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About Char_Master

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Interests
    Fishing (Trolling, Casting, Fly), Scuba Diving, Fish Tanks, Ichthyology
  • Home Port
    Erie, PA (Lake Erie)
  • Boat Name
    Laker Taker
  1. Wow, those are all awesome, especially the Goby pattern, looks like Laker candy :D. Ever think about making them to sell? For that kind of quality, you could get some good money out of each one.
  2. Anyone know where I can get some nice cast iron cannonballs? I'm conflicted between 10# or 12# balls but thinking 10# should be enough since 75% of the time we're trolling under 2.0mph. Though we are on the bottom or very close for Lakers, so that's still 50-180' down regardless of speed. Just don't want to go launching off the stern in rough water trying to grab a 12# ball that's three feet off the back of the boat haha. Also considered the fish shaped balls but I'd rather just stick to the classic ball with fin for easier storage, and so I don't Jynx anything :). Oh yeah, also I've pretty much decided on the Squall 30-LWLH reels due to their high line capacity (455/25#), low gear ratio, left hand retrieve, and nice aesthetics.
  3. Appreciate the input, everyone! Still haven't decided yet, but I'll have the reels before the season starts in April. Although actually, looking further into this, I'm now between four reels! Anyone have experience with the newer Daiwa Sealines? They don't seem to have quite the bells and whistles of the saltists (though almost anything would be an upgrade from the current cabela's reels ), but I believe they're lighter in weight and whoever designed them had the brains to put the line counter above the level wind and not sticking out 3" into the angler's forearm! So, if the Sealine is known to be a reliable reel, I'll probably go with one of them due to their lighter weight with decent line capacity and well positioned line counter. If they turn out to be junk in the popular opinion, I'll go with either a levelwind Saltist 50 or Tekota 600 and skip the gigantic LC. Just up in the air with those two whether I want a better drag, a more personally favorable gear ratio, and lighter weight (Tekota); or higher line capacity and a few dollars less (Saltist). The one other reel I'm considering is the Penn Squall Levelwind left-hand 30. And if I'm going to skip an LC on whatever reel I choose, this thing is loaded with features. 455 yards of 25# mono, 20# drag, moderate 4.9:1 gear ratio, about 21 ounce, and $130. The only thing I don't like about this reel is that I handled one in-store a while back and the retrieve felt a bit "plastic", I guess would be the best term for it. However, for all of these other great things, I'm willing to overlook a retrieve that's not silky smooth and no LC as long as the reel doesn't bust on me a couple months in.
  4. Thanks for the quick responses, everyone. So as of now I'm thinking no line counter with whatever reel I go with. Less components to worry about and no LC bashing off my arm when cranking down. Probably going to roll out the Tekota 700 overall simply because it's nearly 30 ounces without line already! Just too heavy for a soft downrigger rod and mono, at least in my opinion. One thing I did notice is that the Saltist 40 and 50 have less than a one ounce difference in weight while the 50 can hold at least an additional 50 yards of 25# mono, so if I do decide on the Saltist, the 50 seems like the more obvious choice, unless it's a lot larger of a frame than the 40? That all said, it's probably down to either the Tekota 600 or Saltist 50, no linecounter either way. On one hand, I know the Tekotas are reliable and strong and a high gear ratio isn't really necessary for the slow and steady powerhouse species I like to target the most, but on the other hand, an extra seven ounces in reel weight with the Saltist nearly doubles my line capacity on a reel that I've heard no complaints about, though the faster gears, one of the major features, aren't important to me (wont hurt either).
