Night Eyes

AtticaFish

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Oh, no denying...... the walleye bug has me pretty good.  I think it got worse this fall with all the 20"+ fish i caught.

As for their winter behavior, i really don't know yet.  This is the first i have honestly ever tried to get out and cast for them in February.  Water is way down and crystal clear at the moment (city has not started pumping water in from the river yet) so i spent some of the time with my head light on checking the areas that i know hold the most small bluegill/bass during any other season.  There were still plenty of those prey fish up in the shallows.  If the food is there...... predators should visit i would think?  The upground reservoirs i fish are hard to compare to any other surrounding reservoirs that are river/creek systems that get dammed up.  The river/creek reservoirs are a little more natural with points and drop-offs.  The majority of upgrounds are simply all angled drops from shore to a deep basin.  The guys in those central OH reservoirs that are a little more natural are still catching a few from shore on rocky points and up against the dams when it has been free of ice.

There was a report of a pretty darn big saugeye caught through the ice a little over a week ago from one of the reservoirs only 30 minutes or so from me.  I don't get to this reservoir much, or at least i haven't fished it frequently in the past.  May have to give it more focus this spring.  It is a little newer of an upground and has some manmade structure and contour that was added specifically to help the stocked fish populations to reproduce.  Check this out....... http://www.ohiogamefishing.com/threads/bucyrus-res-studdddd.292769/#post-2127924
 

papaperch

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Russ- Just read this thread. Got something for you in case you want another weapon to add to your arsenal. Check your local Wal Mart. For a plug that is named the Pond Minnow. I have caught just about every fish that swims on them. Used in the pond shallows they are D-E-A-D-L-Y. They are made by Strike King and are also called the bitsy minnow. Berlin has a shallow water walleye pattern also. You can almost guess what colors to get by what you been getting out of their stomachs. Other companies make small plugs but I think  there are the cheapest that are still effective.

I think their profile is what sets the gamefish off on them. As it so closely resembles what they are smashing. They are only 1-1/2 long and weigh an 1/8 oz.
The scenario in your post almost is perfect for these little fellers. LM bass can't or won't leave them alone either.

Fish with 6 # test and use loop knot. Berkley fast snap will also work but I believe the loop knot allows this particular lure to perform to its max.

You can buy me a beer to thank me. Cause if you get some you will be singing its praises just like me.


http://www.blackbassreviews.com/reviewbitsypondminnow.html

This review reveals I am not the only fan of the little lure that can. I get a chuckle out of some the real young fishermen on u-tube. Seems like each of them think they are the only one to discover what the bitsy is capable of. Their enthusiasm is quite evident to say the least.
 

AtticaFish

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Hawnjigs said:
Gotta join to view.



Ooops, keep forgetting they changed their permissions on OGF.  Here is the picture of the fish the guy caught.  They sized this saugeye at 29.5" and pushing 10lbs!

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AtticaFish

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papaperch - I will look it up.  I have 2 plano boxes i take with me now.  First box is full of jigs.... tied, twisters & swimbaits.  Other box is for cranks and still have some room left for a few more.
 

AtticaFish

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I don't know the guy who caught it so no clue how the ice was that day. When it is black ice like that, it is very hard to tell from a picture. Sometimes it is hard to tell even when you are standing on it! Someone claimed this particular reservoir was last stocked in 2004 with saugeye, so that could be a pretty old fish. Quite big and beautiful dark color, just has that look of an evil predator.


Actually made it back to Willard reservoir again last night for one more try before we get the next cold snap that will likely lock up the lakes here again. Casted for about 2 hours and not even a bump. Tried cranks, tied jigs, swimbaits and twist tail grubs. I gave up when the calm water along the shoreline (was hiding on the up wind side to try and stay warm) began to skim over with ice. Walleye will have to wait i guess...........
 

Hawnjigs

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Man, what a BUT !! Dude must be thick skinned or hot blooded.

Can't believe how much fish can fit thru those little ice holes. Must be lots of fun if you snag one.
 

