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Magazine eyes

A Forum for those who prefer the lighter side of boating. Canoes and Kayaks are becoming more and more popular. Let's talk about them!
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Magazine eyes

Postby bananaboat » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:54 pm

Through all those warm southwest winds this summer, I've been draggin a worm harness behind a bottom bouncer waiting for the right conditions to try some new techniques. Things set up nicely last week with a couple of warm and nearly windless days.

One of the great things about kayak fishing is finding structure overlooked by those in faster boats. A few weeks ago I found an ideal hump about an acre in size topping out in 30' of water. It has been consistently holding schools of 16" eyes, usually concentrated on points, inside turns and the few rock plies oh the hump. These fish were totally unpressured. In 14 years cottaging on the lake, I've never seen anyone on this spot. Perfect proving grounds for my experiment.

The idea was to try some techniques I'd read about in magazines under ideal condtions and see what happens. I would give each technique an equal amount of time over approximately the same number of fish and tally the results.

First up was the Berkley Ripple Shad. This was a bit of a ringer as I've been fishing this bait for a couple of years. Gord Pyzer at Outdoor Canada wrote about fishing this vertically and I've have had some success with the 4" white version in late summer to fall when the eyes want something bigger. And they can get agressive on it. The new wrinkle came from Doug Stange at InFisherman who suggested rigging it flat rather than in line with the jig and making long casts with more or less agressive retrieves. I fished the bait rigged like this vertically for 10 minutes and casting for 10 minutes. One fish jigging and two casting on less aggressive retrieves (pulling rather than ripping to use Stange's terms).

The next contender was the jigging Rapala. This is primarily an ice fishing lure but several sources sing its praises for summer fishing. Apparently Al Lindner is a big fan. So I tie on a 7/8th ounce perch model and start by vertically jigging. If there were arcs on the sonar, something was chewing or bumping this thing -- constantly. Not agressively but I was able to hook two eyes within 5 minutes. Both were on the end hooks so I think I will remove the centre treble to minimize snags. Moved on to casting with various retrieves. There were fewer bumps and I didn't manage to hook anything in 15 minutes.

I was salivating over the next candidate. The Northland Thumper jig has a realistically painted head with a willow leaf spinner suspended below. I trimmed a Ripple Shad as a trailer and the result was greater action than I get with one out-of-the-box on a standard jig head. Plus the spinner gave great flash on the drop. But like a high-maintenance, flashy woman the hook up was hard to come by. I jigged vertically through a couple of sizable schools without a touch. Switching to casting, the rig went unbothered except for an 13" eye that took it as its time was runniing out. So not a total washout, but certainly didn't match expectations.

The final contestant was the Cicada blade bait. I've fished jigging spoons in the past and they seem to work best when the eyes are holding relatively deep: 40' to 50' feet. The blade bait has similar flash (in silver and blue) with a tighter action so I was interested to see how it would fare. The results were similar to the Thumper, nothing jigging and one smallish eye casting.

The next day conditions were slightly windier for a follow-up on the Ripple Shad. I really like the look of the Racy Shad model and picked up a pack early this year. The blue back and yellow lateral line look a lot like many of the bait fish in the lake. I had struck out with it so far this season but decided to give it another chance on the proving grounds. It was up against its Pearl White brother, my go-to colour. It produced nothing in 10 minutes of drift jigging and one 16" while casting. The white resulted in two hookups (lost) jigging and a similar sized fish while casting.

So what to take out of all of this. First, I have more experience and confidence with the white Ripple Shad and that may affect the results -- but who cares if it gets fish in the yak. Second, given the consistent response to the jigging Rap it will be high in the rotaion--especially on an upcoming canoe trip where meat in the pan is expected. Finally, less agressive pulling type retrieves worked better with all these lures than more aggressive ripping techniques.

Tight lines,

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Re: Magazine eyes

Postby scarkner » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:16 pm

I just posted about using a Puppet Minnow, again an ice fishing lure, very similar to the Rapala jig that you are talking about. Same experience, hook-ups on the end hooks with nothing on the treble. Lots of bumps too. In my case I was getting bass and crappie.
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