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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been gaining interest in Saltwater for some time, but now the monkey has bitten me right in the :confused: , especialy since I am looking at 2 feet of snow out the window! (northwestern Pennsylvania).

I have already told my wife that I am starting to buy stuff now to re-rig the boat for saltwater. Once our regular season is over next summer, I'll do the swap and load up the heavy gear for salt water and head toward NC and take some vacation.

Problem is, I am really green on all of this stuff. I need to fully rig...Offshore trolling for tuna, wahoo, etc., bottom fishing, I need everything. The boat is ready to go, just need the tackle. I want to use a good portion of my tax return (not telling the wife how much) to get outfitted. Might need to save a few bucks for the divorce huh?

Here is where I could use some help: Any suggestions on tackle is appreciated. Rod/reel combos for trolling, jigging, lures, terminal tackle, line weight. All info is good. I just bought 2 Okuma Gold TG W 50 2 speed reels. I need to get rods for them. I can't decide whether to buy more 50's or to throw in some 30's, might even need a couple 80's if I go looking for Blue Fin. I also want to be ready for bottom fishing for grouper, cod, etc. Looking to get the info and start shopping for some deals.

When I get rigged up and ready to head down, I'll be looking for people who want to go fishing! The boat is a Sportcraft 252 WAC. I'll bring the boat, someone else will have to supply the (fishing) brains :) . Check out the boat if you want; www.somethingcatchycharters.com.

P.S. I'm coming down to fish, not run charters. I do that only up here in the summer.


Send me an E-mail if you want
Brian Mills
[email protected]
 

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Topper - welcome to the Saltwater version of the tackle monkey (by looking at your website, I see his freshwater cousin already got ya).

I do a lot of saltwater fishing but mostly within 25 miles - some of the other guys will pipe in on the heavy stuff, I'm sure. Unless you are coming in Dec/Jan - no need to worry about the BFT stuff.

As to bottom fishing - if you are aiming at the big brawlers - grouper - I'd go with a penn 6/0 (Senator Special 114H) on a short, stiff rod - I use 5'9" glass and 6'0" glass rods. I prefer a mono backing with a top shot of 200 yards of 65 pound braid. If you plan on doing a lot of grouper fishing - you might consider an elec-tra-mate or similair electric reel (watch-it, there's that tackle monkey again). No cod down here but plenty of other fine eating bottom fish.

Also consider a Shimano Trevala rod with a high speed reel (I use an Avet) for vertical jigging. This style fishing is a blast - grouper, snapper, mahi, mackerel, Amber Jacks - they are all taregts and will give you a great fight on that Trevala equipped with braid and the butterfly jigs or similiar lure.

One of the most popular fish to target down in these parts is King Mackerel. Medium-light tackle is the preference. 15-30 class, fast action live bait rods with highspeed reels (6:1 or higher). I like the Shimano Speedmaster IV on Billfisher rods. Load it with 20 pound mono and get ready to troll for a fun fish. This set-up also works well on Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi).

I'm others will have some ideas too on these areas and hopefully on the Wahoo, Tuna and sail fish.

Keep those questions coming, we are glad to help anyway we can (the tackle monkey misery loves company) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm glad to share everything I know about Walleyes, smallmouth bass, steelhead, etc. It would take me a week to share everything, but let the questions fly and I will share everything I use up here. Most of the techniques I use up here will work everywhere. I not only fish the Great Lakes, but also inland impoundments too. I'll help any way I can. I can also tell you that there are some techniques I use here that should be used in salt water, but they seem to be lost to that venue. I can't wait to try some of these in saltwater.

Walleyes=freshwater grouper...yummy
 

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Offshore tackle monkey is a different animal for sure... I just replied last week to a post on rods.. there might be some usefull info in there for you. Click this link:

http://www.ncangler.com/forums/f9/trolling-combo-2258.html

I like Okuma gear. I've had no issues with the Silver 50W's which are my heaviest reels. I dont fish anything over 50-80 lb. main line as there's really no need in a center console boat as you can literally chase down the fish from any point on the boat to shorten the fight. (I.e. no need to "winch" the fish to the boat).

Okuma Silver 50w's can be had new for $199 ea. which in my opinion is alot of bang for the buck. They're perfect for recreational fishin and can handle fish easily up to 300+ lbs with 700 yrds of 50 lb. TG-30's would be a good all around reel as well. You could use them for anything of intermediate size. Any 30 or 50 would be good for wahoo without the fear of gettin spooled, you'd have enough line capacity for the run, then the recovery. 2 speed reels in the 30's would be good.

I find we use our 50w's the most, it's the easiest to use for bottom or for the main rigs for trolling the big baits. One simple snap of the swivel and we can go from troll to bottom in seconds.

If you want a no BS reel, and money is of no issue.. check out Alutechnos. If you havent put your hands on one, or used one,, it's hard to explain just how super those reels are and they'll easily handle Bluefin, Marlin and the like... I'm riggin my next boat with Alutechnos's (probably 2 80w's and 4 50w's and a couple of regular 50's, they'll be matched with Chaos stand-up rods. Here's a good pick of the rods we used last year in Orange Beach Alabama on my bud Rick's boat... (he sold me on them reels.. and I gotta admit,,, they are nice!!)



