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  • #41
    Fishing Spoons for all Seasons

    Fishing Spoons for all Seasons
    By Capt. Jim Hirt
    Fishing spoons for spring, fishing spoons for summer, fishing spoons for fall and winter. Spoons are never the wrong bait. The variety of spoons is the reason they produce. The universal popularity of the spoon worldwide has caused it to evolve to a all species all season favorite. I would need to write a large book to go into all the types of spoons and their applications to different species. When I was done the subject would only be scratched on the surface. The best approach for me would be to cover all season fishing with spoons for salmon, trout and freshwater game fish. Fortunately I have had an opportunity over the past 25 years to try my luck on a wide assortment of species. The three most important factors to consider in lure selection are the action, color and size. I will break this down by season and type of fish.
    The preferred water temperature of your target easily defines spoon action. In the times of the year when the fish you are after cannot find the temperature of the water they like you must adjust to meet conditions. For instance, you are looking to hook up with Brown Trout and the water temperature is 40 degrees, twenty degrees below their preferred range of 58 to 66 degrees. A slower lure action is required for this cold water. This can be achieved by a slower retrieve rate when casting or a slower boat speed for trolling. The problem with a slow speed is many spoons loose their fish attracting action. A spoon that solves this problem is the Nestor Wobbler made by BadgerTackle.com. The crankbait action of this spoon is deadly in slow presentations. This spoon also has multiple holes in the lip that will allow you to change from a wobbly baitfish action to a vibrating high-speed action. I recommend the Nestor Wobbler for most salmon, trout, bass and pike. It has been a consistent producer for me. Any time your target is in cooler water than they like slow down to improve your catch rate.
    Color is very important to your success. Light is the number one consideration in your lure color. This is a good time to talk about color as it relates to the amount of light. You may or may not remember learning the colors of the rainbow in school. The colors are remembered by this acronym "ROY G BIV". These letters mean red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. There are exceptions to every rule. Most of the time I run lure colors of red, orange, or yellow when that lure is presented in the portion of the water column with the most light. The other end of the rainbow blue, indigo and violet are used in darker or low light situations. You may ask what about silver and white? I consider these as neutral or they will work in any type of light. All the other colors fall into either bright or dark. Bright lures are used in bright light conditions dark lures in low light. A relatively new and much improved addition to spoon colors is the glow in dark colors. After charging up the glow paint on the spoons with a bright light, they will take fish in the dark or stained water. You will find several manufactures with this product. I have found the glow on Badger Tackle spoons will last longer than most of the spoons being sold.
    Size is as important to productive fishing as any of the other variables. The rules are simple: match lure size to the forage of your target and if fishing is slow or dead go to smaller size spoons. For example the first light bite was fantastic you were on your way to a limit catch. Then the sun comes up bright in a clear blue sky and all the action stops. I believe the reason for this is too much flash produced by large lures turns off fish. This is time to scale down to smaller lures. This approach can be applied any time you find yourself in bright conditions.
    Consider all three, action, color and size to become more productive. Fish come in a wide variety of sizes and attitudes and one thing is common to all. You must get their attention if you expect to catch them. Adjust to meet conditions and you will become a better angler. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

    Comment


    • #42
      Directional Planers made by Bu

      Directional Planers made by BulletBobber Enterprises are more then a fishing float and more then a planer board.

      You have an imagination and using it with an optomistic outlook will be rewarding. I think about what this little invention can do and think about many niches and became aware that it could help in so many ways, in so many places and for so many species.

      Taking a minute to visit www.bulletbobber.com will be exilerating!

      Capt. Jim -- Would consider writing about my invention. I'm better at graphics then writing.


      Comment


      • #43
        Smart Fishing Lures On Red Fis

        Smart Fishing Lures On Red Fishing Line!
        By Capt. Jim Hirt
        The year of red has arrived. Wherever you fish and whatever you fish for fishing lures on red fishing line will increase your catch. That's a fact let me tell you why. The reason it is so effective is simple, visibility. Read this article for all species all presentation tips that will work for you.
        Some of you will think red line what happened to clear mono line. There are applications where clear will work well but red will work better. Visibility needs to be broken down into sections. First a discussion of how light penetrates water and the impact of light on successful fishing. I must go into a little science to illustrate why red is sweeping the fishing line industry. The color of your lure has long been a concern by anglers. Correct lure color is very important to your success. A bait with a color that produces well on top water may not be effective in a deeper presentation. Now line color will add to the success of any presentation. This is a good time to talk about color as it relates to the amount of light. You may or may not remember learning the colors of the rainbow in school. The colors are remembered by this acronym "ROY G BIV". These letters mean red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Most of the time I run lure colors of red, orange, or yellow when a lure is presented in the portion of the water column with the most light. The other end of the rainbow blue, indigo and violet are used in darker or low light situations. The reason for this is the spectrum of light changes as it penetrates the water. As demonstrated by this discussion, the first color that disappears as light penetrates water is red. This is why red fishing line is so effective. Red disappears at 15 to 30 feet of water. We all know that a line that is invisible to fish will not spook your target and lures look more natural. For this reason red will put you on more action in deeper presentations.
        What if most of your fishing is done in less than 30 feet of water? Red line should also be your first choice. This secret is now being used by pro bass fishermen to catch more fish in shallow water. The key here is your ability to see subtle movement in the line to detect the bite. Clear line is very hard to see and you will miss the nibblers. A bass will inhale the bait and spit it out before you can detect the line movement.
        Rigging is important to red line in shallow or deep water. Running red line directly to your favorite lure may not be the way to go. Tournament anglers are using a 4-foot fluorocarbon clear leader on the end of the red line. This approach should be applied anytime red line is used. Ice fisherman use 4-pound test red line with fluorocarbon leader to detect the bite of small pan fish. Salmon anglers trolling with multiple lines will find red line is easier to see and more manageable with less tangles. The answer is red above and below the water. Follow this tip for more action and less downtime. Live bait, plastics, cranks and spoons all become more effective on red line. Power Pro, a leader in the fishing line industry, has an ultra-strong braided Spectra® Fiber Phantom Red line that is the first choice of cutting edge anglers everywhere.
        Please allow me to tell you of a relatively new and much improved addition to spoon colors. I have found that glow in dark colors catch more fish. After charging up the glow paint on the spoons with a bright light, they will take fish in the dark or stained water. You will find several manufactures with this product. I have found the glow on the spoons at http://www.badgertackle.com will last longer than most of the spoons being sold. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

