• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Selective Oswego Spring Brown Trout

    Posted on February 17th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    A selection of favorite hammered genuine silver plated Fish Doctor Flutterdevles

    If any species of fish on earth is more selective than a spring brown trout in shallow,  crystal clear Great Lakes water, I don’t know what it is.  Each spring brown trout season and many, many experiences over the past 40 years have reinforced this fact.

     

    One such experience occurred one morning off Four Mile Point in eastern Lake Ontario.  The first couple hours the early morning bite was hot and heavy.   Everything my charter I did was right, with brown after brown coming to the net until the rippled lake surface went flat calm.  Browns were actively feeding on the surface, but we couldn’t get a hit.

     

    I tried a repertoire of favorite lures, lighter leaders, longer setbacks, erratic trolling speed, and did everything else in my spring brown trout book, but nothing.  Then, on my lure hanger snapped to the transom, I noticed a hammered silver Eppinger Flutterdevle, freshly doctored with a strip of blue sparkle laser tape a friend had sent me two weeks before.  It hadn’t been in the water since I taped it up.  With nothing else firing, and browns rolling on the surface all around us,  in desperation it was worth a try. 

     

    With the spoon 100 feet back behind the boat, I started to attach the line to a planer board release and a 4 lb. brown ripped it from my hand.  The next try with the same spoon was an exact repeat except this brown weighed 10 pounds.  We couldn’t keep that spoon in the water, and the other nine lures we were trolling weren’t getting a touch. 

     

    That incident proved to me once and for all just how selective a Great Lakes brown can be.   Oh, yeah, and by the way…, it was no mistake that they were hitting that Flutterdevle barely below the surface, 100′ directly behind the boat in the prop wash!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Sunlight vs. Trolling Direction

    Posted on February 17th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    Strike Vision photo of a musky striking a lure.

    When it comes to successfully catching Great Lakes trout and salmon or any fish on the planet whether in standing or flowing water, shallow or deep, effectiveness of the presentation of a bait or lure is influenced  by  the sun.  We all know the importance of light intensity,on fish behavior and lure selection, but what about the effect of sunlight in relation to trolling direction?

    Aboard the Fish Doctor, trolling direction in relation to the sun and the angle of the sun are a major consideration.   If you aren’t a believer, hold a colored pencil up against a ceiling light.  You’ll see a black  silhouette.  Now turn around with your back to the sun light and look at the same pencil.  You will easily see the color of the pencil and the print on it. 

    Now, imagine a fish swimming up to a lure from behind and below it.  If that fish is swimming into the sun, it sees a completely different image of a lure than it sees with the sun’s rays coming from behind it.  It’s a good bet that it’s also easier for a fish to locate a lure swimming asay from the sun .  Based on many hundreds of hours trolling with an underwater Strike Vision camera at depths up to 100’, this is true whether trolling shall or deep.

    If you doubt this, ask an experienced scuba diver.  I dove for many years while working as a fishery biologist.  When diving from a boat, and returning to the  surface, swimming away from the sun, the boat’s bottom was clearly visible.  However, when swimming back up to the boat toward the sun, the sun’s rays were blinding, making it much more difficult to see.

    More than 30 years ago, when Fish Doctor Charters was still attending sport shows, I sat in the living room one evening playing some video tapes of my summer fishing trips, trying to find some good tapes showing fish being landed.  I looked at tape after tape with the sun off the stern of the boat, the glare obscuring fish coming to the surface and being netted.  The majority of the tapes I looked at showed  fish being landed with the sun off the stern, even though I was looking at midsummer tapes taken while fishing in  70 to 100 feet of water. 

    Finally it dawned on me…, duhhh!  We were definitely hooking up more when trolling away from the sun than trolling towards it!

    Years later, using an underwater Strike Vision camera pointing back toward the lure being trolled, my thoughts about the relationship between trolling direction and the sun were confirmed.  With the sun off the stern of the boat and the camera directed away from the stern to view the lure being trolled, only the black sillouhette of the lure could be seen on the  flat screen in my cabin.  When trolling direction was reverse, trolling toward the sun, the lure and it’s color could be seen in detail.

    The same is true when casting, especially when fishing on or near the surface.  Cast toward the sun and retrieve back to the boat and fish will have a better look at a lure than if you cast away from the sun.

    Lots of factors influence the effectiveness of the presentation of a lure or bait, but sunlight direction in relation to lure presentation is definitely one of them. . 

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, The Loop Knot for Trolling Flies

    Posted on February 4th, 2019 admin No comments

    A Fish Doctor favorite..., the Perfection Loop Knot on a Tournament Tie

    Most fishermen know that the slightest difference in what you’re fishing can make a HUGE difference in what you’re catching.

    This is the case with the loop knot used aboard the Fish Doctor on all trolling flies and Jitterflies.  The result is a free swinging treble hook.

