Tip #33 #33 Fishing Tackle For The Ugly Days
Fishing Tackle For The Ugly Days By Capt. Jim Hirt Ugly days we all have been there. A few that come to mind for me are big waves, fog, rain, northeast wind, calm clear water, warm water and clear sunny skies among others. Unfortunately very few of us can fish on the best days of the season. We must learn to cope with the conditions as they are or hang it up and try another day. This article will focus on what to do, or perhaps not to do, in some of the most difficult salmon fishing scenarios. I will break this up into two sections. First, fish that are active or aggressive with tough trolling conditions. Second, fish that are neutral or negative with ideal boating circumstances. The active or aggressive fish with tough trolling conditions would be in our area northeast wind with big waves. This is a very special day in regards to how you work the fish and what you use for presentation and tackle. The wind direction will change based on the geography of where you fish. I am on the west shore of Lake Michigan. When the wind blows northeast it can get lumpy in a hurry. Over the years I have found this boat movement will add fantastic action to the lures. Correct lure selection and presentation is critical to your success. The big variable here is water temperature and wave heights. Look for Chinooks in 42 to 52 degree water. When you can find the best temperature from the surface down to 50 feet life is good. Many presentation options are possible. In waves over four feet it may not be productive to work the top ten feet. You will find yourself fighting the tackle more than the fish. Six rods may be all you can handle. Run four on downriggers and two on Dipsy Divers, this is no time to get fancy. On the deepest downrigger at fifty feet run a flasher fly, not a dodger fly. Why? Flashers are more speed tolerant. As you move with or against the waves, your boat will speed up and slow down. You will find flashers work in a wide range of speeds. A long leader of 36 inches from fly to flasher is recommended. Flashers will also draw fish to your boat. Put this rig on the port corner downrigger. From port to starboard on the next downrigger use a heavy weight magnum spoon forty feet back and forty feet down. Light small spoons get lost or do not run well in these conditions. J-Plugs work well in heavy seas. Use #4 or #5 chrome on the next down rigger sixty feet back and 50 feet down. The starboard corner should run another large heavy spoon at eighty feet back thirty feet down. Dipsy Divers fill in the twenty foot level. Options on lures are heavy spoons, J-Plugs or flasher flies. Get your tackle in and hold on. The ride will be rough with plenty of great fishing action. We catch some of our biggest fish on lumpy days. When the temp break for salmon is below 50 feet move all your tackle down to the desired depth. Increase the spread of all the downrigger lines to thirty feet to avoid tangles. Boat control is always a problem in heavy seas. Down wind with the waves will give the best ride and presentation. There are times when we will make a productive down wind pass for a mile or two pick up lines to run the same area again. Fishing against the waves may not be successful if correct boat speeds cannot be maintained. Second scenario, fish that are neutral or negative with ideal boating circumstances. This would be a day of flat calm water and clear sunny skies. Warm water above the preferred temperatue of your target may also be part of the problem. The answer to finding and catching fish in these conditions will take more space than I have in this article. I will speak to this subject in the next article. Have a great fishing season. Copyright© 2006, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.