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Wanting to put boat in neutral when fighting fish while trolling?


Jeff Mick

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Great Lakes trolling without an autopilot sure takes a lot more work. Combine no autopilot with a bad driver and it's going to be a LOOONNNNG day on the water, lol!

 

I'm sure others may feel differently, but for me a good autopilot will put more fish in the boat than any other piece of equipment since it frees everyone up to be fishing instead of driving, and makes netting fish a breeze. 

 

 

IMHO, YMMV and that's cool.

Edited by Chuck Smth
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9 hours ago, Chuck Smth said:

Great Lakes trolling without an autopilot sure takes a lot more work. Combine no autopilot with a bad driver and it's going to be a LOOONNNNG day on the water, lol!

 

I'm sure others may feel differently, but for me a good autopilot will put more fish in the boat than any other piece of equipment since it frees everyone up to be fishing instead of driving, and makes netting fish a breeze. 

 

 

IMHO, YMMV and that's cool.

I was once told that auto-pilots save marriages :lol:

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19 hours ago, Chuck Smth said:

Great Lakes trolling without an autopilot sure takes a lot more work. Combine no autopilot with a bad driver and it's going to be a LOOONNNNG day on the water, lol!

 

I'm sure others may feel differently, but for me a good autopilot will put more fish in the boat than any other piece of equipment since it frees everyone up to be fishing instead of driving, and makes netting fish a breeze. 

 

 

IMHO, YMMV and that's cool.

 

i have it on my boat and my dil almost quit going with us because she was our driver. but after the auto pilot was installed she said it gave her something to do. but now she felt kinda useless with nothing to do. well it worked out great because it was getting hard for me to set lines. so i started teaching her how to set lines. and it was no time until i was able to retire after setting lines for about 45 yrs. it felt so good to just do nothing but reel in my fish when it was my turn.

 

but even with auto pilot people should watch where they are going and keep a close eye on other boats. last year we were trolling along and i see this big charter boat coming in our direction on the left side. which gave me the right of way as he was on my left. well some time later as he got closer he hadn't changed his course yet. well we got busy with fish and i look up and about 25' from us was this charter boat. i make a hard left turn and clear his boat but wanted to get out farther to clear his lines. about that time he starts yelling at us. so i yell back that he was the one that screwed up. i said we had the right of way because he was on my left. he piped down then. about that time we seen his board line right in front of us. it was to late to miss it. the other boat kept trolling but we had shut down and was clearing lines. but his line hung on the bottom of our boat and as the other boat kept moving forward his board hung up on our bottom. but my son got his board loose and let it go. as the boat kept going leaving us alone we noticed the boat was filling with water very fast. at first i thought his board had knocked a hole in the bottom. but then i thought his line had gotten tangled in our plug and with the forward motion of his boat had just pulled the plug out. and the boat was filling up with water. ( and we all drowned). just kidding. i always carry an extra plug or two in the boat. my son jumped in the water and i gave him a plug' but he was having trouble getting the plug to stay in. the water pressure in the boat kept pushing it out. i gave him the other plug and it stayed in. 

 

with the pump running and us dipping we got the water below the floor. but now the pump was failing. it would pump for a short time then stopped for a while. we lifted the cover off the floor compartment and started dipping out until we got the water level down to the bottom. we fired up and when we took off all the water rushed to the back and the water rose above the floor scaring the heck out of my crew. i kept telling them it was water in the bow going to the back but nobody believed me. we made it in.

 

when i got home i had the pump replaced with a larger pump. then i got a huge extra pump and had it installed as a back up pump. then i crashed the boat top into the overhead door and busted the side glass and frame. the adjuster just totaled the boat.

 

dang i should become a writer as i've just done a book.

