Category Archives: Spoons

July 2013 RVTA Fishing Tournament Report

Rob and I fished the July RVTA Trout tournament out on Robs boat on Saturday July 6, 2013.  We were lucky to have some nice weather overall throughout most of the tournament, was sunny the entire day despite some pretty heavy thunderstorms the night before, though about half way through it got hot and hit 92 degrees (Which felt like 102 without the wind!).  But anyways, we got off to a late start getting onto the water around 6:45 a.m., which was a little over an hour after the tournament started at 5:30 a.m.  Instead of trolling around for Rainbows and Browns like we did during the May tournament, we decided to go straight to trolling with lead core for Lakers this time around.  We began trolling just past the North Tower at the North Hump in about 90 feet of water.  Rob was using at gold Sutton Spoon, while I was using a bronze/gold Warrior Spoon and we were trolling with all colors of lead core out going at around 1 MPH, making sure we were bouncing along the bottom.  I was the first to hook up while we were going over 95 feet of water, though as we’ve figured out, it’s harder to tell if you have a fish on or not while fishing with lead core, mostly cause you have so much line out when you’re fishing the bottom for Lakers.  Luckily Rob saw my rod tip bouncing slightly and let me know I had a fish on so I could set the hook.  While reeling in, I wasn’t entirely sure I had a fish still on or not, pretty much just felt like I had the weight of the lead core on the end of my line and didn’t feel any movement or pulling on the end of my line.  Though after a little while, I felt one pull on my line so I knew it was still on, and it didn’t really start fighting at all until it was about 20 feet under the boat.  Rob grabbed the net I guided the fish in head first, and we were on the board for the tournament!

Round Valley Laker
Our first fish of the tournament!

Not too long after I landed that fish, Rob hooked up with another Laker that took his Sutton Spoon in 110 feet of water.  Yet again, we were unsure if the fish was still on or not due to the lack of sensitivity with the amount of line we had out (Still have to get used to that part of fishing with lead core!).  He ended up landing another nice Laker, about the same size as mine,  but with a little bit more girth to him.  I got snagged up on something on the bottom and had to tie on a new leader and all, so I decided to tie on a Big Weenie Meathead to see how that worked since we got Herring and hadn’t used any yet.  Meanwhile, Rob hooked into another Laker, this time a nice fat one!  As usual, we guided it into the net head first, and into the cooler it went.  Shortly after that I got my line back into the water, as did Rob, and we continued trolling around in the same general area.  I was the next to hook up with yet another Laker, but we lost it boat side before we could net it.  Looked to be a decent size, probably somewhere between our smaller two and Rob’s big one.

Round Valley Lake Trout
Rob’s first Laker of the day!

By about half way through the tournament, a pretty steady wind started blowing in from the Southwest, which helped keep the heat off of us a bit, but made trolling a little more difficult.  So we had to adjust our trolling a bit so the wind didn’t effect us as much.   After picking up a few more Lakers, 11:00 a.m. rolled around and the bite for us completely died.  So after debating on what we wanted to do, we decided to keep trolling for a little while longer and see if we could get anymore fish in the boat.  Though after about two hours of nothing, we decided to call it a day and head in so we could weigh in our fish for the tournament and stopped fishing a little after 1:00 p.m.  At the weigh in, we were told that Rob’s big Laker, which weighed in at 4.06-lbs and 22.5-inches, put him in first place at the time.  We ended up weighing in 6 Lakers, so we didn’t limit out or anything, but definitely not a bad tournament day if you ask me!  All of our fish were caught with all colors of lead core out between 95-115 feet of water on either gold Warrior and gold Sutton Spoons, as well as Big Weenie Meatheads.  Overall it was a great day out, the weather cooperated for the most part, caught some nice fish, went out for some sushi afterwards, and Rob’s big Laker held up and earned him first place!  Next step is to figure out how to get some Browns and Rainbows with our lead core!

Round Valley Lake Trout
Rob’s 4.06-lb, 22.5-inch first place Lake Trout!

Fishing In The Rain – Prepare To Get Wet

The plan was for my buddy Chris and I to fish ~8 hours in the rain from 6:30am to about 2:30pm, Nor’easter be damned. We started out the day at Lebanon Bait & Sport, picking up 4 dozen shiners…what the hell were we thinking? Also got a couple of Sutton Spoons. Our plan was to troll the spoons and shiners then drift to pick at lake trout.

As we motored away from the boat launch I realized in complete amazement that my Lowrance x135 was not turning on. I had problems with it two weeks ago at the RVTA tournament, but thought it was a battery issue. No such luck. Tried a soft reset, hard reset, wiring it directly to the battery, and finally punching the thing. It’s dead.

