Ask The Captain
Iíve heard that trophy walleyes can be taken in the early spring, before
spawning begins. What are the
best lures to use and can you name a few ďhot spotsĒ where I might find
these big fish?
George Jumper Jr. responds:
have found that the really big walleyes (females) come into staging areas just
outside the actual spawning areas real early.
Depending on water temperature, they could come in middle of March to
middle of April. A fisherman has to
watch the ice on the Lake and the water temperature to
when. That and a little luck will
get you on the fish. The best areas
I have found are out in front of the Maumee River,
the big females lay on both sides of the shipping channel and I have
taken some big ones down in the deeper water of the channel itself.
Turtle Creek and the Toussaint River have also provided me with big fish
and lots of males. I Have taken big fish in all three places.
I took two #10'ers in April 99 out in front of Turtle Creek about half
way between A-Can and the Creek. My
best Lures have been Jig Heads with either green or chartreuse skirts, tipped
with a minnow. I also use a ice
jigging Rapala in the two to three inch size.
One other one that has taken a lot of fish for me is the Sonar.
Any of these baits on a given day will catch a lot of walleyes.
of the biggest Walleyes of the season get caught late March and early April in
the Western basin of Lake Erie where these big fish gather to spawn. Vertical
jigging in 20 to 30 ft. of water in proven areas accounts for a lot of big fish
each year. Favorite lures include blade baits which flutter and vibrate when
jigged like a yo-yo on the bottom. Also any heavy jigging spoon which can reach
the bottom. Some of the better ones include Swedish Pimples and Castmasters.
Tipping these spoons with lake shiners works best.
best known areas are just off of Marblehead lighthouse, the deep water just east
of Green Island south to Catawba State Park and any of the deep water drop offs
surrounding the reefs such as Round or Niagara reef.
Gary Hopp Responds:
normally begins as the ice clears from the lake.
Good catchesof the smaller males can be caught throughout the spawning
season with a mixture of the larger females being common.
Under the right weather systems and water conditions, the large (normally
spawed out) females will feed heavily. In
1999, one of the best early spring days was April 2nd.
All large fish were caught and limits were being taken in just a few
best area to fish is the extensive reef system North of the Port Clinton/ Davis
Bessie power plant area. Also, many
large fish are taken North and Northwest of Kelley's Island.
Whatís the best technique for catching smallmouth bass off of the western
basin reefs? Which live and
artificial baits do recommend?
George Jumper Jr. responds:
Small Mouth Bass love soft craws, their favorite food.
But sheepshead love them too, about as much as Small Mouth. So
I don't use them. I have found that
on a windless or light wind day I can drift over the reefs and cast jigs with
tube baits in either chartruse or green. If
the winds kicking up pretty strong, I either put out a sock or anchor off the
side of the reef. Jigs and tube
baits work great for Smallies on the reefs.
I work them on the bottom and just twitch them across the bottom. The Small Mouth will take them right off the bottom, where
the Walleye has to or prefers to get under the bait. So you have to get the baits pretty high off the bottom for
Walleye, but not bass. The Bass
fishing has been excellant on the reefs in the last couple of years.
I have taken quite a few in the #4 and #5 range.
Thats a lot of fun.
Gary Hopp Responds:
Live bait is always a favorite way to "catch" fish.
Smallmouth prefer softshell crayfish, spottail shiners and a shad like
minnow we call bass minnows. Use a
slip sinker setup with a #2 or #4 hook. You
can anchor on spots and bottom fish or drift fish your bait over the spots.
If you like to use artificials, scented tube jigs are probably the
preferred bait, followed by twister tail jigs and crank baits.
Fly rod fisherman are having good success using sinking lines and smaller
flys with large eyes.
hot spots are many. Almost any
point, drop off or reef holds fish. The
area has many old wrecks that also have resident schools. All around Pelee Island, Canada is a favorite area of the
charter captain. In Ohio, fish the
Islands themselves, Kelly Shoal and West reef.
What length leader is best to use off of Dipsy Diverís?
If Iím marking fish near the bottom in 50í of water, how much line
should I let out to get my lure to that depth?
Doug Stein Responds:
The best way to attack these fish is to use Fireline on the 3 setting run 90-110 back. To find fish
this shallow, would be in the spring. I would
be more likely to use a 8ft flourocarbon leader at 14# test.
The most productive is to
use planner boards with3oz. of weght 150 ft back with stick baits or worm
harnesses in the copper color.
Gary Hopp Responds:
I use 8 and 8 1/2 foot rods and I set my leaders to be 8-12 feet from the
end of the dipsy diver. This allows
the lure to work properly and yet allows the angler to easily put away the whole
assembly when your done fishing. Spoons
seem to produce more fish than other lures.
Normally, each side of the boat will have 3 dipsy rods staggered at 60
feet, 50 feet and 40 feet out. Over
the top of these rods, we set lures off planer boards at 110 feet, 100 feet and
90 feet. This prevents tangles and
still gets up to 12 lines in the water. Most
of our Island area waters are 35 feet, or less, in depth.
With the above setup, we don't drag the bottom and cover fish all
suspended depths. To reach 50 feet,
you would have to let out about 120 feet of line to hit bottom with a small
spoon while trolling.
our charter boat in the summer we use a 17lb. test mono leader,about 6 to 8 ft.
behind the Dipsy. As far as getting
to the bottom in 50 ft., there is a lot of variables such as trolling speed,
Dipsy setting and type and test of the line your using.
We use on our boat 30 lb. test non stretch lines such as Berkley Gorilla
braid or Cabela's Ripcord. Speeds most of the time are somewhere from 1.8 to 2.2
mph. Using a 2 1/2 setting, 125 to
150 ft. will get you down close.
Eric Walline responds:
depth that a Dipsy Diver runs is related to several factors including boat
speed, line diameter , type of line ( wire, mono, braided, etc. ), the setting
on the diver and water temperature. A ball park rule of thumb is that a diver
with a ring will run about 1/3 of the depth of the line that is out. For
example, 75 feet of line = approximately 25 feet of depth. However, the ratio of
running depth to line out is not constant due to the increase in drag that
occurs when additional line is let out and also because of the denser water
present in deeper water. In situations where you want to be near the
bottom to make a precise presentation, it is often desirable to let the Dipsy
out until it lightly scrubs the bottom and then bring in some line to put the
bait somewhat above the fish that have been marked on the graph. Another diver
tactic is to periodically let out more line until a productive depth is found.
Then use your line counter reel to replicate your presentation.
The amount of leader behind the Dipsy usually approximates the length of
the rod so that it is possible to bring the fish into the net. However, there
are ways to rig a Dipsy where the
leader length could be any distance you might choose. In this set-up, the diver
is rigged so it will slide back
down the line when released by the strike of the fish. Commercially made "
slide divers " are also now available.
Many people are uncomfortable with Dipsys because they aren't sure where
they are running. The best advice I can give is to experiment until you are
comfortable using them. They catch a lot of fish.
Thank you Captains for responding
to our readerís questions
(440) 293-7249 [email protected]
George Jumper Jr.
Rising Sun Charters
(937) 652-2412 [email protected]
Trophy Hunter Charter Services Inc.
1-888-601-5800 [email protected]
Captain Doug Stein
Dougís Charter Fishing
(716) 774-0077 [email protected]
Captain Eric Walline
Gold Coast Charters
(734) 429-0126 [email protected]