Open Minded

You can’t make the fish eat. In fact, you need to give them what they want, or you’ll be looking at a skunk.

This year Lake Erie is nearly six degrees warmer than it was last year this time of year—and really even warmer than the seasonal average.

My annual month-long hog hunt in the Central basin of Lake Erie is a journey I have enjoyed for nearly 15 years. This is where the big girls come back to put on some fat before a long winter, just like a grizzly bear with fins and gills.

The problem is that if you don’t pay attention to all of the factors you may miss the bite.

The warmer-than-normal temps have pushed the fish incredibly deep. So deep in fact, traditional trolling techniques such as flat lining Reef Runner’s behind my Church planer boards isn’t going to work as it has years past. Instead I have been forced to use very small braided line rather than my traditional monofilament. I prefer mono for the extra stretch and cushion it provides with walleyes thrashing boat side, but if you can’t get the baits where they need to be, it doesn’t really matter.

Something as simple as needing to get a little deeper can cause several factors in your presentation to change besides just the line type. Making sure you have a long, forgiving trolling rod to act as a shock absorber, and different releases on your planer board will make a huge difference in your results.

I switch my Church clips from an adjustable super clip to the Lock-Jaw clip in order for it to hold the small and slippery line, even at speeds of 3 mph. The new removable EZ-Store board arms allows you to use the same boards with no tools needed to switch the arms out.

Fish make things difficult, but by knowing a few tricks you can prepare yourself for whatever they or Mother Nature throws at us. Except for 10-foot waves; then, you’re just screwed!

Be sure to check me out on the web at or on Facebook

Capt. Ross Robertson

North American Fisherman Top Stories