    So, big deal, right?  Actually, that IS right.  Here’s what a loop knot does for you compared to say a standard knot like an improved clinch or a snell.

    - No matter what happens the treble is free swinging and trails straight back behind the fly, not off to the side as is often the case with other knots.

    - The free swinging treble gives extra action to the fly, and if you’re cagey  enough to be using different colored treble hooks in different conditions, it works even better.

    - Third, a loop knot almost completely eliminates so called “bite offs”, which aren’t really biteoffs, but just mono getting jammed in the treble.

    The end result is more bites and more fish in the boat.  Simple but deadly.

    My favorite loop knot is a modified Perfection Loop Knot, and you can see how to tie it by checking aout the “Video Tips” page on my Fish Doctor web site.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, ABU Garcia Line Counter Reels

    Posted on February 4th, 2019 admin No comments

     

     

     

     

     

    The ABU Garcia 7000i SYNCHRO aboard the Fish Doctor

    I’ve fished  either the ABU Garcia 7000i Synchro and the ABU Garcia Alphamar 20 Synchro, both with mechanical line counters, for years and more recently,  the Altum, 20, 16, and 12 Synchros with a state of the art digital line counter, and all I can say, with one exception,  is…, NICE! 

     The 7000i Synchro is now only available in Europe, as far as I know.  The Alphamar 20 and 16 have been replaced with the Altum 20, 16, and 12.  I’m still using the original Garcia 7000i Synchro onboard the Fish Doctor for rigger and wire reels, along with the Alphamar 20.   The new Altum 20, 16 and 12 have been onboard for about 3 years.    The Altum series has performed just as well as the far more expensive and unavailable-in-the- US 7000i Synchro.

     The 7000i Synchro, made in Sweden  has been fished on the Fish Doctor for thousands of hours and performed flawlessly except for one mechanical line counter that malfunctioned right out of the box.  Like any reel, the 7000i will wear out after many season of use, with the levelwind usually the first to show wear, especially if it isn’t lubed occasionally.

     The Alphamar 20 and 16 Synchro, designed exactly like the7000i Synchro, but manufactured in China, had problems in their early production and are the only exception to my “Nice” review.  Although the mfg bugs were finally worked out late in production, early production reels had a number of problems, most notably slightly uneven levelwind which was OK for use with 20-30 lb. mono but a nightmare when using wire.

     Finally, and most recently, ABU Garcia has produced the Altum series, 20, 1`6, and 12 which are, in my opinion, are the best digital line counter reels ever made for fresh water trolling.  They have been in use on the Fish Doctor for 3 or so years without a gliche. The new Altum line counter also has a lighted counter window which can be turned on as needed at night or at dusk and dawn.  Nice, especially for aging eyes!

     All of these reels have Penn’s silk smooth HT100 drag system and the Synchro feature which releases partial drag tension when the reel handle is cranked backwards ¼ turn.  The Synchro drag system is a feature that every Great Lakes troller will appreciate when fishing riggers or wire/braid Dipsys or thumper rigs for trout and salmon, especially in deep water. 

     No more flipping the free spool lever and thumbing a reel or changing the setting on the star or lever drag to lower your downrigger into the depths.   If you want to drop a rigger, let out a Dipsy, or lower a 1 lb. “meatball” into the depths, all you do is crank the reel handle backward ¼ of a turn and the drag automatically loosens up slightly, maintaining enough tension to keep a bend in a downrigger rod as a rigger weight drops or allow a Dipsy to drop back slowly.

     When you crank the reel handle back a ¼ turn, if the drag tension is too loose to suit you, you simple advance the reel handle forward slightly to increase the drag tension to whatever you like.   If the tension is a little too heavy when the Synchro is backed off a ¼ turn, you’ll need to loosen the star drag a touch to achieve the desired release tension.

     What a time saver the Synchro system is!  Now, when I’m dropping a rigger to 140 feet for lakers or kings, which takes a while, I no longer have to “stand at attention” with a reel in free spool and thumb the spool until the rigger reaches the right depth.  All I do is crank the 7000i’s handle back a ¼ of a turn, walk away, listen for the beep on my Penn rigger signaling the rigger has stopped 140’ down, return to the rigger and crank the Synchro handle forward ¼ of a turn to the original drag setting and I’m good to go.  Meanwhile, I can be netting fish, setting another rod or whatever.

     I’m using the Altum 20 Synchros for fishing 30# mono on the riggers and 30# Maline on the Dipsy rods.  The slightly smaller Altum 16 is perfect for fishing spoons on rigger rods using 12-15# mono.  The smaller Altum 12 spooled with 10# mainline is on all of my spring brown trout rods, but it holds plenty of 10# so that it can easily handle the the occasional shallow water king we tangle with,