        Comment


        • #44
          Fishing Lures For Catching Moo

          Fishing Lures For Catching Moody Fish
          By Capt. Jim Hirt
          From time to time we all can use a little help. These changes in thinking or additions to your fishing arsenal will improve your success. The speed of your bait whether it is a spoon, jig, or crankbait is important. The right lure at the wrong speed will be less productive. The correct speed is dictated by many variables. Always consider the mood of fish and the environment they are in. This will help you find the best speed. Mood is defined by weather and the time of year. High and low barometric pressure are a part of the weather question. They both have a significant impact on the mood of all fish. Activity level in fish will change with the movement or lack of barometer movement. You must know what the weather has been preceding your fishing trip. This information will set the stage giving you the information you can use to your advantage. A clear blue high sky after a low pressure front is every anglers nightmare. Fish get spooky, neutral or negative in these conditions. A slow spot on the spot presentation is key. Inactivity is normal, pick your favorite locations on any body of water and look for your target species in the next break to deeper water. Work smaller spoons, lures or baits in a slow presentation. If motor trolling is your method of fishing use small spoons. Present them at slow speeds and fish them near the bottom. On the other hand steady barometric pressure for an extended period of time with overcast sky conditions is time to grab your pole and to head for the water. Don't miss these ideal days. The fish will be up on the shallow flats, near shore and active. Pound these fish with big baits and fast erratic actions. Work hard, work fast and cover a lot of water. This sets up a great opportunity for trolling big water. The correct lure color for overcast will put more fish in the boat. Silver or gold has long been the standard until resent years. Cutting edge anglers are now going to glow in the dark lures. The visibility of glow spoons far exceeds the old standards. Badger Tackle has great line up of glow spoons. For the anglers that run a boat speed from 2.0 to 3.5 MPH I would recommend the Vulcan magnum. This is a tough heavy weight spoon with a slim profile that fits well with most freshwater and saltwater forage base sizes. The other one I like is the Reaper. Run the regular size on clear calm days and magnum at first light, overcast or whenever you are down deep or in a low light presentation. The Reaper is a wide spoon with a crippled baitfish action for trolling at speeds of 1.0 to 2.5. The Striper and Salmon fishermen say it is a perfect match to the Shad and Alewife forage. Both are exclusively sold at http://www.badgertackle.com/ you won't be disappointed.
          Time of year is also to be considered when trying to catch moody fish. As the seasons change so do the temperatures of the water. Fish are cold blooded and their metabolism changes as their body temp changes. Most anglers know there are cold and warm water species of fish. Which means all fish if given a choice will find their preferred temperature range. In fact too high or too low beyond their limits will cause stress and eventual death. In large fresh water lakes, the time of day isn't nearly as critical as locating the depth of the preferred temperature level for the fish species you're seeking. Lakes layer into three separate layers of water in the spring and stay that way until cold weather. The middle layer, where there is a larger concentration of dissolved oxygen, baitfish and therefore predator fish, is called the thermocline. It can usually be found any where from ten feet to the bottom. This is a temperature layer as well as an oxygen-saturated layer and fish will relate to it as both a comfort zone and one where their body metabolism functions the most efficiently. These fish will be suspended and feeding on alewives, smelt or other forage fish.
          The peak feeding and optimum temperature for coho and Chinook is 52° with an active range from 44° to 58°. For lake trout, the peak feeding and optimum temperature is 51° with activity from 43° to 53°. Fish will rarely venture out of these zones, once stratification has taken place, except to catch a meal and then will quickly return to it. One thing to remember when fishing the thermocline is that its depth can change from day to day because of wind and wave action. It may be several feet deeper or shallower from one day to the next so you'll have to relocate it each time you go out. Having said all that, when fishing in water temperatures near the bottom of your target species preferred temp, adjust to small spoons in a slow presentation. At their optimum temp go aggressive with large baits in quick presentations. Most anglers under estimate the speed of their quarry. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

          Comment


          • #45
            Is Leadcore Right For Me?
            By

            Is Leadcore Right For Me?
            By Captain Jim Hirt
            I received this e-mail recently and thought it was a good question that more anglers would be interested in. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page http://www.bluemaxcharters.com I will be pleased to answer. My charter season is under way and it may take a while to back to you.
            Hello Capt. Jim Hirt:
            I really liked your informative article on using leadcore line on the http://www.badgertackle.com web site!!! I am asking for some additional info on using lead core.
            I am an avid fisherman on the north shore of lake Erie central basin in Ontario waters. My girl friend and I are always fishing for walleye and trout in the warm weather with great success. Besides my 3 downriggers on my 17 foot boat, Last season I started running the offshore inline planers (yellow ones)...one on each side. I was using a 3 way swivel with one too two ounces of lead and a 4 foot lead pulling a body bait lure. We caught walleye on this setup and a few lunkers (biggest ever). I used line counter reels, one reeled with Power Pro and the other with mono. We are fishing 55 to 75 feet of water. Usually the fish are suspended 40 to 60 feet down. My million dollar question is can we reach these fish at these depths with a leadcore setup off the inline planers. I was reading an article on a Website saying the inline planers would sink if you spool with more than three colors (each color is 10 yds). He was using crankbaits, I use minnow type baits like Ripplin Redfins, Husky Jerks and AC Shiners (floating baits) I would like to here your opinion.
            How much lead core (yardage and pound test) can you run from inline planers? What kind of inline planers would you recommend? I really like the idea of purchasing two leadcore outfits to run off my inline planers to target these fish at these depths. Can you recommend a set-up for leadcore to run off inline planers to get down to these fish? Thank you so much for reading this far and could you please reply by email. Have a great fishing season!!!
            Thank you for reading my articles. I hope they contribute to you success. I fish leadcore down to 80 feet with no problems. Use one color of 27 pound for every 4-5 feet of depth that you are making your presentation. The variables in depth are boat speed, leader length and type of lure. A slow boat speed with a short leader of fluorocarbon will run about 5 feet per color. A faster boat speed and longer leader will run higher in the water column. Diving lures vs. spoons will also run a little deeper. Back your reel with Power Pro 30 pound. Run as many colors as needed to reach the depth you would like. Finish with a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader of 10 feet and a 30 pound cross lock ball bearing swivel snap. The board I run is determined by the number of colors of lead. For one to seven colors I use Church walleye boards this is their biggest board. Above seven colors I like Yellow Bird Big boards. They make two sizes this is their biggest one. I have run up to 20 colors with no problems on Big Birds. To keep it simple you could run all Big Birds.
            I do not like the ready made leadcore combos. They use a Dacron backing it wears easily and breaks and there goes your set up. Power Pro costs more but it will last many seasons. Buy a reel with a retrieve rate of 4.2 to 1 or higher with a capacity of at least 350/30 pound for up to 10 colors. Eight foot medium heavy fiberglass rod will do the trick. Go inexpensive on the rod no more than $25 you don't need an expensive rod. The total for rod and reel should be about $75. full core lead $12, Power Pro $13, Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders $12 and great fishing action on difficult fishing days PRICELESS. The best of luck to you this season!! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

            Comment


            • #46
              Hi-Tech Rigging And Tools For

              Hi-Tech Rigging And Tools For Trolling

              By Capt. Jim Hirt
              The details of any one particular item for well rigged hi-tech trolling would be an article in itself. I will try to address that in subsequent articles. This article will not be a primer for the angler starting out. It is for those interested in coming up to speed on what's new and successful for trolling any body of water for any species. The basic presentations will get you by on most days when the fishing is easy. Professional and tournament anglers that troll have found a way to produce fish in the most difficult situations. The word here is STEALTH. It is defined as a presentation with the least visibility that you can fish at great distances from the boat. On Lake Michigan where I fish the state of Wisconsin stocks close to five million fish annually. There is no shortage of quarry for the angler to target. There are still days with calm clear water and high blue skies when conventional presentations produce only marginal results. With fishing everywhere your ability to master a presentation for all types of conditions separates the men from the boys. Your arsenal for hi-tech trolling should definitely include planer boards with copper, leadcore or fluorocarbon line to meet tough conditions. In fact for my money I would skip other options and run all my tackle on one or a combination of these. Multiple lines on boards will out fish all other presentations most days. There will be a learning curve and additional expenses; however, the effort will far exceed your expectations. I will be writing an article on fishing copper in the near future. I already have all the information you need for leadcore rigging in an article #28 Fishing Leadcore Rigging at http://www.badgertackle.com Fluorocarbon options are explained in #13 Spring Fishing Presentation on the same website. This is an excellent less expensive choice for fish from the surface to 50 feet down. Add more or less weight to get the desired depth. Please check out the lures at Badger Tackle. Over the last several years the spoons sold here have out produced all the other spoons I run. They have a great selection of three different spoons with unique actions in a variety of sizes and colors for all game fish.
              Most fish locators include a surface temperature gauge and I wouldn't be without one but it is only half of the tools you need. In my opinion the tool you must have for trolling is a speed and temperature gauge. Your down speed and temp are critical and you must have a means to monitor them. The speed and temp gauge attaches to the downrigger cable just above the ball and provides the information needed to keep your lures in the correct temp and at optimum speed. The Great Lakes has under water currents that change with the winds. Wherever you fish the wind effects your body of water the same way. Most times your surface speed will be faster or slower depending on your direction of travel relative to the current below you. When trolling with the current, if the surface speed you selected is 2.0 MPH your lures will be considerably slower and render them ineffective. By monitoring your down speed and temp you will not troll for hours with poor presentation or location.
              To complete this article we must know what tool will give us the most reliable measurement of speed and temp. A great product out in the market place for this purpose is the Depth Raider. This unit offers a probe that you connect to a special downrigger cable giving you speed and temp at the lure to depths of 200 feet. This information is sent to an easy to read display. I was very impressed with Curt Kell of Kell Laboratories the innovator of this product. His attention to quality and customer satisfaction sets him apart in the industry. The Depth Raider will set the standard for this type of product for years to come. To get information on this product call Curt at 262-534-2202. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

