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Tips and Techniques: Sport Fish Michigan Videos

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Minn Kota i-Pilot Hands-Free Fishing,how to, walleye, minn kota, i-pilot, ipilot, fishing tip, technique, fishing electronics

Minn Kota i-Pilot Hands-Free Fishing


Captains Ben Wolfe and Chad Dilts fish for Michigan post-spawn walleye and show you how to get the best results with Minn Kota's i-Pilot system.

Humminbird Helix 10 - Highlight Function Tip,humminbird, helix 10, how to, walleye fishing, electronics, michigan, lake fishing

Humminbird Helix 10 - Highlight Function Tip


Captain Ben Wolfe explains how to use the highlight function on the Helix 10 Humminbird unit and how this function can be helpful.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. We've got a beautiful fall day here, it's late October and we're going to go fish a lake that we've never been onto before. We're going to use our Humminbird Helix units to scout out this lake. We're in search of some walleyes today. We want to put some walleyes in the cooler for dinner. We're going to use our Humminbird units here to really up that learning curve for how to dissect this lake. So, I'm going to show you how to do that. It's a beautiful day - clear water - hopefully, the winds will stay light. Let's go find some fish. Because we've never been here, we're going to use our Humminbird unit. I'm going to use side-imaging to look for deep structure. We're going to use our sonar - just the regular graph - we're going to see at what depth zone those fish happen to be at - where we consistently mark fish. Then, that gives us a starting point to then come back and highlight using this Lakemaster chip in conjunction with the Humminbird to highlight that depth range that we were marking the consistency of fish. Those two things are really going to help us to quickly dissect the lake. Again, we're going to look for where we are consistently seeing marks as we're idling around. We're just going to zig-zag across these structures, see what depth we're consistently marking fish, and then we're going to be able to go back into our map and highlight using the Humminbird function on this Lakemaster to highlight the depth range. Then, we can get an overall view of where there are good structure points as well as in correlation with the depths that we want. Let's go look for some fish. We spent the last - close to an hour - just idling around, zig-zagging around these contours. You can really see my waypoints when we found stuff. As well, you can see my track line. It's really important, especially on a body of water that we don't know, to really get a lay of the land. That's going to help us really understand why we're marking fish in certain areas. There's a little underwater point here and we've marked some really nice fish on that point. That's going to be where we set up. Before we do that, we're going to highlight that depth range. The most marks that consistently we saw were between 30 feet and 45 feet. So, what we're going to do here to show this is highlight - using the Lakemaster chip and the Humminbird - that exact depth range, the 30-40 foot range. That will highlight on here exactly where I need to look on this map to see where that depth is. We're going to go to Menu and hit the menu button twice. Menu-Menu. Then we're going to scroll over using the right-arrow to the HB chart. We're going to use the down-arrow and go to depth highlight. I had that at 80 feet, which was deep, we were jigging some deep water fish. Now, since we're looking for walleyes in that 35-40 foot range, we're going to scroll that down to the depth that we want. I want to start at 35 feet depth highlight range. So I can go how shallow, plus or minus, of that 35 that I want to go. So we're going to go 10. Now, if I hit Exit-Exit, all that green is that zone that we're going to concentrate on looking for our fish. We had a great day on the water today. We were able to locate fish using our Humminbird Helix unit and really pinpoint the depth that they were using. By highlighting the depth on our Humminbird Helix and using that highlight function, we were able to pinpoint exactly where to fish and find that structure in the right depth zone. We were able to put together a really nice bag of walleye here. We've got some dinner and had a lot of fun at the same time. Get out - use that highlight function - and you'll be able to decipher lakes a lot faster. If you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Lake Trout Catch and Release - Livewell Tip,lake trout, grand traverse bays, fishing, tip, technique, vertical jigging, boat, livewell

Lake Trout Catch and Release - Livewell Tip


Captain Ben Wolfe explains the use of a livewell to fully revive lake trout when catch and release fishing.

