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I am a newbie at this but I had a great

trip 8/21 with John Gaulke. Book a charter with him

and you will be way up the learning curve.

He only uses a 10 ft tippet of 12 lb mono

on a baitcasting rod and reel. The bulk of the line

is nonstretch.

We all had multiple strikes that we missed.

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Thanks for the info. i would book with John but to me the fun of fishing is learning it. There are enough guys out there doing it and having success that we shouldn't have to pay even more than we already do for gear, boats etc. to go out and enjoy catching fish that most of us realease fro another day anyway. Sites like this are just for that reason to learn from fellow outdoorsman. Thanks again for the bit of info every little piece of the puzzle helps out and congrats on the great fish I saw your post.

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Thanks for the info. i would book with John but to me the fun of fishing is learning it. There are enough guys out there doing it and having success that we shouldn't have to pay even more than we already do for gear, boats etc. to go out and enjoy catching fish that most of us realease fro another day anyway. Sites like this are just for that reason to learn from fellow outdoorsman. Thanks again for the bit of info every little piece of the puzzle helps out and congrats on the great fish I saw your post.

I guess if we all felt this way a lot of charters would be out of business? Sometimes the knowledge gained by actually experiencing and picking the brain of these experts is well worth the money because of the knowledge you gain. I went out with L. Ontario charter captains years ago and the knowledge I gained by experiencing how to do things and picking their brains was well worth the money spent and much more than someone just telling me how to do it. Experiencing it was the key for me and I believe I am a better fisherman because of it. I'm not saying it is a necessity, and in reality, not everyone can afford it in this economy, but in my opinion it is well worth the price. With that said, what you can learn here is also very valuable. This is a great site with a lot of great people and fisherman (including charter captains) with a vast amount of knowledge who are always willing to help. I got some excellent and valuable information from the members here and appreciate every bit of it :yes:

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No doubt I'm not saying we shouldn't do experience it from the pros but with all the money already invested in boats, gear, tackle etc. it's helps to get tips and info that don't cost you even more dough. I'm sure many of guys on here are hunters and they don't go with a expensive outfitter to learn all the tactics for taking a basket 8 point. Sites like this are for learning from fellow outdoorsman and was my reason for asking advice. Obviously I know if I go out with a paid charter I will learn more but that isn't what i'm lloking for I'm just looking for some tips from guys who have been out there and had good luck. Will I go out with someone at somepoint to get a better understanding, yes, will I do it tomorrow, probably not, I would like to take a few lumps first out of my own boat. That being said I'm looking for simple tips on just line and reel recommendations which help improve success while jigging lakers not your grandmothers secret chocolate chip cookie recipe. Geesh didn't want to start a great debate here I know Charters are hard workers too and its a good thing they are out there passing along their expertise.

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Here is a great artical on Jigging I think this is more of what your looking for, not a lecture on taking a guide!! Enjoy and I hope you learn from it!!

Jigging for Lakers

By Toby Wood (RIP)

I fished Seneca regularly for bass and perch in particular in 2001 and 2002 with my best bud Steve. Most trips we would have at least one or two "encounters" with a Lake Trout especially in the late spring fishing on the edges of the drop-offs with a crank bait. Just like the occasional visit by a toothy critter we took it as nothing more than a "fluke." That all changed on one warmish spring day 2003. I launched my float tube out from Roy's Marina and headed just north to fish for bass and perch. It was a foggy morning so I didn't want to venture far in fear of getting hit by a boat I decided to work some of the deeper drops with some jigs for whatever... I did notice a couple pods of bait crashing on the surface and of course I caste to them. Next thing I know the first cast I made at one before the jig hit the bottom, I had a solid Whack set the hook and I was into a nice laker. Seeing another pod of bait crashing I again caste and once again found myself fighting a nice laker. Then I realized they weren't just under the bait, but they were everywhere. Right of me, left of me and even under me! There were times I dropped the jig right under my feet and hooked up on a laker. That day was unreal and if the fog hadn't dissipated it probably would have been a 100 fish day - from a float tube! So I called up my buddy Steve we went there a couple days later in his boat, unfortunately we didn't land any that I remembered. Didn't matter I was now a lake trout freak and every time I was in a boat I had to try for some Lakers. I was with my buddy Mike Gatley one day out off Belhurst when we were marking some fish in like 40 feet of water so we decided to pull a drift with some jigs and low-and-behold, yup started hitting lakers. This was now two incidents of quality laker action on jigs.

