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Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019
Executive Summary:
Catchinon and I fished out of the UL State Park Marina on 3/19 from 4:15 until after 10 P.M. Air temp was in the low 50’s and cooled to mid 40’s by the time we left. Water temp in the marina was 53 degrees and in the mail lake it varied from 49 to 51. Winds were about 10 mph NW when we launched and later died to almost zero. We fished from 2.5 to 7.5 FOW dragging thawed WB, shrimp, carp cutlets, a crawler rig and finally a fresh cut white bass. We ended up netting 5 cats from 21.5 to 28 inches and one 7-inch white. The white came on a crawler rig and all the cats came on its remains, even though we had other baits in the water much of the time. All the cats came in 7 to 7.5 FOW and were released to fight another day.

Full Story:
We got to the lake and decided to forgo dragging and casting in the harbor. We started off just outside the jaws in 6 FOW and headed E. There were half a dozen vehicles along the outer third of the dike and most were fishing so we stayed outside of normal casting range, working toward the shallows just north of the dike. We went the full length of the north dike without seeing any fish caught by the bank fishermen or by us.

As we got in shallow I turned the boat around and headed southwest. Then I opened my phone and read TubeDude’s report from Lincoln. He and BLK had both found willing fish, but not in shallow water, so our directions seemed right. I'm in finally in the right century, I can bring up BFT reports on my phone at the lake!

At about 5:40 I got a hit on the crawler rig and landed a 7-inch white. It was good to get the skunk off, but my last catfish outing with Craig had ended with a single white. Hopefully not today. We gratefully butchered the little guy and freshened a couple of baits.

That seemed a good move since the next hit came less than 30 minutes later, but just like last trip, I missed the fish. A few minutes later the crawler got hit and so did my fresh white rod. Both were one bump wonders and didn’t stick, probably whites.

By 7 P.M. we were taking pictures of the moonrise over the Wasatch and both wondering if this trip was going to end like our last. Then we came to our senses when Craig’s fresh white bass rod went bendo. Finally a catfish! This one was almost 22 inches and looking like it had enjoyed the winter. I marked the spot electronically and we said we would continue west for 10 or 15 minutes and if we hadn’t had any more hits, we’d come back. Just after Craig got his fish in the boat, my balloon rod had a good hit and pulled free of the release. I gave it a little line thinking it was lethargic and when I did the ballon shot sideways. I tightened down whif, I missed another one. Counting last trip I was up to five missed cats and getting frustrated.

It took more than 30 minutes to conclude we should go back where Craig got his fish. We passed within 20 feet of the spot mark and then when I thought the baits had just about reached it I said, “If they are here, we should get one about now.” Bam! Craig’s fresh WB rod went bendo not ten seconds after I said it. He just started at me for a few seconds and then said something about fish whisperer. I hadn’t whispered mine though. This was a nicer fish at 26 inches.

Again just after Craig landed it, my balloon rod got hit. This time I corrected and didn’t give it slack. When the lined came tight I felt three sharp rapid tugs and I struck. Again I felt nothing. Must have been a white I muttered and reset the line release. Five minutes later I remembered that a hookset often moves the balloon down the line so I reeled in to reset it. The balloon had moved about 5 feet down and I didn’t see any bait behind it. When it got all the way in I realized I was missing the bait and the FLIG. I had broken it off without feeling any resistance! Craig hinted that maybe it wasn’t a white, but I ignored him, only thinking of my growing list of missed opportunities.

I quickly tied on another FLIG, got it back in the water and swung the boat back toward the spot. I had made sure to dramatically loosen the drag. Ten minutes later the same rod got hit. This time I set and felt the fish, but the line peeled off with the loosened drag and went slack. By the time I got it tight again the fish was gone. I had over corrected, again. This wasn’t supposed to happen, on my Birthday, I mumbled. “Your birthday,” said Craig? “I think you may be second guessing yourself.”

