrigger uni knot six feet of it to my mono on the reel. For divers i use 25 pound suffix. For my copper and lead cores i use 25 feet of 20 pound test. You may already be doing this but if not try it. I feel it has realy helped me. As far as the spinny and fly go i do not have a combination that works all the time. One that performed this year was a Dreamweaver spin doctor called "showtime" with a "blue fairways" fly. I do not wash my baits. Be sure to change speeds if fish are not hitting. I do not own a fish hawk speed and temp sensor. I watch my pull on the divers and sway back on the down rigger cables. I know where they are and when they usually catch fish, so i ajust my speed to where i feel they are correct. Run the snubber behind the diver. I am in no means a pro at this, but i was having the same problem you are 5 years ago. I read books, watch videos, and chat on sites like this. I also fish 3 to 5 times a week because i am fortunate to live on the west side and fish the ports of Frankfort, Manistee, and Ludington. Stick with it and never stop learning.

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Everything above is great. Leader from diver to fly should be 30-40# mono, and be from 6-10' long.

Don't be afraid to put your spoons back 30-50 back behind the riggers.

In the early am the fish will be higher in the water column, and drop down as the sun gets high.

Fishing out of Port Sheldon, go straight out and set up. Troll south/ south west till you get near Holland, then troll back.

T

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

i had a day this year that i got skunked. Corey on tammy too charters had 47 hits and we didnt get zip, we were also fishing side by side. The thing he was doing i wasnt was running yellows in the top 45 feet of water. I had paddle and spoons low expecting the usual summer program. That day still drives me nuts.

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