One thing that we do when we have lake trout that are really tired from the long fight - sometimes they're ready to go and swim right away, we want to hold them boat-side and make sure they're swimming healthfully before they go back down. The other thing that we can do when they look really, really gassed is we can put them in the livewell. That forces some air, because there's air circulation in there. So, this is a trout that we caught a little bit earlier. Not a giant trout, but as you can see, he's perfectly revived. He's upright, he's swimming, he's breathing - he's ready to go. I would imagine that as soon as I put him back in the lake and release him, he's going to give me a real good shower to the face. I'm thinking that, for those of you who want to do catch and release, putting them in the livewell can actually really help revive these fish a lot more easily, sometimes, than holding them boat-side. So, let's let this one go. Ready to go! There you go. If you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the state of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Lake Trout Vertical Jigging - Rig Setup,lake trout, michigan, salmon, jig, GLoomis, Shimano, fishing tip, technique, Maxcuatro, vertical jigging, how to, platte bay

Lake Trout Vertical Jigging - Rig Setup


Captain Ben Wolfe shows how he rigs for vertical jigging northern Michigan lake trout and salmon.

Hey - I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. We're out here on Platte Bay, we're going to jig up some lake trout this morning. I want to show you a little bit more in-depth the setup that we're using to target these lake trout as well as the salmon. It's a really simple setup, and I just want to go with through that with you a little bit more in-depth - show you what we're doing to rig and get after these fish. We're jigging big lake trout, but actually this is where we do a lot of our salmon coho jigging. I want to show you the rig that we're using to do this. This is actually a G.Loomis 7-foot long E6X - it's a walleye bottom bounce rod, but I actually like it for these cohos and these big trout. The deal is, it has a great backbone to it, but it has a fast-action tip. For jigging, I really like anywhere from a 6-foot rod to a 7-foot rod - really anything longer than that can be a little bit more cumbersome, and you actually overwork the jig, anything shorter than that can just be a little bit, you know, I feel like you're under-gunned. I like a 7-foot rod personally just because there's plenty of rod to really let the fish do what it wants to do - then I'm not really winching on the reel, I'm letting rod, the line, and my drag do all the work for me. Then, I just get to have the fun part. This is a 200 size Shimano reel. It's a low-profile bait caster. You can use bigger - people use spinning rods, and that's just fine, too. What I like about this is that I can drop down, I can open the bale and I can shut the bale very easily. Because, as we're moving around, we sometimes change depth contours, and this allows me to change very quickly. I want a drag that's set fairly tight, but I can still pull it out. That way, when a fish gets it and he runs, they're going to tire themselves out - but it's not so tight that we're going to wind up breaking the line. The other thing about this drag setting is that you want it a little bit looser than you might think because we're using braid. There's zero stretch in this braid, so when we're using this braid, which is a Maxcuatro braid, it allows the fish to do its thing, the rod is going to cushion this, and then the drag do the work. One thing that I really like for these Great Lakes salmon and lake trout jigging - I really want a fluorocarbon leader. I use anywhere from a 6 to an 8-foot leader and for when we're trout fishing, I like a 14 to 16-pound fluorocarbon leader. But when we're fishing for salmon, I like an 18 or even 20-pound, depending on what these cohos, and if we're jigging kings, I'll even jump up to 20 or 25-pound. A fluorocarbon leader is really critical, especially in this really clear water that we have on the Great Lakes. Then, I'm using a snap. I'm not using a snap swivel because then the thing twists, which is great for a snap swivel - that's what it prevents doing - but I feel like it limits some of the action - it doesn't force the action that these snaps allow. So this is just a regular snap, and this is a 75-pound snap, so it's not going to break. I want something really beefy because the last thing you want to do if you hook into a really nice fish is have the snap be the reason why you lost that fish - because you're using one too small. The bigger snap also allows that jig to really work well and give a lot of erratic action, which is exactly what the triggering point is for these fish. That's the setup. The medium-heavy action rod with a fast tip, anywhere from that 6- to 7-foot length, fluorocarbon leader, a snap, and we're ready to go. If you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Spinning Gear Tip,bass fishing, pitching, casting, dropshot rig, michigan, tip, technique, how to fish

Spinning Gear Tip


Captain Ron Dohm of Sport Fish Michigan demonstrates a long-range pitching technique used to catch smallmouth bass with spinning gear.