              Comment


              • #47
                The Three R's of Fishing #

                The Three R's of Fishing #1
                By Capt. Jim Hirt
                As with all sports and activities basics and fundamentals are the foundation from which a sound well played game is achieved. The name of this article could have been the twenty five R's of fishing because many small details will make or break your day on the water. However I decided to focus on only three of the fundamentals, rigging reacting and record keeping. This is article #1 of a two part article.
                Rigging is a vast subject with a different definition to most anglers. To me it means assembling the correct components in the best way to meet the current conditions. Let's get into specifics. The rod, reel, line and terminal tackle are the foundation to success. In my earlier days of fishing the selection of a fishing rod was confusing. The more people you talked to the worse it got. My experience over the years has lead me to a simple conclusion, heavy weight rods for big fish with high test line. Light weight rods for small fish on light test line. Following the recommended line weight marked on the rod will put more fish in the cooler. A rod that is too stiff will not bend with light line. The result will be lost fish from failure to maintain a tight line to the target. You will also be able to use smaller snaps and terminal tackle on light line with a light action rod. This will enhance the lure action with improved presentation.
                Reacting to changes will improve your success. The speed of your bait whether it is a spoon, jig, or crankbait is important. The right lure at the wrong speed will be less productive. The correct speed is dictated by many variables. Always consider the mood of fish and the environment they are in and adjust to the conditions. This will help you find the best speed. Mood is defined by weather and the time of year. High and low barometric pressure are a part of the weather question. They both have a significant impact on the mood of all fish. Activity level in fish will change with the movement or lack of barometer movement. You must know what the weather has been preceding your fishing trip. This information will set the stage giving you the information you can use to your advantage. A clear blue high sky after a low pressure front is every anglers nightmare. Fish get spooky, neutral or negative in these conditions. For these types of days a slow spot on the spot presentation is key. Work your favorite location with precise boat and lure control. Inactivity is normal, when this happens pick your favorite locations on any body of water and look for your target species in the next break to deeper water. Work smaller spoons, lures or baits in a slow systematic presentation. If motor trolling is your method of fishing use small spoons. Present them at slow speeds and fish them near the bottom. On the other hand steady barometric pressure for an extended period of time with overcast sky conditions is time to grab your pole and to head for the water. Don't miss these ideal days. The fish will be up on the shallow flats, near shore and active. Pound these fish with big baits and fast erratic actions. Work hard, work fast and cover a lot of water. This sets up a great opportunity for trolling big water. The correct lure color for overcast will put more fish in the boat. Silver or gold has long been the standard until resent years. Cutting edge anglers are now going to glow in the dark lures. The visibility of glow spoons far exceeds the old standards. Badger Tackle has great line up of glow spoons. For the anglers that run a boat speed from 2.0 to 3.5 MPH I would recommend the Vulcan magnum. This is a tough heavy weight spoon with a slim profile that fits well with most freshwater and saltwater forage base sizes. The other one I like is the Reaper. Run the regular size on clear calm days and magnum at first light, overcast or whenever you are down deep or in a low light presentation. The Reaper is a wide spoon with a crippled baitfish action for trolling at speeds of 1.0 to 2.5. The Striper and Salmon fishermen say it is a perfect match to the Shad and Alewife forage. Both are exclusively sold at http://www.badgertackle.com/ you won't be disappointed. Please read part #2 coming soon. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

                Comment


                • #48
                  Midday Salmon Fishing Techniques Milwaukee #1

                  Midday Salmon Fishing Techniques Milwaukee #1

                  By Capt. Jim Hirt
                  When the sun goes up the fishing action slows down. If this is the way fishing outings go for you please read on to discover some of the proven techniques used by charter captains. Chartering with six people on board is a numbers game. Steady action will entertain the group and more happy customers will follow.
                  Allow me to share a few presentations for a midday or late morning. Don't get me wrong you won't rock n roll like a first light bite but steady action will increase the numbers in the fish cooler. Three setups come to mind when fishing bright light, calm waters and clear blue bird skies. Lake Michigan Milwaukee water is gin clear and the action can die in a hurry on the clear sky days. First and foremost you must get away from the boat to water undisturbed by conventional tackle. Stealth is the way to go for an all day bite here's how.
                  A major improvement and steady producer for me is leadcore on boards. I do not recommend this presentation for first light it is far to time consuming to run during a hot bite. After the early morning bite or about two hours after sunrise I break out the leadcore. The basics are reel, rod, line and planer board. The reel you use is based on the amount of leadcore line you want to run. The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of leadcore. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of leadcore. Some of you may be thinking why is there a variation of 4 to 5 feet per color. The factors that affect this are type of lure and boat speed. This line is graduated in 10-yard sections each having a different color. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Leadcore is a bulky line and most likely will not fit on the reels you are currently using. Find a tackle store that deals with this product to ensure a correct purchase. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.
                  Rods for leadcore need to have plenty of backbone. I use a heavy action 8-foot rod. This should give you the power needed to reel in 500 feet of line, planer board and 20-pound kings.
                  The line comes in many test weights. 27 or 36 pound is what I run it all has the same sink rate. You will also need a backing line of one of the super lines like Power Pro. From the leadcore to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
                  To avoid tangles when running multiple leadcores you will need a planer board for each rig. The purpose of a planer board is to move the line off to the side of the boat away from other lines. Several manufactures have boards for leadcore. Church has a walleye board also you may use Offshore boards.
                  When loading this reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound Power Pro for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the leadcore and tie a Willis Knot to the leadcore. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.
                  To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan Spoons by http://www.badgertackle.com and let out all of the line to the backing. Then install your board on the backing so it does not release. I usually run them 150 feet off each side of the boat. More information on this subject in Midday Salmon Fishing Techniques Milwaukee #2. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Midday Salmon Fishing Techniques Milwaukee #2