Bucho

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The canal I fish has just been featured in a nation wide magazine article  titled "Monsterzander possible". The author knows his zander and the mark and assumes that while fish in the 40-50cm range are being caught plenty, it must produce far bigger ones into the 1m range which would behave more like zander do in lakes - stay away from the banks and suspend far out of the reach of regular casting tackle (boat angling is strictly prohibited). The canal is suited for ocean-going vessels and 125m wide, more than twice the width of any other canal in the country - or continent for that matter. He is a very good zander angler but since he has no imagination of a suitable  crank bait or plastic that would cover 60-80 meters casting distance, he´s effectively given up on them. And with 3 million people and thousands of zander-crazy anglers  in the hamburg metropolitan area only 40 car minutes away, I have no desire to prove him wrong.  

These here are Finnish cold water seatrout spoons from various brands and craftsmen. They have a metal core embedded in resin, ideal for long casts and slow, shallow running action - exactly what you want for your nordic coastal seatrout fishing. Or open water Zander. I choose natural colored 16-22gr versions, enhance visability with holo scale foil and large glow eyes and calm down the action with a dressed treble or double hook that  also builds up a slender profile.  Unfortunately, the one I like best is discontinued and I have only a hand full from flee markets etc. It is very counter intuitive to bluntly cast that far out but after two fish (one keeper) on my jigs I gave it a shot today. 
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AtticaFish

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Wow, those are interesting spoons.  Don't know that i have ever seen anything quite like those.  I will have to look around and see if i can find anything similar to them here in the states.  Getting a lure to go as slow as you can and keep it out of the rocks is usually the ticket for me.  I may need to look into some double hooks to.  I have some 'trolling' spoons that i could cast, but they all have treble hooks and can imagine i would loose them as soon as they ticked a rock.  Your canal fishing sounds pretty amazing. That looks like a good one you caught.   I can't imagine one of those fish pushing a meter long.   :bigfish:

One thing i have never figured out about theses fish (walleye and saugeye of course, no zander here except at the grocery store) is the how-when-why they relate to the bottom or suspend up high.  I can get out one night and point a light out to deep water and see eyes zipping fast all over the place only a couple inches below the water.  Other nights, all you see is a very dim glow of their eyes as they are hugging the bottom in 6 feet or less of water.  Keep in mind, there are now roaming schools of baitfish in this lake.... no shad or shiners.  When i see the walleye out deep and up high in the water, my confidence drops because it seems like i don't catch as many fish.  I get bites but it is more like they are just on a temper tantrum and swimming around hitting things instead of eating.  When i see them down deep in the shadows, it gets my heart pumping because i think they are feeding on all the bluegill, bass, yellow perch and crawfish that stay very close to the bottom after dark.  The majority of the fish i catch are from that shallow water while casting  parallel along the bank.  Sometimes the big fish sit in a foot of water or less.  This is all from the super clear small reservoir i fish a lot.  It has taken me several years of fishing with a lot of skunked nights to work out my game plan.... and i still get a few skunked nights.

If all goes as planned, i am going to try casting off a breakwall on Lake Erie tonight after dark.  A buddy of mine has been up there 2 nights in a row and got skunked both nights.  Lake Erie is called the Walleye Capital in a lot of articles and lake resort publicity, and right now it on a major population boom for walleye because of some extreme ice cover a few years back that allowed an excellent spawning season for them.  A month or so ago, there were guys getting limits (6 fish) off the breakwalls and piers in a couple hours each night.  There were pictures of 40-50 fish on the pier.  Majority of fish are in the 18" to 24" range but a few pushing close to 30".  The walleye in Erie behave very different than the ones in my little hometown reservoir.  The Erie fish right now are doing nothing but chasing large schools of dying shad, so the majority are feeding up high in the water.  Casting those seatrout spoons way way out and keeping them high in the water might be very productive.
 

Pup

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AtticaFish said:
I will have to look around and see if i can find anything similar to them here in the states.  Getting a lure to go as slow as you can and keep it out of the rocks is usually the ticket for me.  I may need to look into some double hooks to.

A similar spoon might be a Mepps Syclops.  Double hooks from eBay or Joe's Old Lures where you can sometimes find a really good deal on Norwegian-made Mustads if you're lucky. ;)

AtticaFish said:
Casting those seatrout spoons way way out and keeping them high in the water might be very productive.

