August 16, 2012
By Matt Straw
Across the road from our campsite at Red Cliff, a couple guys were rigging laker tackle on a small boat. Mary said, "Maybe they know something," and walked over to strike up a conversation with Lake Superior as a backdrop. Gitchigoomee was unbelievably calm during the two days we camped there, and a long, sunny day on unfamiliar water produced very little action for us. Mary's not the kind to take that sitting down around the campfire.
She came back with JW in tow — a young fellow who swore Yakima Wobble Glos behind little 6-inch dodgers were the way to go. So I shelled out 5 bucks and bought a couple from him. It made Mary happy and gave her confidence after a tough day, so why not? Personally, it feels like retreating in the face of strong opposition. A 6-inch dodger? We put 10/0 Siwash hooks on the biggest dodgers Luhr Jensen made (they don't make them that size anymore) to catch lakers on Athabasca, Great Bear, and a variety of other lakes. A 6-inch dodger sounds like surrender to me. You want big lakers? Fish dodgers with big, single hooks. Argh.
We didn't have any 6-inch dodgers anyway. My good friend, Tim Dawidiuk always told me he targets the biggest Lake Michigan lake trout with Howie Flies behind small dodgers. I'm like, "You're kidding." No, he wasn't kidding. But you would be laughed off the boat of every serious guide north of 60° latitude with anything that small. In the interest of appeasing friends like Tim, I've suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous snickering. The worst thing is, the guide's always right about tiny baits and big lakers.
So, of course, Mary trolls the little Wobble Glos behind 8-inch dodgers on wire line with 12-ounce monkey ball sinkers on 3-way rigs and smokes 4 or 5 more lakers than I do with everything else in the boat. But the key to it all was the tip on depth. Active fish were biting in 90 feet of water or 90 feet down over anything down to 13o feet around the Apostle Islands all weekend long.