Thanks to everyone who came to my seminars on Indiana spring coho kayak fishing this past weekend at the Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Expo. Thanks to Quest Watersports for giving me that platform to share what I have learned.
As promised, here is a recap with the various websites and products that I mentioned.
Since we don't have giant boats with huge motors, getting to spot takes a bit longer. Having a good idea of where to be, helps minimize wasted travel time and gets you on the fish a lot faster.
One of my favorite sites that I mentioned was Captainsreports.net. Once you go to the site, there is a link for a sample report so you can see how many details a report from the site actually gives. Again, I know it costs money but to minimize the guessing game on where to be and what to use, it's worth every penny!!!
It might even be a great idea to book a charter with one of the many contributing Captains. They will be able to show you how to rig everything and you can pick their brain for tips and tricks.
Another great source that I mentioned is Facebook. There are so many groups and pages out there that are filled with knowledgeable anglers. Don't be afraid to join a group and ask questions!! Most people are extremely helpful. Here are a few of my favorite groups for Indiana info:
Last but not least, make friends with anglers who are better than you!! I have learned so much from friends out there!! I would not be where I am without all of their help and I still learn a ton from them every time out.
Here are links to some of my favorites and where I get them.
Biovex Crankbaits - The Amp Midrunner and Deeprunners are going to be the staples for Lake Michigan coho. They are also killer on browns and kings!! In the next week or so, I am going to be doing a giveaway on a couple of these so make sure you stay tuned on the BFA Facebook Page ;)
|Biovex Deep Runner|
For the peanut flies, I really like the ITO Flies. As I said, the owners run a charter service on lake Michigan so they absolutely know what works out there!
Dodgers (size 00 in Orange), line, leaders, etc...can all be found at Lake Michigan Angler. Ask for a gentleman named Rob Wendel and he will be able to help set you up with the right stuff. Just tell him what you are fishing for.
Spoons can also be purchased from Lake Michigan Angler. I happen to run the Michigan Stinger spoons (standard size; not magnum) but all the trolling ones will work like the Dreamweavers or Moonshines.
As a reminder, you want trolling spoons to troll with - not casting spoons.
Don't forget that you are very small out there compared to the giant boats. Do what you can to stay visible. I highly recommend having a safety flag at all times when you are on Lake Michigan.
I personally run the Railblaza Kayak Visibility Kit.
The other thing I mentioned was making sure that you have a marine 2 way radio. One of the best I've found is the Cobra MRHH350 Floating radio. This can be a lifesaver and I consider it an absolute must have out there.
The other absolute must have is a quality PFD. Not only is it the law, it's flat out crazy to not have one. If you are worried about being too warm, get an inflatable one. No excuses!!
Kayaks and Canoes
Just about any quality kayak will work out there. I'd recommend sit on top style kayaks that are 11 feet in length or more. I know a couple people said they plan on taking a canoe out there and that is absolutely OK. You do have to pick your days a bit more carefully and I would recommend sticking a bit closer to shore or within the confines of a harbor. I have to admit that I am not a canoe guy so I am somewhat uncertain of how they handle rough water - hence my cautiousness.
As for me, like I mentioned at the seminar, I prefer to fish from a Hobie Kayak. The ability to have my hands free to actually fish is priceless. The fact that I can maintain forward progress and steer with a fish tugging the other way is amazing. On top of that, weather simply effects me less. With the strength and endurance on my legs, I can go much longer and farther than I ever could with a paddle kayak - at least the ones I have had.
Around here, Quest Watersports is THE dealer to go to!! Awesome service, super friendly, and always willing to help.
Speaking of weather
Remember, in Indiana, you are looking for calm south winds. That means the winds will be blowing from the south (from the shore) and the water will most likely be calm. North winds over a few MPH are bad. The higher the wind speed, the rougher it gets. The more you get out there, the more will you understand what to look for in a weather report.
My most trusted site for wind and wave forecasts is NOAA.gov. The other really cool site that my friend Ed from FSA Custom Rods turned me on to is US Airnet. It's used for aviation purposes and I would think that knowing wind is probably more important to them than it is to us?
My cheat sheet
Here is the cheat sheet that I talked about. None of this is exact but it's what I use as my starting point. If running spoons and/or flashers, it is important to have those line counter reels so you know how much line is out. It's extremely difficult to repeat something that worked if you are only guessing at what you were doing.
If you are running crankbaits, the exact amount of line out is a bit less critical and you really don't need this sheet.
Remember to keep it simple at first!! If you do nothing but grab a handful of crankbaits, you can still catch a ton of spring time coho. Indiana is my preferred venue but the coho will run all the way up to the WI line and still be pretty close to shore.
When you do hook up with a fish, take note of everything you can - how much line was out, how fast you were going, what lure got hit, what direction you were going, water color/clarity, etc...If you can duplicate what just worked, then it will most likely keep working.
Don't forget the overall theme in colors you saw in my boxes....green, blue, green/blue, and a touch of orange.
Most importantly, stay safe and try to go with a friend.
Of course, have a ton of fun and catch some fish!!