                    Midday Salmon Fishing Techniques Milwaukee #2

                    By Capt. Jim Hirt
                    When the sun goes up the fishing action slows down. If this is the way fishing outings go for you please read on to discover some of the proven techniques used by charter captains. Chartering with six people on board is a numbers game. Steady action will entertain the group and more happy customers will follow.
                    Allow me to share a few presentations for a midday or late morning. Don't get me wrong you won't rock n roll like a first light bite but steady action will increase the numbers in the fish cooler. Two setups come to mind when fishing bright light, calm waters and clear blue bird skies. Lake Michigan Milwaukee water is gin clear and the action can die in a hurry on the clear sky days. First and foremost you must get away from the boat to water undisturbed by conventional tackle. Stealth is the way to go for an all day bite here's how.
                    The last article was set up and use of leadcore. For the angler with out the budget or space on the boat for 15 rods as I do here is a very simple and inexpensive answer. Some of you may use this technique to some degree of success I have taken it to a new level. This method of presentation will improve your catch by fifty percent.
                    Downriggers are one of the oldest most used and most productive tools used for salmon and trout on the Great Lakes. Their potential for putting fish in the cooler is undisputed. As with any tool proper usage is the answer to success. A common question I receive from fellow fishermen is how long do you run your drop back leader? This is the length of line between your lure and the downrigger weight. This one item will make the difference of a few fish or steady action. The variables on the length of drop back leader are dictated by many factors. The four most important that I consider are type of lure, amount of light at the presentation, the color of the water and the mood of the fish. The main types of lures fall into three categories spoons, rotators (flashers, dodgers) and plugs. Each of these has it’s own qualities that come out when run with the proper leader length. Spoons are the most forgiving and will do their job on a leader as short as 10 feet although I seldom run them that short unless I am fishing in stained or very deep water. On average 30 feet is a good leader length depending on the other variables. Rotators are another animal. Each type has its own characteristics on average a 20 foot leader is best. The leader length on plugs like spoons aren’t as critical. Twenty feet is a good place to start. The amount of light at the lure will also change your leader length. As a general rule the more light the longer the leader. On calm clear days midday with lots of sun 150-foot leaders will catch fish when a short leader presentation is dead. Fluorocarbon fishing line will also greatly enhance the total number of fish in the boat. I recommend Seaguar Invizx twenty pound for a soft durable fishing line invisible to fish. Mood of fish is also to be considered. Short leaders produce a more erratic action and may turn fish on or off. When setting tackle try some short and some long to get a feel for the mood of the fish. When the bite slows down, change the leader length of the best producing lures to keep the rods dancing. To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan Spoons by http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #1

                      Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #1

                      By Capt. Jim Hirt
                      This article addresses a recent question asked by a reader of my articles. It will cover the basics in what you need for fishing tackle and proper boat set up. I will avoid as much as I can any brands of equipment and let you be the judge. As with all equipment quality and price go with the passion and budget you have for the sport.
                      Finding a good heavy duty eighteen foot boat and motor should be no problem as there are many manufactures to choose from. Go with a brand name and do your homework. Make some contacts with the local salmon fishing club. This is invaluable information on one of the most important purchases in your quest for trophy salmon and trout. Be sure to ask several anglers how long they have owned their boat how often they fish and the lake conditions they fish in. It will give you an idea of the limitations of this vessel. The number of anglers they fish out of their boat is also good to know.
                      I would like to approach what I call the minimum requirements and split it into two subjects. First we shall discuss hardware this covers electronics, downriggers and other items attached to the boat.
                      A staple on every salmon boat is undoubtedly the downrigger. Two four foot manual units are all you need mounted one on each corner of the transom. Four foot will give you a better spread of tackle and avoid tangles. Mounting of this and all the hardware can be a rather daunting task. Some anglers like an aluminum board permanently mounted with the end result a very clean look of all necessary components. For first timers to salmon fishing and a cost saving use a 2x6 piece of outdoor lumber. Mounting is easy and you may reposition hardware at will until you come up with an efficient system.
                      Some may disagree but in my opinion the fish locator is not the most important electronics on the boat. For this reason don't spend a wad of cash on one. A basic unit with enough power to operate at depths to three hundred feet is all you need. Find one with large numeric display of depth for easy reading in low light and when running at high speed. Mount this unit on the transom board for easy access to information, which is necessary in positioning downriggers and other tackle.
                      Rod holders are a necessity. The number of them is relative to how many rods you intend to run. Downriggers usually come with two rod holders each and two additional heavy duty stand alone units will get by.
                      Lets now talk about what is considered by many the most important electronics for producing fish. The speed and temperature gauge is a must have. By installing this gauge on the downrigger cable you will know the exact speed and temperature at your lure. I will offer what is now the best reliable tool for this purpose it is made by Depth Raider. These two factors for trolling for salmon are the most critical to presentation and catching fish. The best spoon at the wrong speed will not work. On the other hand twenty five years of salmon fishing has proven that most lures will catch fish when run correctly. Temperature of water your spoon is in will make the difference of a heavy cooler or the skunk.
                      A marine radio in a hand held or permanently mount unit is a good way to get information on weather or where the other anglers are finding fish. It will also give you a way to call for help if needed.
                      More on this subject in Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #2. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                      • #51
                        Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #2

                        Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #2

                        By Capt. Jim Hirt
                        This article continues answering a recent question asked by a reader of my articles. It will cover the basics in what you need for fishing tackle and proper boat set up. We have already covered in article #1 the boat, electronics, downriggers and rod holders. Let's now go into tackle.
                        Tackle includes the rods, reels and all the support equipment to offer a wide variety of presentations for all fishing conditions. All anglers have a limitation of the amount of tackle they can purchase and keep on the boat. The right mix to cover all situations is key to success. In the state of Wisconsin we are allowed three rods per person and would max out to that number whenever possible. All planer board or leadcore presentations will catch fish every trip out and this is worth considering. This method of fishing calls for long lines behind the boat, which is very effective but cannot be run in heavy boat traffic. I will cover that in the next article. A downrigger and Slide Diver set up will offer many options in all fishing conditions and may be a better choice.
                        Purchase four 8-foot medium action trolling rods. They will give you all the versatility and power you need no matter which directions you go. There are good quality fiberglass rods starting a $35 each. Line counter trolling reels are important to precision and don't cost much more than reels without line counters. Look for quality based on the amount of times you expect to use them each season. A basic bushing or one ball bearing reel is affordable and will last a long time with good maintenance. A $50 reel that will hold 300 yards of 20 pound test has the capacity for a half core of lead and all of the mono or fluorocarbon set ups you may want to try down the road. For the budget minded, spool up with 20 lb Berkley Trilene XT ($7) monofilament. A slightly more expensive but worth it option is to try the advantages of fluorocarbon line. The low stretch near invisible Seaguar Invizx ($20) will put more fish in the cooler. Types of presentations are endless and the average fisherman couldn't include all the options. The key here is where the fish are located. You must be able to fish at all depths. Many anglers are now fishing with super braid it is very expensive but worth the money. If your budget allows, rather than mono, set up all four rods with 50 pound Power Pro super braid. Going this direction will allow the most flexibility and adaptability going forward through the season.
                        Support equipment includes the tools necessary to offer spoons, bait or lures at all potential depths. Most boats run diving planers like Dipsy Divers, Slide Divers, Deep Sixes and similar divers. This is a very simple tool that is not used to its full potential by most fishermen. Start with a clear mono or fluorocarbon 25-pound line one and a half times the length of the rod you are using. On one end tie a size 75 pound cross lock snap to attach the lure. Tie the other end to a snubber. They come in many colors. I prefer a clear product made by Opti-Dodger. The snubber will absorb the shock of the strike and set the hook. The snubber is then attached to the diver. On the release side of the diver tie your line from the rod. You can use a variety of different lines. The standard set up is 20 to 30 pound mono. Some other options are 30-pound Microfilament, Uni-filament and stranded wire. The benefits of these options are the smaller diameter of these products allow the diver to reach greater depths. An 8 foot medium heavy action rod with a line counter reel completes this rig. They are often called poor man's downriggers. When asked by beginning trollers on what to buy I always recommend two diver rigs. They will take lures to a prescribed depth and repeat it over and over again. More on support equipment in the next article. Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                        • #52
                          New Electronics The Answer To More Fish

