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MORE BOTTOM BOUNCING TIPS

Bouncing – A Little Trick
RR-Slip-Bouncer-CardAs the water temperatures rise to (some of the highest levels of the year) the fish’s metabolism is really mounting and they will chase baits to a much greater degree than any other time. At this time you can really slam some nice fish and do it quickly. Add two 2 ounce bouncers and run a willow leaf blade. Here we are not going to worry too much about following contour but more relevantly described as being in a depth range. The reason fish are occupying more of the water column is because the temperature is more equally distributed. Some will be deep, some shallow and some in between.  Run this method in about ten feet of water. You are probably wondering about why so much weight, because you’re going to crank up the speed.   Remember that speed and weight determine line angle. We want to be able to feel the bottom and we don’t want to get hung up by having too much line angle. The fish will really hit on this type of presentation and you can nail some real beauties too.  Speed or the lack of it can provoke strikes.   In the summer, fast is better as a rule. The key here is speed, being relatively shallow (especially in stained water), and not worrying about the exact depth. You will be amazed on the amount of territory you can cover working your bouncer like this.

Bouncing – Another Trick
Target the fish that have laterally suspended off a hump. A fish has two choices when moving off a hump, move down or move out.   Most move out, rather than down. However most fisherman move down that could prove unproductive. This is regarding the deep water humps, something in the 20′ range for example. Anyway, when you are bouncing a hump or a shoreline and you come to the end or the drop off to deep water, just hold your bouncer at the same level you did when bouncing the hump and tool around out over deep water. You will be amazed at the fish you will catch suspended, they usually run fairly good size and hit like a ton of bricks. So just run right off the edge and hold the bouncer at the same level as the hump. Make a figure eight type of maneuver with your boat, and then go back on the hump and repeat. It is good to mark the edge of the drop off with a marker.


Bouncing – In the Spring
northland-fishing-a-bottom-bouncerSpringtime is a time of change from hard water to cold water to warmer water. At first when the water is very cold, just after ice out, the fish are deep because it is warmer and more consistent. However, as water warms as opener arrives, the eyes have moved shallow to eat, spawn, rest, and eat again.   Now in the early morning as the water has been cooling, they may be a little deeper, but as the sun warms it up they will be shallower.   What is shallow, this would be around ten feet to as little as six inches. Using bottom bouncers in the spring, it was the best way to find constantly moving fish.

Fish will hold to a spot as long as there is food. However, once that diminishes, they are on the move again. The best way to find them quickly is to pull a bouncer. Use Colorado’s (medium to small) for this. For weight, something in the 1 oz range works nice. Fish the flats and points and hit the bays, the shorelines between bays and key on fish holding spots. The main shorelines are the ticket as the off shore humps are not going yet. That happens a little later on. Once fish are found, you can crank them or jig them or just keep bouncing. This works so much better than randomly checking areas with a jig which is way just slow.   Use live bait the rest of the season as well. However, live bait is a personal preference and we don’t discount the successes of artificial baits. They all can work well. Leeches can be iffy in the early spring because they have a tendency to curl and a little trick is to step on them to make them run straight in the cold water. Minnows are great, use one hook snell’s with a stinger (if needed).

Late spring in Canada is June, which is summer in the lower 48 states. However, it still can be brisk up Ontario. Fish start along the shorelines and move to the center of the lake as the water warms up. So the first humps to get action are the ones closest to the main shorelines. Check these as the shoreline action begins to tail off. The water should be in the mid sixty degree range and the walleye will really be turned on.

Bouncing In the Summer
As the water warms up even more, and the water temp becomes more equal from surface down into the depths, the fish have more options for food and comfort, and safety of course. It is this time of year that the fish have moved to their summer haunts. The majority have now moved from the main lake shorelines and utilizing the off shore humps, flats and island shorelines. However, a few will still be along the main lake shorelines and bays.  Find the 20+ depths to be quite important at this time of year. Not to say that some won’t be shallower, but the bulk of the population will be deeper most of the time. However, it depends on the forage base. Walleye will be feeding on whatever is easiest, so if they are keying on shallow bait fish, then they will be 222Page2_GregHargraves_pitch-361x430shallow.  However, this is more of an exception then a rule.  Some years, a shallow bite will be stronger than other years, and some years it seems that they are all shallow. You can actually site fish them with cranks or light jigs. But once again, this is the exception. Work the main lake shorelines and off shore islands. Especially the ones with round rock about basketball size as opposed to hard granite shorelines. These round rock shorelines give the forage places to hide and the eyes are there –  looking for them. With a bouncer, you can quickly cover ground and locate the active fish. Then work that area. Speed can be increased as the fish are now willing to chase a bait, and it will trigger inactive fish in many cases. Speed will be more productive than going slow. Slow is for early season and late fall.

