Spring is here, boats are out and the fish are hungry. Just because they’re hungry does not mean they want the whole enchilada in one bite! Don’t over look your smaller baits this time of the year. Our GO TO, Spring Salmon and Trout bait in shallow water is the 3.5 inch crystal minnow, and even the 2-3/4 inch version.
The warmest water is most consistently found close to shore and getting as tight to shore as possible is our goal. I’m talking less than 10 feet of water. During the Spring season we rarely break the 20 FOW mark and typically stay in the teen depths, with our planer boards cruising under 10FOW. In most cases, I want my planer boards within inches of docks if possible! This goes for you shore anglers as well. Casting the crystal minnow from piers, docks, etc is a great way to get at these same fish. On a breezy day or a situation where you want more casting distance, bump up to the 4-3/8 crystal minnow for a little added weight and distance.
Fishing such shallow water can easily spook fish, here are five ways we combat this.
#1 – Get your lines away from your boat, send your planer boards out there! (But be courteous to other boaters)
#2 – Increase your lead length. Instead of running your baits 100ft back, run them at 125-150ft.
#3- Run a lighter fluorocarbon leader. In the summer we use 20lb Yo-zuri fluorocarbon, instead tone it down to a 15lb leader.
#4- Run a longer leader, we tie 30 foot leaders. This increases stealthiest and gives us plenty of leader to retie due to wear and tear.
#5- Fish “dingy water”! We are looking for “Pea Green Water”. If you can see bottom, the fish can see you, find a different spot. On the other hand, DO NOT fish “Chocolate Milk”. If it looks like you just order a Chocolate smoothie, they can probably NOT see your bait. Again find a different spot, search until you find the muddy water mixing with the clear water.
Salmon & Trout, typically hit very ferociously this time of the year because they are so hungry. To reduce foul hook ups, and increase our landing percentage we typically remove both stock hooks and replace them with a single #4 Treble hook on the back only. This will also reduce the amount of snags we encounter, as the bill is diving deepest and the rear hook is sitting just a touch higher.
Yo-Zuri hardbaits are the staple in every one of my tackle boxes. But, I especially rely on them when chasing after the big walleyes that we are notorious for in Canada. I really enjoy walleye fishing on the weekend because there are no two trips the same, and the walleye are very aggressive fish. It is always a great opportunity to hit the water and spend time with great fishing buddies and family.
For most of my life I have known the best way to catch walleye is by trolling. This is a pretty simple technique done by boat: tie on a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye DD, throw the bait behind the boat and drive at a steady slow pace. A critical element to being successful and a common question I hear a lot is, “what speed should I troll at?” this is dependent on the bait you are throwing and the depths you want to target. For me I prefer a really slow speed to help the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye DD dive to a depth of 8-9 feet. This seems to be a perfect depth for this bait because it allows the bait to “dance”. When I say dance, I mean the bait is at a wide side-to-side wobbling action and is hunting!
The rod and reel is really not too much of a concern to me, but I have found that line is very important; remember you are dealing with tooth critters. For me if I am fishing open water I will run straight 14-20lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline 100% Fluorocarbon. The small the line the deeper depths the bait will go. However, if I am targeting areas that have a lot grass or I am running multiple rods behind the boat I will usually run 30lb Green SuperBraid with fluorocarbon leaders. The braid helps stay more abrasion resistant in the grass.
Finally the bait of choice, as I mentioned I throw the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye DD most of the time. This is a great bait because it dives really well, has a great action, and the colors are exactly what walleye target. Walleye prefer the really dark or the really bright colors. They are a weird fish when it comes to the color selection and resemble nothing of the natural forage. The colors I like the most are Zombie and Midnight, but will sometimes mix it up with Acid Perch and Hot Tiger. All of the colors offered by Yo-Zuri however are a great choice; these are just the ones I reach for most.
Enjoy the waters and don’t forget to bring home fresh walleye for dinner, as walleye are one of the best freshwater eating fish there is!
The Striper fishing out in the west coast is on FIRE!!!! Want to increase your chances at have a day on the water that will make memories for a lifetime, here is some helpful tips on what I prefer to do and the set up I rely on!
My rod and reel choices are the following:
Rod is a 7’6″ heavy in power with a fast action tip.
The reel is a 300 size conventional reel with a line counter. Line counters are a must because this helps us out as a guide to know how far everyone’s line or lures are.I prefer to spool it up with 30lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid in the Blue color pattern.
