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Sorgy

Rainy River Sturgeon ?

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Guy's,

Any good tips on what to expect around the weekend of April 20th. I expect strong currents. I am a relative Surgeon newby. How much weight will we need to stay on the bottom? Any special setup to outfish the rest of my boat?

Thanks

Steve

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I will be up sturgeon fishing April 11th through the 14th. Assuming the Big and Little fork stay locked up you could get by with probably 3-4oz (guessing). If they're not....I have seen up to 15oz used.

Its hard to say on that though. I always bring as much as I can just in case. And I use no role sinkers. It's the only way to go in my opinion.

As for rigs.... They're all the same for the most part. 6-18" leaders with a #3 circle hook has never failed me. stack a couple of worms on and slice them up a bit and then toss on a minnow as well.

I think we got 15 in a day and a half of fishing last year. I got 7 alone and my dad and buddy got there first sturgeons every. I can't wait!

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I’ve used everything from 1 oz to 14oz.  There is no way to predict how much you will need and will even change from day to day or even spot to spot on the same day.  Just bring a handful of different sizes.  Its kind of like the extension question on an auger, just bring one. smile

 

I have to say that a lot of people go way overboard on the sinker thing.   You want just enough to stay on the bottom securely, anything more is working against you.  How you say?  Well I’ve found places that the silt is soft enough that your weight will actually pull your entire leader and bait and bury the whole dang works.  Good luck catching a fish that way.  :)  Its kind of funny being out in there in the bay with minimal current and hear a cannonball drop next to the boat after someone casts and here we are in our boat wondering if the 1oz we have on might be too heavy.

 

Also, I respectfully disagree with the No Rolls.  Yes from shore they might provide a small benefit, but not in a boat. The design actually works against you in the current fishing from a boat.  If you are not careful the bait will “helicopter” as it sinks after you cast and will get all twisted (more so in deeper water), but it will also catch more current than a standard bank sinker or pyramid.  You will end up using a much heavier No Roll to stay on the bottom.  From my experience, the difference can be as much as 2 ounces.  Plus I’ve never been a big fan of 2 contact points rubbing on your line wearing back and forth over and over again.

 

Of course not a whole lot of this matters when the fish are going crazy, but I assure you sometime the small details will turn a not so good day into a great one, or a great one into a phenomenal one

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Bank sinkers or Piramid.

I usually bring about 20# of lead wink But only use 3-10oz at a time.

Stiff rod i'll use lightest weight i can get away with.

Surf rod (More flexible), I tend to get lazy, put the rod in the rod holder, and i'll use a heavier weight so the pole can bend as the boat rocks but won't move the bait/weight.

You can't put a stiff rod in the rod holder (Not effectively for sturgeon anyway), or you'll just drag your weight all around because the rod doesn't give any as the boat rocks. I am however in process of designing a rod holder that would fix this problem...Stay tuned.

Like DTRO said, test out the bottom to know if your in deep mud or fairly solid bottom.

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Unlike most people I never use a soft rod. I use a short stiff rod. I've fished muskies for the past 17 years so I have a few short rods laying around. I also built rods for Thorne Bros for over 5 years as well so I know a thing or two about rod dynamics. The long soft, usually fiberglass rods, work against you. It takes less to load the rod and have less back bone left once the rod is loaded. A shorter graphite rod is way more effective, not my opinion, that's a fact. The guys that deal with the largest fish in the world, day in and day out are the saltwater guys. And they use short 5-6 foot rods. NOT long fiberglass rods.

I use 6 to 7 foot graphite rods. There is simply more power in the rods. Yes, you do lose sensitivity in the rod, a little, but when dealing with a fish like sturgeon, they don't care. If they do? ive never seen it. I also don't use circle hooks. I like the octopus style hooks but I also like setting the hook. Its part of the fun. Ive never hooked a sturgeon deep so ill continue using the Octopus hooks.

80# braid with a 50# fluorocarbon leader. Sinkers are personal preference but I totally agree with Darren and the helicopter effect. Use as much lead as necessary.

If you hook a giant you will want to be prepared. Nothing worse than loosing a big fish because of faulty gear, or simply not having the right gear. Ive lost a few fish over the past 12 years of doing this, but none I thought were giants. Ive also been blessed to catch a true 100 pounder in 2008. 74X34

Bring the right gear and play hard once they are hooked.