Shortly after checking the bait and carefully resetting the drag, I had another hit. This one went textbook: Reel down, feel the tug, set the hook, fish on! I almost wondered why something hadn’t gone wrong! I finally got a 23” cat in the boat. I had broken the string of missed opportunities. Ten more minutes and another balloon rod hit, and another cat, this time almost 26.

Before the little flurry had started, the wind had picked up out of the East and Craig was starting to get cold. I had found him a hat and pair of gloves, it was the least I could do since he was sticking it out so I could get at least one cat. Now I asked him how he was doing and he said: “Fine, funny how catching fish warms you up.”

We were at the dark plus 60 minutes I had set as our end time, but the fish were biting so we agreed to make one more pass and then head for port. After the last fish I had a frustrating (and vocal) tangle with two of my rods and in the mix I decided to bag the balloon and put out a different rod. 15 minutes and it got nailed. When I set the hook I said: “Either this one is really ticked or it is a better fish.” I actually got a couple of short runs and had to wait out several dogged passes as it refused to come to the top. When we got it in the boat it was about 9 pounds and 28.” Happy Birthday to me!

I had gone from seven consecutive missed chances to my first three fish for the contest, in less than an hour. Craig said: “Wow, I was up 2 to nothing and just like that it’s 3 to 2. We agreed to stick it out a little longer to try to get Craig’s third fish. It went dead for 20 minutes and they his same rod bent over again. I knew he was going to make it because his circle hooks almost never let got, but this one did. We both just looked at each other wondering what had happened. But that was it. We trolled in between the dikes and 2/3 of the way up the channel, but no more hits.

All in all, it was a good day, even after all the frustration. Now that I have worked out the kinks, I look forward to warmer weather and lots of catfish
image/jpeg Dike Party.JPG (1.76 MB)
image/jpeg Beautiful Lake.JPG (2.67 MB)
image/jpeg Fresh Bait.JPG (3.16 MB)
image/jpeg Craigs First.JPG (1.77 MB)
image/jpeg 23.JPG (1.75 MB)
image/jpeg 25.5.JPG (1.86 MB)
image/jpeg 28.jpg (172 KB)
(This post was edited by Piscophilic on Mar 23, 2019, 10:02 AM)
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Best report I ever read, but boy, I thought I was a motor mouth.
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Re: [fast_randy] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Thanks, I think. I like to keep a journal and I don't like to write things twice so I started including the "Executive Summary" for folks who want "just the facts."
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Nice report Jim, how fast do you troll? Later J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
0.4 to 1.0 MPH. The fish came mostly about 0.5.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Great thank you... sure glad you told me about those PMD's so I can troll that slow on my toon... I think I need to make a better control panel on my toon, so I don't have to hook that up every trip... Could be a nice time savings.. Thanks Jeff
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Only Jim can write up a report in a you-are-there style. I started to feel cold when I read it.

Well done and keep them coming.
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Re: [Boatloadakids] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Thanks for the kind words Lynn. I'll keep writing them and you keep catching themWink
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Re: [Boatloadakids] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
I forgot to mention something I saw for the first time on UL. You had mentioned to Craig that you hoped the wind hadn't been a problem. Well we had wind less than 10 MPH the whole time.

At about 9:30 or so, the water had no wind ripple at all and suddenly the boat started to rock. I looked out and saw a series of slow rolling waves, like from a passing boat. I told Craig I didn't remember seeeing the boat go by, but the only place I had seen waves without local wind was on the ocean. Sometimes you would get large swells from a storm far offshore and no wind at your location.

10 minutes later the waves were still comming out of the South the wind started to pick up from that side. I'm sure those rollers were from a strong southerly wind at the south end of the lake even though we had no wind where we were at.

We left before the wind really got to our location, but when we got to Spanish the southerly wind was really blowing.

That lake is bigger than you think sometimes!
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Great report...and fish porn too.


I hereby abdicate my title of head "blabber-fingers".


Oh yeah, either you gotta get some heavier leader or tie better knots. Those fligs is precious, ya know. And those silly cats are probably all anxious to steal one to show off their lip piercings...with bling.