                          New Electronics The Answer To More Fish

                          By Capt. Jim Hirt
                          New electronics come into the market place all the time. Most are a duplication of other products that you already have. Once in a dogs age a truly innovative addition to your fishing arsenal shows up. Now is the time for you to get ahead of the pack. I truly believe the "Acoustic Lure Tracking" System is the answer to total control of your fishing program. Please read this article for details of this new exciting product.
                          This fishing season I had an opportunity to fish out of Milwaukee, with Darrell Huff and his team of technicians. The fishing was excellent and all caught a good number of salmon and trout. We had a great experience exchanging fishing stories and enjoying the time on Lake Michigan. The reason Darrell came out to fish was to introduce me to the ALT (Acoustic Lure Tracking system) and I was impressed. It was simple to use and very accurate. In 26 years of motor trolling for salmon and trout I have seen many advances in electronics. The ALT will revolutionize the way you fish and keep you in the most productive zone for more fish. In the process of motor trolling for salmon I use twelve to sixteen rods in various presentations and depths. The problem with motor trolling with this amount of tackle is keeping track of all the lures. You must know their position relative to your target species and keep them from hanging up on the bottom when following a bottom contour or any other fish holding formation or temperature. Most anglers have a fish locator to show them fish, but the quest is precise tracking and locating of lures in the most productive temperatures and fish rich zones. Finally the answer has arrived to make everyone an expert in lure control whether you fish with one or many fishing lures. The ALT is an electronic system that will tell you exactly how deep and at what temperature you are trolling a lure, cut bait or live bait. This system has the ability to monitor one lure (if used with one transmitter) or two lures (if used with two transmitters) and is very easy to use. Simply attach the hydrophone and planer to a cleat ten feet or so ahead of the transom and lower the end attached to the planer into the water. Then plug the hydrophone into the receiver. The acoustic transmitter is attached in line between your leader and lure, cut bait or live bait. The transmitter is so small (0.6 inch diameter) and virtually weightless in water that it does not affect your lure action or the feel of the lure and is not noticeable at all when fighting a fish.
                          Here is how the Acoustic Lure Tracking system works. The acoustic transmitter incorporates tiny sensors and circuits that monitor the water pressure (used to determine depth) and the water's temperature. Every 10 to 15 seconds the transmitter sends an encoded acoustic signal through the water to the hydrophone. The hydrophone converts it to an electrical signal the receiver reads the electrical signal and displays the transmitter's depth and water temperature data as feet and degrees Fahrenheit. Since the transmitter is attached to your fishing line you can fish straight off the back of the boat or attach your line to a downrigger, diving planer, outrigger or planer boards in the usual manner. It works great at depths down to 300 feet and speeds of up to 4.5 miles per hour and with over 100 yards of line out.
                          My experience with the Acoustic Lure Tracking System has convinced me that without it you are fishing blind. Now is the time to get in on cutting edge technology and a step ahead of the competition. Tournament, charter, professional and everyday fishermen will find this is their best tool to track their lures and keep them in the fish rich zones. To see pictures and purchase this exciting product go to the ALT Web site at http://www.acousticluretracking.com or call Darrell at (443) 262-1269 to ask questions or purchase this exciting new product. Good Luck let's go fishing! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. Jim can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                          • #53
                            Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #3

                            Salmon Fishing, Rigging An Eighteen Foot Boat #3

                            By Capt. Jim Hirt
                            This article continues answering a recent question asked by a reader of my articles. It will cover the basics in what you need for fishing tackle and proper boat set up. We have already covered in article #1 the boat, electronics, downriggers and rod holders. Article #2 rods, reels and diving planers. Let's now go into tackle not previously covered.
                            Planer boards are a definite must for trolling any kind of fish. I use them April through October. Being flexible on the slow days is the answer to more fish. It is a fisherman with a full arsenal of presentations that finds action when fishing gets tough. The hot rig for the last several years has been leadcore. With the influx of Zebra Muscles the waters of the Great Lakes have become very clear. In my opinion the toughest conditions are calm clear sunny days. On these types of days leadcore is the way to go. I do not recommend this presentation for first light it is far to time consuming to run during a hot bite. After the early morning bite or about two hours after sunrise I break out the leadcore. The basics are reel, rod, line and planer board. The cost of a rig will start at about $150.
                            The reel you use is based on the amount of leadcore line you want to run. The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of leadcore. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of leadcore. Some of you may be thinking why is there a variation of 4 to 5 feet per color. The factors that affect this are type of lure and boat speed. This line is graduated in 10-yard sections each having a different color. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Leadcore is a bulky line and most likely will not fit on the reels you are currently using. Find a tackle store that deals with this product to ensure a correct purchase. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.
                            Rods for leadcore need to have plenty of backbone. I use a medium action 8-foot rod. This should give you the power needed to reel in 500 feet of line, planer board and 20-pound kings.
                            The line comes in many test weights. 27 or 36 pound is what I run it all has the same sink rate. You will also need a backing line of one of the super lines like Power Pro. From the leadcore to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
                            To avoid tangles when running multiple leadcore you will need a planer board for each rig. The purpose of a planer board is to move the line off to the side of the boat away from other lines. Several manufactures have boards for leadcore. Church has a walleye board also you may use Offshore boards.
                            When loading this reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound Power Pro for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the leadcore and tie a Willis Knot to the leadcore. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.
                            To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan Spoons by http://www.badgertackle.com and let out all of the line to the backing. Then install your board on the backing so it does not release. I usually run them 150 feet off each side of the boat. Very wide turns and low boat traffic are a must to avoid tangles and getting run over. I set my drags light. When the reel starts to scream, adjust the drag as necessary. Reel in the line until you can reach the board and hand release it. Now the line is clear to bring in the fish. Some of my biggest fish were caught on this presentation this year. The good news is it produces fish all day long. Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                            • #54
                              Fishing Lures For Spring and Summer

