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  • jim_blue_max_charters
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    Fishing The Zone For Lake Trout

    Fishing The Zone For Lake Trout
    By Lake Michigan fishing Charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zones by species Now let's look at Lake Trout as it applies to Lake Michigan and other ecosystems.
    This completes the series of Fishing The Zone For... Please take the time to read Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4. This will greatly enhance your understanding of this Lake Trout article. Let me explain how to be more productive by following some basic rules and using some old and new tools. Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zones by species. Article number one, two, three and four covered Chinook, Brown Trout, Coho and Rainbow Trout. Now let's look at Lake Trout as it applies to Lake Michigan and other ecosystems.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Zones By Species
    Lake Trout are a staple and are relatively easy to catch on Lake Michigan Milwaukee. A twenty-five pound fish is huge in our area for this species. We boated many between eight and twelve pounds and some over twenty. This fish can be easy to find and catch for most anglers; however, correct approach must be followed. With the information in this article you will supplement your daily bag limit on most waters where this fish is found. Allow me to offer environmental preferences for this fish. Breaking each fish down by their preferences is the best way to find steady consistent action on any fish.
    Lake Trout Zone By Temperature
    Lakers are considered the Bulldog of the lake. They get this reputation from the way they fight. They are not known for long runs or acrobatic jumps. Typically found in deep cold water most of the season this may present a challenge on presentation to anglers.
    Once again the answer to putting them in the box is temperature. A thermal break is the way to find them. Thermal break is a point where water changes temperature. Look for them in temperatures between 38 and 50 degrees. The trick to success is presentation.
    Location And Forage
    The principal types of forage for most fish in Lake Michigan are the Alewife and Goby. You will find Lakers on or suspended near the bottom feeding on this forage. Early spring and late fall is the answer for most anglers because the water is cold and they will be in the upper part of the water column. This does not mean you cannot produce a limit most anytime of the year.
    I will talk you through the season for most productive water. As our season starts in early April, the lake is 38 degrees and this moves Lakers to the surface. When May arrives they are on their way out to deeper colder water hanging near the bottom and this is the place to find them the majority of the season. Fall fishing can be prime time for monster lunker Lakers as the water cools and the fish move in for spawning.
    What baits are best?
    In spring when fishing the top fifteen feet use crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Reaper in silver or bright colors sold by Badger Tackle.com. Visibility is a factor when the fish move to their summer deep water haunt. The slow metabolism of this fish is dictated by the cold water and requires a very slow 1 to 1.5 mph boat speed. A solid approach of magnum spoons will be your best bet to steady action. Reaper Magnum Glow spoons will afford you the performance and visibility necessary. Eight-inch flashers and dodgers with glow flies or squids are a staple and also work deep in the water column. The distance between the attractor and the fly or squid will vary with the temp of the water. Try two to three times the length of the flasher or about sixteen up to twenty-four inches. A longer lead on the fly seems to work better in colder water. In summer downriggers are the way to get presentation 80 to 250 feet down. On the surface use Church Tackle Walleye Boards and leadcore are the way to go. I run three or more on each side of the boat working an area over three hundred feet wide. You should set up for Lake Trout with a 1,2,3,4,5 color leadcore. This will give you coverage from 5 to 25 feet. The Church Planer Board will run well at slow speeds and off to the side of the boat out of your travel path.
    Hot Lures Define The Day
    Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. For surface to 25 feet crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Reaper. In deep presentations 8-inch glow flashers and dodgers with glow flies or squids. My best spoon color near the surface is the Reaper purple/chartreuse Big Joe Silver regular size. Down in the deep dark water Magnum Reaper Green Fox Glow blue/green/white glows the best and glows the longest. Baitfish size should be considered when selecting your spoon size. Vulcan and Reaper spoons are both sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good Luck! 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© 2014, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    Leaping Rainbow Trout Fishing Milwaukee

    Leaping Rainbow Trout Fishing Milwaukee
    By Lake Michigan fishing Charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zones by species Now let's look at Rainbow Trout as it applies to Lake Michigan and other ecosystems.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Zones By Species
    Last year was an above average year for Rainbow Trout on Lake Michigan Milwaukee. Wisconsin Lake Michigan holds the state record of over 27 pounds for this species. We boated many between fifteen and twenty pounds. This fish can be elusive to some anglers; however, armed with the information in this article you will be on your way to many great outings of this tail-walking acrobat. Allow me to offer environmental preferences for this fish. Breaking each fish down by their preferences is the best way to find steady consistent action on any fish.
    Rainbow Trout Zone By Temperature
    Rainbows offer great action. Nothing matches the excitement of being on the rod with ten pounds plus of leaping muscle on the line. Once again the answer to putting them in the box is temperature. A thermal break is the way to find them. Thermal break is a point where water changes temperature. Look for them in temperatures between 43 and 58 degrees. This is a wide range and offers some challenges. My article will provide information on how to locate them as the water goes from 40 to 75 degrees through out the season. The trick to success is mobility and presentation.
    Forage big part of the equation
    The principal types of forage for most fish in Lake Michigan are the Alewife and Goby. You will find at times the contents of their gut contain these bait fish. My experience with rainbows may change your mind on bait and presentation. The spring and early summer is the answer to easy pickings on the big pond. The reason for easy rainbow fishing at this time is the abundance of insects. Following the bugs may seem like a crazy way to catch any fish but it is key for rainbows. Any warm spring day will provide an excellent hatch of the diet of all size Rainbow Trout. The location on the water with the most bugs will have the best concentration of fish.
    Where to start looking
    When I am on a rainbow hunt, off shore is the place to be. It is smart to start trolling in about 50 feet of water and head out deeper. As action picks up you should note GPS, depth and temp info. This info will be your key to staying on fish. With the water in the forties don't be surprised to find some huge fish in this cold water. When the bite slows troll back to your best GPS numbers. I have found that in deeper water fishing the surface is always better for monster bows all season long.
    The best months
    April, May and June. Work the temp breaks and bugs for hot action. The top 25 feet where warm water has accumulated is the answer to your best numbers. Early May run your baits in the top twenty-five feet and progress to deeper in the water column as the water warms up. Anytime of day is a good time for them. I call them fish with banker’s hours 9 to 5 is the time to get them.
    What baits are best?
    Water temperature will dictate your best bait. I will break this down by temperature. All season long use crankbaits; minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Vulcan in silver or bright colors sold by Badger Tackle. Eight-inch flashers and dodgers with flies or squids are a staple as the water warms up to 60 and above. The distance between the attractor and the fly or squid will vary with the temp of the water. Try two to three times the length of the flasher or about sixteen up to twenty-four inches. Longer lead on the fly seems to work better in colder water.
    Presentation advice
    You may catch some fish on downriggers but they are not my first choice for presentation. Church Tackle Walleye Boards and leadcore are the way to go. I run three or more on each side of the boat working an area over three hundred feet wide. You should set up for rainbows with a 1,2,3,4,5 color leadcore. This will give you coverage from 5 to 25 feet. The Church Planer Board will run well off to the side of the boat out of your travel path.
    Hot Lures Define The Day
    Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. For spring crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Vulcan or 8-inch flashers and dodgers with flies or squids. My best spoon color is chartreuse/silver/green. Magnum Reaper spoons did very well for us in July and August on Bows in recent years. Baitfish size should be considered when selecting your spoon size. Vulcan and Reaper spoons are both sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com I will continue with Zones for Lake Trout in the next article. Good Luck! 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
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    King Salmon Rule In Milwaukee