I caught walleye on spoons in a Canadian River once when I was too young to know what walleye were.  Retrieve wasn't fast, but steady.  I'd give several appropriately-sized Little Cleo or Krocodile Spoons a good shot.  KO Wobblers, another possibility, cast like a champ, but do have a much wider profile.
 

Bucho

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I found what seems to be the upgrade of my favorite model. It has rattles - not to my liking when it comes to pressured specimen zander - and comes in 20gr only, thats nearly 3/4 oz.
https://www.profish.se/ismo-zalsa-10-cm-20-gr

If you like it lighter, this one has worked for me too but is not the distance game changer that I´m after.

http://www.wakefishing.com/en/products/lures/spoons/shallow-spoon

Any finnish or swedish webshob with an english menue should ship to the U.S. at a reasonable rate. If not, contact me, they are both available here, too. This is not rocket science, these things are simple to knock off once you have a sample. The Finns are very creative homeshopping them with all sorts of cool stuff like real fish skin and fly tying material embeddet. I was thinking about embedding my beloved shell veneer but have too much other R&D to do that actually matters commercially :)     

Once you see what works for you, it is of course more satisfying to make one´s own design like this danish fella who runs an excellent youtube channel. In this clip he makes a pike version as it is also very popular in Finland. 

Unsatisfied with my selection of double hooks, I just bend a triple in shape and cut of the third bow. I don´t trust open ones anyway.
 

AtticaFish

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Hey hey hey, what do you know? The Erie walleye like the big swimbaits too.  Guessing i was the only one on the breakwall using them, everyone else appeared to be using some type of long skinny crankbait.  Saw 6 other good size fish caught too, most were caught all in one quick rush and then the nets seemed to stop.  I walked way out to the end of the breakwall hoping to squeeze in between some other anglers, but decided to fish into the wind (no one else wanted to stand into the 25mph gusts) instead of bumping elbows.   Took some serious arm power to cast the large profile swimbait on a 1/8 oz had, but was well worth it.

26" Erie walleye
Caught on 5" Kalin's swimbait, bluegill color.
1/8 oz. premium hook head
Lift and drop retrieve on the bottom

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Bucho

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Hawnjigs said:
Do Scandinavian baitfish swim backwards ?

Are these not available in the EU ?
https://www.barlowstackle.com/Gamakatsu-303-Double-Hooks-P1940.aspx

Danish seatrout anglers have actually done extensive semi-scientific field testing on eye placement and argue they had better results at the rear (hook-) end. They say the fish would strike right for them. Many species feature false eye spots on their tails so there might be something to it. I personally favor the "right" way though, it just looks better to me. That being said, I use the Do-It Shad spoon in both ways with confidence, not waisting a thought on the issue.

Those Gamis are sure nice but "America First" has given me second thoughts about avoidable US imports so I turned to VMC directly where I was granted both a manufacturer and a retailer account. We are speaking 80-150$ a 1,000 pack. Combine that with the distribution- supply-. and pricing policy of Gamakatsu, that pretty much narrows it. We have practically no homeshop lurecrafting market here so their German exclusive distributor refused my pledge (for small seawash hooks) and said they only do business with whole scale tackle retailers.  

@AF that is a beautyfull fish, congrats! I could never bring myself to fish on the bottom at night, I find the line control too demanding. The zander seem to press their forage over the clean sole against the rocky embankment before they strike which leaves you with a very slim window between strike zone and snag zone. We just try working the surface and turn back to daylight fishing later into the winter.
 

JUNGLEJIM1

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Very nice eye. It does seem like a 1/8 is not heavy enough for the 5" swim baits. What size hook was in that head? Fish that size has no problem swallowing a bait that size. I think 1/4 or heavier with a 3/0-4/0 would be better suited when using swim baits that size .A 6/0 Mustad ULTRAPOINT has a hook gap of 3/4" so that eye could easily swallow that. Can you show a picture of the head you were using? I recently did a mod on one of my molds and can put up to a 6/0 on a 1/4 oz head. That Kalins bluegill is a great color, caught some nice fish on that here too over the years.
 

Bucho

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JUNGLEJIM1 said:
Very nice eye. It does seem like a 1/8 is not heavy enough for the 5" swim baits. ...

When I first read this I was surprised to learn the bait was worked on the bottom. I would rather relate it to an open water presentation. Maybe the slow fall did the trick.
 
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