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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Thanks Pat. You have now given me your former titles as "longest post writer" and "head blabber fingers." I'm not sure that is a great trend, but I have to plead guilty.

I might try a heavier leader, as you said. Over the last ten years I have gone from 8 to 10 and now to 14 pound leader, but in the murkey water I'm sure there is little danger of overdoing it.

That break off was some sort of "incidental damage," I think. I had caught half a dozen fish on that rig last fall without a problem and it broke about a foot up from the FLIG, at the swivel. I probably need to remember to replace the leader on battle worn set-ups.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
I can assure you that the big cats are not line shy. I know several guys who tie their hooks directly to stout braid and still get plenty of action. I once watched a guy fishing off the end of the south dike at Lincoln who had a wad of three or four sinkers on the end of his line...on a big snap swivel. And then he just added a 6" snelled leader on that same snap swivel. He caught several nice cats as I was prepping my tube for launch. So much for finesse.


I used to use 14# leader in both Willard and Utah Lake. But I now use 25# Excalibur cofilament for Utah Lake. Very abrasion resistant...against the occasional rocks or rubbing across the serrated pectoral spines of catfish. The bigger cats no longer have sharply pointed spines...after rolling in the rocks for feeding or spawning...but they still have those serrations along the inside edge. And cats are cats. They will roll up in the line sometimes.


Even with the heavier leader I always tie on new leaders before every trip. You never know when a tiny invisible nick can cost you a nice fish...or a flig. Leader material is probably the lowest cost item in your gear arsenal for any trip. But it can cause you more problems and lost fish than just about anything else.


One other observation after reading your post...about the "missed opportunities". You may want to upgrade your hook-setting. I haven't watched you in action, but I see a lot of anglers who just PULL back on the rod to set the hook. The example I use is that when you want to drive a nail into a piece of wood, you don't push it...you whack it. Same for setting hooks in the mouth of a big tough fish. You gotta have a rod with backbone and give a sudden sharp jerk hookset. And even a backup hard hookset can pay off in fewer fish lost after the initial hookup.


The physiology of cats includes strong jaw muscles that make for a heavy bite-down force. If they are swimming around with your bait just clamped firmly in their jaws, a wimpy hookset will do little more than pull the bait and hook out of their mouth. So it may take two or more good "Bill Dance" hooksets to start the hook and then drive it home. Another good reason for having stout leader. A heavy hookset with a stout rod and wimpy line is an invitation to a "long distance release". TWANG. Been that, done there...or whatever.





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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Don't worry about Jim's hooksets. The first time I fished with him he surprised me with his vigorous jerk--kinda like a home run stroke in reverse. And he got all excited that I didn't do the same until he remembered that I was using circle hooks.

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I want to live my life in such a way that I may be the answer to someone else's hopes, dreams, or prayers.
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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Thanks for the great wisdom and advice!

As Craig said, I am normally not shy about the hookset, but since I switched to nanfil main line the low stretch has resulted in the old hookset being too much for the leader a few times.

I'll pick up a spool of heavier leader.

What knot do you prefer to connet the cofilament leader to the nanofil or braid mainline?
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Re: [Boatloadakids] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Let me tell you about cold. Jim was ready to go a couple of hours earlier than he thought he would be so I wasn't ready to go when he called and said he'd be by in a few minutes. I was hustling around trying to get my crap together; I hate to keep somebody waiting, especially when we were wasting good fishing time. In the mad rush I left with just a T-shirt and a light jacket. I should have taken the same clothes that I do for ice fishing. So when the sun set and the temperature began to drop I knew I was in trouble. Jim said we could head in anytime I wanted but I knew if we kept at it we would get into more fish. I had been lucky enough to land two while Jim was getting several whiffs. It is very bad form to outfish your host so I determined to hang in there until he got some. I began to shiver quite a bit, something I haven't done for several years. Jim saw that I wasn't doing too well so he dug out a beanie and some gloves which helped. Still cold. He had a gear bag that he was resting on his thighs and he handed it over to me to help keep my legs warm. It helped but I was still shivering. Then I remembered that he had a life preserver tucked up under the dash. I put that on and the 2-3 inches of insulation did wonders to warm me up. Soon I was almost warm. By that time he was into his catching flurry and I was moving around netting fish and helping with photos which helped too. Somewhere in there I ate a chocolaty granola bar which probably helped as well. And I lived to tell the tale. The End, by Craig Mustoe

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((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>

I want to live my life in such a way that I may be the answer to someone else's hopes, dreams, or prayers.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
"What knot do you prefer to connet the cofilament leader to the nanofil or braid mainline?"

