Fishing with Lures from Boats and Float Tubes
Take a look at the picture to the right. Can you see what is wrong? The angler in the float tube is positioned over water about 20 feet deep. He is casting a shallow running lure, probably a Bomber or rapala "Minnow" lure.
The problem s that predator fish are likely to be near the bottom, looking out and up, and are expecting to strike a prey fish that is going past, or swimming over their head.
The Rapala is definitely going over their head, and they will see it. It's just that it is too far away from the predator for it to have a realistic chance of making an attack before it gets away. Only the most aggressive starving pike will have a go at that lure.
Actually a ferox trout is more likely to go for this one. These fish evolved to hunt char which hang about in shoals in midwater. So a ferox will sometimes attack from underneath, coming up like a missile and take the shallow lure over deep water. More willing than a pike that is.
Here is the same lure being fished in a different location, only this time the Rapala is in a situation which it was originally designed for.
The shallow running lure is passing over a sunken weedbed with plenty of cover. This time the water is shallower. In this location the lure is reasonably close to the cover in which the predator pike will hunt.
The problem that I have illustrated here is resulting from a combination of 4 factors: the vertical height of the angler; the depth below the angler of the fish; the angle the line makes as the lure is retrieved, and the way that angle gets steeper until it begins to lift the returning lure up and away from the taking zone near the lake bottom.
We have seen how a shallow running lure works best in shallow water. This lure was a floating, shallow diving lure. Something else must be found for the times when we are not fishing in the shallows.
A deep diving plug (crankbait) has a large horizontal lip (called a diving vane) projecting from the front where the line is attached. When it is retrieved back it dives downwards due to the kiting effect of the diving vane. The majority of diving plugs have a floating body, so they dive while in forward motion during the retrieve, but if the reel is stopped, and the lure stops or slows down, it will float up to the surface due to it's buoyancy.
This will try to fish deeper as we retrieve it so it may be of help to solving our little problem.
We find that while we are winding in the line it dives down into the interesting areas. But at the beginning of the cast it is floating ready to dive, out of the striking zone. And at the end of the retrieve the diving vane wants to make the lure run deep towards the angler, but the angle of the line is pulling it upwards towards the surface. So this lure is an improvement. In a situation where we are positioned over the deeps near the shore, and we cast into the shallows, this is the lure type to use. That's because it will be shallow where it lands and the water is shallow, and as the water gets deeper, and we reel the lure away from the shore towards us and the deeper water, it tracks deeper in a very nice way.
loses it's advantage at the end near the tube/boat and it rises up away from the
The advantages of fishing with a metal spoon from a boat are obvious. It sinks if not retrieved. You can cast, then count it down or just wait until the line goes slack. This indicates your metal spoon has touched the bottom. Now you tighten up and retrieve it back. A big plus is that it is in the zone when the retrieve begins.
Unfortunately, the deeper the water the bigger your next problem becomes. As you retrieve, the lure rises in the water as it makes it's way back. Slowly but surely you lose contact with the lake bottom, and move up and away from bottom hunting fish that like to look up to spot their prey, and attack upwards. Your spoon is above them alright. it's just getting too far above them for a reasonable expectation for a take.
Say you put on a heavier spoon, made of thicker gauge metal. It stays down, but the action is impaired, and it now requires a faster retrieve to maintain it's wriggly attractiveness. This might be ok when trolling long distances, but it is no good when casting.
A trick I have used is to attach a lead up the line above the trace, to help keep it down as long as possible during the retrieve. This helps a lot. But now it casts like a pig, with an unpleasant bolos twirling effect. Sometimes a retrieve ends up with the spoon coming back upside down hooked up on the swivel. Many problems have been eliminated, but more improvements are necessary for this situation.
Observation, a diving vane holds a lure down as it gets closer. A metal body sinks before the retrieve begins and gets it down early in the cast.
What if we found a hybrid lure? A sort of lure with the sinking quality caused by being made from metal, but which also has a diving vane on the front. This will keep it down as the line gets shorter during the retrieve.
It has already been done folks! Buck Perry years ago was searching for the perfect trolling lure, one that would troll along at a constant depth, so he could forget about boat speed, and just concentrate on other fish finding matters. He made the Spoonplug. A spoon with a diving vane.
Believe me, these lures are the cat's pyjamas for fishing from a floating platform over deepish water. Take a look here: Spoonplugs to learn more about them.
After you have tried spoonplug casting from a boat over deep water, you will have a big interest in sinking diving plugs & crankbaits. They are few in number. In future when you come across new lures which have these features you will look very carefully at lures that behave like a spoonplug does.
Spoon jigs and lead head jigs have qualities we should consider when we are casting from a floating platform like a boat or float tube. A leadhead jig is a hook with a weight moulded onto it, and an attractor plastic lure, or fly tied onto the other part. So being quite heavily weighted for it's size, it gets down fast.
A jigging spoon is a flashy lure of metal like a smaller freshwater version of a saltwater pirk. It is designed for an attractive flutter when allowed to sink vertically down in the water.
These lures both have the advantage that you can sink draw retrieve them back, allowing them to drop back to the bottom frequently, and thus they are attractive all the way back to a position underneath you in your tube/boat. Take a look here: Spooning and Jigs to learn more about them.
These are the absolute opposite of trolling, giving detailed coverage of a small area of water rather than the low quality coverage that a huge trolled distance provides. Spoooning and jigs and the next technique below are for after you have already found the fish.
The last lure and presentation type I am going to mention is the drop shotting technique. This has a lot to offer. The way DS works it is like livebait fishing but with artificial lures.
Take a look here: Drop Shot Fishing to learn more.
Drop shotting is a close relative of jigging. However the lead stays in one place for short periods. So it resembles fishing with natural bait, staying in one spot, but using artificials instead. (Some people tip a jig or dropshotted bait with a worm and blur the distinction even further)
Here is the important bit: ONLY JIGS AND DROP SHOT LURES TRACK DOWN AN UNDERWATER SLOPE AUTOMATICALLY, with no necessity that the angler know exactly where the dropoff is and take special action.
That makes them special, effective, and a real asset to the deep water angler afloat.
Email me for more information if needed. See the float tube contacts HERE. Call Norm or Patrick at Green Hobby & Model, Harolds Cross, Dublin Tel: From outside Ireland 00-353-1-4928776 , From Ireland 01-4928776