Hi - I'm Captain Ron Dohm with Sport Fish Michigan and today I'm out on the crystal-clear waters of Grand Traverse Bay. We're going to do some long-range shallow pitching for big smallmouth around boulders with spinning gear. Usually, flipping and pitching is seen as a bait-casting technique for largemouth around thick cover - that just isn't always the case - and it works really, really well in this clear water we have up here. So, we're going to show you how. The majority of the time, when I'm pitching shallow structure, my go-to choice is a drop-shot rig - something like this. Baits can vary, but this same kind of rig works really, really well. I like it because I can grab the weight if needed. Now, when I set up to do this, I like to leave the line just above the reel. It doesn't matter rod length - 6'6", 7 foot, 7'6"- they all work, just have your line above the reel and it gives you a lot of control and also leaves you a lot of room with the bait to get that momentum going back and forth. So I'm going to get set up, I have the rod ready, and I want to get that swingset motion going. You want to be that kid that wants to jump off the swing - you need some speed to go far. So get it going, get it rocking back and forth. Get it going and when you're ready, let it go out straight and you can make a really accurate long-distance pitch without a lot of effort or a lot of movement so you don't spook that fish in shallow. I can see out in the distance now, kind of 30 yards away, a few kind of dark blobs could be some rocks, could be even a few beds opening up now - it's that time of the year. We're going to ease within 15 yards and make some long pitches to them and see if we can't get one to cooperate. There's a really nice rock right there. There's a big one by it, too! If you take your time on these fish and make long, accurate casts with a really subtle splash, you sometimes get bit. That was so awesome, we watched him swirl around several times on it. We missed him once, but we stayed back off him, made another long cast to him, a little pitch, and he came right back for seconds. Come here, come here. That's an awesome specimen and example of what long-distance shallow water pitching can do for you out here in these clear conditions, using a spinning rod, really loading up and staying off your targets - long cast. A gorgeous 4.5, maybe even pushing 5-pound fish. Awesome! Let's go get some more! Thanks for the fight, buddy. If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Humminbird 360 Imaging - Locating Structure,humminbird, fishing electronics, humminbird 360, humminbird imaging, bass fishing, michigan, how to, tip, technique

Humminbird 360 Imaging - Locating Structure


Captain Ben Wolfe explains how to use a Humminbird 360 Imaging unit to help locate structure in front of and around the boat.

I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. It's early June, and we're out here on Grand Traverse Bay. We're target casting for isolated structure, and we're looking for those pre-spawn bass. We've really got a mix of conditions today: we've got some wind, we've got intermittent sun we've got clouds and hazy weather, and we also have these sprinkles that are kind of coming through. So it's really - despite having really clear water on the bay - we're having kind of a challenging sight fishing condition. What we're going to do is we're going to use our Humminbird electronics to really pinpoint key structure and be able to cast to it before we even get there. We're going to use a combination of side-imaging as well as our Humminbird 360. Those two units are going to allow us to be able to find isolated structure that we're looking for, and be able to cast to them before we even get there. Hopefully, that's going to pay dividends for us. We have some rocks coming up here. Those will be likely targets - what we're looking for - those isolated bass that might be sitting along those boulders. We've got one coming up, so let's make a cast to that one. Oh! One picked it up - right next to that boulder. There we go. Casting to this shallow water structure using the 360 unit is the absolute deal! All right! Without the use of a Humminbird 360 unit, I really doubt we would have been able to catch a fish like this - casting to structure that we couldn't see. There's too much glare today, and that 360 unit allowed us to be able to see that structure before we even ran it over with the boat. So I was able to see that fish, cast up there, and this is a great fish to end that. Let's get it back. If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

How to use a Fishhook Remover Tool - Catch and Release Fishing,fishing, fish hook, fishhook remover, de-hooker, tip, technique, cisco fish, michigan, fishing guide

How to use a Fishhook Remover Tool - Catch and Release Fishing


Captain Ben Wolfe demonstrates the use of a fishhook remover tool, also known as a de-hooker), when catch and release fishing. Featuring cisco fishing with light tackle and blade baits in northern Michigan.

We're out here cisco fishing. Ciscos are an absolute riot to catch - they're so much fun, especially on light tackle. We use spinning gear as well as bait-casting gear. We're using blade baits today. One thing that ciscos are known for is flopping. They don't ever quit. That's what makes them so fun, but also, it's kind of a little bit of a dangerous thing when you get them into the boat. So, if you want to keep some, you can just unhook them right in the cooler or put them in the live well - either way. But when we're doing catch and release, like we're doing today, I want to use something like a dehooker. That's a dehooking tool, and it's just like this, there's a variety of them on the market. The simplest way to use this without even having to bring the fish into the boat is when you get it to the boat side, grab the line and you put this tool into the line, and you run it all the way down, like this, until you grab the hooks that are in the fish's mouth. Then you reverse the angle, just like this. So, grab the line, run the dehooker down to the hooks, switch places with the line so that the fish is up, like this, give it a couple shakes - fish falls right off - boom. Perfect! Time to get another one. If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Pattern Fishing - Detroit River Walleye,walleye, fishing, detroit river, catching fish, walleye fishing, fishing patterns

Pattern Fishing - Detroit River Walleye


Captain Ben Wolfe discusses using patterns and refining patterns for successful fishing.