When fishing 6-8# Nanofil as the main line...and a leader of similar strength...I may use a double uni knot. But even a well-tied 6 wrap blood knot will work if the two lines are not of great difference in diameter. The key is to work slowly, moisten the knot before pulling tight and pulling slowly to insure proper snugging.


Actually, I usually prefer to knot a small barrel swivel on the end of the Nanofil...using an improved clinch knot but running the Nanofil through the eye twice before tying the knot. That adds a lot of non-slip. Then I add about 2 feet or so of the chosen leader material. That way you can change or upgrade leaders easily without having to mess with a time-consuming retie of the double uni knot or blood knot. Just clip off the old leader and tie on a new piece...using your fave knot.



(This post was edited by TubeDude on Mar 21, 2019, 10:48 AM)
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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Thanks, those are the some ones I've been using. I just wasn't sure if the copolymer played any differently.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
As long as you don't get hung up on the chemical properties differentials you can treat it just like mono or fluoro. Except it has superior knot strength and abrasion resistance.



I will be coming down that way again next week. I can leave you a length of the 25# Excalibur for you to try. Thinking Tuesday. And if I miss you I can leave it with some other local yahoo.

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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
If you can't find a "local yahoo" to leave it with, I will probably be at Lincoln that day and would be happy to see that it gest to Pisco.
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Re: [Boatloadakids] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Yippee Yahoo.

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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
I only recently learned that the yahoos were from Gulliver's Travels. Inquiring minds want to know so I looked it up:

Swift describes Yahoos as filthy with unpleasant habits, "a brute in human form," resembling human beings far too closely for the liking of protagonist Lemuel Gulliver. He finds the calm and rational society of intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnms, greatly preferable.

Ain't it so, sometimes.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>

I want to live my life in such a way that I may be the answer to someone else's hopes, dreams, or prayers.
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Enjoyed reading this post. I am curious about using a balloon with a flig. As I understand it, the balloon acts as a bobber/float, keeping the bait a set # of feet below the surface, while a flig keeps the bait up off of the bottom.

To me it seems like only one or the other is needed. Help me understand what I am missing.




"Last one to catch a fish, makes the campfire"
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Re: [ratnest] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
Good question. UT Lake is shallow and so I don't use the balloon to set depth like a bobber. I attach it to the line far enough from the bait for the bait to maintain contact with the bottom as I drift or slow troll. Then I let out lots of line. The balloon allows me to get the bait away form the boat without all that line dragging on the bottom.

For example, to fish a flig with a 1/4 ounce weight at 0.7 MPH, I may need only 15 feet of line out from the rod to keep it touching the bottom. I have a good line angle to the bait, but it is only 10 or 12 feet behind the boat. If I put the balloon on the line 15 feet above the weight, I can get the same line angle and action but I can let out line and have it 20 or 50 or 100 feet from the boat.

With the balloon tied directly to the line, it will slide down as a fish is brought in.

The main benefits are that it gets the bait away from the boat and improves the angle of the line so it snags less. It also reduces snagging if I stop the boat to land a fish on another rod, again because all that line isn't dragging on the bottom.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.
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Re: [TubeDude] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
That would be great to try it out. I can't get there Tuesday morning but I can probably find the right YahooWink
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Re: [Piscophilic] Working out the kinks at Utah Lake 3/19/2019 In reply to
This is a great read from top to bottom. It makes me think I need another boat again. Than all my bad body parts say no no no stick to shore fishing.
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