                              Fishing Lures For Spring and Summer

                              By Capt. Jim Hirt
                              For years I investigated through trial and error to find bait for all species of fish in all conditions. Twenty plus years of tournament and charter fishing has led me to one conclusion. There is no one bait that will take you through the year with all variables of weather and mood of the fish. In this quest I found it would take a variety of lure actions to be successful. Allow me to help you approach each season of the year and weather conditions with the optimum tool for productive fishing. I fish salmon and trout more than any other species, however, these techniques and variables apply to all fish that go through continuous environmental changes.
                              Let's start with spring or directly after ice goes out, if that happens in your area of the world. The problem with this time of the year is water temperature. Fish become lethargic and inactive. Cold water means temps well below the active range of your target. Apply this method whenever a more aggressive approach fails. The answer to cold water is a slow methodical approach. Small spoons are the answer. They offer more flash and visibility than live bait or combinations of jigs and live bait. This deadly presentation is most effective when slow trolled, jigged or offered in a stop and go action. Small spoons allow better lure action at slower speeds. Matching the size of the forage is the key. When you don't know the best size to use, start with spoons under two inches. This should offer some fish catching action on all size game fish. Bigger spoons will rule out the small fish and the larger game fish may not be active. Bright colored spoons of chartreuse, orange and red in combination with silver or gold has always worked for me. As action on small fish picks up try a bigger spoon to test the water for larger quarry.
                              As spring water warms up closer to your favorite game fish preferred temperature, that is when the real fun gets into gear. Action will pick up for all anglers. Don't hold back! Get out the bigger spoons and more aggressive tackle. Pick up the speed of your presentation for more strikes. The color of your spoon at this time of year is dependant more on water color, amount of light and the depth of your target. This is a good time to talk about color as it relates to the amount of light. You may or may not remember learning the colors of the rainbow in school. The colors are remembered by this acronym "ROY G BIV". These letters mean red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Most of the time I run lure colors of red, orange, or yellow when that lure is presented in the portion of the water column with the most light. The other end of the rainbow blue, indigo and violet are used in darker or low light situations. You may ask what about silver and white? I consider these as neutral or they will work in any type of light. All the other colors fall into either bright or dark. Bright lures are used in bright light conditions dark lures in low light. In most cases larger spoons will net the more aggressive feeders.
                              Specifics on the exact spoon for your location are and always will be a difficult task. Please allow me to tell you of a product I developed over the last five years. It added 40% more fish to our catch based on 1950 miles of motor trolling during the last season. I am on the water from early April to late October and I needed a
                              go to spoon to meet the ever changing conditions. Daunting as this may seem three spoons evolved. For early spring the small size Nestor Wobbler is productive. Now you can have crank bait action in a spoon. Unique wobble action is the key to catching finicky fish. No other spoon offers this vibrating action. With genuine silver plate fish scale finish, this spoon reflects more light to attract fish from greater distances. With multiple holes in the lip you may select a wobble from fast to slow. It's perfect for trolling, casting or jigging. The bigger size works well for large game fish and faster presentation. You may find this lure at http://www.badgertackle.com I will continue with the rest of the year in the next article. Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2007, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                              • #55
                                Go To Fishing Lures For Fall And Winter

                                Go To Fishing Lures For Fall And Winter

                                By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                For years I have investigated through trial and error to find bait for all species of fish in all conditions. Twenty plus years of tournament and charter fishing has led me to one conclusion. There is no one bait that will take you through the year with all variables of weather and mood of the fish. In this quest I found it would take a variety of lure actions to be successful. Allow me to help you approach each season of the year and weather conditions with the optimum tool for productive fishing. I fish salmon and trout more than any other species, however, these techniques and variables apply to all fish that go through continuous environmental changes. In the last article spring and summer tips were discussed, let's continue throughout the balance of the year.

                                Warm water of the fall season offers split decision.

                                Fall can be tough with water temperatures above the active range of most fish. I approach this time of the year with twin presentations. Most of my fishing is motor trolling and in this scenario half of my twelve rods are set up in an aggressive pattern of large spoons. With the other six baits I pick and peck at fish with a variety of colors in three inch and smaller spoons.

                                Color can be key for consistent action.

                                Color is critical here work with color based on the amount of light as discussed in the last article. Remember bright lures for cloudy water or bright light. Silver or darker lures in clear water on overcast days.

                                The game plan for casting or jigging.

                                For those of you who don't troll try casting with a larger spoon to start and go smaller if necessary in a stop and go action. Work the shallow water in low light and deep water in bright conditions. The small Vulcan spoon has been hot for anglers casting or jigging. The glow in the dark colors offered on the Vulcan is getting great reviews.

                                Winter fishing may be hot or cold.

                                Location is the real question for the winter season. The water temperature changes dramatically over the course of winter. Changes in temp move fish not only up and down in the water column, but from shallow to deep water. Try the small lures in shallow water in a post spawn or pre spawn scenario. However large spoons like the Reaper magnum will trigger spawning fish. Knowing your target location will increase your productivity. Move, move and move again don't beat a dead horse. If it isn't working be flexible in location, spoon size and color. There is a definite advantage to the angler that's out on the water frequently. Bait shops and other anglers may provide good information to narrow your quest. A temperature gauge and notebook is also reliable data for future trips. You may find the lures discussed in this article at http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2008, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                                • #56
                                  Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #1

                                  Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #1

                                  By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                  Day to day anglers are looking for more action. This past season we came up with a system that increased our numbers dramatically. When your looking for fish suspended in open water this technique will put more fish in the cooler. Fish locators never tell the complete story. The cone of the transducer will not show shallow fish. Most anglers will not work tackle for fish they cannot see. A proven fact is when motor trolling shallow fish go around the boat to avoid the turbulence and noise.

                                  All species all conditions

                                  Trolling for fish is without a doubt the most productive method for all species. This system will be your answer to more fish in difficult cold front and all environmentally challenging situations. I use it everyday with great results. You may never get the skunk again no matter what type of target species you are after.

                                  Waters missed by many reap huge rewards.

                                  What's the tip? Always present stealth tackle for fish near the surface and systematically down through the water column. Don't omit the water that appears on your locator to be void of fish. This series of articles will describe several key presentations effective where ever and what ever you fish for.

                                  Flat line fishing leads to problems.

                                  Flat line fishing has been around for a long time. It involves tying a lure to your line and letting it out at long distance directly behind the boat. While this may net a few fish the pit falls of this method are many including tangles, no accurate control of depth and an inefficient slow presentation. More refining is necessary for this to become an effective tool.

                                  Taking it from the top.

                                  Starting from the surface follow these easy directions for exciting controlled depth fishing. Spring fishing in cold water most often moves fish to the surface to find their comfort zone. For this reason among others always work the surface and here's how. I fish the surface and down to sixty feet with a variety of planer board presentations.

                                  Tools for productive fishing.

                                  Some of your choices for boards are, Yellow Birds, Church and Off Shore. I’m a little hesitant to recommend a particular brand because what works for me may not work for you. I will say I find it easier to run a small board on each line rather than a large board with releases on the towline. I do feel it is important to run all the same type to get a presentation that is easy and productive. On all my reels I run a 30-50 pound test Power Pro Super Braid line. For surface and shallow water fishing the clear water leaves you with a visibility factor to consider, and smaller spoons do not run well on heavier test lines. I run a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce bead chain trolling sinker to avoid line twists and get the depth I want. From the sinker to the lure I use 8ft of Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and a small round cross lock snap. The weight of the Fluorocarbon and snap is dictated by the size of your target and lure.

                                  Make it happen here's how.

                                  To run this presentation let out about 40 feet of line and attach the planer board. Once the board is attached, carefully lower the board into the water and let out enough line to allow room for more boards. The boards are directional for running on the port and starboard side of the boat. Boards should be spaced about 30 feet apart. When the fish hits, the board slides down to the trolling sinker. With the sinker in line, it will not knock the fish off as it would if it ran down to the lure. Lures you run are all about the amount of light, baitfish size and the size of fish you are looking to catch. Mix it up! The Vulcan and Reaper regular size has been a consistent producer for salmon and trout. When a fish hits, the board releases and it will drop back behind the boat. Land your fish and reset this board by letting out enough line to allow the board to fly back into the same spot it came from. Three or more boards can be run on each side with good success. This rig will work when you want to cover the top 10 feet. The next article will explain effective stealth presentations for deeper water. You may find the lures discussed in this article at http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2008, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                                  • #57
                                    Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #2

                                    Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #2

                                    By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                    Day to day anglers are looking for more action. This past season we came up with a system that increased our numbers dramatically. When your looking for fish suspended in open water this technique will put more fish in the cooler. Fish locators never tell the complete story. The cone of the transducer will not show shallow fish. Most anglers will not work tackle for fish they cannot see. A proven fact is, when motor trolling, shallow fish go around the boat to avoid the turbulence and noise.

                                    The challenge of the elements.