Flats – the Walleye Secret Structure
One of the most common areas that are almost completely overlooked by anglers are flats. One of the best spots can be a long flat surrounded by deep water. Sometimes they appear to be featureless, yet from the beginning of summer until fall, these spot hold an abundance of walleye. As an example check for islands that hold a lot of gulls.

Anyway spots like that can be very productive. There is almost always fish on them. Flats are never totally devoid of structure, they just look that way. But there are little depressions, troughs, a boulder here and there, maybe a clump of weeds. Usually soft bottom, they also hold all kinds of bugs and worms which the eyes will root out. Flats are easy to find, they are the areas on the map where the break lines are spread quite a bit a part as compared to the sharp breaks where the break lines are close together. Ideally fish flats in the 15-20 foot range. Once you find one of these flats, it is almost certain that you will have it all to yourself.

Now, how is a jig guy going to cover a flat?  He’s not. You might think that some anglers over doing the bottom bouncer presentation.   You are right, it’s the best search tool for walleye.  However, jigs, spinner rigs, and cranks all play apart in obtaining the best success. There is a time for each and fisherman who only fishes on way is only playing with half the cards and will be consistently out fished by a versatile angler who uses all methods.

 

Bouncing – When doesn’t it Work
Bottom bouncing will not work well when you are fishing very shallow or need a horizontal presentation. You are better off fishing with jigs or crank baits in those circumstances. Jigging can work better when the fish are tightly grouped on a piece of structure, like an inside turn for example. Of course, the bouncer is probably what found them for you to begin with. Bouncing is not the way to go on very small humps, however very small humps don’t hold many fish anyhow.

 
One might say that bouncing is about as exciting as watching ice melt. However, catching fish is very exciting and bouncing allows for catching.   It was very rewarding and makes a remarkable difference to any fishing trip.  Remember to be versatile, keep it simple, and have fun!

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Keeps away flies, wasps …

Zip Lock Baggies………..who knew?

We went to a restaurant and sat in the patio section. We happened to notice zip lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with… …water, each contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we were curious! The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again. And there were no flies in the eating area!

repellent
Below are comments on this fly control idea. I’m now a believer!

Zip-lock water bags: #1 Says: I tried the zip lock bag and pennies this weekend. I have a horse trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping. I put the baggies with pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer.The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but it does!

#2 Says:Fill a zip lock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away. Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and are threatened.

#3 Says:I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and basement. We saw these in Northeast Mo. at an Amish grocery store& have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection& won’t come around.

#4 Says:Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much perceived action. I moved to a rural area and thought these “hillbillies” were just yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn’t hang around long.

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Spring & Summer Mayfly Hatch

walleye teeth 2Take a close look at a walleye’s mouth and its teeth tell the story – they have evolved to feed on fish. Yet, walleye don’t survive on fish alone. Ever the opportunists, these marble-eyed predators will snatch up meals whenever they get the chance, and there are few underwater appetizers as easy for them to eat as may fly nymphs.

Mayfly nymphs are more than simple snacks for walleye. They’re a main component in walleye diets at certain times of the year. In the spring, gluttonous post-spawn walleye will cruise soft-bottom areas feeding on nymphs and in the summer walleye will target emerging nymphs during a hatch. To effectively catch walleye feeding on nymphs, anglers need to understand the predator-prey relationship between these two species. This includes where to locate nymph-eating ‘eyes and downsizing lures to imitate these immature may fly morsels.

The life cycle of mayflies is;  egg to nymph, followed by nymph to adult. A may fly spends the majority of its life nymphas a nymph, also called larva. Classified as benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates, nymphs crawl along the bottom, hiding in debris and vegetation while some create burrows. Flats and bays with soft mud or silt bottoms are prime nymph habitat. Some nymphs live in deep water, but most stay shallow to soak up sun which is crucial for their growth.