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Though i agree with what you are saying, in areas like the St Croix river where i can run 2 rods, i need one of them in the rod holder...Stiff rod in 1 hand, Surf rod in the rod holder. Once i develop the new rod holder, it'll be stiff rod in each rod holder and beer in hand smile

Also, a good flexible rod (Surf Rod) can come in many shapes and sizes, and they're not found in minnesota. They can land some big fish. The catfish junk rods that are found all over in this state are not found in my boat.

Congrats on the 74x34...Let's see a pic of that monster!!!

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The day before a couple of girls from ND caught a 79" sturgeon. The big fish were going bonkers that week! It was a good feeling to catch that fish and to claim I have the un-official state record. According to the MNDNR who I talked to via phone the next week, they guessed the fish to weigh between 110 and 130 pounds. We had a 100# centillian? scale in the boat, weighed the fish in the net, and the scale quickly bottomed out. So without question a true 100 pounder. Used that same scale to weigh a 72 pounder last year as well. 64X30 but too many pixels to post that pic.... apparently

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Nevermind, I got it posted! These are the type of fish that will make you question the integrity of your knots, line and drag. The moment you hook these kinds of fish you don't want to question the rod in your hands and its ability to do the job. The longer the fish is on the line the more likely something will fail. The greatest integrity your line, knot and hook have is the very moment you set the hook. Every second after that point everything is stressed and the integrity of your terminal tackle is slowly depleting.

Fish smart. If you have to retie your line then do it! cut off bad line, new hook, whatever it may be. You never want to be fighting a fish and think about your knot or a nick in your line! You only get one chance at that fish, it will likely never happen again with that same fish. So use the right gear, you don't pound screws with a hammer or pull nails with a screwdriver.

Right tools for the job is all im saying

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Nice fish!

 

60 has always been my goal up on the Rainy each trip and I’ve done that several times, but the 70 is what I dream about.

 

When you say shorter stiffer rods are more effective, what do you mean?  More effective at what?   There are some very nice Fiberglass rods that are high quality and have just as much backbone as a graphite.  I have a custom fiberglass rod that was given to me as a gift and the thing totally rocks.   It’s 7’ and I don’t think I’d want it any shorter. 

 

Here’s the problem I have with shorter stiffer rods that are graphite.  They are usually stiff throughout the body, and my opinion is that you 100% will catch more fish with a softer tip rod.  I’ve seen it happen way too many times to think otherwise.  Not only will it help a lot with detecting the bites, it will also keep the pressure off of finicky fish. If you have ever seen a sturgeon eat, they will hover over your bait, quickly suck up the food and surrounding gravel/mud/junk, then spit it everything out and suck it in again.  Depending on the size of the bait, they will do this several times before moving on.  Rod sensitivity will help here.

Also, a shorter rod has zero shock absorption, yes it will act more as a lever and allow you to put greater stress on the fish, but at the same time will also beat the living tar out of the guy holding the rod.  Plus those beefy carbon rods are not cheap and every year I see a few of them go BOOM while fighting a big fish. 

 

As far as the hooks go, I don’t use circles to minimize the chance of a gut hook, like you say, that rarely happens.  But you know what else rarely happens?  A fish throwing a circle hook once its set.  wink

 

Most of that stuff is semantics and personal preference though.  Sort of like Baitcasting vs Spinning. Both will get the job done just fine if sized correctly and matched with the right line and drag setting.

 

 

Out of everything I’ve learned over the years fishing up there the very best tips I could offer personally, are to spend every minute you can on the water, don’t overlook the night bite,  hold the rod in your hand if there is any wind, use a relatively short leader (no longer than a 16”), and have at least one rod in the boat with a gob of fatheads instead of the ever so popular gob of crawlers

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Darren, I should've clarified about the rods. All too often I see guys up fishing sturgeon with long spongy glass rods. Many times you will see these guys absolutely battle a fish for 20 mins!!!! then? you get to see the fish, and its a mid 40incher......HUH?! Meanwhile there are guys that are putting 40 pounders in the boat within 10 mins.

