• 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. . 

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