Episode #378 From Top to Bottom Pike & Lake Trout

Today the Mercury Marine Destination starts us in Northern Saskatchewan, then over to Lake Ontario.  

Pike are the target this morning as Charlie joins up with Adam Schreiber of Cree lake Lodge.  Long casts are always helpful in the shallows, and the surface hits can be absolutely thrilling!  Quality equipment is needed, especially with lures that call in the big fellas!  Then, downrigging for Lake Trout on Lake Ontario.  When a lure is as multi functional as this one, this unique approach will have many thinking of all the other possibilities!  Surface Pike and Bottom Lakers, this week on … Fishful Thinking.  


Species:  Northern Pike

Tackle for the Pike:  

40 lb test Seaguar Smackdown Performance braided fishing lines 

The Clacking Topwater 5 ½ inch Freedom Mischief Minnow 

Daiwa Zillion Heavy duty baitcaster with T-wing system   

130 lb test Seaguar Abrazx Muskie and Pike leader material 

Viking boots, gloves and 100% waterproof raingear   

100% protection from UV A, B and C with REVO sunglasses 

Technique: Surface baits for explosive top water hits. New on the market has been the Freedom Mischief Minnow. This surface bait has a realistic minnow profile, but the real kicker is a clacking spinning blade that thumps against the body, not only making noise, but making the lure kick a little as if it is truly injured. It has been a killer on Bass. Now it’s big brother is available, a larger husky 5 ½ inch version that is so much fun for larger fish like Pike, it might be the only lure you want to throw.  This lure has had the ability to draw surface hits, when nothing else has worked and the Pike really want this lure. So effective, if the fish has missed the lure, often they turn and take another whack at it until they get it. This lure is also tough, not many surface baits are designed for abuse, this one is. Not even one single puncture from over 30 Pike.  This 5 ½ inch version is also easy to cast and when you are fishing shallow, and long casts are helpful not to spook the fish.

 Daiwa Tatula and Daiwa Zillion baitcasting reels have a T-Wing system that makes casting all lures easier and further.  In free spool, the T-Wing aperture drops down, allowing a large area for the line to flow from. When the reel is engaged, the T-Wing goes back up and the line slides into a sleek groove that is now your level wind that smoothly lays your line across the spool. This not only helps increase casting distances, but also helps to eliminate all those nasty birds’ nests that folks associate with baitcasting reels, and makes casting into the wind even easier without problem. Today the Daiwa Zillion Heavy Duty is used and casts the lure a country mile. This reel has all the same wonderful features of the smaller Zillion baitcasting reels, just a little larger, with a larger line capacity for heavier lines and bigger handle for torque on those monster fish. 

Seaguar has been known as the leader in Fluorocarbon, but the braided lines are some of the best on the market as well. Seaguar Smackdown braid is thin, strong, and highly abrasion resistant. With the no stretch qualities and sensitivity, the hook setting ability is ideal for breaking the grip toothy Pike usually have on a lure.  Wire leaders have long been used for Pike and Muskie, but they are highly visible, kink and break easily, and damage the fish when the Muskie or Pike rolls in the leader. Charlie has been using 130 lb test Seaguar Abrazx Muskie and Pike leader for a long time now. The Seaguar 130 lb test is almost invisible in the water, easy to tie, and when a fish rolls in it, the more flexible Seaguar with a thicker diameter over the wire, doesn’t dig in and damage the fish. The Seaguar is also much easier for the angler to handle when they grab the leader at boat side. Wire would cut into your hands, the 130 lb Seaguar does not.  The trick with tying the 130 lb Seaguar is go easy on your wraps with the knot. A 2-wrap clinch pulled tight is all you need. 

Species: Lake Trout

Tackle for the Lake Trout:

Humminbird Helix 10 fishfinders with built in GPS  

Daiwa Saltist line counter reels with 6 point one to one gear ratio.  

Cannon Optimum Downriggers, track system and adjustable rod holders  

Smooth Moves Shock Absorbing Seat Suspensions. 

Designed for multi species, the Princecraft Xpedition 200 

Mercury 9.9 hp Pro Kicker and 225 horsepower four stroke motors 

Technique:  Dragging the bottom with a floating surface lure. Think about it, what could be better fishing just off the bottom and staying out of the debris, but not many surface lures have any action once submerged, but the Freedom Mischief Minnow does.  Available in 3 ½, 4 ½ and 5 ½ inch sizes. This surface bait has a realistic minnow profile, but the real kicker is a clacking spinning blade that thumps against the body, not only making noise, but making the lure kick a little as if it is truly injured. All species have simply wanted to eat this lure. 

Cannon downriggers are incredible for fishing deep. The new Cannon Optimum is loaded with features. A full colour 3.5 screen, Bottom tracking, pre set depths, low battery drain, auto up and stop at waterline, depth cycling, and the list goes on and on. But to stay in the safe zone away from the bottom snags and debris, the weights are held up 15 feet from the bottom.  Even if the bottom is not a snag threat, this still keeps the humming downrigger cable and downrigger weights out of Lake Trout’s living room. 

To take the lure along bottom, a jet diver is used for the additional 15 feet. So, for the set up, main line to a swivel, swivel to 6 – 7 feet of Seaguar Fluorocarbon to the lure. From the swivel, an 18-inch dropper line is tied to the jet diver. A dropper line is needed to allow the jet to pull without restriction.  Jets are designed for only light presentations, so when tied directly to them, the resistance at trolling speeds with a lure tied to them will make them roll and stop diving. On the dropper line, they keep running true since the leader to the lure is not tied to the back of the jet, but from the swivel above.

 It is the jet diver then takes the lure down the extra 15 feet and runs across the snags on the bottom, saving any threat from snagging a downrigger weight. The jet can bounce and skip along the bottom stirring up debris. If a snag happens, a little slack line often floats the jet diver out of the snag, and simply re-set.  How do you know how far the diver is going down? While in the shallows, pick a depth, say 15 feet, and let out your line until you feel bottom contact.  With the help of a line counter reel like the Daiwa Saltist, you now know exactly the amount of line needed to account for the 15 feet to the bottom. It doesn’t need to be 15 feet, you can use 10 or even 20 if conditions suit it better.

The Princecraft Xpedition 200 is designed and set up as an incredible multi species fishing boat. Powered by a 225 hp Mercury with the addition of a 9.9 Mercury Pro Kicker, this boat is set up for all fishing situations. The optional rear bench seating folds down into a massive back casting deck, and is easily removed when not needed or when cockpit room is needed for trolling situation, as is the case today. Not many boats can be equally designed for both casting and trolling, but this boat is. A huge front casting deck for casting, and a huge open cockpit area in the back for times when you want room for trolling. The beautifully designed consoles are higher than most, blocking the wind as you cross the lake and allows room for a clear view of the built in fishfinder space. No more ducking to keep your hat on….perfect.

Big waters equal big waves at times, one addition Charlie has added started years ago, and he couldn’t have a boat without them. Smooth Moves Shock absorbing seat suspensions. These simply replace the pedestal on your current boat, and gives you a comfortable spring-loaded ride.  Adjustable for height and spring tension.  As nice as you think your boat rides now, you would be amazed at what this addition does for your comfort. 

About Charlie Wray

Charlie Wray has been host of the very popular TV show, Fishful Thinking, since 1990. Part of the success behind the show has been the very informative format. Perfect for both the novice and experienced angler, Fishful Thinking provides entertaining insight for all audiences...read more

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