Winter in the northern months is harsh and miserable, but it’s our lifestyle up here and we love it. The fishing however in the winter can be pretty tough, especially when it requires getting out on the ice; but hey you have to do what you have to do in order to continue feeding that desire to cast a line. However, as cold as it gets in Canada, it eventually does warm up to where we have a few months of open water and the fishing is phenomenal. Salmon, musky, bass, walleye, perch, you name it we have it up here in Canada and we have some of the most world renowned places to capture the trophy of a life time.
Recently, my son and I embarked on one the best salmon trips I’ve ever taken and we made memories that will last a lifetime. The water is starting to open up which means one thing; HUNGRY FISH!!! We decided to take the trolling boat out and highlight the best time to catch the salmon run using down riggers and one of my favorite baits of all time: Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows.
We caught several keepers throughout the day and were constantly around good fish, were able to do this by using a great mapping and down-scan unit in the boat. Once we found the fish we dropped the down rigger with the larger sized Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Freshwater in Real Smelt and Real Blue Back Herring down to them in about 30 feet of water. Another successful way to catch them is with a side planer. This is a little more tricky but very effective. I like to run a planner 40 feet from the boat, and then attach a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye 75 feet behind the planer. The best colors we have found that salmon cannot resist are Hot Tiger, Banana Peel, and Perch. Finally, the last way my son and I were able to catch a few more extra fish were running a Crystal Minnow 3D Deep Diver 150 feet behind the boat, doing this actually helped us catch a few bigger salmon also. I use the same colors here as the Crystal Minnow Walleye. The best trolling speed we found this time was 2.3-2.5 mph.
My typical trolling set-up consists of 7ft to 9ft trolling rods, 30lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid for a mainline, and 20lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader.
The weather plays a huge factor in the success of a trip this time of year, although the water just melted, the better days are when its cloudy and heavy forecast. Right now the water temperatures are in the low 40s and the fish are actively feeding after a brutal winter of solid ice. Once the ice melts the bait goes crazy and so does the metabolism of the fish getting ready for the run to spawn.
The salmon are out there and calling your name, grab your family and hit the water while the bite is the best. You will make memories that will last a life-time.
Fishing as a professional bass fisherman comes with a lot at stake. It can be financially trying, emotionally exhausting, physically demanding, but can all pay off when the plan comes together. Every angler out there has one goal in mind; to WIN! But what if you are in front of your hometown crowd? The people that saw you grow-up, the friends you’ve known your whole life, your wife, your parents and grandparents, all your family, what if you were the angler everyone had their eye on through-out the week? Does the stakes of winning get higher? Is there more added stress? Do you expect more from yourself? Well that was exactly the cards dealt to Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Brandon Cobb last week on Lake Hartwell for the Bassmaster Elites Series event in South Carolina.
How did Brandon do? He never even flinched and got the job done; winning his first Bassmaster Elite Series event in his career and taking home a $100,000 payday.
Brandon grew up in South Carolina and has fished Lake Hartwell his whole life, so knowing the lake was no problem. Making sure he didn’t let history interfere with his ability to fish clean and strong to capture the win; that was the difficult task. The Yo-Zuri pro knew he needed to stick to one area of the lake that was notorious for big bedding fish. He stuck to his plan and stayed calm.
Brandon is a well-known angler that prefers to burn the bank and cover as much water as he could throwing moving baits. But, when the springtime hits and water is clear; the best way to catch them is with a spinning rod. Brandon threw a wacky worm throughout the tournament but still managed to cover as much fishable water as he could, even at times revisiting areas through-out the tournament days as fish continued to move up in his primary areas.
Brandon’s arsenal of attack was a 6’10 medium action spinning rod, 2500 size spinning reel, Yo-Zuri 10lb SuperBraid with a 10lb Yo-Zuri Topknot Fluorocarbon leader. Brandon was using this set up to throw a wacky worm to make long casts and catch cruising largemouth in bedding areas. Occasionally he would slow down and throw a shaky head for fish that were locked onto a bed, but most of the fish he weighed in were cruising shallow.