John J Gains Line
Aug. 23, 2006
Words do not have the power to relay the true meaning of what goes
on during the course of a morning on the pond. It's like
trying to describe how something tastes, which is better served
thru experience. 8/23/06 started a good week before planning
on the best day we could get away from the shop, cuz
the month of August is our busiest time of the season.
In complete honesty, our trip ceased being fun, when
our 3 rod spread had a almost instant triple with only 2 of us
onboard. Why?...cuz it was lumpy with more surface wind than
waves, and John J's boat has no autopilot. So, trying to maintain
boat control, fight fish, net, take photos, set rods, un-hook fish &
handle the action was more than the
two of us could keep up with!
New for 2007
Whole Bait Heads
Bird vs. the Worm?
Early bird gets the worm...right? Well, in this case the launch
was backed up with a fairly long string of eager crews. All seeking
Salmon well before dawn. John J wisely suggested, "let's
wait in the parking lot and
let the crowd subside, before launching." Time to grab for the donut bag and began
munching on a piece of fried dough (donut) and was totally amazed with this being
mid-week (Wednesday) the sheer number of boats stacked up in line.
Manistee's public launch ramps can accommodate at least 14 boats at a time.
I prefer to fish aboard John J's 23' Four Winns, because it far better
reflects what most of the readers of this website fish from.
Gone are my charter boat days and 11 foot beam with a flat rear deck.
Seeing the challenges the smaller boat angler faces better acquaints me
to before 1983 when I went into charter trade. Dealing with motor boxes
in close quarters areas, working fish towards the net, avoiding an
outdrive let's me see what's needed to make life easier for the
trailer boat angler in sub-28
The 10 inch flashers and
the shorter 2 fly meat rigs came into being after seeing the
difficulties presented by fish on 10 foot diver rods in a 8 foot beam
boats. Cutting the distance from the tip of the diver rod by even
2 feet is a big advantage when it comes time to pull the fish towards
the netting zone.
My vision entering
into the tackle manufacturing business in 2004 was to make a
professional grade product. To best standards in the world and make it
here in the good old USA. Seeing first hand, under battle
conditions in the same size of a
boat most of you fish from leads to constant, ongoing improvement with
our line of tackle.
Our box on 8/23/06
Rigs & Flashers
lbs. of Kings
(both fish 8/23/06)
John J's boat
Capt. Tom's box
Which Way ...is the Right
All fishermen are created
equal before we leave the launch ramp, or dock! It's when we hit
the cleaning table that separates the men from the boys. One of
the reasons I prefer to fish with John J, he knows I'm no big deal, or
blessed with any special magic wand that means instantaneous miraculous limit
catches. John has seen the work that goes into putting a successful
trip together when was my deckhand (1st mate) back in 2002 & 2003, before I left the
Yes, it's work and the work is called, "the process of elimination" to put
the odds in your favor. If I have a leg up on any fisherman, it's
not repeating the same mistakes, over and over again. My view is,
"if I'm gonna
make another mistake,
let's make a brand new one!" That way the same blunders on speed, depth, or areas fished
do not get raised to an art form. No need to keep
whipping on the same old dead
Tip: Making the right decisions depend on having a graph you
can trust is essential. Sonar is the single most important piece
of electronics on your boat, so do not skimp! The a huge difference between knowing fish
there's fish under your boat, or not!
Let the Pole Dancing
By now, we already paid our
cover charge by getting to the ramp early, preparing our own bait and
sizing up the situation. We angled north to avoid the flotilla, setting
up shallow in 60 feet of water, heading slightly northwest. Nary a
fish mark was on the
graph? No boats around us were into fish
either! The time frame was pushing 8am when our first lines began to
"Drats," we made wrong call by going north from the Port of Manistee.
While there's a good piece of structure, known locally as the "shelf."
The best part of this drop-off (45' to plus 250') lays straight out, or south of port. Once you're a mile, or two N of the harbor,
there's a extended long sloping plateau before the deeper water is reached.
The wind was on the build. John J was diligently setting rods. Being only two of us onboard,
I had to stay on the wheel, since we had no autopilot (we were in
lumpy 3 foot seas with plenty of surface breeze). He set the starboard
out-down (long arm rigger) at 60' and got the port rigger in the 50'
range. Now, we had two riggers down and within a short spell ...the
port diver rod was set. Still, nary a tap. The graph was
no-fish-city. Vacant of any fish marks, whatsoever!
"Double Drats" my mind, (or what's left of it) began to think.
call on going north? ...Bad call? ...Shouldn't have went this
way!!! Second guessing and worrisome haunting hindsight became a
clear-cut mental nuisance. Just about the time, I figured we had
our butt kicked and it was gonna be a slow morning. Then I heard the
fast scurry of John's feet pounding from one side of the boat to the
other & heard him
"Fish-On" is a relief word for anglers, no matter what part of the world
Next, another powerful statement was loudly hollered, "FISH, FISH,
get that other fish ...on the port rigger," exclaimed John
J. Pronto, I scooted double time towards the port rigger.
Me on the way to the portside rigger meant leaving the helm. With
port rigger rod dancing, I saw our only diver rod was getting smacked
pretty hard too. Line was wailing against the stout drag at a fast clip! This
was double dilemma, cuz the rigger rod was already in-hand with a fish headed for
Wisconsin at full-tilt boogie. I stowed fish-loaded rigger rod back into a
empty rod holder. My next duty was to get my paws around the
diver rod and deal with that nasty
varmint's bad attitude. The bezerk diver Salmon was still pulling
line against a firm, but well adjusted drag. Soon I gained control
over a duo of angry line-ripping King Salmon by my lonesome while John
J opened up a can of whoop ~ss on his fish.