    King Salmon Rule In Milwaukee

    By Lake Michigan fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Chinooks are big mean and a rush to catch. This fish is the most exciting fish in Lake Michigan. Location and presentation are the keys to success. Let me talk you through the details. They are not predictable and at times difficult to figure out. Now let's look at Chinook Salmon as it applies to Lake Michigan and other big water ecosystems.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Getting Started
    Let me explain how to be more productive by following some basic rules and using basic tools. Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zone for Chinook.
    What Is A Zone
    I define a zone as a location where greater concentrations of the target species are found. You may use, as I do, this system for any type of fishing or in fact hunting. The basics are simple. What does your target want? Focus on what you know and do research to find out more.
    Zone Rules
    Pick the type of quarry you are after and make a list of the known environmental preferences for that species. Armed with that information you will have the guidelines or rules to become more successful. Breaking the rules will put you in water with less of the target fish
    Environmental Preferences
    The top of the most important list and what I look for is food and temperature. When you are in a zone with the correct temperature and good forage you will increase your chances. Other important factors are cover, habitat, maturity of fish, light intensity, water depth, weather, current flow, current intensity, oxygen level and fishing pressure. Your ability to measure, monitor and locate the ideal set of fishing preferences for your target is key.
    Chinook Salmon by temperature
    Big Chinook Salmon are a cold water species, so look for them in temperatures below 50 degrees. The exception is when they come into spawn. At this point in their life temperature is not important. Keep your baits in 45 to 52 degree temperature and you will increase your odds on big fish. When I am catching small fish, I know the water is too warm for a trophy. It is time to adjust the tackle to colder water. I have caught them in water as shallow as 10 feet and out to 300 feet fishing near the bottom. There is no limitation on the depth they like. Key in on temp for success. A temperature gauge is a tool a salmon fisherman cannot be without.
    Forage part of the picture
    The principal forage for these bruisers is the Alewife. Look for pods of forage for consistent action. The baitfish will hold Chinook in any area. Keep your fish locator cranked up on the gain to show baitfish along the bottom.
    Reason for Stealth Presentations
    Clear water and sunny conditions are the enemy. This scenario will turn off most fish. However, some fish can be had when certain presentations are used. A stealthy approach is necessary for the biggest fish. In definition stealth is a presentation that avoids being notice. Several are used for salmon trolling.
    Stealth Presentations
    Downriggers are a popular method to run tackle with many variations possible. In sunny conditions increase your downrigger leads to 100 feet or more. By running long leads you work water undisturbed by noise and turbulence of the boat.
    Leadcore is another good choice. A weighted line with a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader is attached to a Church Walleye Planer board. The planer board is run well off to the side of the boat out of the travel path. Leadcore is graduated to allow five feet of depth for every color. Five colors will run lures approximately 25 feet down 10 colors fifty feet and so on. This allows you to fish any depth you want and is a killer for huge kings.
    Best Months of the year
    Chinook live four and a half years and it makes sense that they will be the biggest at the end of their life cycle. These monsters will be the most aggressive and easiest to get in the months of June thru September. I have produced Kings over twenty pounds in April, although this is the exception to the rule.
    Weather Variables
    Weather is as big of a factor as any and when the conditions are favorable you can expect huge fish. Weather fronts, sky conditions, barometer and sea state all play a role in turning on the fish that dreams are made of. I always look for barometer movement. A steady barometer may offer a great chance to get a suntan but it is not conducive to trophy fishing.

    Hot Tickets
    Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. Magnum spoons are my first choice. Big lures big fish with a consideration to the size of the baitfish and amount of light in the time period you are fishing. When fishing in very bright conditions or with the presence of small baitfish go to regular or small lures. My magnum spoons are about five inches long, regular four inches and small three inches. The two most productive spoons for me during the 2012 season was the Vulcan magnum and Reaper Magnum both sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com For a slow 2.0 M.P.H. or slower presentation I use the Reaper. Above 2.0 speeds the Vulcan is best, it mixes well with most big plugs and flasher flies.
    I will continue with Zones for Rainbow Trout in the next article. Good Luck! 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.
     