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Spring time trolling, starting the day and often the whole trip I zig zag from 20 fow to where the inside board is casting a shadow on the beach : Personally I use 8lb P-line for flat lines on Okuma Kokanee rods with mix of bright/natural sticks  for Browns off the big boards. Typically run 2 /side to start and one down the chute and 2 very shallow riggers, 1 with natural, 1 with bright spoons. If the board lines are taking fish and riggers aren't then I ditch the riggers. If we hit a Coho and I think or hear there's more I deploy a shallow braid slide diver with small orange spindoctor w/ a short leader to Howie peanut fly (I keep a couple of my Okuma ML GLTs walleye rigs in the boat during browns season). If I'm struggling to get on the fish I will typically pull a flat line off each board and run a short core, one with a stick and one with spoon again maintaining the zig zag. Note: a spring King in the typical class for that time of year can be handled on the light board rod/line combo I'm talking about with some careful rod and drag work. As spring begins to wane but the browns remain in the skinny water hitting sticks and stingers it starts to become a possibility to hook up with bigger class King, Coho, or god forbid a bruiser Atlantic. These battles can reach epic proportions but hey- that's what fishing is about anyway and you certainly won't win all those fights. My customers like fighting cookie cutter browns on light gear and so do I so that's the way I roll and I'll take an occasional loss to a big silver as part of the package. FYI: I have never had to pull all the lines and go after a spring fish in relatively shallow water and going to Neutral isn't an option with boards out even if they are electric , too much lost time. Hope this helps -Cheers!

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Interesting comment on the right-of-way, I see that one a lot. "Right of Way" is a lot more complicated then "two points abaft the starboard beam."  You also need to take into account "A vessel restricted in it's ability to maneuver."  If you're in a small boat ( assuming so since it has the rubber-style plug and not a Garboard drain style) and a 10 meter boat is coming from your left with a full spread of boards, copper and lead, then they may have the right of way. Most charter boats are less than 12 meters so they aren't required to use lights or shapes to show their maneuverability status. 

 

Up current vs down current, overtaking, towing, etc., all need to be considered in the right-of-way determination. 

 

Best advice I can give is to assume the other boat doesn't see you and take action yourself regardless of who has the right of way. You never know when there might be an emergency situation onboard or mechanical malfunction on the other boat. 

 

Common courtesy also comes into play. The charter guys are out there with paying customers, trying to scratch out a little profit and we need to be mindful of that and give them a break.  It's a really big lake and there's plenty of room for everyone.

 

My $.02, IMHO and YMMV. 

 

Chuck

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Thanks for the comments on the spring fishery Chowder!  

 

Already thinking about March and figuring out a system that will work for us! 

 

Leaning toward just 1 line off of each big board and then one line down the chute. 

 

Sometimes less is more...........and enjoying the time on water with my Dad is more enjoyable with fewer lines in the water.   

Edited by Jeff Mick
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On 11/1/2021 at 6:19 AM, tuffishooker said:

My bad news story on the topic ! Was fishing on an exfriends boat ; on my boat the fisherman with the fish on directs the boat . Not this guy ! I get a nice keeper King maybe ~10lbs. putting on a good fight ; boat owner is on his cell phone with fishing pal . He puts the boat in NEUTRAL and the Chinook salmon charges the boat at the same time ! I cannot real in fast enough , with slack line the fish getting to the stern of the boat . The line wraps around the prop and BREAKS OFF !

Things got bad nasty between us ! We do not talk !

 

i have to agree with fisherman21 on this. i would have been very peeved at the time but cool heads prevail. a friendship is really hard to find. call the guy up and ask him when is he taking you fishing., being good friends has a lot to do with jokes and having stuff told on you to others that you would rather no on hear about. i had this good friend since we were just kids. well he liked telling  things about me at our guy night at our family reunion. so one night i tell the story about him screaming over a little 20" water dog wrapping around his are and barking at him. he was flayling his arm as hard as he could and screaming bloody murder untill it came loose. about a minute later we heard it hit the water. but it all started because i wanted him to save the jig and not cut the line like he wanted. but i told this on him and embellished on the screaming and arm  shaking. that was to last year he told on me and the last time i told the story on him.

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Planer boards on a 17 footer are very important. I'm sure that you found out that when you move around or walk in the boat it goes in a different direction. The planer boards do away with that problem.But if you stop the boat they become problems. they go where the wind or current takes them. The best way to bring in a fish while using planer boards is to continue at the same speed keeping all the other lines straight. This will save you a lot of trouble,and you may get a hit on one of your other lines because those are still going good.

Edited by rolmops
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Now that I have a kicker, I just throttle way back when fighting a fish.... but for years we used to go to neutral when fighting bigger fish, or fish that you wanted to get into the boat and release. It's really not a problem if you keep an eye on the boards and reengage forward to keep some control of them..... of course wind dictates feasibility..... with the wind, or gentle wind is no problem... other directions and wind speed require some attention and common sense. It is very doable..... or at least that's my experience.

