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Old 12-28-2008, 10:29 AM   #1
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Default Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Ok, I'll admit this is going to sound very silly, but I really want to know. And what better way to ask an embarrassing question than behind the anonymity of the world wide web?

Anyways, when out trolling I frequently look at my fish finder and see the "big fish" icon anywhere from 150 to 300 feet below the surface. My question is thus: Is there anything I can do to try to catch one of these "big fish" below me?

Please try to keep the insults to a minimum
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

I would say a down rigger might be a good choice for targeting the deeper fish but at 150+ feet that may be pushing it. They also make a contraption that will release a large weight upon a hook up. With one of those, you could use a several pound ball to get your line down deep and when the fish bites, the weight would be released and fall to the abyss. That would be another possible choice.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Z-planes and downriggers should get you close. 300 feet is a long way, but it can be done. Cannonballs have too much drag for the depth and will trail back at about 45 degrees. Z-planes dive farther and the line goes down closer to vertical
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

More info: what type of trolling and where? targeted species, temperature, speed, time of year, etc. What type of fish do you think those "big fish" are?
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

I'm going to guess and say you have fish icons on your fishfinder instead of just looking at the info the transducer is sending back yourself. I'd say your looking at bait balls and you'd be wasting your time trying to work that depth.
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Ok I have to ask, when you say 150-300 feet is this on bottom or mid level in the water column. What are you targeting ??? tuna, whoos, fins or groupers and snappers.

Ps, not much anonymity if your screen name is really you
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

anonymity in this case worked against you, since we have no idea where you are.... salt of fresh??? here is the deal... if you are seeing fish icons that is telling me 2 things....

1 you have a professional unit in amateur mode....
or
2 you have a amateur unit.....

if 2 is the case there's no way you are marking fish at 300' while trolling......

if 1 is the case turn your unit to pro mode and you should see something like this....





the blue ball between 60' and 110' is bait to the right of it between 30' and 100' are big fish attacking the bait to the right of that are big fish waiting to attack the bait....



I hope this helps
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Old 12-28-2008, 03:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Stop trolling and start jigging.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...


No such thing as a dumb question.

Kind of along the lines of novomarines response, I will add this. Some depth finder/fishfinder units have a "FISH ID" or similar mode. You turn it on, and you get all these little, or large, symbols that look like fish. My experience has shown these symbols might be anything from a fat baitfish to a big 'ol fish.

Turn that mode off. Then, look for something that looks like a fingernail pointing towards the sky. In novomarines picture, they almost look like a mountain range. THOSE are usually fish. The solid mass to the left of the "mountain range" appears to be a ball of baitfish. (For whats its worth, when I see whats on novomarines screen, I drop baits to the bottom...thats what sandy is telling ya. big boys that are feeding are down there on the bottom)

At this point, working with your sensitivity settings, grayscale, and a few other things will tune you into the fish.

Now, go fishing, and good luck.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

You have gotten some good advice so far. I will throw my 2 cents in. BTW I fish on the East coast and a lot of time what you are describing are blue fin tuna.

You have to fish figure out what is happening below you. If you are seeing big bottom fish, then stop trolling and drop jigs or baited lines down to the fish. If you are seeing random fish, say tuna, swimming at that depth, then you have two strategies. One is make enough commotion on the surface to get them to come up to see what is going on. To do this you troll squid bars, bubble producing lures, basically anything that makes a lot of motion or bubbles. You can do a few 180's if you see the fish in a certain area and try to entice them a couple of times before moving on. The second strategy is to get the lures down as close to them as possible. Planers, down riggers, wire line, etc... are the way to do this. Assuming they are that deep, a bubble producing lure is also a good idea since it will be hard to get all they way down to them.

Lastly, if you see what nova marine is showing, the fish aren't coming up, because their food is down low. You have to get down to the fish. I agree with onejacker and would drop baits or jigs down to the bottom and then reel up. If you have any live bait, rig it up with a lot of weight and a long leader and get it down to the fish.