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    Coho Salmon Crazy In Milwaukee

    Coho Salmon Crazy In Milwaukee

    By Lake Michigan fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    From Brown Trout we go to Coho Salmon. This article will point out and explain what has worked for me over 25 years of fishing. In my opinion Coho are the most predictable of all salmon species. Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. Get on board and allow me to share some tricks for Coho with you. Now let's look at Coho Salmon as it applies to Lake Michigan and other big water ecosystems. Get caught up by reading article number one titled Busting Spring Brown Trout Milwaukee. This information you may find necessary to understand the following article.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
     
    Zones By Species
    Lake Michigan Milwaukee is an outstanding fishery with many options for anglers. The most popular targets of anglers here are Chinook salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Lake Trout. Allow me to offer environmental preferences for each of these. Breaking each fish down by their preferences is the best way to find steady consistent action on any fish.
    Coho Salmon Zone By Temperature
    Coho offer great action with the reward of some of the best eating of all Lake Michigan fish. Once again the answer to putting them in the box is temperature. Look for them in temperatures above 50 degrees up to 57 degrees. Exceptions to this temp zone are possible but not the norm. As they come in to spawn they will be less sensitive to temperature. They will tolerate colder water and temperatures below 50, however they are less active.
    Location And Forage
    The principal types of forage for all game fish in Lake Michigan are the Alewife and Goby. Look for pods of forage for consistent action. I have caught Coho at all depths all season long. Don't make the mistake of not running tackle for them, but they do require a different approach.
    May and June on fire for Coho
    Most consistent action is in the spring months of May and June. The reason for this is the water is very cold and the top water is the best habitat for them. The shallow water, or the top 25 feet where warm water has accumulated, is the answer to your best numbers. Early May run your baits in the top five feet and progress to deeper in the water column as the water warms up. The reason for outstanding spring fishing for Coho is that the cold water of Lake Michigan concentrates them.
    Fish the break
    Finding a temperature break is the key to finding fish. A break is defined as a major or minor change in water temperature. At times a small change of a degree or two will hold fish, but I have found the greater the change the better the concentration of fish. In spring the Coho that have wintered on the southern end of Lake Michigan will migrate north. You will find some action near shore and this is a good starting spot. My experience is deep water can be very productive. I fish out to ten miles off shore in 250 feet of water for fantastic action and limits on this exciting spring fish.
    Presentations For Limits On Coho Salmon
    Anytime of day is a good time for this quarry. I categorize them as day feeders with angling success all day. Water temperature will dictate your best bait. I will break this down by temperature. Below 50 degrees use small crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Vulcan in silver or bright colors sold by Badger Tackle. Above 50 degrees the cold water baits will produce but not as well as six inch orange flashers or dodgers with flies or squids. The distance between the attractor and the fly or squid will vary with the temp of the water. Try one and a half times the length of the flasher or about nine inches up to eighteen inches. Longer lead on the fly seems to work better in colder water. You may catch some fish on downriggers but they are not my first choice for presentation. Church Tackle Walleye Boards are the way to go. I run four or more on each side of the boat working an area over three hundred feet wide. Set up for Coho with a six foot 15 pound leader tied to a 3/8-ounce keel sinker attached to the 20-pound main line to your reel. Baits are attached with a ball bearing snap and ran 10 to 25 feet behind the planner board. The planer board will run well off to the side of the boat out of your travel path.
    Hot Lures Define The Day
    Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. For Spring crank baits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Vulcan. I have selected four of my top Coho spoons and assembled them in a Coho Trophy pack at Badger Tackle. Later use six inch orange flashers and dodgers with flies or squids. As the Coho put on weight later in the season go to larger 8 inch dodgers and flies along with all size spoons in silver green. Magnum Reaper spoons did very well for us later in the season on Coho in recent years. Baitfish size should be considered when selecting your spoon size. Vulcan and Reaper spoons are both sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com I will continue with Zones for Rainbow Trout in the next article. Good Luck! 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved
     

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    Busting Spring Brown Trout Milwaukee

    Busting Spring Brown Trout Milwaukee
    By Lake Michigan fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Spring is definitely the season for coolers full of Brown Trout. Let me explain how to be more productive by following some basic rules and using basic tools. Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zones by species in the next several articles. Now let's look at Brown Trout as it applies to Lake Michigan and other big water ecosystems.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Zones By Species
    Lake Michigan Milwaukee is an outstanding fishery with many options for anglers. The most popular targets of anglers here are Chinook salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Lake Trout. Allow me to offer environmental preferences for each of these. Breaking each fish down by their preferences is the best way to find steady consistent action on any fish.
    Environmental Preferences
    The top of the most important list and what I look for is food and temperature. When you are in a zone with the correct temperature and good forage you will increase your chances. Other important factors are cover, habitat, maturity of fish, light intensity, water depth, weather, current flow, current intensity, oxygen level and fishing pressure. Your ability to measure, monitor and locate the ideal set of fishing preferences for your target is key.
    Brown Trout Zone By Temperature
    Big browns are common in the estuary created in the Milwaukee area by three rivers. Brown Trout are a warm water species, so look for them in temperatures above 55 degrees. They will tolerate colder water and temperatures above 65 however my biggest browns over twenty pounds have come at near 55 degrees. Keep your baits in 55-degree temperature and you will increase your odds on big fish. When I am catching small fish, I know the water is too warm for a trophy. It is time to adjust the tackle to colder water. A temperature gauge is a tool a trout fisherman cannot be without.
    Location And Forage
    The principal types of forage for trophy fish in Lake Michigan are the Alewife and Goby. Look for pods of forage for consistent action. I have caught browns in water as shallow as 5 feet and out to 100 feet. Most consistent action however is in shallow water or the top 25 feet where warm water has accumulated. Early spring in the months of March April And May we find are consistently the best for browns. Over the years 90% of this species are caught when the water is below their preferred temperature. The reason for outstanding spring fishing for this fish is the cold water of Lake Michigan concentrates the fish. The Lake temp is in the mid to high thirties and this causes the fish to stay near the warmer water of the river mouths and harbor gaps. Later in the season the browns disperse along the shoreline. Finding a temperature break is the key to finding fish. A break is defined as a major or minor change in water temperature. At times a small change of a degree or two will hold fish but I have found the greater the change the better the concentration of fish.
    Presentations For Lunker Browns
    First light of the day is the best time to catch this quarry. They seem to be more sensitive to light than other types of fish. Light up a Vulcan or Reaper Magnum Glow spoon sold by Badger Tackle before first light for fish in the box ahead of the rest of the pack of anglers. A stealthy approach is necessary for the biggest fish. In definition stealth is a presentation that avoids being notice. Several are used for trolling.
    I would skip the downriggers as a presentation for browns. I have found this to be the least productive of presentations I have tried. The most successful for me is Cortland leadcore. A weighted line with a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader is attached to a Church Walleye Planer board. The planer board is run well off to the side of the boat out of the travel path. Leadcore is graduated to allow five feet of depth for every color. Five colors will run lures approximately 25 feet down 10 colors fifty feet and so on. This allows you to fish any depth you want.
    Hot Lures Define The Day
    Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. Magnum spoons are my first choice. Use Glow in dark for before first light and in heavy overcast. When fishing in very bright conditions or with the presence of small baitfish go to regular or small lures. My magnum spoons are about five inches long, regular four inches and small three inches. The two most productive spoons for me during the 2012 season was the Vulcan magnum and Reaper Magnum both sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com For a slow 2.0 M.P.H. or slower presentation I use the Reaper. Above 2.0 speeds the Vulcan is best, it mixes well with most big plugs and flasher flies.
    I will continue with Zones for Coho Salmon in the next article. Good Luck! 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    How do I use my G.P.S

