• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Search and Destroy at Warp Trolling Speed

    Posted on January 20th, 2020 admin No comments

    With king salmon stockings cut by 20% each year in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and king salmon numbers dwindling because of it, things are changing in Lake Ontario.  If anglers don’t adapt to those changes, it will make for some slow days on the water.

    When good numbers of active, feeding, aggressive fish of any species  are concentrated and you find them, figure out what they want and present your trolling arsenal to them effectively, you can  put a lot of fish in the net in a hurry,  and it usually doesn’t take many lines in the water to do it.  But, in the next few year, in Lake Ontario the opposite will often be the case.  Due to decreased stocking, plus the usual effects of weather, fish behavior and movement, and other factors,   king salmon will at times be fewer and more scattered than ever before in the 200 mile length and 50 mile breadth of Lake Ontario like.

    Onboard my charter boat, the Fish Doctor, when kings and steelhead  are scattered hither and yon and are tough to locate, I switch to one of my favorite techniques, search and destroy mode,  and head with the “pedal to the metal” for the open lake at maximum trolling speeds of 3.5 to 4.5 mph, far from any other boats.

    A key element of my search and destroy spread is an oversize planer board I call a megaboard.  Two of  these big, 36” triple boards go in  the water on 300# test mono spread 150 feet to port and starboard .  Using customized Scotty releases, each board is rigged with up to three sections of leadcore line if fish are shallow in the top 30 feet of water, or a combination of leadcore and copper lines if the fish are 30 feet and deeper.   Downriggers, wire Dipsys, and slide divers on braided line are added to the spread, depending on target depths.

    Two, three, five and seven-color leadcore sections are rigged with 50 feet of leader and backed with fine diameter, 40# test  Berkley braided line spooled on Penn Fathom 25LW reels  fished on light 7’ rods.  At 2.7 mph the 18 lb. test  leadcore line I use fishes down about 4’ per color. At 4.5 mph, it fishes shallower. Six  lead core sections, all with tuned spoons,  spanning 300 feet are fishing  8, 12, 20 and 28 feet or thereabouts below the surface with the shallowest furthest from the boat.  Combined with tuned dodgers and HotChips 8s plus tuned spoons on riggers and divers, this “high, wide, and handslome” spread can be deadly and, most importantly, helps you cover a lot of water to located fish and bait.

    Ditto for copper sections from 100’ to 600 feet hen fish are deep with the shallowest copper furthest from the boat…, 3 copper lines per board with tuned spoons and/or tuned attractors.

    Only two stock spoons I fish have proper action at speeds up to 4.5 mph without tuning them, NK28s and Pro Kings, and both of these work better with a Sampo #3 coast lock snap.  On other spoons like Stingrays and Silver Streaks, hook size and swivel size must be increased to make them run properly at warp speed.

    Dodgers and 8” HotChips are tuned by bending with the action adjusted boatside as you monitor surface trolling speed.

    Lure selection, of course is important at fast trolling speeds, but doesn’t seem to be as critical as when trolling slower.  I call this the “take-it-or-leave-it” factor.  Burn a spoon past a king salmon and they don’t have much time to make up their line.  Reaction strikes and solid hookups are the result.

    Such was the case on May 12, 2016, when Jerry Argay and his crew headed northwest aboard the Fish Doctor out of Oswego Harbor on a midlake search and destroy “mission” for kings. After covering miles of water we locate them in the top 25 feet over 300 to 400 feet of water, but the rods weren’t popping.  Under a clear, sunny sky with the lake mirror calm, the kings were fussy.  With the lake’s surface glassy, I knew light intensity at 30 feet was only about 6%, perfect conditions for UV spoons.  It wasn’t until we found the magic, a Michigan Stinger  UV green alewife, that things really started happening.