In spring, maturing nymphs become active as they prepare to emerge from the water. Once conditions are right, mature nymphs swim to the surface or crawl on land, shedding their casings and molting into winged adults. As adults their lifespan is relatively short, with their sole purpose to mate before dying. As with any migration in nature, increased activity and concentrated numbers of organisms will attract predators. The mayfly-walleye relationship is no different.

may_fly_life_cycle

“Primarily the time of year when a fish like walleye zeros in on may fly nymphs is the early to late spring period when the organisms are emerging from the mud in fairly concentrated areas, especially the types that burrow into the substrate,” says the experts.

Given their post-spawn predisposition to binge-feeding, catching walleye targeting may fly nymphs can be easy – if you know where to look. The first step is finding soft-bottomed flats comprised of mud, sand and silt that hold may fly nymphs. Some sonars display soft-bottom areas as a thin line as mud or silt absorbs and scatters the sonar’s signals.

Once you’ve found some soft-bottom areas, fish those that are close to spawning areas first, as these spots are natural transition zones and resting points for recovering fish. Also consider the light preferences of walleye. Shaded flats or ones containing weeds and wood will hold walleye better than ones in sunlight and void of cover.

3fbabdf5_hooksSmall 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jigs in both dark and light colors can be deadly when walleye feed on nymphs during early spring. Try to make jigs mimic a nymph’s erratic movements during the retrieve. If casting, slowly crawl or subtly hop it along bottom. If vertical jigging, thump the jig in place to kick up debris. This tactic appeals to a walleye’s curiosity and can trigger hits.

Walleye often suck-in nymphs and hits can be subtle. Stay focused on watching your line for the slightest twitch indicating that a walleye has sucked in your bait. You need to set the hook immediately or the fish will blow the bait back out. You will often find that tipping the jig with a small piece of worm will entice more bites and gives you more time to set the hook, as the fish hangs on to the jig a little longer. A rod with a sensitive tip and low-stretch line will also help you detect hits.

If fishing slows, a slip bobber and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or leech can tease out a few hits. “After you cast out, let the jig and float settle for a few seconds and then slowly pull or reel in approximately three to four feet of line, then pause again.” Continue this style of retrieve until you have covered the area.

During spring feeding binges walleye are not as selective on baits matching-the-hatch as they in the summer. When spring fishing this season pay attention to water surface activity and look for isolated hatches. If near post-spawn staging areas, these spots might serve as feeding zones for recovering walleye. Fish them with jigs or slip bobbers and live bait.

In the summer, the early stages of a may fly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.

Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. “The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging may fly nymphs,” experts say. Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.  “During the may fly hatch, I find that walleye are generally up shallower. I have caught walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.” When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes. Walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats!
netting walleye

Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. Buck tail or marabou jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Dead sticking a buck tail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, ago-to bait is a buck tail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats he fishes, Evans aggressively jigs these baits. “This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the buck tail a life like appearance,” he notes.

To fish hatches,   starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve. It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key. If these baits do not produce,  switch over to jigs. Swim jigs and  scale down to using two to three-inch grubs with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads. Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a may fly rig.

A more subtle variation of the may fly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of worm, anywhere from an half to two inches in size.


Dragging may fly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable may fly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning may fly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Fishing, Mayfly, Walleye Fishing

 

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DEEP WATER WALLEYE FISHING

When you catch a big Walleye, big meaning over 6-pounds, there is a 95% chance that it’s a female. The big females generally only go into the shallows in the spring where they are up along the shore, in rivers or over sandbars, which are their favorite places to spawn. The smaller males seem to stay in the 2 to 15 foot range all year. The bigger females tend to go deeper then 15 feet. When fishing deep for big mid-summer Walleye fish between 20 and 40 feet deep.

Why do the big females go deep? There are several explanations depending on the size of the lake and how far north the lake is.

1) Bigger females have a larger air bladder, which makes them hyper sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure. Being deeper makes the adjustment a little easier when the weather changes.LOTM-rapala-ice-jig

2) Bigger females spend too much energy chasing small bait fish that are found in shallow water. The bigger bait fish that are found is shallow water like perch etc., are hard to swallow as they have defensive spins in their fins. Lake Chub, Whitefish, Lake Herring  are all found in abundance down deep AND this food source is abundant in Wawang Lake. They are easier to swallow and more rewarding when considering the amount of energy needed to catch them. These deep water bait fish, especially Whitefish, have more oil in their meat thus more calories.