By August of 2003 I was in serious Lake Trout search mode. I was referred by a friend to go check out Sampson where he catches them in the spring sometimes as deep as 70 feet. So one day I ended up down to there and sure enough hooked a couple lakers jigging in 70 feet or so of water. It was tough to get the jig down and feeling when finally was on bottom was even tougher. Remembering how detailed my fish finder was at picking up spoons for example on my downrigger; I tried something on a little guess. Dropping the jig straight off my transom I watched the jig fall, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 thump. Hmm that was easy. Jig, hmmm cool I can still see my jig, so I reeled it up and dropped it down again. 20, 30, 40, 50 and then all the sudden I see this streak, almost a reflection of my jig on the screen but this streak was coming up, so I stopped the fall when the two met and out of instincts set the hook - FISH ON???? What the heck, how awesome was that. So that folks was the beginning.

Through the fall of 2003 I continued to prove the effectiveness of this technique working both deep water flats - up to 100 feet and work some very steep drop offs as well. I had many a good day on the water jigging for lakers, but little did I know what I really undiscovered.

Spring of 2004 brought a certain anxiousness to continue to fine tune this awesome technique. April is about when I started and I consistently caught at least one or two fish every trip with each trip building. Around end of April I decided to head to Owasco and try my luck for the lakers there. I started out having a hard time locating my good laker marks but finally found some around the 100 foot mark. So down goes a 3/4 ouncer and immediately my screen starts lighting up with chasing fish. Wham Wham Wham, I had an absolute blast, landed well over 20 lakers and missed probably twice as many. May, the action really started heating up on Seneca. North end flats starting out as deep as 80 feet seemingly daily the fish would start showing up a little shallower. By end of May they moved up to 45 feet pretty good and unfortunately I never entered the Memorial Day Derby cause that day around 1pm, bright sunlight I landed a 28 inch laker out over 70 feet of water that probably would have won. It was over 10 pounds... Well, next derby was the Red Cross in middle of June and I was sure to enter. My brother and I entered and fished pretty much sunup to sundown, caught a ton of lakers and I managed to land two real nice fish both around 9 1/2 pounds almost back to back around 7:30 Saturday evening. Because the weigh-in was closed we waited until Sunday to weigh the fish in and when tournament was compete I finished with a 4th and 5th place in the Lake Trout division. The two largest lakers caught out of Seneca were mine and most were shocked to even see any on the board at all. From that tournament day on June into even July the action was downright unbelievable! There were days I could count at least 6 fish on my screen chasing my jig and that was in less than 50 feet of water! These fish were so active and aggressive in 50 feet of water sitting on bottom; they would take my 1/2 ounce jig on the vertical fall at 30 feet! I can't tell you how many lakers I caught between May and middle of July. I averaged about 4 trips a week, most of them just 4-5 hour evening trips and I averaged about 20 fish a night, so you can do the math if you'd like. Some nights it was downright pathetic I almost called over some pleasure boaters so they could join in on the fun (but I didn't.)

Well, if you're still reading, you're probably ready to find out how this technique works.