    When their 8-hr search and destroy trip was over  my crew of veteran anglers had boated 25 kings, releasing all but 11 delicious, mint silver fish from, 5 to 18 lbs. Every rod on the boat had fired, but the leadcore sections on the megaboards had made the day.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Booking a Lake Ontario Charter

    Posted on January 15th, 2020 admin No comments

    So your friends returned from their Lake Ontario charter fishing trip and you’ve seen all the photos of gigundus trout and salmon they caught, right?  Now you’ve decided to book a charter trip in 2020.  What now?

     

    Kings like this can be released in early spring when surface temps are cool.

    Well, first, you have made a great decision.  Lake Ontario fishing is unlike any other in the Northeast.  There is a large charter fleet on this 200 mile long lake, with around 450 USCG licensed captains fishing out of ports from Henderson Harbor in the east to Wilson Harbor in the west.

    However, like lawyers, real estate agents, and car salesmen, not all charter captains are created equal, to put it politely.  The key is to find a friendly, patient veteran with vast experience and good equipment who can put you on fish and catch them.

    Planning and preparation are crucial in booking a charter trip anywhere.

    If you don’t have a referral from a reliable person, your first step should be checking web sites online.  You’ll find a wealth of info, but read between the lines.

    Web site testimonials are meaningless…, they are all 5-star!   Beware of  Google rankings.  Anyone can show up on the first page of a Google search if they are willing to pay a webmaster enough money or pay for an ad.

    Most web sites list “What to Bring With You”, and if not , ask your captain.  Bring the proper gear with you, and you’ll have an enjoyable trip without overloading the boat.

    Remember that children under the age of 12 must wear a PFD at all times, and it’s best to bring your own to make sure they fit properly.

    Call early for best dates.

    Safety is the top priority. All Great Lakes charter captains must be USCG licensed and for your protection should be insured.  Their charter boats must meet all USCG requirements.  All safe charter boats are equippe3d with radar.

    Ask questions.  How many trips does a captain fish yearly, part time or full time?

    What size and type of boat will you fish from?  Veteran Ontario captains seldom fish less than a 28-footer.

    As for price, you usually get what you pay for.

    Some captains will not release fish and return to the dock the minute you catch your limit, no matter what size the fish.  Abbreviating your trip to 1 or 2 hours and paying for a 6 to 8-hour trip can be a turnoff.  A typical scenario is this…  An unnamed charter boat out of Oswego last June bragged about returning to the dock in two hours with a 2-man limit.  An hour later, the two clients were at Fat  Nancy’s Sport Shop in Pulaski, complaining they paid for a 6-hour trip and fished only two hours, even though they wanted to return the smaller, but legal, kings they caught.  Ego cost that captain a return trip.  Ask.

    Instead of just emailing or texting your captain,  chat with him by phone to get a feel for his personality.  Incompatible personalities in the confines of a boat can make for a long day.

    Beginners new to trolling may want to fish on a boat with a mate.  Veterans, however, may prefer a hands-on trip with no mate so they can help rig lines and hook their own fish.  Again, ask.

    Work with a captain to schedule your trip when fishing is best for the species you want to catch.  For browns, your captain will recommend a spring or midsummer trip.  For monster kings, book in late August or early September.

    Once you book a trip, ask your captain to help you with lodging and places to eat.

    So, now you called early, found a top captain, decided when to fish, and nailed down your trip with a deposit.   When the big day comes, and you arrive at the dock on time with the proper gear, just relax and take it easy.  Let your captain take it from there.

    Sit back with a cool drink, catch some rays, and enjoy some of the best trophy trout and salmon fishing in the Northeast.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Ontario Mystique

    Posted on January 4th, 2020 admin No comments

    It’s the feeling you get when you fish Lake Ontario.   You just never know how big the next fish you catch will be.  I have fished this 200 mile long lake since 1977, and every time an anglers onboard hooks up with a monster, I feel it.  It’s like a chronic case of buck fever!  It happened again on September 17, 2019.

