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A-TOM-MIK

A-TOM-MIK Success & Techniques Explained

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info via (jsmac51)

In response to prior thread

For 10 years now the art of running attractors & flies has accomplished what only a few tackle companies have been able to accomplish over a 30 year period on Lake Ontario. Certainly this success has not been limited to the A-TOM-MIK name, but we are proud to be a small part of history as our only goal in the beginning was to establish a name that was recognizable on our home port of Oswego. A future book is in our thoughts with helpful tournament tips and tricks, an honest critique is welcomed........

Attractor and flies are certainly what they are cracked up to be, I think you will also see them in our future, they have their place and time and when its right there is no comparison and no need to run anything else

As with many "lures" that have come and gone, just about all were "popular" during certain years. Then to be succeeded by another option, at times this was for various reasons but mostly due to popularity and effectiveness

The only item I recall "leaving the scene" when us big lake anglers weren't ready for it to leave was a brand of cut-bait and teaser heads (Rhys Davis), it sort of hit our market like a storm and stuck around for over 10 years. Then enter VHS and it was gone in 1 season. As for the rest of the past popular tackle options, they were usually always there, but were succeeded for one reason or another.

Our teams run attractor/flies just about all year, there are really only a few exceptions, first is early spring in cold water when the Kings are in the top 50 ft of the water column, it doesn't matter how much water your over, whether its 50 ft or 500 ft. Another time is super late fall well into Sept. when the King are super tight to the rivers and in 10 to 20 fow. At times (very few) you can still run attractor/flies at these times but they are somewhat of an underdog to say the least to other presentations. The only other time could be after a major blow when we are left with ice water very high in the water column.

Out of all presentations (riggers, wire divers, copper applications, etc.) the wire diver is the #1 presentation (talking over the course of a year) and the presentation that will yield success over all others. That is not saying that at any given time another presentation can't outperform a wire diver, it just works best most often. It also just so happens that the same presentation that is the #1 also is #1 with an attractor/fly.

Taking Kings with attractor/flies is the single biggest staple for many of the top tournament boats on Lake Ontario. Whether a KOTL event (a series of 5 tournaments on different weekends) or a Pro/Am event (a series of 4 tournaments on different weekends) and even the smaller A-TOM-MIK Triple Crown (a series of 3 tournaments on different weekends) as well as most of the 3 events in the LOC, Spring Summer and Fall. When you rank up all these events and there is 1 main strategy that is helping these very teams win or at least "place" constantly, its proof in the pudding that attractor/flies is something you definantly want to work on, to hone your skills with and to take full advantage of the rewards with this particular technique. It just so happens the A-TOM-MIK product in conjunction to all events listed is usually the product that "helped" get these teams there and has been for quite a few years. We feel we have an un-be known edge (as I am sure other manufacturers feel also) and our top rankings help us with that thought. As trendy as a specific lure in favor can be (like the first part of this info states) it takes something special to remain on top. Our great team of staffers in many cases were our friends before we become popular.

Please stick with me here as I will get to the more important stuff but I sort of like to set the stage with a bit of what I will phrase as "quality smoke" to ensure the realization sinks in. The good stuff is coming !!!!

Just as a side note there will always be info floating around that veers from center from my basic log, most if not all info I share directly relates to our top Tournament and Pro Staff teams, as this is where the beginning of much of our ideas sprout.

-Downspeed: For starters IMO, the single most important piece of the puzzle is finding the preferred "down" speed. At times you can have the rest of the pieces in order and still not achieve that ultimate success due to a downspeed that isn't what the fish want. Most anglers who take Kings consistently will often have all or many pieces in place, but will usually key in on speed as they realize that without the right speed, "success" most times will be hurt.

Back about 10 or more year ago Walker underwater cameras had an important "era" in our Oswego area when they were in demand. A camera (after the initial amazement wore off of seeing your lure) was just another tool to aid in proper "down" speed. Keep in mind surface speed (even though can be a helpful aid) and also accurate at times, most generally will differ from actual lure or downspeed. (due to current etc.)

As much as downspeed is so crucial you will still need to know "what" downspeed and when it is preferred. Different down temp and speed units will also vary from one maker to another. When talking a analog type unit or for example a "moor unit" the best starting speed would be about 2.2 mph. A digital unit like a Fish Hawk in "like" terms would be about 2.6 mph or just a bit greater. Again these are most popular speeds (for many anglers) and definitely where you want to start. It does not mean that at any given time a different speed will not yield success. If you find a different speed generated a strike then repeat it, or if you find an inside turn or and outside turn gave up a strike you can adjust "at times" as at any given time a difference in speed will work outside the normal realm of things.