    How do I use my G.P.S
    By Lake Michigan fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Finding and consistently producing fish is the goal of every fisherman every trip out on the water. The question is how can it be done? This article will communicate the importance of G.P.S. for filling the cooler and returning home safely.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    The Tool
    For those of you not familiar with G.P.S. I will give you a brief overview of the product. Global Positioning System is a series of satellites that circle the earth each with a distinctive signal. This signal is sent by the satellites to a receiver. The receiver will then tell you your location on the earth in longitude and latitude. The accuracy of this information is within 15 feet or less.
    The Cost
    The price of a G.P.S. can range from $80 to several thousand dollars. The more expensive units will offer more graphic information that makes them easier to use, although the accuracy is the same. My experience with both high and low priced units tells me I do not need an expensive unit. The key to successful operation is learning how to apply the extensive information available.
    G.P.S. and Safety
    The question is how do I use my location as provided by G.P.S. to fill the cooler and return home safely? Let’s start with safety. You should always enter in the memory of your unit the spot where you put your boat in the water. We will call this your home waypoint. Most units will store 500 or more waypoints. Assuming there is no shallow water or obstacles like land in your path, use your home waypoint and compass to find your way home. Fog, darkness or bad weather does not effect the operation of this unit. In the event of an emergency you could call someone with your coordinates and they would know where to find you.
    G.P.S. and finding fish
    In the more sophisticated units a map showing your position with the depth of water at your location is displayed. The use of this information is critical when working bottom structure for fish.
    There are many ways to use G.P.S. for finding fish. On my boat we log the coordinates of every fish caught on a sheet of paper. These coordinates are used to return to the same spot day after day. After a fish hits a lure it makes perfect sense to turn the boat around to try the same spot again. Many times we will get another fish on immediately as we pass the same location. When no additional fish are taken, we will circle in that area using the original coordinates as the center of our search.
    Save the spot
    I usually enter one of the areas where action has been very good as a waypoint in the G.P.S. for future trips. Working with latitude and longitude numbers takes a little practice, stay with it the work is worth it. There are chart plotter units that draw a line showing the path of the boat on the display screen to simplify this process. As I mentioned earlier a chart plotter G.P.S. with a map chip for your area will give you your position relative to water depth, land features and harbor entrances. I use the water depth when I follow a bottom contour for fish holding near the bottom. Lake trout are known for staying near the bottom. This technique is very effective for them.
    G.P.S. save tackle
    On the Great Lakes we often fish in areas where wrecks are located. The location of wrecks entered in the G.P.S. will save a lot of lost tackle. It will allow you to fish near wrecks without the fear of hanging up on them.
    G.P.S. a must have
    I like to enter the location of schools of bait fish you see on the locator when under power heading out to a spot or trolling for further investigation.
    On a trip that starts before daylight, you must have G.P.S. to pin point the location of yesterday’s hot first light action.

    I could go on and on about the importance of knowing precisely where you are and where you want to be. Some would consider G.P.S. a luxury or not needed. I find the information this unit supplies as invaluable and you will too. Good luck. 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved .
     

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    Lead Core Rigging For Spoons

    Lead Core Rigging For Spoons

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Now is the time to think about changes to make your trips more productive next season. There are many ways to go on this subject. Over the next several articles I will try to cover topics like rigging, tackle and presentation. My goal is to provide information, which should lead to more fish and less slow fishing.
    Questions
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Lead Core will work
    In the last article we covered rigging diving planers and flat lines. Let us continue with rigging presentations. The tools out there are endless. 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.
    Clear water presentation
    The hot rig for the last several years has been lead core. 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 lead core is the way to go.
    Start basic then go lead
    I do not recommend lead core 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 lead core.
    Equipment
    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 lead core line you want to run. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Lead core 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.
    Hitting the Marks
    The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of lead core. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of lead core. 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. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.
    Correct rod is important
    Rods for lead core 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.
    Cortland Lead Core
    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 mono, braided Dacron or one of the super lines like 50 pound Berkley FireLine Braid. From the lead core to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
    Church walleye Board the Best Planer Board
    To avoid tangles when running multiple lead cores 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. The Church walleye Board out performs all the others and it is what I use.
    Loading Up
    When loading the reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound FireLine Braid
    for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the lead core and tie a Willis Knot to the lead core. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.
    Go Catching
    To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan by Badger Tackle 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.
    Badger Tackle has a promotion now buy 4 or more spoons and receive a free spoon.
    Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2012 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Fishing Diving Planers