    Before daybreak when Mike Wales and his crew boated out with me through the mouth of the Little Salmon River  into Mexico Bay at the southeast corner of Lake Ontario, their thoughts were on salmon.  Kings and cohos migrate from all over the lake to this 20 mile wide bay where they stage before their spawning run in the Big Salmon River.  Along with the salmon, prespawn brown trout, some of them huge, also concentrate here.

    As we navigated out to the area in 35 feet of water where I had been fishing the previous day, the conversation was all about salmon.  Fishing for both kings and cohos had been better than I cared to mention, hesitant to elevate expectations.  When I mentioned the brown trout we had been catching in a bit shallower depths than the kings, there was no response.  Just, “How many salmon? How big?”

    With the sky lightening over the east shore, I had just set our third downrigger when the center rigger rod bent to the water.  We were locked up with our first king of the trip on a J-plug.  Action was steady until the sun sun broke over Tug Hill Plateau, then slowed.

    That’s when I headed for slightly shallower water toward the brown trout zone.  Although kings and cohos are the main target in September, on every trip I keep one rod in the water for brown trout.  Browns are great eating in September, and you never know when you might just tangle with a big one.

    As we trolled along at 2.5 mph in 30 feet of water, the port slide diver with one of my favorite brown trout flashers and flies  was fishing just above bottom.  When that rod doubled over and the reel’s drag started screaming, my first thought was, “Aha, a shallow water king.”  Not so.  Instead of the screaming run of a September king, the fish only ran about 50 feet, then stayed deep, refusing to come up off the bottom.  “Hmm, too warm in here for a big laker?”  I wondeed,   “A big brown?”  That’s when I felt it

    The chance of catching a brown twice this size keeps you on the edge of your seat when you fish Lake Ontario.

    .  If it is a big brown, how big?.                             

    It only took about five minutes to find out.  When Hen ry Hitchcock eased it to the surface, all I could see was gold.  When it came aboard, it took my breath away, even after seeing  thousands of Lake Ontario browns boated.  What a magnificent male brown trout in full spawning colors!

    As big and beautiful as the brown was, I knew there were even larger ones, much larger ones,  in this seemingly limitless lake we were fishing, maybe nearby, maybe our very next fish.

    It’s the feeling you get when you cast or troll a line in Lake Ontario,  legendary for world class trout and salmon.  Would anyone have ever imagined the once 26 lb. 5 oz. NYS steelhead record would be broken by an unimaginable 31 lb. 5 oz. steelhead?  What’s next?  There it is again…, Ontario mystique.

    And, what about the 32 lb. 3 oz. NYS record brown trout?  Is there a bigger one out there?  I’m betting there is.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, to Release or Not to Release

    Posted on January 3rd, 2020 admin No comments

    I don’t remember his name, but I do remember  his fish. The young man standing in the back of my charter boat that late April day had been hooked up with it on an ultralight 9’ noodle rod and 10 lb. test line for about 5 minute and we had yet to see the fish.

    There were no head shakes like those of a heavy lake trout, no short runs like those a big brown.  Just a heavy pull like a monstrous walleye.

    We were fishing browns that morning in the warm, plume of the Oswego River where it entered clear, frigid Lake Ontario just outside the harbor walls.

    Minutes more passed with the noodle rod doubled over and still no fish.  I was scratching my head wondering if we had foul hooked a fish.

    Then the  huge brown surfaced.  But why the lethargic fight?

    As I netted it, the answer was clear.  It was a huge female brown trout that had spawned in the fall, spent the winter in the Oswego River, most likely, and had just dropped back into the lake.  It was the longest female brown I had seen in 42 years fishing in Lake Ontario, but thin, with a huge head and frayed tail from spawning.  With barely enough energy left to swim and feed, it had not put up much of a battle.

    With the big female brown trout  still in the water and swimming upright in my oversized landing net, it was time for a decision…, to release or not to release.