After downspeed can be recognized the variables become great but not so overwhelming as not to be able to get a handle on them. The info I will share from here on out all ranks below downspeed, but never does it mean it is non-important.

-Attractor/fly basic "go-to" color patterns: Please keep in mind "the basics" are a limited amount of the most successful options in the big picture. Talking isolated ports and/or areas of the lake which host greener waters vs. blacker (or clearer) will all give-up a much greater array of options, all of which have a ranking of importance port specific. Basics are required, port or "water specific" are optional, always dependant upon the area you choose to fish.

As I often claim, a simple white attractor (white blade-double crush glow) and a #102 Hammer fly has probably killed more Kings than any single "combination" on Lake Ontario in quite a few years.

A green attractor (green blade-double crush glow) and a #41 Green Glow fly also ranks right up there with one of the deadliest "go-to" combos most all anglers choose to run

While sunny conditions, a chrome type attractor and a #97 Mirage fly is also highly ranked when targeting Kings in sunny conditions

Mtn-Dew on chrome or on mtn dew, with a #106 B-Fly is also a great choice in the sun

To get port specific or to outline an area and then opt a color combo for that area is simply endless, like originally noted with the Dalmation combo and the custom #81 purple mirage fly, it has worked so well in that area it has been a repeated item in demand. This for obvious reasons, it works in that ports conditions and water color or ect.

Variables to these listed are endless, we make all the above flies in glow and non-glow, as for the attractors: white, green and chrome blades also have endless options to variablize them to a degree. For instance the 1st combo I listed with green spots on the attractor is my best selling attractor over-all.

Preferred temps: At anytime of a typical season we will take Kings from 42 degree's to low 60's. Depending on time of year often will dictate a preferred temp over another. Once a thermocline is set up we most generally will target Kings in the upper part of the water column that hosts the coldest water before it gets too warm, I like to use the upper 50's as a rule of thumb. Example: (surface temp 68 degrees), (down 75 it is 58 degrees), this reveals a 10 degree difference from top to 75 down. Weather trends which create variables in the thermocline can range from a tight break to a lengthened break. With the same example in mind say 85 down we now have 46 degrees, this reveals a 12 degree break. From "85 down" to 100 down it drops off rather gradual in comparison. Our target area would be that 75 to 85 down. However even though the lions share of Kings could be taken in that area we will always save a rod for the ice (say 100 ft down it is 42 degrees) and also will most usually at least try that 70 down known as the "soup" if its in the lower 60's. When running a typical 8 rod spread the utilization of "most of the thermocline" would be where we would start, when running a smaller spread of less rods keeping your "goodies" in the target temps would be the case.

-Fly leader length: Some anglers measure this in different ways, one popular way many of us do it is to measure from the head of the fly (thread towards hook) to the end of the surgeons loop. 22" is normal but success has been had from many leader length options, shorter to about 17 to 19 and longer from 24 to 30. Stick with 22" when you start and go from there.

-Presentation specifics: Stretch from ball, copper leader length or wire diver lead between diver and attractor all very important. As for the best presentation first, a wire diver: I like 8 to 10 ft. Some anglers fall into a shorter leader here than desired due to the ease of storing and handling a 4 to 6 ft leader, its easier !!! 10 ft' is a bit harder to handle and also a bit harder to net a fish, but I would rather deal with that then deal with no generated strikes due to too short of a leader. Stretch from ball varies greatly due to a few things. When fishing deep (over 75 ft down) we like to keep the "stretch" from about 8 to 15 ft off the trolling weight. When in murky or green water we will do the same, or even first thing in the am most days we will keep a tight stretch. When targeting Kings in that 40 to 70 down area of the column, and when in a clearer water or after initial morning hours we tend to stretch them out a bit, from 20 to 50 ft back. Copper lead length is pretty standard when running attractor flies, we use about 20 to 30 ft. 30# Fluor is our line of choice for both copper and wire diver leader applications.

-Advanced options:

-Release tension: Tighter is better, tight divers and tight black releases, eliminate false releases and increase hook-up percentages

-Setting the hook: If your diver releases are tight (we use no snubber) and your black releases are tight the option of setting the hook is not an option, we do not do it !!!

When a diver goes off grab the rod, keep constant tension always, don't reel when the fish is running but keep the rod bent ALWAYS, when a rigger rod goes off, get there as fast as humanly possibly, leave rod right in holder and reel hard until the rod has a very good bend in it, then same deal as a diver, reel when the fish isn't running, never point the rod towards the fish, watch your rod tip if you must, keep it bent and keep it bent good. Be sure to reel in rhythm and as fast as possible to keep up with your down stroke, this is where many Kings are lost. Keep that bend in your rod as well.

