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.