I’ve fished this reservoir many times, so we weren’t completely SOL but come on…really? I just had my motor fixed and now this?! We trolled a Sutton spoon and live shiners slow around the perimeter of the boat launch, over to the north tower, made a big circle and came back to the north tower. We didn’t get anything with this technique so we switched over to drifting.

Round Valley April 22 Laketrout Map

Our first drift, the wind was coming out of north so we set up a drift just to the west of the north tower, sent our lines to the bottom and waited. We were using 2 oz. barrel sinkers to keep our shiners on the bottom. Caught first fish out in the middle of nowhere in about 70feet of water. It’s the smaller of the two pictured and measured 18 inches. The rain didn’t really start until about 11am and for a few hours we thought we actually might stay dry!

Fishing in the rain

We didn’t stay dry. The rain came and just got harder and harder. We continued fishing though and for a few hours there the wind switched direction completely and came out of the southwest. It was at this time Chris caught the second Laketrout, a nice 20 incher that actually put up a decent fight.
NJ-Fishing-Lake-Trout

Even though we still had 2 dozen shiners in out livewell, at about 2:30pm our hands were raw and we were starving, so we headed in. It was a decent trip, besides a kayaker we spoke to at the north tower I only saw one other boat and they left fairly quickly. The yak had one laker when we spoke.

I guess I’ll be looking for a new sonar soon, maybe one with a GPS?! Up until now, I’ve been using a 99cent app on my iPhone called Compass+ I’ve actually been recording lat / long of catches and then placing them on Google Maps on my computer when I get home. It’s very cheap, but tedious as hell. OK, cheers, next time less rain please!

Hildebrandt Shad King by Yakima Bait Company

The Shad King has been catching fish for more than half a century. Known in years past as the Russian Spinner and Shiner, this bait has the action of an excited minnow. This lure works great when spin fishing by adding split shot on the line for a little extra casting weight. It is also very effective as a trailer with other lures. Featherfly models of this MicroLite lure are also availabe for dedicated fly rod anglers who like the Shad King for fly rod fishing. The Shad King is also very effective for all types of ice fishing. – from http://www.yakimabait.com website.

Hildebrandt Shad King by Yakima Bait Company

These spoons are very small. 1/32 ounce? yeah, that’s small. I flat line troll the 1/8 and 1/12 ounce sized ones in nickel and gold color about 100 feet behind my boat to target rainbow trout and brown trout in Round Valley (and laketrout in the early spring and late fall). Make sure to use a quality ball bearing swivel to minimize line twist. You can use the smallest dipsey diver (45mm) to get down to about 20 feet with these, otherwise you’ll only be about 2 to 5 feet down.

Just messing around pitching the 1/8 ounce model on 4lb ultralight setup you can have a blast with sunfish, little bass, rockbass and bluegill.

Crippled Herring by Luhr-Jensen

The Crippled Herring is the most versatile lure you’ll ever use. It can be vertically jigged, cast and retrieved and even trolled in both fresh and saltwater alike. Its high-action design takes advantage of the strong predator instinct programmed into game fish. For the greatest success, maximize action by choosing the smallest size that fits your needs. In combination with a fish finder, the bait can be targeting precisely in vertical jigging applications. Fish the Crippled Herring vertically, with a slow, long upward motion of the rod tip followed by a fast drop of the tip. The lure will most often be taken on the downward fall. Pay attention for taps and hesitations on the fall and set the hook when they happen. In cold water conditions, pause at the bottom of the drop for up to three seconds to connect with lethargic fish. – from the Luhr-Jensen website

Crippled Herring

I fish the crippled herring on Round Valley Reservoir in the colder months, jigged vertically. Pictured is the 1oz size but I usually try and fish a smaller size as long as I can keep my line vertical. Here’s a really neat PDF about fishing the crippled herring.

Kastmaster – By Acme Tackle Company

Kastmaster are made from solid brass and are available in silver or gold plating – with or without a white skirt. Kastmasters range in size from 1/12 ounce all the way up to 4 oz.

Kastmaster from Acme Tackle

On Round Valley Reservoir, the common size Kastmasters used are the 1/12 to 3/8 oz. models. The 1/12 oz. models are pretty deadly ice fishing in winter, jigged right off the bottom for Lake Trout OR jerked along the shorelines in the early spring after ice-out.

The 1/8 to 3/8 oz. size lures can be fished from shore or boat and used with a steady or staggered retrieve with good effectiveness. This technique will catch trout and bass, but be warned that the fish get weary of these lures as the summer months go on. Best to use these in the Spring and Fall.

Stock a handfull of these bad-boys in your Round Valley tacklebox in various sizes and colors and be ready for anything.