I am sure most anglers are familiar with much of this, but with as many greener anglers that I deal with, the follow up to the generated strike is just as important as generating the strike in the first place.

Repeatability is also a key specific, repeat depth, repeat speed, repeat stretch, repeat, repeat, repeat, can be crucial :) some anglers are happy with heading out on the lake wander gin around aimlessly, hey being out there beats work right? But then again for those who do not "just want to be out there" to repeat a successful act is crucial and to start off utilizing the best known techniques will start you off on the right foot.

Typical spread for our deeper water fishery of the eastern basin:

Regarding Oswego a deep water fishery for info

Article written earlier this year: see below

Invasive species, deep waters, deep preferred temps., early August 68 degrees down to around 140 ft at times, especially after a dominant NW blow. Traffic to deal with on weekends, lack of info weekly as the charters out of Oswego have set such a stage to secrecy I think at times they forget themselves what was so hot only the day before.

So to take fish and take em consistently innovative presentations will prevail over time, even re-working presentations from the past or from different areas. I do however recall the days of the mid 80's when I worked the back of a 36 Egg for Captain Ed Dobie out of O-Town and all we would see on the Furuno FCV 582 were sharks after sharks, that were taking our #4 Glow Green Diamond Kings that were set about 5 ft off the ball, this in water that had a visibility in bright sun of about 5 ft.

Ha................ Enter our clearer waters, where now we see a lead or black colored weight down to about 20 ft. Dropper balls from the 80's came back as thumpers in the early 00's, the use of copper on the finger lakes from the 60's and beyond when handlining for LT's was par came back into play about 6 to 7 years back as the dreaded coppers of today on LO.

Mono divers to wire and/or braid and cable on riggers to even heavier braid, the list goes on.............. Don't forget your E chips or Shark weights or the black box technology of tomorrow

O-Town has its reputations, bad weather par as well, tough fishing at times that each of us has witnessed. However if your a record or derby buff as I am you can recall the select instances where a derby saw the top 21 Kings range from 38.6 to 42.11 ... 1999' that's 21 Kings, or when the world record Coho was taken by Mike Stilen off the "Katy Lynn" at 34 lbs. Oswego saw the NY state record BT at least 3 times inching from 28 lbs to over 33lbs. The fall Coho fishery in Oswego is second to none, averaging 12 to 16 lbs. with lunkers to upper 20's every single year. I have seen 148 coolers full with limits from early Sept to the end.

Pheww, O-Town, how many hours would a Musky guy put in at the 1000 island region to catch just one over the course of a weekend.............. a few !!!!

Think stealth when in O-Town, as many of the fish have seen it all, as the fingerling Chinook reside in our pens year after year I often feel they already know what's in store. 600 coppers you say, yes they suck, there is no sugar-coating a 600 copper, but yet there are Oswego guru's who cant wait to run their 700's each weekend !!! Light line BT's in deep water filled with fleas, now there is a match made in heaven if I ever saw one............ lol

Our Kings like green's and green glow, they like white or white glow (sometimes more in the early am), chrome in the sun, if you had just one rig to run and you were chasing our Kings (when deep) run an 8" white spinnie and an original hammer fly, it has been the death of more Kings than many a lure introduced to Lady O in a long time. When in the shallow of the water column (top 60 ft) same concept of colors, a diehard NK 28 size spoon killed many Kings through the years. BT's like chicken wing and also diehard as well, lemon lime in the sun when deep and more natural black/silver in higher water column but not limited to.

A few great attractor/fly go-to's in O-town

White attractor/hammer fly

Green attractor/#41 green glow

Chrome or Mtn dew/b-fly,sweet pea or mirage (sun)

Hot spoons in 28 size

Diehard

NBK

Green & Black Alewife

Wire divers are the #1 presentation over the course of the season hands down

Long coppers pull big fish during mid day, not many but the hogs

Braid riggers hold their own and outfish cable at least 60% of the time

A good spread when the top of the break is at 100' (used as example) (top of break approx. 58 to 60 degrees)

Outdowns set at 110 and 120 (stretch 8 to 12') deepest outdown 42 to 46 degrees depending on how tight the break is

Shute rigger in the soup at 90' (stretch 30 to 50') this does not go off anywhere near as much as the outdowns but when it does its a big guy

