I use this all the time to connect my braided mainline to my mono or fluorocarbon leaders: The Uni Knot. It takes a little practice, but it is easy once you get the hang of it!
The California Delta is an awesome striper fishery but let’s face it…she’s one big intimidating sucka too, right? With over 1,000 miles of channels, sloughs and flooded islands, finding fish can be a daunting task. The question I most often get from folks is: “Where the heck do you start?”
Well, a great place to start is my new eBook: Light Tackle Delta Striper Secrets (available at Amazon and PDF and soon on iPad) In this how-to manual, I cover all the stuff you need to get out there are start catching fish. There’s a lot of info in there I’ve learned from my 16 years of guiding, from understanding tides, to the structure stripers prefer and what exactly you need to look for in a spot. There are lots of color photos and diagrams that will help you unlock the big puzzle that is the Delta…
In the book, I’ll teach you all the basics (and share some cool insider info too) of how to catch stripers using my three favorite techniques: Topwater, Swimbaits and Jigging Spoons.
For less than the price of one lure ($4.99), you’ll be well on your way to hooking the Delta’s top gamefish! The book is available at AMAZON or you can also get a PDF version. All you iPad users out there…it’s coming soon on that format as well!
I get a lot of comments on my perch posts and emails with questions from folks about surfperch fishing, so I decided to put together this how-to eBook that shows you everything you need to catch these fun little buggers! It’s now available on Amazon/Kindle and Nook (iPad and iPhone soon too!).
Or buy now using the links below…
Regardless of the watershed you’re on, drifting eggs is very hard to beat for winter-run fish. But eggs aren’t without their inherent problems: Roe is a delicate bait and the constant casting and drifting in fast current and bouncing off rocks means your offering takes a beating. Depending on your cure and the water you’re fishing, a cluster of roe may last only one to five casts
What that means is you’re going to spend a lot of time re-baiting. And when you consider the fact that steelhead are often referred to as the “fish of a thousand casts,” time spent out of the water is time wasted. So, what’s the answer?
Spawn Sacks, of course!
Click here to read more…
Updated for 2015! Wireline trolling with heavy tackle has long been the staple for mackinaw anglers in deep water lakes like Tahoe, and while it’s extremely effective, the technique isn’t always the most exciting way to catch fish. I much prefer jigging on light bass gear.
Not only do you get to feel the grab, but you also get a lot more spot out of the fish.
Another cool thing about jigging is you don’t need a lot of sophisticated gear (besides good electronics). I like to fish with 6 1/2- to 7-foot casting rods rated for 8- to 15-pound line. You need enough backbone to be able to set the hook in deep water, but a sensitive tip so you can feel the bite – which, by the way, often come as the lure is falling. Some good ones to check out include the Fenwick HMG 7’2″ Medium and, if you want the nicest rod on the planet (be prepared to pay, however) the Douglas X-MATRIX DXC715F is so nice, light and sensitive it almost should be illegal!
Pair these rods up with a low-profile bait caster like the Shimano Curado 200 DHSV which has a 7:1 retrieve rate, which makes cranking up from 100+ feet all the faster. There are times, however, when a line counter reel will get you down to the right depth when the fish are suspended. It’s a little slower on the retrieve, but the Abu Garcia Ambasseduer 5500 LC is the way to go.
I run 20-pound PLine TCB braid on my reels – braid is a must when fishing deep because of its sensitivity and lack of stretch. Of course, you need a leader between the braided line and the lure. In off-color water, go with the heaviest line you can. In clear waters, I go with 12- to 20-pound PLine CFX Fluorocarbon. As far as leader length goes, run 3-4 feet in darker lakes and up to 15 feet in clean waters.
I like jigs in the 1- to 4-ounce range, depending on water depth and wind conditions. For mackinaw, my top three color patters have always been silver, white and chartreuse. I like to remove the stock hooks on most of my jigs and replace them with assist hooks. These babies have a better hook-up ratio, snag less and don’t wrap around the line when you drop your tip too quickly (like trebles tend to do). They also usually snare fish in the top of the jaw or the corner – nice safe hook placement if you plan on releasing fish.
There are tons of models to choose from out there. I like Crippled Herring, Hopkins Shorties, Bomber Slab Spoons and, when I have the time, I’ll make my own with a lead mold… which saves tons of cash.
Drop your lure down to the bottom (or just above suspended fish, if you see any) and then use your wrist to impart subtle hops — avoid jerking the rod towards the heavens.
All you need is a quick snap of the tip and it should only travel about 1 foot up. Be sure to keep some tension on the line on the drop so you can feel those bites. Like I said before, most fish eat the lure as it falls… and if you drop too quickly, you’ll miss out on a ton of grabs.
I run an electric motor on the bow of the boat to hold me in position over fish — and also to slow the drift down if the wind is blowing. A little breeze is a good thing…it allows you to cover some ground. Generally, I’ll start shallow and let the wind or motor push me out over the edge of a drop, working the bottom as we go.
A good graph is your best friend is this department. Look for macks to hang on or near the bottom most of the time. They’ll key in on structure: points, flats, rock piles and, most often, break lines where shelves drop off into deeper water. I start out in 50 feet of water early on and then progressively work out deeper as the sun comes up. You can get macks as deep as 400+ feet, but I rarely go below 200 just because I don’t like the time it takes to get down and back from the bottom.
It’s been my experience that mack jigging is typically best from first light until about 9 a.m. on sunny days. There are days that they bite better midday – especially during full moon periods and when the water is dark. If you mark a bunch of fish but can’t get bit in the a.m., give ‘er a rest and try again just before dark. I’ve had some great evenings of mack fishing on days when the morning bite was as dead.