Lake Michigan Leadcore Rigging Article
Leadcore Rigging Article
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.
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. The hot rig for the last several years has been leadcore. 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 leadcore is the way to go. I do not recommend this 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 leadcore. 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 leadcore line you want to run. The rule of thumb is 4-5 feet of depth to every color of leadcore. When your target fish is 15 feet down you should run 3 or 4 colors of leadcore. 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. When selecting a reel purchase one large enough to handle the amount of colors you would like to run. Leadcore 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. Popular set ups are 3 colors, 5 colors and 8 colors.
Rods for leadcore 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.
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 Powerpro. From the leadcore to the lure use a 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
To avoid tangles when running multiple leadcores 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. Church has a walleye board also you may use Yellowbird's big bird and Offshore boards.
When loading this reel, start with 100 yards of a backing line then strip the lead out of the end of the leadcore and tie a Blood Knot to the leadcore. Finish with a Willis Knot and 60 feet of a 20-pound fluorocarbon to a ball bearing cross lock snap.
To run this rig, snap on your favorite lure 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. Good Luck let's go fishing Captain Jim.
Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. With Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Blue Max Charters.
By Capt. Jim Hirt
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