    Fishing Diving Planers

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    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. Here’s how and when. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    The Arsenal
    In the last article we covered some of the many ways to use a downrigger. Let us continue with rigging presentation. 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 will produce better than the others.
    Diving Planer Types
    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.
    The set up
    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.
    Snubber or not to Snubber?
    Definitely use 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.
    What line to run with divers
    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 Spider Wire Super Braid and stranded wire. The benefits of these options are the smaller diameter of this product allows the diver to reach greater depths.
    Rod type is important
    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. One for port one for starboard.
    Pros and cons of divers
    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.
    How deep are they running?
    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 left or right 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.
    One more Option Flat lines
    To finish this article I will discuss flat lining. In this presentation you troll free lines off the back of the stern with little or no weight. You are restricted to one or two lines to avoid tangles. The advantage is to spot lures far from the boat 50 to 300 feet back. This is deadly when temperature of the water for your target is right on the surface. Spooky fish like Rainbows and Brown Trout will hit midday on flat lines. My flat line rods are spooled with 12-pound test line or you may use a small barrel swivel and a 12-pound leader to your heavier downrigger line. Use a good quality size 7 cross lock snap swivel to attach your lure. To add a little depth to this presentation use a bead chain keel sinker from 3/8 to 2 ounces eight feet ahead of the snap.
    Badger Tackle has a promotion for a free spoon.
    Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success

    Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success
    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Let’s continue with downriggers. In the last article we covered the hardware, weights, releases and manual or electric models. Now we will go into using this tool in many ways. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    The basic presentation
    The basic presentation is to set the lead by allowing the lure to trail behind the boat as the boat goes anywhere from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour. The distance the lure is run behind the weight of the downrigger will change depending on a large and ever changing set of conditions.
    Length will change
    At or before first light of the day, and again after sunset a short lead of 20 feet is the most effective. The commotion of many lures running side by side will draw fish to the boat. As the sun comes up and the bite slows down, you should consider increasing the distance from the weight to the lure.
    Environmental Issues VS Lead Length
    Zebra and Quagga mussels have taken much of the color out of the water on and a long lead is required for spooky fish on sunny calm days. This is very important when you are working the top forty feet of water. The short lead is also very good when fishing deeper than 75 feet down. There are lures that must be run shorter than 20 feet to work. Rotators, flashers and dodgers like to run 12 to 15 feet behind the weight.
    SWR or ?
    SWR is another presentation to run on a downrigger. 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 below the weight to offer a lure in an environment 100 feet behind the boat.
    Down & Outs
    For many years some fisherman have been using down and outs. This is a small diving disc adjusted to run to the left or right of the boats path to provoke a hit. Set up the disc as you would for working it on a solo line and attach it 20 feet behind the weight.
    Sliders Explained
    In addition to the standard rigging, sliders are a popular method of getting more lines in the water. After the main line is set to any depth a six foot piece of monofilament with a lure on one end and a snap on the other is attached to the main line and allowed to slide down to about midway from the surface and the bottom lure.
    Stacking Lines
    With a downrigger you can also run a stack line to offer more lures at more potential depths. The way this is rigged is to set your main line as usual lower it to 15 feet and add another line by means of an additional release. My experience with this has been outstanding. Two lures together are very effective when working deep lines. I like a dodger or flasher 10 feet behind the weight on the bottom line and a spoon 30 feet back on the top stack line.
    Use your imagination, The variations of downrigger presentation are end less.
    Buy Four And Get One Free
    Badger Tackle has a promotion for a free spoon. Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Fishing Downriggers 101

    Fishing Downriggers 101

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Now is the time to think about changes to make you more productive this season. There are many ways to go on this subject. Over the next several articles I will try to cover topics like rigging, tackle and presentation. My goal is to provide information, which should lead to more fish and less slow fishing. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Let’s get started with rigging.
    This is a very large topic that needs to be broken down into smaller subjects. Downriggers are a good place to start. This is one of the most basic of presentations and yet is very easy to get confused about. The use of this tool is limited only by your imagination. For every method I write about here some of you know dozens of other ways to work a downrigger.

    Basic downriggers
    The basic concept is a wire line with a weight on one end with a release to hold a lure at a given depth. The other end is a spool or wheel to hold the wire and facilitate the raising or lowering of the weight. Downriggers are made in manual or electric. There are many brands out in the market place and I think they are all good.

    Electric and manual options
    The high-speed electrics will give you an advantage when you are on a hot bite. For the average fisherman manuals will get the job done. There are all kinds of additional features you can add to your downrigger. An important one is temperature at the ball to tell you when your lure is in the temp for your target. This can also be added to any downrigger later. Cameras to watch lure action and the attitude of the fish. All the extras may or may not get you more fish depending on your ability to interpret the information provided.

    Setup and tune up
    Basic set up is to let out your fishing spoon behind the boat and attach it to the weight. The way you attach it has everything to do with how many fish you will put in the boat. I have tried most of the different styles of releases. I like the Blacks release with the clip to attach the weight as one unit. The Blacks releases are completely adjustable to set the hook when the fish bites and never tangle or wear the line.
    Weight selection is also important
    Things to consider are size, shape, construction and color. For my corner downriggers a flat weight called a pancake with a large adjustable fin is the way to go. When the fin is correctly tuned it will spread your presentation and avoid tangles. For the two inside downriggers I prefer a weight that tracks well and looks like a fish.
    How heavy?
    I use 10-12 pound weights when fishing deep over 100 feet and go to 8 pounds for shallow presentation. Attach the weight to the cable with a Clincher. This plastic termination for the end of the cable allow you to attach a snap for the ball without crimps. The clincher or similar types will save cable fatigue and lost downrigger weights. I will finish on this subject in the next article.
    Buy Four And Get One Free
    Badger Tackle has a promotion for a free spoon. Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Fish Milwaukee Salmon Too Much Tackle

    Fish Milwaukee Salmon Too Much Tackle

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    In previous article we covered lure speed as it relates to fish species. Correct speed along with good presentation in the temp location the target prefers will put fish in the cooler. Let's talk about presentation. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    How long is long enough?
    Many of my fish reports talk about long leads on the downriggers. Early in the morning or low light days 20 feet behind the ball on the downrigger is fine. On clear blue skies late in the day cut down on the number of rods and run long leads behind the ball.
    Strange happenings or not?
    Has this happen to you? You start an afternoon trip clear skies lots of sun set the first line and you got a fish on before you can set the next line. You boat that fish get all the lines in and no more action. I believe too much tackle turns the fish off.
    Well what do you do?
    No one wants to run one line! Spread your presentation and go long. If the temp break is at 60 feet and you run 4 downriggers run the outside or corner riggers at 60 and center riggers at 90 and 30 feet. Experiment with the lead. If you are marking fish and not getting hits lengthen the distance from the lure to the weight.
    SWR?
    I run what some call a SWR. This consists of a two to five color leadcore. This presentation may be 250 feet back running 10 to 25 below the weight or ball. This is a killer stealth approach to for very difficult conditions.