As a charter and a guide service, you really want to have the best fishing we possibly can for our customers. We really try and find patterns within patterns where we find fish that haven't been touched yet. We're on this stained mudline - we're not in the really muddy water and we're not in the really clean water. We've got pockets of dirty mud mixing in with that clean water. Those walleyes are sitting, and it's a great ambush point for them. I'm never looking for the really, really clear water - I want a little bit of color to that water. Those walleyes feel secure down there, they feed well - they're a low-light feeder anyway. It has been red-hot fishing. A lot of times, when you're on a really hot bite, you'll narrow it down on a drift. It's kind of the pattern within the pattern. You'll realize - hey, we caught all our fish in a 100 yard stretch or a 150 yard stretch. Sometimes it really pays to either keep going if you're not getting bites or if they're kind of staggered, but if you realize there's a lot of hot action in one stretch just pull up the trolling motor, run up and make that short drift again. Keep refining that pattern and shortening and shortening the drift to really stay on top of those fish. We found an area, probably about 150 yards long, where we caught 8 fish in a matter of maybe 5 minutes. So, you know there's definitely a lot of fish there. So, we're going to run back up and hit that pod again. If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Bait color Selection - Detroit River Walleye,walleye, fishing, detroit river, catching fish, baits, lures, walleye fishing

Bait color Selection - Detroit River Walleye


Captain Ben Wolfe shares tips on selecting bait colors based on river water quality and the importance of hook selection when fishing for walleye on the Detroit River.

One of the critical components to success here on the Detroit River is color selection. Color selection we base on the river water clarity itself. When we're looking at dirty water - we have certain bait choices. When we have clear water - we have certain other lure choices that we want to really highlight. Over here, when we make our jig selection when we have dirty water, we really want to have something that is going to have the high contrast. Something like chartreuse and lime or fire tiger is a great option. When we have clean water, we do something like a chartreuse and black or this Antifreeze, those are good options as well. To really stand out in those dirty water conditions something like a black Lunker City Fin-S fish or this Pimp Daddy or Mahi Mahi can even be a great choice. Then, when we have clear water, something just a little more natural like these baitfish colors. Those can be really good in those clear water conditions. They Wyandotte Wonder Worm in the black and the brown is a great everyday choice for us. But, you know, no matter what the water clarity is, we always want to make sure that we use a stinger hook because that can be the difference between having a good day on the water and a great day on the water. If you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Making Spawn Bags for Steelhead Fishing,

Making Spawn Bags for Steelhead Fishing


Captain Ben Wolfe from Sport Fish Michigan provides tips for creating salmon egg spawn bags for steelhead fishing.

Ice Safety Tips - Ice Fishing in Michigan,

Ice Safety Tips - Ice Fishing in Michigan


Capt. Chad Dilts of Sport Fish Michigan shares ice safety tips, demonstrating multiple methods to check for safe ice.