3) A walleye metabolism speeds up in shallow warm water. As a result, the bigger they get, the more food they need to maintain their weight. If the food is not there, they go to deeper cold water so their metabolism slows down. The dangerous thing about this is there is a fine threshold between eating more or conserving energy. If a big Walleye gets to the point where they can not find enough food to maintain their weight, they do get smaller, then they die. As soon as a Walleye gets to the point where they are starting to weaken from lack of food energy, they do not have the energy to catch bait fish and starve to death.

4) In smaller northern lakes, there is a larger population of Pike regularly attack walleye and bigger slower moving females are an easy target. This is another reason why they go deep right after they spawn.

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Some Types of Lures to Use on the Big Lake:

When you are Walleye fishing on big water like Wawang Lake, the walleye tend to stay suspended along with the schools of bait fish. Lets say you were on a big  part of the lake, , the best thing to do is troll until you come across a deeper school of bait fish and then keep trolling over the bait school.

These schools of bait-fish can be 15 to 40 feet deep and the walleye will be there too. The most popular lures are the Rapala Husky Jerks and the Rattlin’ Fat
Raps.
–> 10 to 20 feet deep – Regular Husky Jerks
–> 20 to 40 feet deep – Down Deep Husky Jerk or Down Deep Rattlin’ Fat Rap
 

Just troll around and use your depth finder to spot schools of fish. To determine how deep you are, the Regular Husky Jerks go down about 1 foot for every 10 feet of line out. The Down Deep Rapalas go down about 3 feet for every 10 feet of line out. So using a Down Deep Rapala, getting down 30 feet deep means you need 100 feet of line out. This is just a general estimate. The speed of your troll will affect how deep the lures will go.

3-Way Swivel Rig:

 The best way to fish down deep for Walleye is with 10-pound test line and a 3-way swivel rig. This technique is also excellent for other fish that are right on bottom in the 20 to 60-feet of water.

You need 8 to 10 pound test because thicker line has too much friction with the water and it will be hard to find the bottom. You also need a 1-oz or 2-oz weight, a 3-way swivel and a lure that does not sink. Use an Original floating Rapala, Junior Thunderstick, Countdown Rapala or a worm harness with small spinner blades and a big fat worm. 

This rig is smaller than the standard type; You need a 3-foot lead line from the 3-way swivel to the sinker. Then you need a 5 or 6-foot lead line to your lure.  Get a strait slow troll going and slowly let out line until your sinker hits the bottom. Then reel up a foot and wait.. Keep those lines tight!

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Boat Trailering Tips

Here is a short video with some helpful tips and reminders so that you will get to your destination safely so that you can enjoy your fishing vacation without worry.

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Fishing Techniques

Bait Casting
Bait casting is a style of fishing that relies on the weight of the lure to extend the line into the target area. Bait casting involves a revolving-spool fishing reel (or “free spool”) mounted on the topside of the rod. Bait casting is definitely an acquired skill. Once you get the hang of the technique (check out the casting animation), you will be casting your lures right on target into the structures where fish are feeding and hanging out.

Bait Casting

With bait casting, you can use larger lures (1/2 to 3/4) and cast them for longer distances. To get started, you’ll need a rod with good spring action, a good quality anti-backlash reel, 10 to 15 pound test line and a variety of specific bait casting lures.