Basically, the fish aren't coming up unless there is nothing better to eat than your surface trolling spread, so you have to get down to the fish, and you don't always have to get all the way down, just close will usually do.

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Old 12-28-2008, 11:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Ok, I'll try to give more info, but as you can tell, I'm a novice.

makosteve66.......I'm fishing out of SE Florida, in the Palm Beach/ Broward County areas. When I am trolling I am targeting Dolphin mostly (caught a 7.5 pounder today ) but I just see these big "fish" on my depth finder.

Domino Effect.....These "fish" are usually suspended, but much closer to the bottom than to the top. Sometimes they're on the bottom, and sometimes near the top. As far as my equipment goes, I believe it is a decent depth finder, but not a color one or anything on the caliber of what novomarine was showing (I would go look and give the exact make and model but it's near 2 am). However, I did in my stupidity turn on the fish icons in the settings rather than trying to read the shapes novomarine showed. I will turn that setting back first thing tomorrow and thank you for that advise/ clarification.

As far as anonymity, I meant from personal contempt and scorn haha.

Sandy.... what types of jigs would you recommend? I have seen vertical jigs in tackle shops but don't own any. What would you suggest?

Tiara33... how big do these live baits need to be? It is easy for me to catch pilchards in the inlet on the way out, but they seem small for targeting these hypothetical "big fish". If I am able to determine that there are fish below me hitting balls of bait, would it be feasible to drop down a sibiki, bring up what the big fish are feeding on, then throw that on a hook and send it back down? Also, you suggested these fish may be blue fin tuna, is that specific to the North East, or could my phantom fish also be blue fin tuna in south east Florida?


Thanks for all the friendly responses and advise!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:43 AM   #12
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Hi Jeff, Great question!

First off. Get to know you FF/bottom machine very well. Spend some time getting into the owners manual, then running the boat to compare the displays. Without knowing what FF you have, it's difficult to give specific advice. There are two things I will tell you:

1. Just about all FF have two modes of operation: Auto and Manual. You want to be in the manual mode. The Auto mode has default settings that can give you false readings indicating fish when there is nothing there.

2. Gain/Sensitivity. In the auto mode, this setting is fixed (that's bad). In the manual mode you can adjust it (that's good). Your owners manual should give you some ideas how to adjust that. If not, ask that question and I'll post some suggestions.

Targeting deep fish.

1. Jigging. You can use conventional leadhead jigs, start at the 6oz size, and you may have to go heavier. Using braided line on reels designed for this such as the Penn Torque 200 or 300, Shimano Torium or Trinidad 30 or 40, will be important. The deep, Japanese-style jigs will also work. Just remember to size the tackle to the weight of the jigs and the depth you're fishing.

2. Natural bait. This will be tougher. Again, using heavier 6-10 oz weights and a short, 3-6' leader, drop the baits down. It's important to periodically stop the bait on the way down or the leader and bait will wrap around the running line -- that's bad!

Just remember, sometimes when you spot fish deep, they're not feeding -- just hanging out waiting for the dinner bell to ring. So don't get frustrated if you can't get them to bite.

Good luck,

PB
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

If you hook live bait behinfd the dorsal, they will swim down.

The amount of weight will depend on current, if you are using thin spectra with a leader or fat mono.

Chunking also works if you can get upstream from them so that your chunks get close to them on the way down.

Whether its bait or big fish you see, its usually worth a stop and a drop.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Quote:
Domino Effect - 12/28/2008 1:06 PM


Ps, not much anonymity if your screen name is really you
HA! He's got ya there..
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:53 PM   #15
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Jeff,

From the looks of things, and given your location, my 1st guess would be large bottom dwellers. None of us will ever really know until you hook and boat one and post us a picture!

Anyway, if you don't have any live baits available, I would stop at any large sports store and pick up a few butterfly jigs. Butterfly is Shimano's patented name, but Williamson makes a "vertical" jig also. I have used Shimano, Williamson, and some cheap "knife" type jigs that I bought off of ebay. If Amberjack or some other species are in a frenzy, they aren't going to discriminate between brands. I had great success on all brands on amberjack and red snapper this past spring and summer.