    Getting the edge with electronics!!
    No two days are the same. Your ability to evaluate the changes will lead to your success. To complete this article you must know what tool will give us the most reliable measurement of depth and temp. A great product out in the market place for this purpose is the Smart Troll. This unit offers a sender/sensor that you connects to any of your presentations ( inline ) giving you depth and temp at the lure to depths of 300 feet. This information is sent to an easy to read display. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Speed Advice By Species

    Speed Advice By Species

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    In previous articles we covered my three most productive lures for July and August. This is a worth while read go back and check it out. Speed is a key in all types of fishing. Let’s get into it.
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    What fish likes what speed?
    In this article let's address lure speed as it relates to fish species. The easy way to remember how fast to run your presentation for your target is to think of the temperature they prefer.

    Lake Trout
    Lake trout like below 50 degrees water and they require the slowest lure speed. I run between 1.0 and 2.0 M.P.H. for Lakers.

    Chinook Salmon
    Chinook lure speed is all over the map. The book tells us 52 degrees is what they like. There is considerable variation in the temp of water you will find them. Early in the morning and just before dark they may come into the warm water to feed. As a general rule 2.5 M.P.H. will produce these fish.
    Coho Salmon
    Coho like slightly warmer water than the Chinooks. I look for water of 52 to 57 degrees for them at 2.7 M.P.H.

    Brown Trout
    When you are looking for Brown Trout fish 60 degrees and above at 2.5 to 2.7 M.P.H.
    Rainbow Trout
    This leaves the Rainbows. To catch Rainbows fish 60 degree plus water at 2.7 to 3.5 M.P.H.

    Easy indicator
    I use the fish I am catching as an indicator to my boat speed. When I catching Lakers I speed up to catch Chinooks. When catching Rainbows I slow down for Lakers. Catching fish every day is a constant evaluation of variables. No two days are the same. Your ability to evaluate the changes will lead to your success.

    Tool needed for success
    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. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Hot Lures For Salmon And Trout

    Hot Lures For Salmon And Trout

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    In previous articles we covered where to start if you have not been out for awhile. In this article I would like to help you with what lures to buy at the tackle store for a typical July or August trip on Lake Michigan. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Done right flies will work
    This is a very difficult question. Where I cannot possibly go into all species and all situations, perhaps I can define what I believe will catch fish 90 percent of the time. Please keep in mind that the best lure not properly presented will not catch fish.
    Huge Chinooks favorite lure
    Milwaukee is known for excellent Chinook salmon fishing, so I will focus on salmon. If I were to run just one lure day in and day out in July or August and consistently catch fish, it would be a flasher and fly. Early and late season Flasher and fly may not be as good
    Flasher Set Up
    Flashers come in dozens of colors and sizes. The one I would select would be an 8-inch green blade with silver and glow tape with a green fly. The length of the leader from the flasher to the fly should be give or take 25 inches. I measure from the end of the hook to the back of the flasher. This measurement may change day to day. The length of the leader will affect the speed of the fly movement. The bigger Chinooks may require a longer leader but this is a good starting spot.
    Spoons are Simpler Answer
    My number two choice would be two different spoons. For first light fishing I like a Reaper Magnum Fish Fry Glow. This spoon has put more fish in the cooler than any other spoon I run. The other spoon I like is a Vulcan Magnum or Regular Silver with blue and green accent both are available at badgertackle.com. Use Magnum Glow spoons when fishing in over cast situations or below fifty feet down.
    How and Where
    Run spoons on your divers and flasher flies on your downriggers. A simple and very effective way to produce fish on calm days with clear skies is to run just two spoons. The lead from the spoon to the downrigger should be one hundred fifty feet. This presentation will not allow tight turns. When the morning bite stops, go long to continue catching fish. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Where To Go, Fish Finding Tips

    Where To Go, Fish Finding Tips

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    In previous articles we covered basic leadcore. I would recommend trying a leadcore line set up. This presentation will work when all others are dead. In this article I would like to explain where to start if you have not been out for awhile.
    Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Resources
    I find Internet fish reports invaluable for up to date information look for the most recent reports. If you do not have that option, ask at the local sporting goods stores or the other fisherman at the launch ramps. Marine radio is also helpful if you have one.
    Tools
    What if none of these options are available? Then follow the steps I recommend. The tools you will need are depth gauge, temp gauge and fish locator. I key on temp and food. In most cases when you find them you will catch fish. Start with a temp check on the surface. If it is too warm for your target species, you must take a temperature check from the top to the bottom in the water you are in to see if it is cold enough for your target.
    How To
    Wind will move water and predicting what it has done to the temperature of the water where you fish is important. The result may be water that is too warm or cold for your target. When you find this scenario move out to deeper or into shallower water. You may need to go to the opposite shore line (when possible) and check again. Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the temp. Look for a sharp break in temp from the warm surface to the colder water or colder water to the warmer. I work tackle both slightly above and below the break. Having said that, there are exceptions to every rule. I would also run one line well above and below the temp break. This may be out of the temp you expect to catch fish, but at certain times of the day they will be there.
    Lures
    Run your most aggressive lures with the most action on the warm side of the break. In contrast, use slower less aggressive tackle on the extreme cold side. Baitfish are a very important ingredient to this mix. Always fish schools of baitfish when you see them. When you are under power on the way out and see baitfish on the locator get the lines in. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    More Fish Leadcore Presentation The Answer

    More Fish Leadcore Presentation The Answer

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Here are some ways to present lures in spring. This time of year look for most of your fish in the top 50 feet. Keep your eye on your locator and also work deeper marks when you see them. My experience this time of year is the deeper fish are less active and tend not to bite. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Wake up the Fish
    Most often you will not mark well above 30 feet because those fish are out side the cone of your locator’s transducer. The primary presentations I use at this time of year are Church Tackle Walleye boards, Divers and leadcore. If your budget allows, I would recommend trying a leadcore line set up. This presentation will work when all others are dead.