    The young angler was excited.  This was this the biggest brown he had ever landed.  But, our  cooler was already half full of good eating browns.  And, it was obvious the big female would not make a god mount with scrape marks on its sides and a tail frayed tail from digging a gravel redd.  When I explained the flesh in spent fish like this is nowhere near as good eating as that of smaller browns which had yet to spawn , the young man made his decision…, “Release her”!

    Releasing a 55 1/2", 52# musky aboard the Fish Doctor

    Before we did, a quick measurement showed she was 38” long,  and I guessed about 18 lbs.  By the end of the season, after feeding heavily on alewives it might reach close to 30 lbs.

    The decision to release or not release a fish, isn’t always an easy one, but for one of the crews who fish with me twice a year, once in early spring and again  in midsummer,  it’s no problem.  In the spring when Dan Barry and his buds fish with me,  they , released every brown trout.  Why, because when they fish, the water is cold, the fish are near the surface, they are fishing with artificial lures instead of bait, and the browns they catch can be released unharmed.

    Importantly, the smaller 2-year old, 2-4 lb. browns they catch will grow to be 6-12 lbs.  by the next spring.  The older, larger browns they release have the potential to live several years longer reaching world class size, and thrill another angler another day.

    But, in late August, it’s a different story.   The 3-year old king salmon we target will die in 2-3 months after spawning in October and November.   Most kings they catch are usually deep and surface wter temperature is in the mid-70s, making it tough to release them unharmed.  Dan and his crew keep every legal king they catch, most of which are smoked.

    The bottom line, after complying with existing regulations is this.   To release or not to release a fish depends on what is good for the fishery, the fish population, and, in the end, your personal choice.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, April 24, 2019, Fish Doctor Trout and Salmon Fishing Report

    Posted on April 24th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    Co-captain Kevin Kellar shows off a nice king aboard the Fish Doctor, 4/22/19.

    As I eased the Fish Doctor past the west end of the detached breakwall, just outside Oswego Harbor, I heard co-captain Kevin Kellar say, “Fish on, boys.  Grab that center rod!”  25 feet below us a yet to be seen king salmon had chomped down on an aqua Howie fly and I could hear the reel moaning as as the 3-year old king headed NE, stripping line from the reel.

    That’s just a sample of what has been going on aboard the Fish Doctor since April 18, our first day on the water, a fantastic beginning to the 2019 season. 

    Fishing for brown trout has been steady, as usual, around Oswego Harbor, but the king salmon fishing has heated up earlier than normal.  So far best depths have been 15-40 feet of water for the kings and larger browns.  Browns and kings have been coming on everything we’ve put in the water, flat lines off the boards, lead, slide divers, minidivers, and riggers.  Along with the browns and kings, a few lakers, cohos, and Atlantics have been stretching the lines.

    All of the water the Fish Doctor has been prowling so far has been off  from and east of Oswego Harbor, but we’ve heard reports of kings being caught on the color line as far west as West Nine Mile and Fairhaven. 

    The browns have been hitting standard spring items, including spoons, stickbaits, and occasionally flies.  Michigan Stingers in the standard size and Scorpions have been the best producers in black/silver, black/silver glow, brass and green, copper goby, brown trout Chucklet, and others,  There is always a chewed up old black/silver 3F Evil Eye in the water, deadly in the spring.  Old reliables like the black and silver F-11 Rapala always catch browns.  To date, the larger browns have been coming offshore in 15-40 feet of water.

    Kings have been in 15-40 feet of water, with the most boated so far this season 8 or 9 on 4/22.  On April 19, it took a while to find them, but our PA crew was 4 for 5 on kings with in the last 1 ½ hrs we fished. .  Dodger/flies, spoons, black and silver F-11 Rapala flat off the boards, are all  working.  The best spoons for kings have been standard size Michigan Stingers and 3F Evil Eyes in the same colors as for the browns.

    Surprisingly, some of the kings have hit small spoons, #3 Needlefish, Eppinger Chucklets on flat lines off the boards and minidivers.