If 30# Wire divers: (set. 2 1/2 @ 300") and (set. 1 1/2 @ 350'), one in or near the warmer stuff one in or near the ice, keep the deeper application near the deeper outdown

If 20# Wire divers: (set. 2 1/2 @ 250") and (set. 1 1/2 @ 300'), one in or near the warmer stuff one in or near the ice, keep the deeper application near the deeper outdown

Coppers: 2 on big boards, one off each side & one shute, we always try to mix em up even is one is firing more than the others, 400 for the soup, 450 or 500 for the top of break and a 600 or 700 for the ice. Keep in mind these coppers are all over the water column, if you are running a 400, 500 and a 600, you are utilizing an area of the water column on any given time from about 90 ft to depths of 150 on turns. Also keep in mind for those who choose to only run a single copper in your spread, at times a copper will fire 5 to 1 running it off a big board, been proven many times, ask Pete while we were at the Wilson Scotty and I begged him to move our shute copper to the board, it fired immediately (if not sooner), then twice !!!!

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Best of luck

Tom

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There are going to be some hate e-mails in your box from Charter Captains on the east end.......keep up the good work Tom. :yes:

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Tom,

Thanks for the info.

May even be better than the advice ya provided at Wright's after the Fair Haven Challenge.

We caught fish with it too. :yes:

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Thanks Tom! Great post! Lots of good info that I have repeated and brought me a lot of success this year! I only have one copper rod and always use it down the chute :( Now you got me thinking about running it on the big boards :) Thanks again!

Rob

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Another question arises. Is it advantageous to try to match the color, design or other characteristics of the dipsy to that of the spin doctor. For example would a wonderbread dipsey be used ahead of a wonderbread spinny?

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Black divers are very popular, we use them as our #1 choice and with just about all color attractors

Glow Frog Jensen's would rank #2 and again are used with all color attractors but would be favored some in overcast conditions

White divers are used first am on occasion

As far as matching diver color to attractor color, we do not worry too much about it, I do know some anglers who have done this however with success

Tom

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Tom:

I did not know this.

"Braid riggers hold their own and outfish cable at least 60% of the time"

I wonder why that is ???

Mark

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Tom,

From a novice point of view, this has been about the best read on this board. I am always looking for more knowledge. Your posts are always spot on. You are one of the select few who are willing to share what you've learned in all these years on Lady-O. :bow:

And that statement is not a slam to any of the professionals that make this board so great. Each in their own way contribute. Some more then others. :yes:

Great job, great products. You can't ask for more then that!!!! :yes:

McDragon

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Thanks guys.

Hi Mark, please keep in mind this has been my experience with my tourney involvement, thus fishing with the likes of many different personalities.

If you were to acquire info from some of the teams I have been fortunate enough to fish with through the years you would probably get mixed signals.

To simply answer your question my personal opinion is:

I am not sold on "theories" of generated energies 100%, from various presentations, ie. copper line, rigger cable hum, e -chips to name just a few.

I do however run a black box on my own boat, I do run leader lengths off my copper from advice of the likes of Jimmy Samia (someone who is 100% SOLD on a certain energies created theory) and is also one heck of a fisherman. I sort of sell myself on a percentage of what many of the top dogs are selling themselves on, and again to repeat, that is due to the personalities I have confronted myself with.

My response to you would be I would rather have zero hum than "any" hum at all. Just my opinion. I do have more of an explanation but in all honesty I am considering writing a book and will save a bit of this and that on many subjects. I feel there has been a general thought dispersed concerning many tactics, but to the best of my knowledge there is yet any great detail yet available "out there" that also interests the pro's.

Tom

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Tom,

I cannot begin to thank you sufficiently for the information you have given me so far. I really look forward to reading this and other posts from you. Please get that book in the works! I have been involved with other forums for anglers in the past but no offense to the others Lake Ontario is where I fish and the guys on here seem to be the least possessive about knowledge. You all are class acts!

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Tom I've always had a great respect for you & your product. Obviously, I don't use it anymore being Pro Staff for Howie but I'll never forget the first time an 8" flasher & fly took more fish in one season than did an 11" flasher & cut bait. That was an 8" Hot Spot Yotee & one of your flys. I was one of the first if not the first to use a flasher on the north side of Lake O & I can't remember one year when any other type of system out performed my flashers. As for your colour combinations they're spot on. Hot Spot were the first plastic flasher on the market & my favourite colour has always been a glow green or double white glow or white lightning. I don't think there's a day goes by when I'm out on the lake when the first two rods down are a Hot Spot Bullfrog & a White Lightning or double Glow. Good luck with your book & I definitely recommend anyone interested in learning some good points about salmon fishing to go get it as soon as it comes out.