Also, to clarify I am not using pool cues. a medium heavy musky rod is what I use. usually a 6'6". There is still plenty of sensitivity in the rod tip to feel the fish. Often times we fish right below the boat with a line casted away. But its the ones below the boat that get a lot of bites. I keep direct contact with the sinker and when a fish bites the bait is free with the slip sinker still on bottom. Plus I feel "jigging" the bait is advantageous in that it allows the bait scent to come out, sort of bouncing it off the bottom. Like shaking the dirt out of a rug.

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Darren, I should've clarified about the rods. All too often I see guys up fishing sturgeon with long spongy glass rods. Many times you will see these guys absolutely battle a fish for 20 mins!!!! then? you get to see the fish, and its a mid 40incher......HUH?!

grin

There are manyy out there with undersized and cheap rods.

It's hilarious watching them. 3 guys sitting in a boat watching the 4th take 30 minutes to land a 50" fish. LOL.

Me, i'd rather be yanking up the 50" fish so i have more time to fish for the 60+" fish as well as allowing others in the boat to keep fishing.

I also don't want a TUNA rod for 60# sturgeon - that would just take the fun out it.

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Oh yeah, I hear ya on that one. smile Nothing irritates me more than watching a 40-50" fish being fought for an hour on undersized gear. Its one thing if you are walleye fishing and hook up, I get that, but another if you are out there trying to catch sturgeon with a bass pole.

Kind of like what TW said about the "catfish" rods you find in the stores here in MN. Designed for a 5lb channel cat, not a 100lb sturgeon.

There is another side to that too though. I remember a 62 that literally came to the surface and I horsed it in to the net/boat. All of which took about 2 minutes. A green 5ft fish will kick your arse and potentially hurt itself. I learned a lesson on that one.

I agree on the jigging thing. I wouldn't really call jigging what I do though, mostly just lifting it a few inches off the bottom every 5-10 minutes and then letting it settle. I do think the fish are attracted to not only scent, but movement as well and that is why I like using a few pinched off fatheads and 1 or 2 left alive. The dead ones keep it weighted down with scent and the live ones emit a struggle signal.

A lot of times when I'm right below the boat, I keep my finger on the line and can feel the line brushing against the fish before I get bit (its like a grinding sensation).

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well id say that's a good clinic right there! All you need to know and a few secrets from the "pros"!!!! grin Never thought about the live minnow or two! Dang, now I need to bring a minnow bucket.....RRRR! Why didn't I think of that before! That's a great tactic!

One of the best things about this site is the wealth of knowledge and information, not that people have, but what people are willing to share. In this case a "newbie" posts asking for advice, and he gets this! Hes gonna catch more fish than any of us.... why? beginners luck of course grin

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Well the thing is...

Even if it doesn't work as long as you sell it well, its a winner. LOL

Ok, one last secret tactic:

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Yeah, I watched that video about a month ago....... classic. My kinda people right there! And it worked too!!! cant make that up!

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I was digging that grill. Yummmy burgers on the boat. Hope to see ya soon there jake

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Guy's,

Wow- thanks for the wealth of information. I'm heading up on the 18th for 3 days of fishing.

Now I have to rethink my rod choices.

What are your thoughts on a 6' 0" Thorne Bros Fiberglass jerkbait rod from 1988 for sturgeon? I also have several other 7'0" cheap graphite muskie rods. Last season I used a 8'6" XH Allstar muskie rod. I am intrigued by the shorter rod statement.

As far as fatheads do you just take fresh live minnows and smash them on the hook?

Great info in this post

Steve

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Like I said above, a 100lb fish will beat the snot out of you on a short stiff rod.

Here's my bait rig

032.jpg

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6'6" or 7' medium heavy. What I mean when I say that is to get away from the 8" medium fiberglass rods. The rods that are already bent with 3 oz of lead hanging off the side of the boat. This past weekend we caught several nice fish. a few in the 40 pound class and one that was easily 50# class. All fish were in the boat within 5 minutes. all fish were caught on 6'6" or 7' rods. custom rods from thorne bros. St Croix avids. These rods are phenomenal for doing this. very sensitive still and tons of power. And they can take the abuse.

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As you can see by DTRO's picture, the minnows have thier guts ripped out...I also like to do that. I'll take the barb of the hook and run it down their belly "Gutting" the minnow, then stick it on the hook...Leave 1 or two alive for vibration.

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