    All of the browns we’ve cleaned onboard so far have been feeding on gobies, but on 4/22, we did see a released lake trout spit up a 3-4 inch yearling alewife, the first alewife we’ve seen this spring.  Hopefully that is  a good sign of what might be a strong 2018 year class of alewives.

    All in all, it looks like another great spring season out of Oswego.  You gotta love the early kings in shallow, with little or no travel time to get to the fish. Especially when many of them are being caught on ultralight Fish Doctor ShortSticks and Altum 12 reels spooled with 10# main line and 8# leaders. 

    Yeah, it does take a little longer to land them on ultralight gear, but what a way to battle a souped up spring king!

  • lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, MLE, Fish Cleaning and Rigging Table

    Posted on April 4th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    Cleaning fish onboard is a time saver for my customers and me.

    Making life easy(MLE), as easy as possible has always been a driving force onboard my charter boat, the Fish Doctor.  MLE saves time, money, and most importantly, energy.

    Energy  conservation is a major issue when a captain is fishing solo with no mate, doing many doubles during the season from daylight to near dusk on 150 to 200 trips per season.  Every move is measured.  Every ounce of energy saved is an extra ounce available  for rigging another line, handling another fish, another charter, or coping with another day of high seas.

    Over the years I have learned ways to save energy and time while on the water to become as efficient as possible, and the cleaning board I built on the port transom of my charter boat is near the top of the list.

    It started simply as a cleaning board, built on pedestals about placing the board about8 inches above the gunnel.  The initial objective was fish cleaning on the water after a trip on the way back to the dock.  The purpose, two fold, (1) for the convenience of anglers so they did not have to pay for fish cleaning or wait in line after hours on the water at the fish cleaning station, and, (2) to save time for me between trips or at the end of trips.

    That is exactly what happened, but in addition I use the cleaning table at the port corner of my boat far more for other things than fish cleaning.  The table isperfect for rigging at the back of the boat, changing lures, rigging bait, cutting Sushi strips and more, plus it’s a “leaning post”.

    What an energy saver for me, especially in rough water,  when rigging lines, including the port corner rigger, as well as wire Dipsys, copper, leadcore, and others!  The reason…, being waist high, I can lean against it, helping balance myself.

    Because of the waist high height of the cleaning table, it quickly became the favored station on the boat for fighting fish, again, especially in rough water.  Folks unaccustomed to boats and a bit unsure on their feet in rough water can lean against it to keep their balance while battling trout and salmon.

    Lastly, it’s a tool bench.  A few holes strategically placed at the front corners of the table are perfect for holding pliers, etc., keeping them at my finger tips when I need them at the business end of the boat.  A few screw hooks inderneath and I have a place to hang my billy club, scent bottles, etc.

    When you’re busy on the lake, it’s all about efficiency and energy conservation.  Make your life easier!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, The Two Biggest Ever LOC Derby Kings

    Posted on March 23rd, 2019 admin No comments

     

    This 38 lb. 14 oz. Fish Doctor grand prize winning LOC Derby King pales in comparison to Kolasienski's 42 lb. 11 oz. monster.

    On the evening of Thursday, August 26, Travis Kolasienski was fishing with his dad Ed, friend Steve Williams, and his Uncle, Dick Carey, a 15 year veteran on Lake Ontario.  They were trolling north of  Oswego Harvor in Dick’s boat in 110 feet of water. Fishing was slow until one of the rods fired.  When Ed Kolasienski grabbed the rod and set the hook, he offered to give up his turn to his son.  When travis said, “No than ks Dad, I”m going to catch a bigger one!”, it set the stage for his the biggest fish of his life.

    Just a few minutes after his dad landed a 34 lb. king, a second rod fired.  Travis snatched the rod from the rod holder and set the hook into what felt like a log.  It was a king he’ll never forget.  The 45 minute fight was followed by a 10 minute flat-out boat ride to shore in Dick Carey’s 24-foot Thompson. They arrived at the weigh station just minutes before it closed at 8:00 p.m. 

