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Tip #13 #13 Spring Fishing Presentation

By Capt. Jim Hirt In articles one and two, we covered general overview and the specifics of temperature breaks and their location. Now let us start on spring presentation. If your season starts early as we do you will be on Lake Michigan when the surface temperatures are below the preferred temp of your target species. I would like to break this down by months. I will cover April in this article. This month provides great action on Lake trout and Brown trout, with the other species available but not as active. Browns and Lakers, this time of year, will come on similar presentation with a preference to different lures. I set up 90% of my lines on boards working the top fifteen feet of water. The remaining 10% of my lines are on diving planers or downriggers for deeper fish. The lake will be very cold, well below your target temp. I fish the surface down to fifteen feet with planer Boards. Some of your choices are, Yellow Birds, Church, Off Shore and Riviera. I’m a little hesitant to recommend a particular brand because what works for me may not work for you. I will say I find it easier to run a small board on each line rather than a large board with releases on the towline. I do feel it is important to run all the same type to get a presentation that is easy and productive. On all my rods in spring, I run a 20-25 pound test monofilament. I don’t go nuts with Micro Filament or Super Braid lines because I think they are over kill for this application and add to expenses. Starting out this way I will have the rods loaded with the correct line for most presentations through out the season. In spring fishing the clear surface water leaves you with a visibility factor to consider, and smaller crank baits do not run well on heavier test lines. I run a 1/4 to 1 ounce bead chain trolling sinker at the end of the 20-25lb mono to avoid line twists and get the depth I want. From the sinker to the lure I use 8ft of a 12lb fluorocarbon and a small round cross lock snap. When the fish hits, the board slides down to the trolling sinker. With the sinker in line, it will not knock the fish off as it would if it ran down to the lure. I put out as many boards as I can handle, with equal number of boards on both sides of the boat. When setting this presentation, I set my boat speed at 1 to 2 mph and let out my lure about 30 to 100 feet and attach the board. This distance will change with the amount of light, type of lure, depth you want to fish. When action is slow, adjust this distance and see what happens. Once the board is attached, carefully lower the board into the water and let out enough line to allow room for more boards, between that board and the boat. Boards should be spaced about 30 feet apart. I run a mix of minnow type lures, crankbaits and small spoons. The lures you run is all about the amount of light, baitfish size and the size of fish you are looking to catch. Mix it up! When one lure produces I would double up on that lure. When a fish hits, the board releases and it will drop back behind the boat. Land your fish and reset this board by letting out enough line to allow the board to fly back into the same spot it came from. Avoid changing out to many lures if you are getting action because at times one lure feeds off another. By this I mean, a spoon may be attracting the fish but they will hit the crankbait next to it. Copyright© 2006, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.