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Thread: Wisconsin

  1. #107
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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

  2. #106
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  3. #105
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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.
     

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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
     

  5. #103
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Default 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

  6. #102
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    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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 .
     

  7. #101
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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.

  8. #100
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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.

  9. #99
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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.

  10. #98
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Default 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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