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Griggs

Night Fishing Tonka

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I'm planning on heading out to Tonka Thursday night (weather permitting) and would like some advice from some seasoned night fisherman.

I'm launching from Spring Park, I have a head lamp, GPS and all of the hook out tools but will be going solo. I know a few spots to hit and will probably go out before dark to do some scouting before the sun is down.

If there is anything else I should be thinking about let me know, I'm a first timer on the night fishing deal!

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Wear your PFD anytime you run - kill switch is a good idea as well. I know I sound like an old man but I had a close call while duckin' one fall and my brother had to fish a guy out a couple years ago. I'd hate to be in a bad spot in the dark - no one even to yell to for help. I'd disagree with Rebel a bit on the amount of line out after dark for trolling - I keep them a bit closer just so its easier to rip through weeds. The boat aint gonna scare them in the dark.

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Yeah Hugo's right... you could go closer when trolling... but to think about it... 50-70 feet is about 20 yards out... thats not too far... What also could work is... One person trolls at 20-40 ft other person trolls at 50-70 feet... that would be an excellent search technique when no fish is being raised...

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I troll wth the big motor as far as the line goes I let it out tell I start hitting weeds then crank it up a little tonka the other day I would have been rate around 65 feet at 3mph just crawling rate on top of them "WEEDS" good luck post a report if you could.

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I don't know the "right"way, but I got my PB the other night going just under 3 MPH with the bow mount. I like to troll with that when possible cause I'm lazy and like to drive with the Co-Pilot remote. I don't know if the outboard makes too much noise for the fish, but I dig the quiet a bit more. I've also done quite a bit more night fishing the last couple years and after looking back at my notes, all but one have truly been night fish - well after midnight and before 4AM. After spending several nights on metro lakes it appears that most guys hit the water around sunset and leaving around midnight. I think they leave too soon. Again, my sampling is only about 10 fish, but maybe the night eaters really wait til after the boat traffic dies down. I can't speak to MR/MS though for those days as I didn't track it.

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As with any lake really, I'd recommend sticking to areas that you're somewhat familiar with while night fishing, 'tonka especially with the structure and the evening "entertainment" traffic. While great tools, the GPS units and chips are only so accurate. Lake levels change too, I had to lose the pants and hop into Mille Lacs last Fall walleye fishing at night to get off a 10" deep rock shelf......the Mrs was impressed to watch that!

Trolling can be good, again it helps to know the contours and structure. I've not really been one to troll bucks much personally, but it does work (Erik)...... I like the cranks, as I can tell by the feel of the rod tip if my lure is working right. Nothing is worse than dragging an ineffective bait.

Good luck!

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Trolling can be good, again it helps to know the contours and structure. I've not really been one to troll bucks much personally, but it does work (Erik)...... I like the cranks, as I can tell by the feel of the rod tip if my lure is working right. Nothing is worse than dragging an ineffective bait.

Just one thing I want to add to CJAC's comment... I learned alot while fishing last year with Muskiedream... one of them was to learn to feel if the cowgirl is working properly... you can tell by constant fast thumping you feel throughout the rod including the handle... if it stops thumping... you're probably dragging weed and a simple hard jerk or two is enough to clear the weeds off... just dont do it TOOOOO hard or otherwise you could end up with 2 ice rods instead of 1 Muskie rod like Luke did... I still FEEL so bad about that even tho it wasnt my fault...

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I'd recommend looking at the Shimano trolling rods for this situation. You do not want to be using your high-end DBacks and such for trolling, especially with a rod in a holder.

$30 will get you a decent Shimano TDR rod from Thorne Bros. Sounds like a bit of an antithesis to not use the "good rods" but they're simply not suited for trolling. It's just not worth the "snap" sound..... They'll still get the job done, no question. Save the high-mod, high power graphite blank rods for casting....what they were built for.

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Myself, along with few others, would recommend Abu Garcia 7000iC3...

Some would recommend either Shimano Trinidad 16N or Calcutta 400TE...

Some are starting to fall in love with Okuma Induron or Red Isis... I still think its too early to judge how good and reliable it is...

Money-wise... 7000's, Induron, and Red Isis can be found for 150 or less... while Calcutta 400TE and Trinidad can be found for over $350... If you really LOOK around hard... can get either for cheaper than $350...

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What he said ^^^^^^

I would throw in the Calcutta 700's as well and they work nice. Tried one out earlier today and cant say anything bad about em. I have been using Daiwa Luna 300s and has treat me well but I'd like a lower gear ratio to make it a little bit easier on my arms/wrist and would go with the Calcuttas or Abu Garcia 7000iC3.

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Thanks Quack... I forgot all about the Calcutta 700TE... I may be wrong but I believe that the 700TE's MSRP is the same as a Trinidad 16N...

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Well I put the night fishing off for maybe a week depending on what the weather is doing tomorrow night. I ended up having a long day with todays storm, wow.

I actually got a cheap gander rod for trolling and a diawa line counter reel. I don't own any DCG so maybe I should get some, but for now a big blade bucktail or spinner will have to do for shallow water. I also have a float prop bait would be nice to use...

Hugobox, what were you using for your PB? That seems like a slow troll but it might be nice and its a good thing to save on gas

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Griggs... when you do decide to purchase DCGs... go to MTO... they got the best pricing on DCGs...

IMO... any big blade bucktails would have size #10 blades or bigger... #8 or less would be regular to me...

Yeah... other long day thanks to the storm... actually had power outage last nite... just came back on maybe 45 min ago...

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I prefer single hook spinnerbaits and bucktails for night trolling - better for the fish and possibly way better for you then trebles. Big colorado blades like CJ SPins or Eagletails have been very effective. I also prefer to use the big motor.

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Griggs - My PB was a black/chartruese DCG. Hardly a secret color. It may be just that I just use it more, but that lure has boated 3 fish this year (1 after dark). Also the same lure was responsible for 4 night fish last year. I always use to start out with black and orange after dark but my mind has changed a bit now. As far as speed, I pretty much flopped the lure back about 20-30 feet and adjusted my speed so that I was staying just above the weeds. I found that with the long stick you can go up or down a few feet in the water column without shortening or lenghtening the line.

Cjac - Good point on the cheaper rod!! I'd rather not be using a spendy rod for this- if I do much more trolling I'll definitely have to pick up the $30 Shimano. What leaders do you troll with? I was thinking of switching to a 36" flouro. Saw first hand (not while trolling) how badly line can cut fish when a buddy got one this year.

Thanks - erik

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The Shimano trolling rods are a great value, and simply built for the situation far more than the high-end rods, it's as mush about performance as it is protecting the equipment. Plus, rod holders will chew up a cork handle over time.

Leaders: I use fluoro, and am going to make some longer ones for trolling. If a fish gator-rolls in a fight, things may happen, but outside of the rock situations where wire is preferred a fluoro leader will help.

Forget to say, congrats on the WBL piggie! Wow! You put the work in, at 3:00AM no less!

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Thanks - I figure with little kids a full day on the water wouldn't win me father of the year so I sacrifice a bit of sleep but so far its paid off. I'm having a lot of fun this year and stuff seems to be making more sense to me - either that or I'm much luckier - now to buy a lotto ticket...

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