As you read, I'm using my fish finder ALOT. Even though I'm fishing in potentially 100+ feet of water, I'm aware of what my jig is doing at all times and more importantly aware of if I have interested fish or not. So, the first and possibly most important point is you really need a decent fish finder to get the best of this presentation. I'm not talking about going out and spending $1000 on a fish finder, I'm talking maybe 150 to 200. The more pixels you get the better resolution you will get. Mine is a Lowrance X87 which is a 320 X 320 pixel screen. It has a built in zoom function which is equally important fishing for deepwater lakers. Often lakers sitting on bottom in 70+ foot of water are very difficult to see. The zoom allows you to only look at the water column you need to see and picking up on even the most bottom hugging laker. Oh, another important fact is to pick up these subtleties you need to have your screen set to sonar, and not "fish symbols". Many times laker marks will not register as "fish" on the screen because they are so tight to the bottom. The sonar will show a laker at least as a "bump" in the bottom structure. Secondly you need to be aware of your "cone". The cone to which I am referring is the signal sent and received by your transducer. The deeper the water the larger the cone, however also your signal becomes weaker. There's no easy way that I have found yet of determining the reach of your cone but it is very important especially in keeping site of your jig during a drift.

Lures I'm running mostly jigs. Jig heads are mostly just standard round heads (uncolored) sizes depending on depth of water. Generally under calm conditions (little or no drift) I run the following (depth (feet) x ounces):

15-30 x 1/4, 30-45 x 3/8, 45-60 x 1/2, 60-75 x 5/8, 75-90 x 3/4, 100+feet x 1 ounce

Once you add in a little bit of wind and drift everything changes. Most times it’s adjusted as follows:

-20 x 1/4, 20-35 x 3/8, 35-50 x 1/2, 50-65 x 5/8, 65-80 x 3/4, 80+feet x 1 ounce.

I just mentioned drift again and most of you are probably curious about that. Yes I am drifting. Drifting is key because you are able to cover a lot of water. Sure when the fishing is great and the fish are confined you wish there was no drift, but on most days there will be some breeze. If you are going to jig fish, the first thing you need to do is find the fish. Locating them on your fish finder is sometimes the hardest part of the whole trip. Waves can make the ripple effect on your screen making it impossibly to locate fish and even if it is calm there are many days the fish are real tight the bottom. Spring time a great place to start is wherever there is bait. Generally if you find the bait, lakers won't be far. Whether the bait is in 30 feet of water or 130 feet of water doesn't matter, lakers are probably around. Secondly is once you do start locating a few marks, make sure you remember the depth you saw the fish at. Continue searching at that depth to see if you have a pattern. That's what you're looking for is a pattern. That way you're not just drifting aimlessly in the lake. If you see marks at the 60 foot mark on a south side drop, that's a pattern, if you see marks on the 45 foot flat, that's a pattern, yada yada yada. Then once you do pattern where the fish are holding, think about where you need to position the boat so that you drift through the pattern you've just established. Flats are easiest to work cause generally if the fish are located on the flats you can fish anywhere at that depth and expect to catch fish. Drop offs on the other hand are a different story. If I'm fishing drop offs I usually want as little wind as possible to hold my position in the zone as long as possible.

So, you've got the fish finder, located the fish, and determined your drift, oh you need to know what to use. Well SHHHH... My #1 favorite tail for jigging for lakers is a Zoom Fluke tail. Any colors will work, but Alewife, White, Natural Shad, Baby Bass and Smoke have been proven especially effective. Also, Lunker City Fin-S Flukes are also very good. 4 inchers in both will catch all sizes of fish and I am just starting to play a little more with the 5 and 5 1/2 inchers. Little bigger body need a little bigger head... The fluke style tail is great because it is a skinny profile and gets down very quickly and still has an awesome profile. I do go through a bunch of tails, so when you find your favorite tail, make sure you stock up... Many other style tails also work, such as the super flukes, the thumper style tails, classic shad style tails, twisters, and basically any other baitfish profile. I think color and being able to get deep quickly is a lot more important than action and profile. Also tube jigs work very well, however they are very bulky and often difficult to get real deep to where the fish are.