    Travis still gets excited when he tells the tale.  His big money fish that earned him $20,000 hit hit a monkey puke Oki flasher trailed by a glow green Rhys Davis bait head with a herring strip.  They were trolling it 65 feet down at 2.0 mph with only a ple of other boats nearby.    


    When I asked Travis for advice to would-be LOC Derby winners, he commented, “Whew, it’s not easy!   Fish with someone like my Uncle Dick and my Dad who know what they’re doing.”  He also mentioned that luck plays a big part in it, since they fished the same area off Oswego with the same technique during the 2000 LOC Derby, and caught no derby-size kings. 

     In, 1999, LOC Derby competitition was stiff, to say the least, with well over 6500 entries for 18 days. With the top 10 fish entered all over 40 lbs., and the grand prize winner at 42 lbs.  11 oz., it would take a serious second place king to win the derby’s Salmon Division.  That’s exactly what Gary Lawrence caught.

    Gary fished the Mexico Bay area of Lake Ontario out of Catfish Ck.  On the last Wed. of the derby,  Gary was fishing with Jack Mazzie and Mike Orapello on Jack’s 23’ Bayliner, the “Sandy Lee”.  Because he had been catching his biggest kings in the afternoon for several weeks, he  made a point to be on the water on the evening of Wed., Sept. 1st.   At 6:30 PM, off Nine Mile Point, with only one other boat nearby, Gary hooked and landed his big king on an 11” purple Hot Spot trailed by a plain glow bait head and herring strip.

    Because of an inaccurate digital scale that weighed Gary’s fish at 35 lbs., he almost fileted the big king.  When he decided to have the fish mounted, taxidermist Fran Mosher of Animal Art Taxidermy talked him into entering the fish.  When Gary did, he couldn’t b believe his eyes. The scale read 42 lb. 3 oz. and his king  king became history, rather than just another salmon filet on the table.  His big king missed the $20,000 grand prize by 9 oz!

    These two king salmon are mthe largest ever entered in a LOC Derby.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, EChips in Trolling Flies

    Posted on March 5th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    End of season flies rigged with EChips

    If you’re a Lake Ontario trout and salmon troller one of the things you’ve learned is that little things can make BIG differences!

    This could not be more true of true of trolling flies fished behind flashers and dodgers.  We all know that the color of beads, floaters, and hooks make a huge difference in the effectiveness of a particular fly pattern.  But, let’s take it a step further.

    Step aboard my charter boat and on close inspection of the trolling flies used aboard the Fish Doctor, you’ll see one of the little things that has proven to be major medicine in trout and salmon flies.  We’re talking about EChips.  I’m a firm believer that they improve the effectivenss of any fly pattern used to catch trout and salmon .

    When EChips first arrived on the scene, they were not proven.  Like any other new fishing gear, if it has potential to catch fish, you give it a good try.  The results with ProChip and HotChip flashers were very impressive and these new “electrified” flashers soon proved themselves beyond all doubt.

    Then the next step…, what about EChips in flies?  As soon as single EChips became available I rigged a bunch of my favorite home tied flies and Howie Flies with tournament ties using a combination of beads and EChips.  I then field tested them through the season, fishing them along with my standard flies tied only with beads and floaters.

    After a few trips I could see that the EChips were producing, but in the midst of the busy charter fishing season couldn’t really do a quantitative comparison between  EChip flies and standard flies, even though I could clearly see that some of my hottest flasher/fly combos had EChips in the flies.

    It wasn’t until the end of the season when I was reorganizing gear and stowing flies for the winter that I noticed the difference.  Every single fly rigged with EChips was a warrior, chewed to bits!  Many of my hottest flies during the season were EChip flies. 

    Convincing enough that I now rig every fly I fish with EChips!

  • 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.