Spin Casting
We won’t say it’s foolproof, but spin casting is an ideal fishing method for beginning anglers. Spin-casting equipment is easier to use than bait casting. You can use it to cast both light and heavy lures without tangling or breaking your fishing line. Basic equipment includes a 7-foot rod, a spinning reel and 6 to 10 pound test line for casting 1/16 to 3/4 ounce lures. You can use an open-face, closed-face or spin-cast reel for spin casting.
Spin Casting
Trolling
Trolling is done using a small electric motor that moves the boat quietly through the water so fish aren’t spooked. But you can also troll by towing a lure while walking along the edge of a shoreline, bridge or pier. The speed of the boat determines the depth of your bait. And the depth of the bait is determined by the species of fish you’re trying to catch. Use a spinning reel or a bait caster for trolling. Some states don’t allow motorized trolling, so check out your local fishing regulations to avoid tangling with the fish enforcers.
Trolling
Still Fishing
Still fishing is a versatile way to go. You can still fish from a pier, a bridge, an anchored boat or from shore. You can still fish on the bottom or off the bottom in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams for a variety of species. And you can still fish during most seasons and during any part of the day. Your equipment and the size of the hooks and bait you use depends on what kind of fish you’re after. But your best equipment for still fishing is patience. You have to wait for the fish to bite.
Still Fishing
Drift Fishing
Drift fishing allows you to fish over a variety of habitats as your boat drifts with the currents or wind movement. You can drift fish on the bottom or change the depth with a bobber or float. Natural baits work best. But jigs, lures and artificial flies will produce good results, too. You can drift fish on ponds, lakes, rivers and streams any time of the day and year.
Drift Fishing
Live Lining
Your fishing line is “live” when your boat is anchored in a flowing body of water like a river or stream. Use live or prepared fishing bait and keep it on or just off the bottom. Live lining off the bottom allows your line to drift with the current through holes and rocks where the fish may be holding. Your equipment and the size of your fishing hooks and lures depend on what type of fish you’re after.
Live Lining

Chumming
To attract fish or get them biting again, you can throw “chum” into the water where you’re fishing. You can use ground-up bait fish, canned sweet corn, dead minnows in a coffee can for ice fishing, pet food, even breakfast cereal. Or stir up some natural chum by scraping the bottom with a boat oar. Be sure not to over-chum. You want to get them interested in feeding; you do not want to stuff them before they get a chance to go after your hook. Chumming is not legal in all states. Check local fishing fishing regulations to make sure you are not illegally stimulating the hunger of your future catch.
Chumming
Bottom Bouncing
Bottom Bouncing is done from a drifting or trolling boat, and it’s a great way to attract or locate fish during most seasons and times of day. Use a buck tail jig or natural bait and drag it along the bottom. The dragging motion causes the lure to bounce along stirring up small clouds of sand or mud. After a few strikes with bottom bouncing, you can drop anchor and apply other methods to hook the particular kind of species you’ve attracted.
Bottom Bouncing

 
Vertical Jigging
Jig fishing is popular and challenging. Why? Because the person fishing is creating the action that attracts, or doesn’t attract, the particular type of fish he or she is trying to catch. Here’s how it works. Cast out and let your jig hook sink to the bottom. Then use your rod tip to raise the bait about a foot off the bottom. Then let it drop back to the bottom. You can jig up and down, side to side or up and down and sideways. Jig rigs come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and can be used with or without live fishing bait.
Vertical Jigging

Jig & Live Bait (minnow, leech or worm)
Attach the live bait to your jig hook and use it to bottom hop or sweep through your target area. To bottom hop, cast to the target and let the jig sink. Then reel in slowly, twitching the rod with every third or fourth turn of your reel. To sweep, cast to the target and drag the jig parallel to the bottom while reeling with a fairly tight line. Slow and steady gets the fish when you’re sweeping with a jig and live bait.
Jig & Live Bait

Surface Poppers
There’s nothing quite like the sudden, exciting rush of a fish rising to the surface and exploding onto your lure. Surface poppers are a style of top-water fishing bait that get their action from a cupped face carved or molded into the front of the lure body. Cast your popper out to the target area and let it settle briefly. By taking in small amounts of line slowly, the cupped face “pops” along the surface, imitating the action of prey, such as small insects, small frogs or even a small injured fish. To increase your chances of landing your catch, resist the urge to set the hook immediately when the fish strikes – let it take the popper under the water first – then set your hook firmly.

Using Spoons
Spoons are among the most popular lures and are easy to use. Some are thin and light, some are thick and heavy. And different spoons have different actions. How and where you’re fishing will determine how to use them.

Casting spoons: The basic technique is to cast it out and reel it back. A steady retrieve is usually best. If fish are curious but not striking, try slight variations in the speed or direction of your spoon.

Trolling spoons: Thinner and lighter than casting spoons so they can be trolled slowly. Typically used with depth control rig for open water species like trout, salmon or walleye. Can also be tied onto a rig with a diving crankbait and trolled on a long line to go after species near the bottom.