Ok, so now you've got your jig rigged up. Oh for what its worth I'm running mostly bait caster setups with 10 pound low stretch mono on a 7 foot, 6-12 line rating, medium/ fast action rod. Spinning tackle will also work; however it can be more difficult to set the hook quickly if needed on a spinning reel.

Now you're ready to start actually Jigging for Lakers. Starting assuming no wind, no drift. What you want to do is drop your jig straight down off your transom, or wherever your transducer of your fish finder is. You should be able to see your jig falling when it is in depth range set by your screen. If you can't pick up your jig, turn the sensitivity up on your screen. I generally have mine set around 95-97%. When you see the jig, keep the bail in free spool as you watch your jig fall to the bottom. Now, if you're in the zone, you should see reactions to your falling jigs by marks appearing below your falling jig which may start streaking upwards to meet your falling jig. I call these chasers. Chasers are usually the most aggressive fish and what you may notice is some streaks are more vertical than others. Plain and simple, the more vertical the streak, the more eager that fish wants your falling jig. If you have a chaser you've got really 3 options:

1 - Let the jig keep falling and hope the fish takes it on the fall - which he may.

2 - Stop the jig during the fall and start jigging, hoping to finesse the laker into taking.

3 - Stop the fall of the jig and immediately start reeling the jig back in. For real aggressive fish (vertical streaks) this is the method I use the most. Immediately you will tell just how aggressive that fish is. If he continues to chase your rising jig keep cranking stopping every couple turns to "help" the fish catch up. If the fish stops and turns back towards the bottom, he was inquisitive, but not interested for some reason, so usually I'll let the jig drop right back to the bottom. Remember all of this I am watching on the screen, my eyes never leave my fish finder.

If I don't get any chasers, it doesn't mean that drop is worthless. I'll usually let the jig get to the bottom then very slowly pump the rod (jig) lifting the jig only a couple inches from the bottom. This slower action usually entices the non-aggressive fish. After about a half dozen slow jigs or so, if I still see nothing on the screen or get no takes, I'll start my retrieve. Be WARNED - there are many trips when 70+ % of my fish come on the retrieve. Hold the rod tight and be ready to set the hook. My retrieve is usually a varied retrieve, cranking fast, then slow, then stalling then fast again, etc... Almost all the way to the boat. I have seen fish take my jig not 10 feet under the boat, so be ready at any time. If you get a hit during the retrieve, stop and let it fall for a couple feet then start cranking again, he will usually come back after it.

So that basically is the technique. A couple trips and you should start to see how it works, if not get into fish pretty quickly. If you're in the right water, it doesn't take long... Better yet, if you would like to learn in person, book a trip with me and I will be more than happy to share the magic.

I hope this will help you out!

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Thanks bro, now that's great information and why sites like this are great! It will be a huge help. My buddy and I have already experience alot of this only we haven't been able to consistantly get the hook-ups or bite from chasers/lookers etc. I will give a few of the tips a try. Thanks again.

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Luredragger I really appreciated the post, very informative.. I do plan to give this a whirl on Canandaigua Lake soon as my kitchen is complete... I am in the middle of gutting it.. One question for you is do you see a difference in the Lakers after certain weather systems, Highs and Lows.. Just wondering if they are more aggressive like just before a front.... Thanks again for the information I will definately give it a shot... Woody

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Luredragger I really appreciated the post, very informative.. I do plan to give this a whirl on Canandaigua Lake soon as my kitchen is complete... I am in the middle of gutting it.. One question for you is do you see a difference in the Lakers after certain weather systems, Highs and Lows.. Just wondering if they are more aggressive like just before a front.... Thanks again for the information I will definately give it a shot... Woody

I'm not qualified to answer that!! lol I only knew of the article and have tried some of it but I am more of a troller than a jigger but I'm sure somebody on here could answer that. I think the same answer would hold true for trolling as well.