After this past year, I'd never leave home without a pocket full of butterfly jigs and the ol' trusty diamond jigs. I have a seasoned fisherman buddy that had his Shimano butterfly jigs outfish live baits on red and gag grouper. They may be pricey, but I think they are worth the investment - especially if you bag a nice grouper or 2. And a sidenote, you may hook a Goliath Grouper or "Jewfish", or a bluefin tuna (as mentioned before) - if this happens, I hope you have some heavy tackle! Good luck!!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Prop Blast... thanks for that crash course in fish finders. After reading your message I went out to the dock and looked. I have a Garmin 240 Blue. I'm sure its not a very good one, it came with the boat. But today I was out cruising in the intracostal mostly and I reset the depth finder to "manual mode" I suppose (what I really did was turn off the fish symbols so it would show me actually whats there, but I don't think this fish finder has actual modes as your described) but I can't really make out anything that's being shown. All I see is a lot of black jagged cone shapes coming off the surface then the bottom. You said its bad to have the settings in auto (specifically contrast ect.) but how and I supposed to set those settings? In other words, what is it I want to see?


Kman... thanks for that information! I will go to the tackle shop tomorrow and pick some up (I was going anyways ). How am I to work the lures generally? With vertical jerks, or do I let it sink to the bottom and then reel back up? or what? Also, when I do catch one with all this good advise I will be sure to come back and post the picture.

Also, I'm still pondering a question I posed earlier. If I am unsure if it is a fish or bait ball, could I drop down a sibiki to see if the bait fish jump on it?
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

There is nothing wrong with a 240 Blue. Good fish finder for te money

If there is bait, there will be larger fish around them.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:20 PM   #18
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

I usually let them hit bottom and work them hard (vertical jigging motion) and reel fast. If there really is something down there, you really can't work it or reel it too fast. Also, given the fluttering action of the flatsided jigs in question, your jig may get hit on the way down. If your line gets slack before it should (you'll have it timed if you've let it drop a couple of times), you may very well bee hooked up from the fluttering fall. I'm getting excited just thinking about it. We boated several 10-20 Lb. snapper, countless AJ's, and many species we never got color or got to the boat. If you can find some spots/reefs that aren't highly pressured and/or overfished, you can count on butterfly jigs bagging the medium-large to some of the largest fish on the "reef" every time. If you are a little skeptical of the proper jigging and reeling speed, youtube "vertical jigging" or "butterfly jigging" and check out a few videos - it's awesome!! Email me or personal message me when you boat your first keeper with a butterfly jig - I'm excited for you.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:42 PM   #19
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Quote:
kman308 - 12/29/2008 11:20 PM

I usually let them hit bottom and work them hard (vertical jigging motion) and reel fast. If there really is something down there, you really can't work it or reel it too fast. Also, given the fluttering action of the flatsided jigs in question, your jig may get hit on the way down. If your line gets slack before it should (you'll have it timed if you've let it drop a couple of times), you may very well bee hooked up from the fluttering fall. I'm getting excited just thinking about it. We boated several 10-20 Lb. snapper, countless AJ's, and many species we never got color or got to the boat. If you can find some spots/reefs that aren't highly pressured and/or overfished, you can count on butterfly jigs bagging the medium-large to some of the largest fish on the "reef" every time. If you are a little skeptical of the proper jigging and reeling speed, youtube "vertical jigging" or "butterfly jigging" and check out a few videos - it's awesome!! Email me or personal message me when you boat your first keeper with a butterfly jig - I'm excited for you.
Thanks again, you've been a real wealth of information on this topic. Just out of curiosity, would you actually prefer butterfly jigging over live baiting?
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:55 PM   #20
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Default RE: Kinda embarassed to ask but...

Quote:
[email protected] - 12/29/2008 10:42 PM Just out of curiosity, would you actually prefer butterfly jigging over live baiting?
nothing beats live bait........ now that I know where you fish I can recommend you a good bait and tackle in your area, if you go there they will help you with any info you need....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PvvT...e=channel_page
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