Topwater/Weedless spoons: Great for predators like bass, musky and pike that tend to hide in thick underwater cover. Cast over the cover, start retrieving and reel just fast enough to keep the lure on the surface.

Jigging spoons: Great for predators typically found on deep structure. Let the spoon freefall down. When it hits bottom, take up slack line until the rod tip is a foot above the water, then work the spoon with short jerks up and down. Usually, strikes occur when the spoon is falling, so be ready.

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Prepare Your Boat For The Upcoming Season

Boats

There seems to be a direct correlation between melting snow and the increasing need for anglers to get on the water. Just consider how many countless hours you, or your friends, have spent sharpening hooks, organizing and reorganizing your tackle box, and the cash you spend on pre-season shopping for supplies.

But here’s a question: how many of you take the time to properly prepare your boat for the upcoming season? There’s no better place to invest your anxious energy than boat and trailer tune-ups and tinkering. Here’s a list of some things you should do before you hit the water this season.

new%20boat_preview

Get The Engine Running
If you didn’t get your engine winterized, you’ll want to do the annual maintenance in the spring, such as: changing the oil and filters, lubricating parts, and cleaning spark plugs. If you winterized your boat, some shops will include a spring start-up in their package to ensure all is working well after the winter. Hooking up a hose to a pair of “ear muffs” or using other flushing kits will allow you to start your engine on land — always a good move before the first outing.

Check Hoses And Connections
You’ll want to check all the hoses and connections from your gas tank to your engine. Have any of the tubes cracked over the winter? Are there any signs of wear and tear visible on tubes or the gas tank? If so, replace worn parts at the beginning of the season. Don’t forget to add new gas to that tank, too, fuel stabilizers will keep gas uniform over the winter, but you want fresh gas running through the engine as soon as possible.

16lund1

1The Blessed Battery
Batteries are a crucial component in boats today. They power fish finders, trolling motors, lights, livewells, and the list goes on. Many guys will have both a cranking and a deep cycle battery in their boats. The cranking is strictly for starting the outboard; the deep cycle is for electronics. Both types of batteries should be charged differently, but charge them fully before your first run on the water. This is also a good time to clean grimy battery terminals with a wire, battery brush.

Working On Wires
A battery is useless without a network of wires to transport its energy to the gadgets on your boat. Check all the wiring in your boat, looking for kinks and cracks in the wiring, replacing sections of wiring if necessary. Tighten any loose connections and replace any year-old electrical tape with new product to ensure the seal will last the season. While inspecting your wiring, also consider tucking some of it away to tidy your boat. There are a variety of products available in the electrical section of hardware stores, such as plastic tie-downs, that will help you organize your boat’s wiring.

Safety Kit
You should already have the appropriate safety gear and equipment to comply with the boating regulations for the vessel you operate. Check this equipment at the beginning of the season and add supplies. This includes replenishing supplies from your First Aid kit that might have been used up over the summer. Replace weak batteries with fresh ones. Ensure you have spares for some basic boat equipment (such as fuses and spark plugs). Also return any items to your boat that you may have removed during winter storage, such as anchors or a tool kit.

2

Inspecting trailer tires for wear and tear, greasing bearings, and adding air to the recommended pressure levels are three key steps for spring trailer-tune up. Getting a cover for your bearings doesn’t hurt either and will keep tires grease-free.

Trailer Tune-Up
Don’t forget to check your trailer at the beginning of spring. Start by inspecting your tires, looking for adequate treads and ensure there are no cracks or bulges on the sides. Replace worn tires (if necessary) and add the proper air pressure before any outings. You’ll also want to replenish grease levels and repack your bearings if needed. Next, ensure all the lights are operating properly and check the wiring. Finally, inspect the winch and straps, tightening any loose nuts and bolts, but also checking the strap for signs of wear and tear, replacing if needed. This is important; the last thing you want is the strap snapping when you’re cranking your boat onto your trailer.

Tuning and tightening up your boat as you wait for season-opener is a smart investment of your time. It keeps your boat in good shape, but it’s also an opportunity to spot any potential hazards before they become major problems. Don’t get sidelined this season with boat problems that could have been prevented with a little spring tune-up.

Stay safe and have fun on the water this season!

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