  5. Advice on New Downriggers Setups Hey guys, looking for some advice on some new downrigger setups. We just started trolling back in 2015 and got a cheaper pair of Downriggers (and downrigger rods/reels) to start out with, they've lasted two seasons along with some nicer Dipsy and board rods we invested in last year, but at this point I'd like to upgrade my gear. As for the actual riggers, we decided on a pair of Cannon Uni Troll STX 10s with standard steel cable. Probably going to pick up a pair of 10# cast iron cannonballs to go with them. Anyone else use iron balls? They seem more reflective to me and thus might attract a few more fish here and there, we also just like to avoid lead as much as possible when fishing. For the rods, our original ones are actually still in pretty good shape and have worked excellent so far (Cabela's Depthmaster medium 8'6" downrigger rods), the guides are getting a bit worn, but nothing too bad, and the rod is perfect otherwise. I am open to suggestions though if someone knows of a great medium power downrigger rod in the 8'6"-9'0" range for under $80. We do, however, need to get a new pair of reels (currently using the ones that came with the Cabela's rods), they're both getting very worn overall, especially the drag, and the one about had the gears melted off last August when a big Atlantic decided to run 600' of line at light speed haha. For the replacement reels, I'm trying to decide between two series as of now, Shimano Tekotas or Daiwa Saltists. We're running Tekota 600-LCs on our wire diver rods now and they're great, tons of power with a superb drag and 1,000' of wire on each. My only complaint is I'm not a big fan of line counter reels with the counter going way out on the side of the reel, gets annoying bashing off your wrist when you reel down on a fish, but other than that they're the perfect reels. It seems that the Daiwa Saltist linecounters have the counter off to the side as well, so at this point I'm considering just skipping the LC all together and just going for a standard Levelwind of whichever I choose. An LC is nice to see how far back the fish is but not really necessary for a downrigger setup. Thoughts? Anyway, back to the main features of the reels, I like the Tekotas since I can attest to their strength and durability as well as their decent line capacity. The Saltists seems nice because they have ridiculous line capacity at an equivalent model size and are a few bucks cheaper, I've heard them praised by Great Lakes anglers as well. The high gear ratio (6.4:1 I believe) seems out of place in a trolling reel though, I typically think 5.0:1 or lower for trolling so it's high power regardless of the retrieve rate. Though, they seem to be quite popular, so those of you who've used them, what are your opinions on them? So, all that said, the reels I'm trying to choose from are the Tekota 600 or 700 and the Saltist 40 or 50. Either with or without linecounters on whichever I choose. Whatever I go with, I'm thinking 25# big game mono for the line, mainly fishing eastern Lake Erie with a few trips every year up to western or central Lake Ontario as well. Erie species will be Lake Trout, Steelhead, Pink Salmon, Brown Trout, Drum, White Bass, and Walleye. Ontario for Lake Trout, Steelhead, Atlantics, and Browns primarily, maybe a little Pacific Salmon fishing here and there. Lures they'll be pulling are typical flutter spoons, Dodgers, Flashers, and cowbells anywhere from barely moving up to over 4.0 mph. Thanks for the help, all! -Sean
  6. Similar thing going on in my boat now. We have two rigger rods and two wire diver rods. Ran two 10 color lead rods with inline boards this season but the stiff rod necessary for inline boards and that much inline weight made fighting fish on those rods not nearly as enjoyable. Next season I plan on either adding another two downriggers to get four of them going (since Riggers catch 80% of all our fish) or get a couple of rods for super-heavy snap weights to use as shallow(er) setups off the inline boards. If you're going for leadcore then I'd recommend possibly doing external boards to avoid more weight than necessary on the line when fighting fish.
  7. lol, adult GBL Redfins would probably try to eat the Chinooks haha! Ever read in to what those things eat in that lake with only 4-5 species of fish present? Most of their diet is made up of fully grown Arctic Greyling and Whitefish and the larger individuals will cannibalize on 8-16 pound Lakers like they're appetizers. Maybe that's exactly what the Lake O community would like, a bigger strain of Lake Trout that fight even harder (they are the Kings in my eyes ) and additionally will lessen the population size by eating smaller ones. Although, I can see it now, a 50" Redfin relentlessly chasing schools of 2-3 year old salmon like they were baitfish XD
  8. Snaggers are going to need heavier rods . Now this is getting interesting, Skeena Steelhead, Kenai Chinooks, new Cohos (from anywhere at this point...), Seaforellen Browns (and why not throw in some Ferox strain too), and then for us crazy guys, some Great Bear Lake Redfins!