Weather conditions that are most favorable are Mid-March thru early summer, but this year throughout April and May the weather was normal morning temp 45 degrees and a high temp of 74 degrees throughout the day but the main issue we have faced is the water temperatures of 50 to 52 degrees. Our normal water temperatures are 55 degrees in mid-March and approximately 60 degrees in mid-April. It took a while to figure it out, we had Spring weather temperatures but winter water temperatures due to all the snowpack in the Sierra’s.
Most effective techniques were drifting upstream with deep diving floating Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow lures or the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye series lure. I recommend trolling upstream at 3 to 4 MPH. Trolling at higher speeds make these stripers react to our lures, and with the colder water temps you had to get the lures right in their face because they were lethargic.
Hot baits were the standard deep diving floating Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow in Redhead/White body. This lure, for many years, has been the ‘go-to’ it comes to catching stripers. In the freshwater Deep Diver Crystal Minnow Walleye series lures the solid white has been hot for us. The bite is so good that it is almost like the stripers have never seen this lure before and they flat out couldn’t resist it! I believe the very tight wiggle the Crystal Minnow action has in the water mimics most live bait in many bodies of water such as Shad, or Pike Minnow. Another hot suggestion is the Deep Diver Walleye Series in the Hot Tiger color.
One tip I can pass on to anglers that will help them be successful is to remove the split ring that comes in the package tie a size 54 duo snap lock to your braid the attach it directly to the bait. This helps the lure run true, plus it makes easier to change out your lures as well. Also, make sure you add a trailer worm to your trailing center hook; it helps the lure get an even tighter wiggle.
This week marks the start of the 2019 Walleye season up north and we checked in with Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Marc Tremblay in how he attacks early season.
Primary Technique: Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye DD
Marc always starts with when early season walleye fishing is trolling a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver in a shallow area (rock structure-weed line-edge of pool)
“I try to put the bait very close to the bottom. The fish are often relating to a rocky bottom because the the most heat will be held here. Typically if I am not hitting the bottom then I am not in good position to get bit”, says Marc.
The trolling speed in cold water is around 0.8 and 1.2mph, this allows the Crystal Minnow Walleye DD to have great action while not being too fast. The walleye are cold and lazy after the ice melt and may not seem as aggressive as they will be in a month.
Marc prefers a seven foot trolling rod medium heavy extra fast action. This rod also the bait to work the best action and is not too stiff whenever a walleye bites.
“I use Yo-Zuri SuperBraid 20 pound. I prefer the smaller diameter to help the lure to go to the bottom faster and less restriction. I also tie on a 6 foot Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline fluorocarbon leader. My method to the madness is simple: Dark color in cloudy water (Zombie, Midnight) and light color for a sunny day.”
Secondary Technique: Jigging a Rattl’N Vibe
Marc mostly uses conventional jig equipment with a Yo-Zuri Vibe, preferably the 1/2oz size.
“I prefer this technique when fishing around a lot of current. The tight wobble and loud sound of the Vibe seems to really make a difference. I use a 6 foot heavy jigging rod with 10 pound SuperBraid mainline and 8 pound HD Carbon leader.”
Marc says for the best action to use the bait without a clip and try to fish in areas where there is a discrepancy in the current. Finding a small calm current break can be the most successful. The walleye this time of year again are lazy and would rather find areas in current where the bait will naturally appear in their face without having to chase it down. This also means not being afraid to make multiple casts.
One of the best times of year to catch Northern Pike is in the post-spawn and early spring when water temperatures warm to 45-55 degrees. The post-spawn and early spring is one of those special times of the year when you can land some of the largest Northern Pike of the open water season. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Yo-Zuri hard baits are all Olympic winners when chasing big Pike during this time.
Gold: One of my favorite “go-to” lures during the post-spawn and early spring for Northern Pike is the Yo-Zuri Golden Shiner 3DR Jerkbait. The Jerkbait is a lure that that works especially well for Northern Pike during this time of year because it can be effectively twitched in 2-5’ of water which they often frequent. Old bulrushes, rock and sand points, and shallow bays are all prime spots to try with the 3DR Jerkbait.
Silver: Another great option during the post-spawn and early spring for large Northern Pike is the Yo-Zuri Prism Silver Black 3DB Vibe. The Prism Silver Black Vibe works great when fished with a sporadic cadence along the first drop-off in a lake. The drop-off approach with the Vibe gives large Northern Pike a perfect vantage point for ambushing bait with minimal effort to feed. Ideally, I look for drop-offs in the 5-8’ range so that I can let the lure sink as needed to generate reaction strikes. It may be necessary to go this route when fish are lethargic and not yet feeding heavily due to recent spawning activity.
