Saturday, October 8, 2011

King Salmon Fishing, Fall 2011 a Recap

After a brutal summer season of shore King fishing and a pretty lousy start to the spoon bite the night time crank bait action has been nothing short of killer.

I settled in with a lure of choice this fall, and more than 30 kings have been taken on a variety of colors over four outings in Wisconsin over the last month.  The reef runner ripstick 700 series has a perfect wide wobble at slow speeds and runs deep, but not too deep.  There was a lot of learning and tweaking to be done this fall with finessing my setup.  After breaking several lures off I started running a 2-3 foot length of 20 lb. test fluorocarbon to barrel swivel at the end of my braid.  After making this switch I only broke a single fish off at the fluoro.  In addition to a leader I found that changing out the hooks on all reef runners is absolutely essential.  While the eagle claw extra wide gap hooks seem to find a spot to dig in when they get bit, they have an awful track record of bending or breaking off during the long and hard battles with King Salmon.  All hooks are now immediately changed out in favor of something sharper and much more stable such as a 4x hardened VMC size 4 treble.

I started out the year with confidence in reef runners in any color that had a lot of white in it, but as I lost most of those baits I was forced to start using green, yellow, and orange/gold colors and when all is said and done, every single reef runner in my box has taken a king.  Some, such as the one above, have landed hundreds of pounds of kings..

Some nights were better than others, such as this triple limit before the sun even rose.

Or this double limit on a night I landed more than a double limit solo.

After all is said and done what the fall king season really brings is beautiful changing colors, long nights (some calm and peaceful, some cold, windy, and hectic), and good friends furthering their knowledge of this giant freshwater salmon.

This will probably be the end of the all nighters in Wisconsin throwing crank baits.  There is a chance I'll make the trip north once or twice more before the end for some skein fishing.  Crank bait salmon fishing is my favorite time of year for great lakes kings, the action is a little more predictable than summer fishing, and nothing beats 25 pounds of angry king salmon crushing a lure into oblivion while you set the hook and then hang on.

Here's hoping that the brown trout and steelhead runs are half as good as this years army of huge kings.  I now pass the torch to the river fishermen, I won't be taking part in that part of the game this year, I left a few for you.