The ice finally cleared and you whacked the near shore browns. You filled your freezer with the lakes best table fare during the spring coho run. Then dialed in trophy kings during the early summer feeding frenzy. Now its July, the suns been blasting the lake, and the wind has blown 30 in every direction for what seems to be a decade. Your multi-species offshore hunt begins. Now we're throwing the box at them, working the temp break on the riggers and divers. Short leadcores, long coppers, maybe keel weights or pumps mixed it. The water column is carpet bombed. The down current is horrible and the baits are everywhere behind the boat. Still waiting for those fish to bite...….
This is the time to reintroduce the 8" metal dodger. Over the past 3 years we've been implementing this into our offshore program and have found a permanent home for it in the spread. Just like any of your other favorite baits or presentations it may go a couple trips without a sniff. Though we've come to find that if it gets one bite, you can almost guarantee there will be more to follow up. Last season during a really tough bite through July we experienced several trips where one rod alone accounted for 3-6 fish per trip. Here's the recipe without skipping a single secret ingredient.
Dodger/Fly Color Selection:
Lets not get caught up in brand. Luhr Jensen, Yeck, Kents, Gold Star, Tomahawk I don't think it makes a huge difference. We're going to keep it basic for color. Start with a traditional orange/fire or a chrome w/ chrome scale. If you have a favorite 8" plastic flasher you taped up feel free to put the same pattern on one side. For the fly were using a 4" in two colors that you most likely have already as well. An aqua fly or an all white/clear no-see-um type fly. Tie the leader to the same length you are already pounding on with 8" plastic flashers. Same goes for beads, Stick to your favorite size/color combination. We have found the aqua goes well with traditional orange/fire and the white/clear fly is best with chrome. Try it both ways though.
Corner/Boom rigger on a 20'-25' lead or your inside mag braid/wire diver with whatever length leader and dive setting you normally use. Some days the diver wants to go, somedays the rigger goes. Only try one at time until you start to gain confidence in the tactic. Deploy them to the depths you think they will get bit. Above, at or below the temp break. That secret temp zone you pluck coho and steelhead out of. A similar range to other rods working. Hopefully your getting bit but nothing ever goes as planned. At this point forget about all your previous experiences with water temps and what your seeing on the electronics. Clip it on the rigger and set it to 19 and move it down in 2 foot increments. If you get down to 35 without a bite. Switch to the diver. Start it at 31 and move it down in 4 foot increments down to 71.
If you can get the rigger or the diver working with some confidence very high in the column this will give you some great advantages in other areas of your spread:
- You may have those stealthy 2,3 and 5 colors out there flying high but they are susceptible erratic top currents. As opposed to the dodger right tight behind the boat swimming true. This gives some additional assurance that your effectively covering the top regardless of bad current, fast turns, or speeds. Something will most likely be running well enough to get bit when you hit a pod of out of temp fish.
- Getting the inside mag diver dialed within close proximity gives you freedom with the high/outside diver to run any diver, with any bait, at any depth, with little chance of tangles. Slide Diver, Standard Luhr Jensen Diver, 124 DW Diver or any other directional diver "cranked to the letters" as they say will all work on the outside with easy deployment.
- Great when you have a handful of rods red hot but finding your divers or riggers are dead. This tactic can be implemented on either presentation without crowding or disrupting the baits that are working.
I feel confident this will help you add a few extra to the cooler. Its even more rewarding when its on old tackle you don't have to buy. Feel free to message with questions or successes.