Bottom Bouncing Lakers
When talking to people about fishing I get excited and passionate like most of us do! But when I talk to people about lake trout, watch out, my excitement is thru the roof! I can’t help but to be fascinated by this specie, I become a totally different person when I get in the lake trout mode, almost like a hockey player gets during game 7 of the Stanley cup playoffs, determination. For those who know me, this isn’t new to them, but for those who are reading this and thinking, is this guy nuts, I have to say yes I am!
I wrote an article on downrigging basics a while back and I had a hard time writing that article without talking about lake trout because it’s what I do so I am super pumped to share with you one of the biggest success I have had fishing for big Larry’s! For those of you who don’t know, Larry is what we call Lake Trout!
If I told you to bounce bottom for lakers, you would probably say, sure no problem, but if I told you to bounce bottom for lakers using your downriggers, you would say, no way dude! Settle down, I am here to tell you that there is a safe and successful way to do it without breaking or losing expensive gear!
Step 1, the set up.
Whether you are using electric or manual downriggers, this method works with both. Make sure you have some good steel downrigger cable spooled on your downrigger, I use 250 pound steel cable. Next, you will need a snubber, people use these for dipsey divers when fishing steel line to basically brace the impact of a fish hitting it since steel line doesn’t have any stretch, no different for downrigger cable. Attach your snubber to your downrigger and then attach your downrigger ball to that. You must use round downrigger balls for this method, the fish shaped ones will not work good. As far as weight, I always start with an 8 pound weight and move up from there depending on the water conditions or the depths I am fishing.
Step 2, release clip.
Most people will have their release clip attached to the ball, instead, I use a stacker clip and attach it just above the snubber on the downrigger cable, this will help ensure nothing gets caught on your lure, except the fish of course! I like to have my leads pretty tight to the ball, usually 10 -15 feet and sometimes a little closer but never more as I will explain soon. It’s important to use a quality release clip like *Scotty release clip, they are great for this type of fishing, make sure it is nice and tight on the clip, I always pinch it tight to make sure it is secure.
Step 3, the lure.
Probably the second most important step is lure choice. I have tried many combos and lures but this is truly the best combo in my opinion. It’s called peanuts and cow bell! Some may have heard of it before and others are really confused at the moment. This method starts with laker trolls or gang trolls, however you want to call them, that is your attractant, your flash. Behind that, about 15-24 inches, I have a spin and glow or wobble troll, this is your lure, this is what the fish bites. My go to is a blue fire tiger in size 00 from Yakima Baits, you can get them pre rigged but I tie my own. I tie it on a 25 pound test fluorocarbon leader with a quality treble or single Mustad hook. Single hooks seem to be more effective on most days but when I lose a fish half way up, I switch it to a treble.
As far as rod choice, well the options are not limited, I use an 8 foot, medium heavy rod with a line counter reel. This rod is spooled with 25 pound Big Game line. You typically would not use a line counter reel for downrigging but for me, it helps me dial down the perfect combination to catching these giant lake trout.
Send your combo down to the bottom. Once you hit bottom, I always let out an extra 10 feet of downrigger cable. For example, I’m fishing in 80 feet of water, my downrigger counter will read 90-95 feet. This allows the ball to drag and bounce off bottom and create some disturbance, I call it the dinner bell! Make sure your rod is set in the rod holder and is bent in half with no slack line left, set your drag and watch your rod bounce with the bottom. If you see your rod bounce on a rhythmic pace it will mean that you are dialed in perfect. I keep my speed at around 1.6 to 2.0 MPH, my sweet spot is 1.7! I always drive in an S pattern to help the lures speed up and slow down to help me determine how fast these fish want it. Always pay attention to the small details once you get a fish. Take a picture of your catch, release it and repeat the process until your arms fall off!!
Get out there, have fun and catch yourself a bunch of Larry’s during those beautiful summer months!