                                    Please let us continue with presentations deeper than ten feet. Article #1 of this series explained a dynamite answer for fish in the top ten feet. Reread this article if you can. On Lake Michigan and many large lakes the cold water is always available. Wind and currents move it up or down to create the constant challenge of finding the location of your target species preferred temperature. West wind on the west shore moves warm water out and the cold water from deeper depths moves in. Even in the hottest months of the year we find cold water near the surface. The thermo cline or layer of water with acceptable temperatures for Chinook salmon may be anywhere in the water column. If you don't fish salmon this same system will work on all species.

                                    Electronics part of the puzzle.

                                    When the fish locator does not show marks in the thermo cline it may be the fish are going around all the tackle you are running behind the boat. Downriggers and most other tackle set up a field of turbulence and electrical energy directly behind them. This may turn the fish off. My answer to this is determine the layer of water you wish to work and run stealth tackle at that depth to lessen the turbulence and noise. You must know the exact depth where you expect to find your fish of choice. Allow me to tell you of a tool I have used for the last two years with great success. A great product out in the market place for this purpose is the Depth Raider. This unit offers a probe that you connect to a special downrigger cable giving you speed and temp at the lure to depths of 200 feet. This information is sent to an easy to read display. I was very impressed with Curt Kell of Kell Laboratories the innovator of this product. His attention to quality and customer satisfaction sets him apart in the industry. The Depth Raider will set the standard for this type of product for years to come. To get information on this product call Curt at 262-534-2202.

                                    Back to ten to fifty down presentation

                                    The depth of your target has been located now let's get on the action! Fortunately I can run over 14 rods, which offers me the opportunity to work water from top to bottom. When the angler is limited to three rods then focus on the targets favorite temperature. If you have additional rods run them above in the warmer water and below in the colder water. To attain precision control of all your lines I recommend two methods. For depths from ten to fifty feet leadcore is the answer. This presentation will work when all others are dead. The basics of leadcore are simple.

                                    What do you need?

                                    The most expensive part is the reel. It must have enough line capacity to handle the leadcore line plus Seaguar fluorocarbon and Power Pro 50 pound for a total of anywhere from 300 yards for a half core to 600 yards two cores. I run my half cores or five colors on a reel that will hold 300 yards of 20 pound test. This is the smallest reel a half core will fit on. Line counter reels are not necessary. Leadcore sinks at a rate of 4-5 feet per color. A half core will run about 24 feet deep. By working with these numbers you can get any depth you target. When loading this reel, start with 300 yards of Power Pro 50 pound then strip the lead out of the end of the leadcore and tie a Willis Knot to the leadcore. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap. You will need a heavy action 8-foot rod to work with lead. You must run this with a planer board if you are going to use multiple set ups. Snap on your favorite spoon (the Vulcan from Badger Tackle is one of my favorites) and let out all of the line to the Power Pro. Then install your board so it does not release. I usually run three or more off each side of the boat. Very wide turns and low boat traffic are a must to avoid tangles and getting ran over. I set my drags light. When the reel starts to scream, adjust the drag as necessary. Reel in the line until you can reach the board and hand release it. Now the line is clear to bring in the fish. Some of my biggest fish are caught on this presentation.
                                    The next article will explain effective stealth presentations for depths over fifty feet. You may find the lures discussed in this article at http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2008, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #3

                                      Key Presentations For Invisible Fish #3

                                      By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                      Day to day anglers are looking for more action. This past season we came up with a system that increased our numbers dramatically. When you are looking for fish suspended in open water this technique will put more fish in the cooler. Fish locators never tell the complete story. The cone of the transducer will not show shallow fish. Most anglers will not work tackle for fish they cannot see. A proven fact is, when motor trolling, shallow fish go around the boat to avoid the turbulence and noise.

                                      The challenge of the elements.

                                      Please let us continue with presentations for deeper than fifty feet. Article #1 and #2 of this series explained a dynamite answer for fish in the top fifty feet. Reread these articles if you can. On Lake Michigan and many large lakes the cold water is always available. Wind and currents move it up or down to create the constant challenge of finding the location of your target species preferred temperature. When you find a temperature break below fifty feet, that is the time to present your fishing spoons on copper wire fishing line. You could use longer leadcore lines, however, the amount of line and the time it takes to retrieve them becomes a laborious task and not much fun.

                                      Stealth below fifty feet

                                      You made your temperature check. The fifty two degree water preferred by Chinook salmon is at fifty five feet. In this situation when fishing midday downriggers may not work. The waters of Lake Michigan are very clear and light penetrates down and this turns fish off. This scenario is common in waters everywhere. The answer to consistent action in these tough conditions is fishing copper wire in a stealth presentation. If you don't fish salmon this same system will work on all species.

                                      The why and how of copper line fishing

                                      The most expensive part is the reel. It must have enough line capacity to handle the copper line plus Seaguar fluorocarbon and Power Pro 50 pound for a total of up to 400 yards. Forty five pound copper wire is very bulky and requires a large reel. I run my copper on a reel that will hold 530 yards of 25 pound test mono. Line counter reels are not necessary. Forty five pound copper sinks at a rate of 7 to 9 feet per 30 feet of line at two miles per hour boat speed. Three hundred feet will run about 80 feet deep. By working with these numbers you can get any depth you target. When loading this reel, start with 300 yards of Power Pro 50 pound then use an Albright knot to the copper and Albright knot to 30 feet of 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap. You will need a heavy action 8 to 9 foot rod to work with copper line. You must run this with a planer board if you are going to use multiple set ups. Snap on your favorite spoon (the Vulcan or Reaper from Badger Tackle is a consistent producer for me) and let out all of the line to the Power Pro. Then install your board so it does not release. I usually run three or more boards off each side of the boat. Very wide turns and low boat traffic are a must to avoid tangles and getting ran over. I set my drags light. When the reel starts to scream, adjust the drag as necessary. Reel in the line until you can reach the board and hand release it. Now the line is clear to bring in the fish. Some of my biggest fish are caught on this presentation.
                                      You may find the lures discussed in this article at http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck let's go fishing!! Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2008, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                                      • #59
                                        What The Heck Is A SWR?

                                        What The Heck Is A SWR?

                                        By Captain Jim Hirt
                                        I received this e-mail recently and thought it was a good question that more anglers would be interested in. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page http://www.bluemaxcharters.com I will be pleased to answer. My charter season is under way and it may take a while to back to you.
                                        Hello Capt. Jim Hirt:
                                        I really liked your informative article on using SWR's on the http://www.badgertackle.com web site!!! I am asking for some additional info on using the SWR. I only have one year of trolling under my belt having gone out 12 times last year. I am rigging up a larger boat with 4 riggers and other stuff and wondering how to incorporate SWRs into my set up using your format as I have been reading a lot of your instructions posted various places on line.

                                        I am trying to switch over to the V-Spread pattern together with the three mini set patterns as you describe. These two patterns were not mentioned in the same article as each other but I just assume that you blend these two approaches together. Many people who run SWRs run two on opposite corners thinking it is far enough from each other that they won't tangle. At the same time others claim they only run SWRs at the lowest position in the spread, or just one at the that position. If I ran two at the lowest position from the middle of the bottom of the V, then would they be too near to each other and apt to tangle since all my riggers are 50"s apart? Let me ask it this way: In the 3-minnie set V-Pattern where and how are the best spots to run 2 SWRs in the spread in relation to the other lures to prevent tangles as best as possible. In fact how many SWRs can I run in a spread? Thanks

                                        Hello JC;
                                        Thanks for reading my articles. I hope they add to your fishing enjoyment. The SWR is a long presentation for days when more conventional methods do not work. When I go to SWR’s one on each side of the boat will usually not get into trouble. As I set up downrigger leads (the distance from the ball to the spoon) the bottom or deepest lines are the shortest at 15 feet. Swr's are then run on one or two of the highest lines. In a four downrigger set up the two center downriggers are the deepest. They are separated by no less than 25 feet. One of the corner downriggers are run 25 feet or more above the highest center rigger and the other corner rigger 25 feet above the other SWR. In low light situations short leads are the most efficient. Save the SWR for calm water and bright light conditions they are not practical to run in heavy seas. The thing to remember is placement and presentation is more important than quantity.
                                        SWR Rigging?
                                        SWR or secret weapon rig is a rod with two or three colors of leadcore line. The advantage to this set up is it runs 8 feet below the downrigger weight to offer a lure in an quiet environment 100 feet behind the boat. When loading this reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound Power Pro for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the leadcore and tie a Willis Knot to the leadcore. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap. To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan Spoons by Badger Tackle. Come back to this Website often to read all my articles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094. Summer I will be out on the lake fighting fish, however, I would appreciate a call over winter to chat about whatever questions you may have or just call and say hello. You may also visit my web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2008, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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                                        • #60
                                          Monster Lake Trout!

