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How do I use my G.P.S

How do I use my G.P.S
By Lake Michigan fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
Finding and consistently producing fish is the goal of every fisherman every trip out on the water. The question is how can it be done? This article will communicate the importance of G.P.S. for filling the cooler and returning home safely.

Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at

The Tool
For those of you not familiar with G.P.S. I will give you a brief overview of the product. Global Positioning System is a series of satellites that circle the earth each with a distinctive signal. This signal is sent by the satellites to a receiver. The receiver will then tell you your location on the earth in longitude and latitude. The accuracy of this information is within 15 feet or less.

The Cost
The price of a G.P.S. can range from $80 to several thousand dollars. The more expensive units will offer more graphic information that makes them easier to use, although the accuracy is the same. My experience with both high and low priced units tells me I do not need an expensive unit. The key to successful operation is learning how to apply the extensive information available.

G.P.S. and Safety
The question is how do I use my location as provided by G.P.S. to fill the cooler and return home safely? Let’s start with safety. You should always enter in the memory of your unit the spot where you put your boat in the water. We will call this your home waypoint. Most units will store 500 or more waypoints. Assuming there is no shallow water or obstacles like land in your path, use your home waypoint and compass to find your way home. Fog, darkness or bad weather does not effect the operation of this unit. In the event of an emergency you could call someone with your coordinates and they would know where to find you.

G.P.S. and finding fish
In the more sophisticated units a map showing your position with the depth of water at your location is displayed. The use of this information is critical when working bottom structure for fish.

There are many ways to use G.P.S. for finding fish. On my boat we log the coordinates of every fish caught on a sheet of paper. These coordinates are used to return to the same spot day after day. After a fish hits a lure it makes perfect sense to turn the boat around to try the same spot again. Many times we will get another fish on immediately as we pass the same location. When no additional fish are taken, we will circle in that area using the original coordinates as the center of our search.

Save the spot
I usually enter one of the areas where action has been very good as a waypoint in the G.P.S. for future trips. Working with latitude and longitude numbers takes a little practice, stay with it the work is worth it. There are chart plotter units that draw a line showing the path of the boat on the display screen to simplify this process. As I mentioned earlier a chart plotter G.P.S. with a map chip for your area will give you your position relative to water depth, land features and harbor entrances. I use the water depth when I follow a bottom contour for fish holding near the bottom. Lake trout are known for staying near the bottom. This technique is very effective for them.

G.P.S. save tackle
On the Great Lakes we often fish in areas where wrecks are located. The location of wrecks entered in the G.P.S. will save a lot of lost tackle. It will allow you to fish near wrecks without the fear of hanging up on them.

G.P.S. a must have
I like to enter the location of schools of bait fish you see on the locator when under power heading out to a spot or trolling for further investigation.

On a trip that starts before daylight, you must have G.P.S. to pin point the location of yesterday’s hot first light action.

I could go on and on about the importance of knowing precisely where you are and where you want to be. Some would consider G.P.S. a luxury or not needed. I find the information this unit supplies as invaluable and you will too. Good luck. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved .

Lead Core Rigging For Spoons

Lead Core Rigging For Spoons

By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
Now is the time to think about changes to make your trips more productive next season. There are many ways to go on this subject. Over the next several articles I will try to cover topics like rigging, tackle and presentation. My goal is to provide information, which should lead to more fish and less slow fishing.

Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Blue Max website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at

Lead Core will work
In the last article we covered rigging diving planers and flat lines. Let us continue with rigging presentations. The tools out there are endless. Being flexible on the slow days is the answer to more fish. It is a fisherman with a full arsenal of presentations that finds action when fishing gets tough.

Clear water presentation
The hot rig for the last several years has been lead core. With the influx of Zebra Muscles the waters of the Great Lakes have become very clear. In my opinion the toughest conditions are calm clear sunny days. On these types of days lead core is the way to go.

Start basic then go lead
I do not recommend lead core presentation for first light it is far to time consuming to run during a hot bite. After the early morning bite or about two hours after sunrise I break out the lead core.

The basics are reel, rod, line and planer board. The cost of a rig will start at about $150. The reel you use is based on the amount of lead core line you want to run. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Lead core is a bulky line and most likely will not fit on the reels you are currently using. Find a tackle store that deals with this product to ensure a correct purchase.

Hitting the Marks
The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of lead core. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of lead core. Some of you may be thinking why is there a variation of 4 to 5 feet per color. The factors that affect this are type of lure and boat speed. This line is graduated in 10-yard sections each having a different color. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.

Correct rod is important
Rods for lead core need to have plenty of backbone. I use a heavy action 8-foot rod. This should give you the power needed to reel in 500 feet of line, planer board and 20-pound Kings.

Cortland Lead Core
The line comes in many test weights 27 or 36 pound is what I run it all has the same sink rate. You will also need a backing line of mono, braided Dacron or one of the super lines like 50 pound Berkley FireLine Braid. From the lead core to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.

Church walleye Board the Best Planer Board
To avoid tangles when running multiple lead cores you will need a planer board for each rig. The purpose of a planer board is to move the line off to the side of the boat away from other lines. Several manufactures have boards for leadcore. The Church walleye Board out performs all the others and it is what I use.

Loading Up
When loading the reel, start with 300 yards 50 pound FireLine Braid
for a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the lead core and tie a Willis Knot to the lead core. Finish with a Willis Knot and 30 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.

Go Catching
To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure I like Reaper or Vulcan by Badger Tackle and let out all of the line to the backing. Then install your board on the backing so it does not release. I usually run them 150 feet off each side of the boat. Very wide turns and low boat traffic are a must to avoid tangles and getting run over. I set my drags light. When the reel starts to scream, adjust the drag as necessary. Reel in the line until you can reach the board and hand release it. Now the line is clear to bring in the fish. Some of my biggest fish were caught on this presentation this year. The good news is it produces fish all day long.

Badger Tackle has a promotion now buy 4 or more spoons and receive a free spoon.

Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2012 go to Good luck. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2013, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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