Tackle as far as terminal stuff... you cant skimp.. has to be the best.
Wind on leaders of different lb ratings from 90-400 lb, depends on what your after to what size leader you'll use

Weights of every different sort, we have a 70 lb weight bag that has everything from 1 lb trolling weights to egg weights, pancake type weights.. everything from 3 oz.'s up to a 1 1/2 lb. Our bag weights a little bit more than a 27 group deep cycle battery to give you an idea
You'll need a huge assortment of hooks (J-hooks, circles, trailers, trebles) and in different sizes, lengths, and gauge/thickness's
Swivels (every different shape and size and lb rating)
Good pair of crimping plyers/tool
Crimps
Beads
Dental floss (for bait rigging)

If you need a more detailed list.... let me know... as this post can get pretty long!

Oh, if you plan to haul fish aboard... spend the money on good GAFF's!!! and of course different sizes of them as well. We carry 3 on my boat. A hand gaff, 4 ft and a 6 ft gaff. The one thing I wish I had and never got was a tailer, we just did it the hard way by hand to tail a fish using a bow line. Much better control on a fish when you can take "his" motor out of the water.
 

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Topper - use the "manage attachment" function on the page (if you are using quick reply, hit the advance button at the botton first then you will get the options), this works well if you have loaded the pictures onto the web (either here or another site). If not you can save time by clicking on the picture icon (mountain on a postage stamp) above the text window - this will allow you to insert a pic into your post from your hard drive - it will even resize it for you to get it under our file size limit.

We look forward to your pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·


Here is a nice walleye (about 7 pounds). Thats my oldest Daughter with me, she is a trooper. We were hauling them in one after the other that day in 4-6 foot waves. My wife was driving and not feeling well so the day ended a little early but man the fishing was hot!

When the water temps are in the 50's and 60's the walleye can be caught very close to shore (1 mile) in 26-32' of water. We use planer boards to get the lines away from the boat and run deep diving plugs from 75-150 feet behind the boards. Later, as the water temp gets into the 70's, the fish move offshore (7-15 miles) and into deeper water (65'-80'). At that time we use Luhr Jensen Dipsey divers with spoons (Michigan stingers are a favorite) to get the lines down to the fish which are normally suspended in the 50-60' range. We also use downriggers and wire flat lines with deep diving plugs way out back 250-350' behind the boat. If I have calm conditions and enough people on the boat, I will run 10-12 lines at a time. I have had 7 lines get taken down on one school! What a challenge! But we managed to land 5 fish.

Steelhead start really turning on in late July and August as they gorge themselves to head for the spawning streams. We nail them early on the downriggers set down to 35-45 feet using spoons blue and chrome, red, and anything bright and flashy is deadly on them. They average about 6-8 pounds, 10-12 pounders are common, my biggest was 19 lb 11 oz, and the state record is almost 21 pounds! When they hit look out! The rod will just go lim in the holder when the downrigger pops, then it will start bobbing slightly, then the steelhead will be 10 feet out of the water and probably trying to get around every line in the water! Once he hits the water again it is a B line for the other side of the lake.

I'll see if I can get some pics to work...Here is a steelie (not a big one)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When we have a good west or southwest wind some clients prefer to drift fish. We usually only do this in the early summer when the fish are in close. We will use a baitwalker to drag bottom and a nightcrawler harness above it on a three way swivel, or we use weight forward spinners with night crawlers. Some people fish jigs and have good luck but it has never been one of my favorites except for smallmouth bass. The problem I have with fishing in this manner is that there is way more by-catch of undesirable species such as sheephead (AKA freshwater drum), bass, white bass, white perch, etc. All of which are bait thieves and with night crawlers at $3 per dozen it can get expensive. Some of the new gulp and power bait type worms have shown some promise. At least there isn't worm dirt all over my boat when we use them.

We anchor for perch in 48-70 feet of water. Perch stack up in schools sometimes 15 feet thick or more! What perch lack in size and fight they sure make up on the dinner table! It is great fun for the kids and an easy trip for Dad too. We seldom catch any walleyes while anchored.

I use 7 and 8 foot medium action trolling rods with reels such as Okuma convector 20's, Penn 320GTI's, Daiwa Sealine 27's, etc. All have line counters and level winds. I rig most rods with 20lb power pro except the lines for close fishing which are 12 lb mono. Everything that hits the water has a fluorocarbon leader (Lake Erie is getting really clear). The zebra mussells that were introduced to the Great Lakes by our neighbors across the Atlantic dumping their polluted balast water are filtering the whole Lake. Diving is getting popular now, might have to rig the boat for that too. Visibility is probably 40-50 feet.

We do fish in small impoundments for walleyes too. In those areas, drift fishing with jigs or small spinners tipper with minnows works well. Also, jiggin spoons such as Rapalas or Cicadas worked well when tipped with a minnow. We fish the edges of weed lines and drop offs to find the fish in those areas.
 

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Definitly different styles of fishing. We have been experimenting with jig and crawlers. Mostly things like the Hopkins, Man-o-lure, and the favorite Rapala Ice Jig. Locating fish is key. Lakes here are not going to complare in size. Mostly areas where fish move in and out, points, drop offs, ledges. Sometimes requires boating around to find where the fish are at that time.
 
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