Two fishermen on 1 boat do not need 3 fish on at one time. Especially
in a non-auto piloted vessel. After a little verbal coaxing, I did
get Johnny J to admit ...I could still move pretty fast for being in early 60s!
Black VMC Hooks
Sticky Sharp with
use of a file!
Double on Kings
one was released!
Great Lakes fishing everything is about presentation. Get it
right and you'll box out early. Get it wrong, ...well, it's gonna be a
very, very long
day. Sight, sound and scent all combined
in one neat package is the tackle system I offer to the world.
Matching your colors can not
be overstated. Give me one, or two working colors? ...Game Over!
We're not trying to confuse the fish, just catch them. It's better
to use an uncomplicated coordinated attack. Matching the same
colors on your divers, as what's on your riggers (per same side) works. Simple
judgment dictates, "this will fine tune your program!"
BTIs on the divers/lead core, 12" inch Reel Flashers (on the
riggers), paired with identical meat
rigs will put the odds in your favor from what was proven beyond a doubt
in 2006. If a fish is on the scent trail of a meal and spooks from a
rigger rod, this fish gets another good, long hard look at dinner in a
duplicated color on your diver. Or, if a fish hits a diver with a certain color, the same
color will work on a rigger. You don't have to be a rocket scientist
to figure the basic logic applied here!
All the hits we had
came just 2 patterns/colors we had on our small paired-up 4 rod spread. Simply put, the
port rigger had the 12"
with matching 3 fly meat rig. The port diver was
pulling the Green Bubble
BTI twosome in the same color in a 2 fly meat rig.
Our starboard set was the Blue Bubble
matching color in a 3 fly meat rig on the right-side
rigger. The starboard diver was towing a 10" BTI Blue
Bubble in a counterpart 2 fly meat rig. These two colors teamed up, working in
conjunction with each other makes for one helluva deadly presentation.
Try a straightforward bi-chromatic program (just 2 colors) in 2007.
You'll be happy you did!
This needs to be said, both the blue and green bubbles produced
equal fish output. Believe it, ...or not!
Salmon Weapons And Tactics
What was used? What were the
colors? How about depth and speed? Where was the temp break? What was the best
trolling direction? These are the normal probing questions all fishermen
have a right to ask.
The fish have a silent voice that tells you the whole story on how
to catch them, but it's laid out in a series of brain teasing clues.
Put the pieces of the puzzle together and you're all set. Miss
a piece, or two of the jig-saw puzzle? ...it's a trip back to square
one, with random and unsatisfying scattershot results.
Spread: 2 riggers & 2 divers (4 rods)
Speed: 1.5 to
Depths targeted: 50 to 60 feet down to start, then moved
down to 70 to 80 feet depths
Depth: started in 50 to 60 foot, found best
action in 80 to 140 depths
Trolling Direction: South troll into a head sea was
best by a 40% margin
Count: Took 8 fish, released one, came in with 6 Kings
and a Jack Coho
Frame with Lines in the Water: 8am to 10am
Colors Used on Riggers: Green Bubble & Blue
Bubble, 12" models w/matching 3 fly meat rigs
Used on Divers: Green Bubble & Blue Bubble 10"
BTIs w/matching 2 fly meat rigs on 5 foot leaders from the diver
(snubber not included). Matched each side to what was on the
Diver Settings: Dialed on 2, regular
dipsys on wire line outfits, 5' leader from diver.
Used: Whole herring with 3 special 2007 prototype
heads (Super Magnum Heads) and 1 Magnum Meat Head for a fair baseline
Missed fish: more than I'd admit
to! Prior to this trip we were like, 18 for 21 in the
previous 3 outings. Missing fish has reasons that generally
can be cured by sharp hooks and good rigger releases. Later
August Salmon are always harder to get a hook into. As the
Kings mature, and turn into river spawners, they get a tougher hide
and get a much harder mouth. Factoring in, the more mature
Salmon (especially males) will be developing a kipe, or hooked
jaw. Making for a fish that can not even clamp it's mouth
of Whole Herring Used: Both Green and Red Labels sizes
I purposely closed this article out with the bi-chromatic (2
colors) tackle we used.
Why? Part of the answer is when we're fishing, seldom, ...a
thought is given to who designed and makes the tackle in the
water. My intensity level is solely directed at one thing, trying to establish a pattern that will help catch the next
fish! I forget about being a tackle manufacturer on the
here for the "Whole Herring" Story on the 2007 Super Magnum Heads
Completed 9/15/06, re-formatted on
By Capt. John King
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