Good luck with it over on Canandaigua

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Luredragger I am more of a troller than a jigger but I would rather jig then troll, that trolling can get a little boring when fishing is slow.. I also have another question about the jigs you are buying... Where do you do most of your purchasing of them.... Thanks.. Woody

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Weather fronts can be a huge factor. Today for example was a great day with the front moving in. If I have the opportunity to fish a morning with an afternoon storm coming in I just cant pass that up. IMO there is no better time to jig lakers! There are sooooo many different ways to jig these fish and so many work very well. I saw somewhere recently where someone posted if you sre not marking fish than its not worth fishing that area. Dont buy into this. If you know an area generally holds fish then take a few drops and see if anything chases. Some of my best fish have come from areas where I marked nothing. You can fish a great area with no success and hit it an hour later and put a limit of fish in the boat in no time. Jiggin is funny like that and when the fish turn on they really turn on! Nothin beats a stiff baitcaster and some quality line.

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Sorry MikeP I'm not here to insult you or anybody for that fact, just here to give and get some great info about a sport we all love or we wouldn't be snooping around in here. Please except my apology and let's get back to the great fishing info and stories.

Tight Lines my Friend :handshake:

No problem Luredragger. I guess I was a little too sensitive. I agree.....Let's get back to what we are here for in the first place. Tight lines to you too! This is on me if we ever meet up :beer:

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Just a sugestion , if you guys that want to figure out this jigging put up your reports good OR bad. Folks on here that hve a good handle on it may be better able to help you fine tune your program......................THAT's what this site is here fore , to learn from our sucesses and short coming some times we learn a whole lot more.

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Oh it also sadden me that when the Toby Wood post was put up that NO one asked or put down what the ( RIP ) was for.................that was one of the one I PM on the other thread I was not going to post it out here on the web because it didn't feel right , the other one was from a member that was on this site who also had his own site like Toby did he's still around but I did feel right putting on this site also...................just a little info that you didn't ask me in a PM or in that post !!!.....well I'm late time to pack the boat and do what we all are here for.........go fish'n...........have a great weekend everyone !!!!!!

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Well we got back out Saturday afternoon and this time rigged with braided line and a 4' 4# leader. Lots of lookers and then bam got the strike and landed a nice 20" laker from the deep. Little by little starting to learn but the braided line helped a ton to watch on the drop for strikes.

Tight lines!

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CANUCK......Are you really using 4# leaders ? WOW. I'm in the 10 lb fluoro camp. Am I doing something wrong ? Can you really deal with the 10 pounders with the attitude down 80 feet ? Good going......learn something every day and stay young !

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wonderful info on jiggin. I am a troller and tried jig'n a bit this year to no luck; but I am determined. going out this afternoon, Wednesday from my camp on honoco hitting the drop offs off Franklin Point down to King Ferry point. I saw fish last week end holding in their regular spots of 80-90 feet over 100, and saw bait moving up now to the 50'-70' range as the water cools. My plan is to jig down through the bait when I see it, and also jig down on the holding fish on the bottom at the 90' level. does that sound right? I still see some trollers out in the 200' plus water. could that be right and do you jig out in that deep water?

cant wait to get out of the office and hit the lake today!

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I wouldn't go deeper than 100' if you don't have to. I am sure it can be done but it is probably more difficult. If you are marking them down 80 or 90' start with that and keep moving your lure up. Keep an eye out for fish coming in above your jig, reel it up a little above them and jig it. That seems to work the best for me.

Good luck.

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CANUCK......Are you really using 4# leaders ? WOW. I'm in the 10 lb fluoro camp. Am I doing something wrong ? Can you really deal with the 10 pounders with the attitude down 80 feet ? Good going......learn something every day and stay young !

Yup on a 4lb leader I have a 6 on another rod but I like the feel as long as you don't horse them up from the deep you will be good to go.

I wouldn't jig deeper than 100 either there should be a need, the active fish should be 60-80 regardless of depth. At least that what I have found. Tight Lines gang!

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