Bronze: The last lure choice that I want to discuss which I rely on for large post-spawn and early spring Northern Pike is the 4 3/8” Yo-Zuri Holographic Bronze Shiner Crystal Minnow (Floating or Suspending). One of my favorite ways to fish the Holographic Bronze Shiner Crystal Minnow is to use it as a search bait via trolling. When trolling the Crystal Minnow from my kayak, I change paddling speeds frequently and twitch the rod occasionally to emulate an injured or dying baitfish. Trolling with the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow works great on flats as shallow as 4’, the first drop-off from a bay, and points that drop into 10’ or more of water.
Choosing a Yo-Zuri Jerkbait, Vibe, or Crystal Minnow can be a great way to increase your odds of catching more fish. Go for the Gold, Silver, or Bronze during the post-spawn and early spring and you may end up netting your largest pike of the open water season.
Living is South Florida, I feel blessed to have so many species of fish within a short drive from home. Most of these prized fish can also be caught from the shore. My favorite fresh water fish is the Butterfly Peacock Bass. The Peacock Bass will be found from South Miami to Palm Beach since they cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees. As crazy as it sounds, we still see cooler temperatures here in Florida.
Target them in canals, ponds, and lakes, and specifically in shady areas around bridges, culverts, canal intersections, bends, dead ends, and near fallen trees. They feed in the shallow water adjacent shorelines. When I am specifically targeting the Butterfly Peacock Bass, my go to lure is the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow. However, whether you are targeting largemouth and peacocks in fresh water or snook, tarpon, and jacks in saltwater, fishing from the shore or your boat, the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow truly does it all.
My go-to set up is the 3.5 inch suspending in the bronze color on a medium heaving spinning rod with 20lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid and 15lb TopKnot fluorocarbon leader if the water is clear. My favorite conditions are when there is lots of small-medium sized baitfish in the area.
The weather is just getting perfect and the bite down here in Costa Rica is on!!! Down here in my little piece of paradise I am fishing every day and have dream trips catching Mahi, Cubera, Wahoo, and Rooster. The Mahi are not on a full run yet where I am fishing, however I am catching the occasional few. The Cubera and Wahoo bite is going crazy right now, and fishing for them out of a kayak adds to the excitement.
I am finding myself having to paddle about 2 miles off shore right now to locate a solid bite. I start every morning around 5:00 and am usually back at the dock in time for lunch. By then anyway, my arms are so tired from fighting fish all morning I barely find the strength to paddle back in. Typically the best days have been in a post-frontal, cloudy condition. This weather pattern will generally create more current coming out of the rivers and stir up the bait fish. This creates a feeding frenzy for the fish and a perfect time to catch multiple trophies each day.
My typical set up is a 7’ rod with a big spinning reel on it. I will advise anyone to not go cheap on a spinning reel, the general rule is the more you invest in a quality spinning reel the more likely you are to land more fish. A better quality spinning reel provides a better drag system and anyone that fishes offshore knows, fish will rip your drag a lot in a fight. Because of the larger spools on spinning reels offered today in the market I am able to get away with higher pound Yo-Zuri SuperBraid. Typically I run a 65lb Superbraid with a 40-60lb clear Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader. The heavier line is what I trust when fishing shallower around boulders and rough bottom. You just have to let the fish tell you where to fish to catch them, and this is usually following the bait.
When thinking about bait selection, I generally follow this rule of thumb: “anything will work as long as it’s Yo-Zuri.” My box is usually loaded down with Hydro Minnows, Crystal Minnows, and Mag Minnows. Sometimes in the morning I will mix in using the 3D Popper on very calm mornings. The retrieve varies based on the species; Roosters seem to prefer a very fast action retrieve, but Cubera and Wahoo seem to really prefer the slow retrieve. I generally cast a bait out and rip it violently but give it long pauses in between rips; lately it seems like the longer the pause the better. There is no question when you get a bite so pay attention!!!
If you’re planning a vacation soon and are angler; you’re crazy not to have Costa Rica on your bucket list. Make sure to stop by your local tackle store to get a few Yo-Zuri lures on your way. Happy fishing and see you out there!!!!!