Getting Back on the Water

By Capt. James McManus

So for the past year I have been absent from my usual haunts on the water. We have built a final, for us, house…at least that’s the plan. While I have had a lot of help, most of the time I built on my own, and that’s why it’s taken a year to finish. During this past year I have fished less than I guess any time since I’ve been married which is coming up on 46 years. So the house is done, well it’s being lived in, and I get to return to the lakes, put down my nail bag and pick up my tackle box. The only sort of bummer is that it’s July.

I chose to live here in the mountains for several reasons, high on the list was the lack of really hot weather. A change of seasons is nice but transitioning from spring to summer is not my fave. This past spring when there was a chance to fish while not banging nails, the bank bite was really good on most trips. Now that high heat has arrived that’s over and it’s time to break out the trolling gear.

Guiding can be really fun when you are putting fish in the boat. While I’ve fished with some excellent fisherpersons, a lot of clients just want to be out on the water and the plan is to help them catch more fish than their skill level would normally allow. Trolling is the guide’s best friend.

If you are new to trolling here are a few tips to get you started. Your boat needs to have a motor that can idle for hours at a time, four strokes help that tremendously. If horses are above, say 150, you may need a trolling plate or kicker motor if you have room. Rod holders are a must and the more the better. Downriggers aren’t absolutely necessary but will definitely help. If there’s no budget or room for them then lead core or even trolling sinkers can substitute, but for putting baits right on their noses downriggers are best.

One of the most important items is a really good fish finder. Years ago we trolled blind and did pretty well, but those days are about gone, less fish and more competition makes you up your game.

Side planers, dipsy divers, boxes and boxes of spoons, plugs, swim baits and accessories are all it takes to complete your gear, assuming you have an assortment of rod and reel combos that makes your garage look like the aisle at bass pro. But those details I will visit next month.

For now get your big things in order and we’ll get to the nitty gritty next month. Have a safe (if hot) time til then. Catch you later, Capt. James.

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125

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