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Thanks all

John, I remember well !!!

Tim was my inspiration from 2001, and when I told him that at my first trade show he responded by saying nobody ever said that to him before.

I will always respect Tim

Best of luck

Tom

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Everyone across the board has been wonderful in answering my questions.

Although not Lake Ontario, I relocated to the Midwest 3 years ago and purchased a boat last year. I began fishing Lake Michigan with varied success. While we caught fish, my flasher and fly program just didn't work well, thus I scraped it most of the season. I vowed this coming year to do all the research I could regarding flashers and flies and put it to good use in the future.

Tom was kind enough to answer my questions and help guide me in understanding some of the ins and outs behind flasher and fly fishing. And his site.....all the great patterns and materials.

Just wanted to say thanks Tom for giving me a helping hand and to all the others on this board.

Can't wait for next years king salmon season.

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Hi Tom, thanks for the compliment. After a year's hiatus do to the process of getting a divorce, I will be returning to the big pond to persue my dream of becoming a full time charter captain. Maybe divorce is part of it being an occupational hazard. Anyways, I am sold on the idea of fully submersing the copper all the way into the water so both of the ends are fully below the surface. On numerous occasions, over several years, I have seen rods go off when I have simply let out a few more feet of backing to get all the copper into the water. Most of the time my copper rods are fished deep in the ice. Maybe on occasion there could have been a fish following it when I let more line out and then hit it, but I don't think it happens everytime do to the fish following.I have noticed that fish tend to hit presentations on the rise, like when releasing riggers and letting them float up, or jigging shute rods.

Electrolosis happens when you have electrodes, like both ends of the copper section,completly submersed in an electrolyte solution, like the lake itself. It's my beleif that ions from the copper are emitted into the water and do draw fish in. Salmon have amazing electronic receptors and are drawn to the ions emitted. There is evidence to support that Salmon navigate to some degree by following magnetic fields.

Can you catch fish with copper rigs not fully submersed? Absolutly, I've done it and seen it done,especially in shallower water. Do I prefer to have all my copper burried, even off the big boards? You betcha and it usually has your flies being pulled behind it,too.

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Good stuff Jimmy

Mellowing that almighty learning curve on Lady O is something many anglers are fortunate enough today to take advantage of.

Like I said and continue to rest my cap on, if the Pro's like yourself believe in it, who am I or why would I want to prove you otherwise !!!!

Good to hear from you also !!! Never saw the time to get back to you there a few weeks ago

Talks soon my friend

Tom

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Hi Tom, thanks for the compliment. After a year's hiatus do to the process of getting a divorce, I will be returning to the big pond to persue my dream of becoming a full time charter captain. Maybe divorce is part of it being an occupational hazard. Anyways, I am sold on the idea of fully submersing the copper all the way into the water so both of the ends are fully below the surface. On numerous occasions, over several years, I have seen rods go off when I have simply let out a few more feet of backing to get all the copper into the water. Most of the time my copper rods are fished deep in the ice. Maybe on occasion there could have been a fish following it when I let more line out and then hit it, but I don't think it happens everytime do to the fish following.I have noticed that fish tend to hit presentations on the rise, like when releasing riggers and letting them float up, or jigging shute rods.

Electrolosis happens when you have electrodes, like both ends of the copper section,completly submersed in an electrolyte solution, like the lake itself. It's my beleif that ions from the copper are emitted into the water and do draw fish in. Salmon have amazing electronic receptors and are drawn to the ions emitted. There is evidence to support that Salmon navigate to some degree by following magnetic fields.

Can you catch fish with copper rigs not fully submersed? Absolutly, I've done it and seen it done,especially in shallower water. Do I prefer to have all my copper burried, even off the big boards? You betcha and it usually has your flies being pulled behind it,too.

Nice to see you back on the board Jim. Hope all is well. Divorce is life changing, but most times necessary to correct a major problem. I am an example of that, and today I couldn't be happier with my life. I hope you fulfill your dream to become full time. Best of luck. see you at the dock :yes:

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Tom,

Thank You for this very informative article. I don't fish Lake Ontario as a rule, (I fish Lake Erie for walleye)

And I am thinking this info will be a great help to me when I venture to Wilson this year to try my hand at Salmon fishing.

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My fishing partners and I have all registered for the Lockport seminar and will be hitting the flea market on Sunday. I am looking forward to meeting Tom and Tim as well as others too numerous to name here. I have always been treated respectfully on this board and think all of you are an inspiration to those of us that are novice salmon anglers.

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