  9. That's another good theory. I believe almost all of the Salmonid hybrids are sterile, but I could be wrong. Caught a "Pinook" last July in eastern Lake Erie but other than that I haven't personally encountered any hybrids. Wonder how big Skeena chrome would get in the environment of Lake Ontario, certainly it would have to be larger than the domestic "Rainbow" strain Steelhead. Seaforellens would be great too, which, being a deeper strain, would make great bonus fish for guys deep trolling for Steelhead, Chinooks, and Lakers.
  10. Georgian Bay was also, and still is, Lake Huron's largest stronghold of native strain Lake Trout too, so my guess would be that either the forage base and or water conditions in it allow for a multitude of species to thrive. I do have to agree with you here though, at least in Lake Ontario, Chinooks will most likely be around for longer than they will be in the other lakes. Where would you suggest that these funds that Canada is using to restore Atlantic Salmon go instead? Canada is making greater progress with this program over the past several years and as long as efforts are maintained, I predict there will be an Atlantic Salmon fishery (at least in Canadian tributaries) available to anglers within the next 8-15 years. If this fishery does take form, it will likely attract many anglers to it who wish to pursue one of the most revered fish in the world. The reason that so many people flock to NY for Chinooks and Steelhead is because of tradition, it's been a thriving fishery for decades now and so obviously anglers would be attracted to it and want to protect it. A switch from Chinooks to Atlantics, regardless of how gradual, would be a major change in the fishery which is why I think many anglers are hesitant to support it. As far as favoring native species over introduced ones, there's been debates over this for years and there will continue to be. Personally, I feel that humans have the responsibility to protect native species due to all the unnatural damage and changes that we cause in the environment where thousands of other species that can't do anything to protect themselves from these changes also reside. I think that native species have a natural right to exist that humans shouldn't be depriving entire populations of fish of (I'll stop with the philosophy now ). That said, I can also see the social and economic benefits that certain introduced species have as well, so I'm not fully against all introduced/invasive species. Now, speaking from my personal perspective instead of a more scientific one. I'd gladly make the 5.5-6 hour drive to the Salmon River several times in a season if Atlantics were in fishable numbers, and will make it up to troll the lake two or three times a year primarily for Lake Trout (with Steelhead and Browns on the side), but not solely for Chinook Salmon. So obviously someone enjoys and appreciates Lakers and Atlantics . And I have a few friends that think the same way too.
  11. Certainly a possible theory. I'd like to see some new Steelhead stocks as well, from BC populations such as the Skeena River, those would make some magnificent adult fish in the Great Lakes.
  12. Couldn't agree with you more here. It's like that on Erie too in the fall along creek mouths. Whenever I catch Salmonids, trolling of drifting, 10 FOW or 550 FOW, I always take at least 3-5 minutes holding them in the water before the release. Certain species seem tougher than others, Lake Trout are usually trying to drag me in with them within 30-60 seconds whereas steelhead swim away slow but stable after 4-5 minutes or longer, but eventually they all go back down if handled correctly (as in, netted, unhooked in the water, quickly measure length and girth, hold the fish correctly by the caudal peduncle and under the stomach horizontally for some quick pictures, revive, and release). The two biggest detriments to be health of these fish are too long out of the water and improper handling. If you're going to C&R, that is.
  13. Pertaining to Thiamin deficiency or something else?
  14. Fleas too, that's interesting, I'll have to look further in to that. Thank you for more information, I appreciate it! I will say that Chinooks are doing better in Lake Ontario than any of the other Great Lakes, arguably even better than Lake Trout. But if you look to the midwest's upper Great Lakes, things are changing. Lake Michigan's Chinook population is dwindling while Steelhead, Browns, and Lakers are increasing in abundance. In Lake Huron, Chinooks are almost absent with Lake Trout and Atlantic Salmon populations increasing. And in Superior, Chinooks might as well be gone completely, for as often as they're actually caught, instead what is present is almost without a doubt the best native Lake Trout fishery in the United States with small but stable populations of Steelhead, Coho Salmon, and Pink Salmon. Whether Lake Ontario will follow this trend remains to be seen, but this is just what's happening in the upper lakes and what I predict will also occur in the lower ones too.
  15. I'd much rather have it available as forage species, no question about that. However, I don't think it's worth the potential consequences to attempt to gene edit the mussels, which is why I'm saying make the best of our current situation.