                                          Monster Lake Trout!

                                          By Captain Jim Hirt
                                          I received this e-mail recently and thought it was a good question that more anglers would be interested in. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page http://www.bluemaxcharters.com I will be pleased to answer. My charter season is under way and it may take a while to get back to you.

                                          Captain Jim:
                                          I was wondering if you could help a novice out. I go up to Ontario to a Walleye/Trout/Pike lake each summer. We have been using Dipsy Diver #1 trolling it at about 50'. We have had a lot of success catching Lakers between 23-29" but no monsters. We like the Dipsy diver because we fly into this lake and it's a lightweight way to get down. After reading your article I think we have 2 problems.
                                          1) We are trolling too fast 2-3 mph
                                          2) we still aren't deep enough
                                          3) I'm unsure how to use cowbells - can you use them behind a Dipsy? Or should we abandon all of that and replace it with your 1 lb weight method.

                                          Any tips you could provide I would appreciate.

                                          Hello Mark:
                                          Sounds like your doing well on the Lake Trout. Two to three MPH is usually too fast for Lakers. I have attached my articles on Lakers and divers. Cowbells will work with divers, however, Reaper spoons in the regular or magnum size out fished all my other presentation last season. My best colors were Peacock/silver, Big Joe/silver magnum or regular. For low light or down deep use Magnum Fish Fry Glow. I would get several of each. Get your speed down to 1.5 MPH. Run the magnum diver with Power Pro braided line for maximum depth. A one-pound weight requires wire line to work best and the diver presentation described is easier to run and requires very little special equipment.

                                          Fishing Lures for Trophy Lake Trout

                                          By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                          In this article we will complete the series on catching trophy fish. I would like to explore location, presentation and lure selection for Lake Trout. Fishermen everywhere covet them for their table excellence giving them a nickname of poor man’s Lobster. Lake Trout baked or poached and served with melted butter is a feast fit for a king. This slow growing member of the Char family can attain a life of over twenty years and have been known to grow to more than 50 inches and reach over 100 pounds. Lake Trout are mature enough to reproduce when they are six or seven years old. Some Lake Trout respond to a homing instinct. They return to the same spawning grounds year after year, while others do not. This trout lives in deep cold lakes. Their preferred water temperature is about 50 degrees. In the summer they stay deep and can usually be caught by deep trolling. But as the water cools with the fall season and into spring, artificial lures and flies may take lake trout fished shallower, near shore.
                                          Finding a trophy may be a difficult task although I feel following a few rules will augment your odds for success. I have found that in twenty years of fishing my biggest have come on spoons. I believe the reason for this is spoons will maintain an attractive appearance at very slow speeds. When you think Lakers think slow. This very cold water species has the slowest metabolism of all the game fish. If you have not caught a Laker, you are trolling too fast. The bigger the Lake Trout the colder the water they prefer and the slower they move. A quality large spoon that trolls well at speeds below one mile per hour is required. Keeping in mind that you will be working in deep water below 100 feet. The color choices should be in the bottom half spectrum of the rainbow. There is not much light down there and green, blue, indigo violet colors will sustain some color at these depths. A silver plated spoon will reflect light better in low light and used in combination with the colors is a good choice. You might try the new Reaper glow in the dark spoons. They were very productive for me this last season. The lack of light has brought me to my favorite presentation. In some cases bouncing the bottom is the only way to provoke a strike. A one pound lead ball sinker will allow the contact needed. Use a wire line rod with 30 pound wire terminated with a plastic keel and lead ball. The keel provides a three way connection for wire, ball and monofilament. At the end of a two foot mono leader run an 8 inch silver or glow in the dark dodger and a 4 foot lead to the spoon. Troll with the bottom contour letting out enough wire to allow the ball to bounce on the bottom. A word of caution, some bottoms have lots of hang ups and it takes a constant vigilance on your part to avoid hanging up and still keep constant bottom contact.
                                          As you read earlier, when the water cools in fall they return to the same spawning grounds year after year. The eggs are deposited over a boulder-strewn or rubble bottom structure, in depths from 40 feet to about one foot. This affords the angler another opportunity to get into some serious laker action. Work this shallow water with the same wire line rod. Go with 8 ounces of weight no flasher and standard Reaper Big Joe red/green or Reaper Peacock blue/green spoons. Motor troll the shallows while hand holding the rod bouncing the bottom as you go.
                                          Let's wrap this up with my favorite Lake Trout lures. Dodgers and magnum spoons are my first choice with dodger Spin n Glows a close second. The two most productive Lake Trout spoons for me in recent years are the glow in the dark Reaper Green Fox Glow and Fish n Chip Silver both sold by http://www.badgertackle.com The standard Reaper in the silver combinations are best for shallow water.

                                          Lake Michigan Diving Planers

                                          By Capt. Jim Hirt
                                          The tools out there are endless. It is a fisherman with a full arsenal of presentations that finds action when fishing gets tough. It is my experience that on any given day one presentation or other will produce better than the other. Most boats run diving planers like Dipsy Divers, Slide Divers, Deep Sixes and similar divers. This is a very simple tool that is not run to its full potential by most fishermen. Start with a clear mono or fluorocarbon 25-pound line one and a half times the length of the rod you are using. On one end tie a size 5 cross lock snap to attach the lure. Tie the other end to a snubber. They come in many colors. I prefer a clear product made by Opti-Dodger. The snubber will absorb the shock of the strike and set the hook. The snubber is then attached to the diver. On the release side of the diver tie your line from the rod. You can use a variety of different lines. The standard set up is 20 to 30 pound mono. Some other options are 50-pound Power Pro Micro-filament, and stranded wire. The benefits of these options are the smaller diameter of this product allows the diver to reach greater depths. An 8 to 10 foot medium heavy action rod with a line counter reel completes this rig. They are often called poor man's downrigger. When asked by beginning trollers on what to buy I always recommend two diver rigs. They will take lures to a prescribed depth and repeat it over and over again. The disadvantage to this rig is it does not have a release and offers some resistance when reeling in fish. All divers come with a sheet of paper to tell you how many feet of line to let out to attain the depth you wish to fish. There is also a base plate adjustment to make the diver go to the side of the boat out of the boat’s path. When fishing calm days in clear water divers offer a stealth presentation. Line counter reels give you total control of depth for repeatability. For those who do not have line counters I would measure the distance from the reel to the first eye on your rod. When setting lines pull line from the reel to the first eye. If it is 2 feet multiply the number of pulls by 2 to calculate your amount of line out. Then refer to diver depth chart to figure diver depth. Good Luck Captain Jim. Let's go fishing!! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2006, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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