    Basics
    The basics of leadcore are simple. 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 half core to 600 yards two cores. I run my half cores or five colors on a reel that holds 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.
    Loading the reel
    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 may run this with a Church Tackle Walleye planer board if you are going to use multiple set ups.
    Presentation Tips
    Snap on your favorite lure and let out all of the line to the Power Pro. Then install your board 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. I don’t fish lead early in the morning. I use it when the early bite is over. Some of my biggest fish are caught on this presentation.
    Hot spoon for Leadcore
    If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Presentation Tips For Cold Water

    Presentation Tips For Cold Water

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    In many parts of the world Spring means cold water. As water cools presentation must change for you to be successful. Here are a few tips of mine to get these neutral or less active fish to bite. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Cold water…. Hot bite
    In previous articles we covered general overview and the specifics of temperature breaks and their location. Now let's continue with spring presentation and location. If your season starts early as we do at Blue Max Charters, you will be on Lake Michigan or your favorite water when the surface temperatures are below the preferred temp of your target species. Concentrations of fish on temp breaks can be great for action.
    Breaks and how to fish them
    I will cover late May and early June in this article. This time period provides great action on Browns and Rainbows. Browns, at this time of the year, will come on similar presentations, lures and locations as I described in previous articles. Look for temp breaks with bait fish and the warmest water. This time of year you won't find water that is to warm for Browns. I like small Vulcan spoons with silver, green or white blades with green, orange or blue accent stripes. Work the top 25 feet of water.

    Presentation for cold water
    I set up 90% of my lines on Church planer boards working the top fifteen feet of water. The remaining 10% of my lines are on diving planers or downriggers for deeper fish. On all my rods in spring, I run a 20-25 pound test monofilament with a 12-pound leader. You need to go with a light leader to produce good action in clear water near the surface. Run the heavier test to a bead chain sinker or barrel swivel then an 8-foot leader with a cross lock snap. I don’t go nuts with Micro Filament or Super Braid lines because I think they are over kill for this application and add to expenses. Starting out this way I will have the rods loaded with the correct line for most presentations through out the season.
    Speed part of the answer
    I set my boat speed at 1 to 2 mph. Slow presentation is key in spring. The lures you run is all about the amount of light, baitfish size and the size of fish you are looking to catch. Mix it up! When one lure produces I would double up on that lure. For Coho I prefer 6 inch orange flashers and a variety of different colored flies instead of spoons. Adjust the length of the leader from the flasher to the fly to get the best results. The general rule is one and one half times the length of the flasher. My experience is the colder the water the longer the leader. Longer leaders slow down the action of the fly. There are times when I run up to three times the flasher length. Most Rainbows will also hit the flasher flies. When only looking for Rainbows, substitute bright color spoons for flasher flies. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout in 2011 go to
    http://www.badgertackle.com Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.
     
     
     
     

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    Fishing Hooks Make the Difference

    Fishing Hooks Make the Difference

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    The last article closed with a promise of exploring the different types of hooks I use on Lake Michigan and the techniques I use to sharpen them. Let’s get to it. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Inexpensive answer
    This is a somewhat controversial issue for most fishermen. Everyone has an opinion I can only state what works for me. One thing I believe all will agree on is a sharp hook will catch more fish. There are many types of sharpeners out there. I have tried most of them. A simple $4.00 file is the system I keep coming back to.
    How to start
    Start with a check of the point by trying to stick the tip into your thumbnail. A hook that slides off your nail needs some work. Do not shortcut this process 10 hits and 9 fish is a good day 10 hits and 2 fish you wasted your time coming out on the lake. File three sides of the point and test again.
    Check new hooks
    New lures do not always have sharp hooks! After you have boated a fish check the hook for sharpness and that it didn't get bent out of shape. A word of caution if you loose the tip of the hook from repeated sharpening it’s time to replace it. This is the first step for any type of fishing and I guarantee it will improve your number of fish in the box.

    Hook shopping
    When you shop for hooks buy quality extra strong hooks. It should say 2x or 3x on the package. There are cheap hooks that bend easily and won't hold a sharp point look for the best. A recent trend is to use red hooks this makes sense. Red will trigger most fish to bite. Badger Tackle includes VMC red hooks on all of their spoons. You may purchase them at
    http://www.badgertackle.com

    Singles or trebles
    Always replace hooks with the same size you removed or the action will change. This leads us to the big question single hooks verses trebles. My rule is this stay with the original manufactures recommendation, they do the testing and that's good enough for me. Good luck. 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© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
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    Go Slow For Spring Brown Trout

