The Cayuga Fisher

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Hot Knots

Never tie an improved clinch again.

The uni knot is versatile, easy to tie, and strong. Use it to tie on hooks or join two lines together with the double uni knot. Works great for tying dissimilar lines together or a leader to braid. For tying a braid backing to heavier mono or even a leader to braid the Red Phillips knot is faster and smaller.

Jigging for Lake Trout:  Tackle:  Rods and Reels

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Rods and Reels:

As with all fishing this is ultimately a matter of personal choice.  One of the advantages to jigging for lakers is the cost- you can do it with relatively cheap equipment.  Naturally a nice boat and the latest electronics and gear will make you more comfortable and perhaps land you more fish, but the basic equipment you need can found for minimal outlay, and even minimal floatation... I used to jig from a plastic jon boat without a fishfinder, and I've seen it done from a canoe.  A float tube or kayak will work, too, just get out on the water and over those trout!

Any reel with a decent drag and line capacity of at least 100 yards will catch lake trout, though there are a few things to consider when looking to outfit yourself properly.  The most important feature in a reel is for the line to flow freely off of the spool. A spinning reel does this by design and better baitcasters are very smooth as well. Second, a good drag is key- smooth starting and easily adjustable drags are ideal.  Lake trout won't go on hard, reel-searing runs like steelhead or kings but they do head straight for the bottom, often peeling off 50 feet of line.  Due to the light tackle and line a good drag is important.

For spinning reels a large arbor is helpful. Before switching styles I used a reel that held 300 yards of 10 lb test.  It's overkill in terms of capacity, but the wide spool helps the line fall smoothly off of the reel and reduces twist- there are about half as many coils per length of line compared to a smaller reel.  Avoid small arbor reels if you can- repeatedly dropping and retrieving 60-120 feet of line will quickly put a serious kink in it.  A high gear ratio also helps to retrieve your lures from the depths, and mimic fleeing baitfish in the bargain!

Baitcasting reels have the advantage of the free spool- that is, line will continue to come off and puddle on the surface of the water when the lure stops.  This aids in detecting strikes on the drop and thumbing the reel enables you to stop the drop and lift the rod to set the hook.  Baitcasters make it a little easier to react to an unexpected strike and it's a definite advantage over the spinning reels "on the drop" but these strikes can also be detected with spinning gear- for either style, keep your hand on the handle to quickly engage the reel. Another advantage of baitcasters is the ability to thumb the reel while setting the hook to increase power, after the hook is set simply removing your thumb will leave the drag at a lighter setting.  What style you choose should be a matter of preference- use what you are comfortable with, or already own, as both can work quite well. As with any spin fishing, do not reel if you are not gaining line as this will quickly twist your line.

Rods: Your rod is also important.  The deeper you are fishing, the stiffer your rod needs to be.  I have two rods that I use- both are 7'.  A 6'6" or 7'6" rod will also be fine. What is important here is stiffness and sensitivity.  Different manufacturers have different specs but in general a medium-heavy or heavy rod will be ideal. Look at the rod specs- you want one that is rated for at least 1 oz lures.  One model may be rated for 1 oz lures as a medium heavy power, while another model may be rated for 1 oz lures in the heavy power.  If you know you will be fishing in the late fall, early spring or winter you may want a rod rated to 1 1/2 or 2 ounces to reach depths of 150' feet or more, but in the spring and summer a 1 oz rated rod is fine.  You ALWAYS want a very sensitive rod- you're trying to detect (sometimes very light) strikes in water up to 100 feet deep or more.  Don't buy a cheap thick stick.

To sum up, match the stiffness of the rod to the weight of your lures and the depth of the water.  Deeper water requires heavier lures, too, in addition to the added weight of the line.  If your lure is on the bottom of the lake and your rod tip is soft and mushy, you are going to miss most of the strikes you get.  You want to be able to feel the jig hitting bottom and light taps from the fish.  Keep in mind there is a lot of water between you and the fish, it's not like most freshwater fishing.  Think of it as light-tackle saltwater fishing, but for trout in freshwater.  (If you are a salt-water fisherman and that actually makes sense, I'll consider myself lucky.)  Don't overdo it, either- an inch-thick stick of a rod won't give you the sensitivity to feel the strikes.  It is worth spending a little money on a decent rod.  By this I mean 60-100 dollars.

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