By Capt. Jim Hirt
I have written over eighty fishing articles for the web during the last seven years. Now is the time to revisit some of these articles and review them for the most current information. All things evolve and our tactics and skills should improve and change. I hope you enjoy the revisited articles and perhaps find some information you may have missed. Best wishes for the 2011 fishing season
Keys For More Action
The start of the 2011 Lake Michigan Season will be here before you know it and now is the time to think about early location and tackle. In this article, I would like to share with you some of my keys to finding fish and the hottest set ups for very early presentation. I have been a charter captain for over twenty years and these techniques have produced year after year. I am confident that you will achieve success applying these classic tips.
Tools You Will Need
I start my season in early April and the most important factor at this time is temperature. I recommend a must item for you is a temp gauge for the surface and a notebook. Your gauge can be a simple hand held thermometer or a unit built into your fish locator. The notebook is all about whatís working and whatís not. I find if I can avoid duplicating non-productive techniques, I will improve my catches and enjoyment. Keeping record of your bad and good days is key to moving to the top of the list as an above average in your sport. I write down the date, time of day, conditions, cloudy, clear, calm, rough, port or lake G.P.S. numbers if you have them. Record this on every fish or at least at the end of the day. On a hot bite, I usually get caught up on my notes as soon as I can to avoid lost detail.
Temperature Temperature Temperature
Spring action can be hot. Think about it, the temperature of the water is in the 40 degree range, and with a few exceptions, the fish we will find the most active are on the top five to ten feet.
Well lets get started. Itís always a good idea to check local phone hot lines for up to date information on whatís biting. I also check at local tackle stores and Internet reports. You may also call me at 414-828-1094 and check http://www.jimhirt.com for my fish reports. If these resources were not available, I would then start with temperature. This holds true if you are in a boat or on shore. Find the warmest temp you can. Sometimes I am fishing a temp break of only a degree or two. Donít rush this process. Haste to get your lines in non-productive water is just a waste of time. You will find these temp breaks at mouths of rivers, power plants and protected bays.
The wind direction will be a major player in warm water location. The surface warms first and wind will move this water around. On Wisconsinís shore, a light east wind does wonders to improving spring action. The reason I used most of this article on temp is it helps eliminate a lot of slow fishing time. Temperature is almost more important than the type of lure you use.
Motor trolling is the method I use for most of my fishing, and I will explain one of my basic spring setups. If possible I would max out the number of rods, because more is better this time of year. I fish all my lines on planer boards. Find one you like and run all the same type. For lures I like spoons crank baits, and jointed minnow type lures. These will cover most fish. The water is too cold for flasher flies and they will be used when the water warms to over fifty degrees.
Speed & Color
When fishing early in the season, fish metabolism or body temp is very low so a slow presentation is required. I run my boat speed between 1.5 and 2.0 miles per hour. The color of the lure is dictated by the amount of light and water color. On most days, in clear water I use white and black or silver lures. Hotter colors work best in cloudy water. You canít go wrong with chartreuse in both conditions. The glow in the dark Vulcan or Reaper spoons sold at http://www.badgertackle.com in regular size are an excellent option. The old rule of thumb applies; bright lures bright days, dark lures dark days. I cannot cover all the bases in this limited space so I will go into more detail in future posts. Good luck Captain Jim. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at http://www.bluemaxcharters.com Copyright© 2011, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.