    Go Slow For Spring Brown Trout

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Spring can be Brown Trout a plenty with the right presentation. Allow me to break it down and offer some suggestions for tons of Browns wherever you fish. Let’s discuss presentation, lures and location to jump start your spring. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com
    Smaller Is Better
    The last several articles we covered some options for spring presentation with a focus on temperature, planer boards, lines, terminal tackle and lure selection. Let's continue with lure selection, colors, boat speed, and lure action for spring. The cold water slows down the metabolism of the fish; this in turn requires you to slow down your presentation. I select lures that are small and work well at slower than normal boat speeds.
    Check The Temperature
    Your adjustment to these variables is different depending on the preferred temperature of the target species. Brown trout like the warmest water of the five game fish in Lake Michigan. They are looking for above 60-degree water. When you find 60 plus water, fish them as you would in summer. Below 60 degrees the way you fish should be adjusted. Most Browns will be found in the top 20 feet of water where bright lures should be best.
    Watch The Speed
    I slow my boat speed to below 1.5 mph. The small lures become very effective and run well at this speed. Does your boat troll at 1.0 to 4.5 mph? If it doesn't, you will find it difficult to produce all the types of fish in all types of conditions. Most boats have trouble trolling slowly. When I purchased my new boat, the Blue Max with two 454 engines, trolling slowly was a problem for me. I then added a drift sock to slow down my presentation. Without this tool you will not be successful every trip out.
    Caution Too Slow May Be Bad
    If you adjust the idle down too low on your motor, you will most likely have spark plug fouling or lubrication issues. Slow trolling is the way to go in spring or any time the water temperature is below the temp range of the fish you are after. In spring keep it slow, small and bright to increase your catch.
    Hot spoons for spring
    I keep talking about Vulcan spoons and more anglers are finding out that this spoon will out produce most spoons in their tackle box. Reasonably priced and nearly indestructible they just keep on producing. The regular size is a good bet for spring. Vulcan spoons are sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com
    Next Up
    Note don't forget to sharpen those hooks. In the next article I will go into hook types, sharpening techniques and the pros and cons of trebles vs. singles. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or web site at
    http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2012 James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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    Three Must Read Spring Salmon Tips #2

    Three Must Read Spring Salmon Tips #2

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Don’t know which way to go for spring salmon fishing. Allow me to break it down and offer some suggestions for wherever you fish. Let’s discuss presentation, lures and location to jump start your spring. 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 will be under way soon and it may take a while to get back to you. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com

    Top producing spring lures
    Article number one focused on presentation and this is very important. Now let’s talk about water temperature and it’s relationship to the correct lure. The best way to break this down is categorize the lure type by temperature Fahrenheit.
    Thirty three through Forty degrees
    Cold water means slow to dead slow presentation. Since this article is about trolling I will not go into what an angler might use for lures when shore fishing or when the boat is stopped. For trolling very cold water small seems to work better than large and I go to my smallest lures in this cold water. My set up for this scenario would be half of my baits as one half ounce or smaller spoons and the other half under two inch crank baits. These small baits must work and provoke a strike at speeds less than 1.5 miles per hour trolling speed. Color is determined water color and light. Bright colors or glow colors are always part of my program in spring.
    Forty one through fifty degrees
    Beef up the size of your lures is the way to go. Use the same spoons and cranks in larger sizes as you used for the colder water. I would add to my program a few stick baits in the four inch size. Depending on the water color some of the stick baits in the natural color patterns can be very effective. A increase of boat speed will be required and necessary to bring these baits to life. These larger baits should be run from 1.7 to 2.0 boat speed.
    Above fifty degrees
    At this point you are reaching the optimum temperature of cold water class fish like salmon and some trout. Their metabolism cranks up and you may increase speed, bait size and lure action.
    Magnum spoons or flashers with flies are a great option for these temps.
    Hot location focus on temp breaks
    Wind will dictate where you find the best concentration of fish. Monitor the direction of the wind and this will help you find where warmer water is stacking up. Surface temperature gauge is a must and your key tool to find any increase or decrease of temperature watch it closely! River mouths and break water gaps are important spots to investigate. Anywhere you find a increase in water temperature you will most likely find fish.
    Hot spoons for spring
    I keep talking about Vulcan spoons and more anglers are finding out that this spoon will out produce most spoons in their tackle box. Reasonably priced and nearly indestructible they just keep on producing. The regular size is a good bet for spring. Vulcan spoons are sold 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 web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2011 James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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  • jim_blue_max_charters
    replied
    Three Must Read Spring Salmon Tips #1

    Three Must Read Spring Salmon Tips #1

    By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
    Don’t know which way to go for spring salmon fishing. Allow me to break it down and offer some suggestions for wherever you fish. Let’s discuss presentation lures and location to jump start your spring. 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 will be under way soon and it may take a while to get back to you. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at http://www.jimhirt.com

    Top producing presentations
    Here are some ways to present lures in spring. This time of year look for most of your fish in the top 50 feet. Keep your eye on your locator and also work deeper marks when you see them. My experience this time of year is the deeper fish are less active and tend not to bite. Most often you will not mark well above 30 feet because those fish are outside the cone of your locator’s transducer. However that’s where most of the fish are.
    Leadcore on boards first choice
    The primary presentations I use at this time of year are Church Tackle Walleye boards, Slide Divers and leadcore. If your budget allows, I would recommend trying a leadcore line set up. This presentation will work when all others are dead and this is the best bet for spring
    Basics
    The basics of leadcore are simple. The most expensive part is the reel. It must have enough line capacity to handle the twenty seven pound leadcore line plus Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and Power Pro 50 pound backer line for a total of anywhere from 300 yards on a half core to 600 yards double core. I run my half cores or five colors on a reel that holds 300 yards of 20 pound test. This is the smallest reel a half core ( five colors ) 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.
    Loading the reel
    When loading this reel, start with 200 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 another Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap. You will need a medium heavy action 8-foot rod to work with lead. You may run this with a Church Tackle Walleye planer board if you are going to use multiple set ups.
    Presentation Tips
    Snap on your favorite lure and let out all of the line to the Power Pro backer. Then install your board 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. I don’t fish lead early in the morning. I use it when the early bite is over. Some of my biggest fish are caught on this presentation.
    Lures for leadcore
    I keep talking about Vulcan spoons and more anglers are finding out that this spoon will out produce most spoons in their tackle box. Reasonably priced and nearly indestructible they just keep on producing. The regular size is a good bet for spring. Vulcan spoons are sold by
    http://www.badgertackle.com Three Must Read Salmon Tips number two will continue with more lure choices in the next post. 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 web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2011 James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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