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On 11/2/2021 at 9:24 AM, Chuck Smth said:

Interesting comment on the right-of-way, I see that one a lot. "Right of Way" is a lot more complicated then "two points abaft the starboard beam."  You also need to take into account "A vessel restricted in it's ability to maneuver."  If you're in a small boat ( assuming so since it has the rubber-style plug and not a Garboard drain style) and a 10 meter boat is coming from your left with a full spread of boards, copper and lead, then they may have the right of way. Most charter boats are less than 12 meters so they aren't required to use lights or shapes to show their maneuverability status. 

 

Up current vs down current, overtaking, towing, etc., all need to be considered in the right-of-way determination. 

 

Best advice I can give is to assume the other boat doesn't see you and take action yourself regardless of who has the right of way. You never know when there might be an emergency situation onboard or mechanical malfunction on the other boat. 

 

Common courtesy also comes into play. The charter guys are out there with paying customers, trying to scratch out a little profit and we need to be mindful of that and give them a break.  It's a really big lake and there's plenty of room for everyone.

 

My $.02, IMHO and YMMV. 

 

Chuck

I must have missed that part about GL charters have the right of way in the "rules of the road" section of the training...

 

Learn something new every day... 

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9 hours ago, SmilinEd1 said:

I must have missed that part about GL charters have the right of way in the "rules of the road" section of the training...

 

Learn something new every day... 

 

we was fishing Erie for walleye and he was in the 30' class and i was in a 21' glass boat. he had more than enough time to make a miner adjustment in his course to have cleared me. but he had his auto pilot set and to he** with anyone who got in his way. in my opinion nobody was watching for other boats as he was just as surprised at the close encounter as we were. 

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2 hours ago, sherman brown said:

 

we was fishing Erie for walleye and he was in the 30' class and i was in a 21' glass boat. he had more than enough time to make a miner adjustment in his course to have cleared me. but he had his auto pilot set and to he** with anyone who got in his way. in my opinion nobody was watching for other boats as he was just as surprised at the close encounter as we were. 

He saw you and your exactly right he having enough time to make a minor adjustment and didn't.

He is lucky it was you he ran into out there, untangling his equipment, son jumping in the water to put another plug in. Bailing your boat out twice.

Many lake Erie guys I know would have cut his **** and been waiting for him at the dock. That CBC can FO in my book

Pa or Ohio..?

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2 hours ago, SmilinEd1 said:

He saw you and your exactly right he having enough time to make a minor adjustment and didn't.

He is lucky it was you he ran into out there, untangling his equipment, son jumping in the water to put another plug in. Bailing your boat out twice.

Many lake Erie guys I know would have cut his **** and been waiting for him at the dock. That CBC can FO in my book

Pa or Ohio..?

 

we was out of geneva ohio when this happened. i'll never take it for granted again. i am usually more observant of other boats. but he was on my left and we got busy landing fish and getting lines out.. i just took it for granted he would adjust his course. but i know some boats don't know the rules or just don't care, so i knew better.

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On 11/2/2021 at 9:46 AM, Jeff Mick said:

Thanks for the comments on the spring fishery Chowder!  

 

Already thinking about March and figuring out a system that will work for us! 

 

Leaning toward just 1 line off of each big board and then one line down the chute. 

 

Sometimes less is more...........and enjoying the time on water with my Dad is more enjoyable with fewer lines in the water.   

I love the days when I can barely keep 2 board  lines in the water but doesn't happen enuff. I think you have a good perspective on fishing and life - 'many men fish their whole lives without realizing that it is not the fish that they are truly after'  But seriously (or not) , if your gonna only run three lines then make sure you have a shallow spoon rigger and a color and a natural stick off the board lines an let the fish do the talkin bout what they want...

 

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8 hours ago, Jeff Mick said:

My Dad has been preaching that to me for years. Slowly but surely I am realizing how true it is. Keeping it simple certainly has its merits. Cant lie to you and say that I didnt want to run 8 rods out of our boat though. 

back when i salmon fished we ran 8 lines off  4 riggers fishing lake Michigan during the summer. now the spring Coho fishing in the southern part of the lake called for different tactics. i still ran 8 lines 2 off outriggers, 2 out to the side, 2 off the corners, those were run with small cranks. then we ran 2 riggers set down about 20' with large broken back cranks for stray kings. kings are so much more fun. and we caught our fair of them off the riggers. we didn't have counters on our old 209 reels.

Edited by sherman brown
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