Well, it's 2017 - it's time to hit the ice! The new year has begun, lots of our inland lakes are froze here in northern Michigan. We're really excited to get out and do some fishing. We have been out over the course of the past couple weeks. We've had some inconsistencies in the weather which have made some unsafe conditions on some lakes, and better conditions on others. For the most part, we're just gearing up to get out, we haven't went out onto the lakes with any machines yet or ATVs. We're still packing really light. Today, I just wanted to go over a couple of things - a couple of safety tips for anglers to read up on and see what we like to do to take precaution and be safe. When I'm first hitting the ice, I always - #1 - like to bring one friend, at least. It's not worth going out, even if you see other people, you should always bring a buddy with you. The second most important thing is to have a good spud. At least have one in the group. Have the guy that's walking ahead in the pack, make sure he's spot-checking the ice every 20 - 30 yards to see that the ice is maintaining its thickness and that you have good ice. We're here on an inland lake in Grand Traverse county today. We see people out on the ice, but we're still going to take proper precautions ourselves. We're going to utilize the spud, stay apart from each other, bring our safety picks, and take our time. Because we're packing so light, we're not even bringing a hub or a flip-over shanty today, the weather is so nice. We're just going to hole-hop for some pan fish and some perch. We have our Humminbird sonar unit that one angler can use once we find where we want to fish and find our contour breaks and find some of the spots that we located this fall. Those fish are still in that fall to pre-winter transition period - that first ice period. Once we find it on the GPS, one of the anglers can switch over and use this as a sonar unit, and the other angler can use this one straight-up as a sonar unit itself. Just a couple rods and a couple mobile chairs and some buckets, and we're going to go out and give it a try. One really important thing: before you leave the parking lot and venture out onto the lake is to make sure that you tell someone where you're going. You want to tell a close relative, tell your wife, tell somebody where you're going even if you're going with a friend. Just so that someone knows where you're at and what boat launch to look for you if you were to have an issue. So we checked this lake about a week ago. We had a little bit of a warm spell. I think the ice is great. Obviously, there's anglers out on the lake. If I was out here by myself and checking initial ice, these are the type of precautions I would take. It's really important to see what the quality of ice is. Obviously, when you look at the surface of this ice, you can see that it's fairly good, blue ice. There is a mixture of some honeycomb in there where we had some snow and then a thaw hit and it melted all the snow on the surface and re-froze. The best way to tell how good the ice is to see the texture of the ice and what type of ice it is. A lot of people just think, 'oh, there's ice on the lake - there's 5 inches.' Well, if it's honeycomb and it's refroze snow, and there's only 2 inches of good ice, there's a big difference. Let's get in here with our spud and check this ice out. You can tell when you're coming through it that it's pretty solid. We've got a 30 degree day today. Having a 30 degree day, the ice should be pretty soft, but this ice is good a firm. Pretty good ice. You can tell that it's good and hard. There's probably 4 to 5 inches here. Really good start to the season. So you can tell that there are some residual pieces that broke off the main piece. But, for the most part, there's 4 to 5 inches of good, solid blue ice there. It's always deceiving when you look down into the hole, because you never really know how thick it is. Once you get your hand down in there, you can really tell. Its wider that what I can grip, so we have a really good start to the year. Here we go - nice. So that's exactly what we're looking for. This ice is a lot different than the ice we had in on the shoreline. It's probably the same thickness, but you can tell that this is good, solid, hard blue ice. That's exactly what we want. You can tell just by feeling the surface on a 33 degree day that it's good hard ice. We'll just go ahead and use the auger here. You can tell when you're pushing through it that it's a lot harder than the ice that was in on the shoreline. The ice on the shoreline was good, this is just perfect to show everybody. We wish we could have ice like this all year round. Not interrupted by snow on the surface. Just good, solid ice. If you look in here close, you can see that there aren't any other layers to this ice, it's just all real consistent. It's exactly what we want and we'll go ahead and check it out. We had 5 inches in on the shore, but here it feels like we probably have more like 6 to 7 inches. Now all we've got to do is get some rods in the water!

Ice Fishing GPS Mapping Tip,

Ice Fishing GPS Mapping Tip


Learn how to take advantage of boating in fall weather to mark GPS waypoints in preparation for winter ice fishing.

Lake Trout vs. Salmon Fillets,

Lake Trout vs. Salmon Fillets


Michigan Lake Trout and Salmon fillets are delicious prepared on the grill, in the oven, or pan seared. Learn the differences and similarities between these two fish fillets with Captain Ben Wolfe and Captain Chad Dilts of Sport Fish Michigan.

We just got back from an awesome day on the water jigging for lake trout, and we caught a bonus king salmon, as well. One of our favorite things to do is eat lake trout. It has a kind of, almost bad reputation for a lot of anglers. They say "you know they taste kind of greasy, and they're not as flavorful, and they don't taste quite as good." But, in the last decade to fifteen years, the diet has changed a lot. We wanted to show, first-hand, side-by-side what these fillets look like and why they're so good to eat these days. Ben's exactly right, I've been around both species for quite a while and both are great to eat. They're awesome for grilling, pan frying, deep frying - however you want to do it. Today is a great example. It's nice to finally have these fillets sitting on a cutting board next to each other so that the public can see. See that the salmon, being that it is a wonderful fillet, the lake trout has a really nice firmness, really nice color, it has good grain to the meat. You come over to the salmon filet and you push your finger into the salmon fillet, and you essentially don't have to apply any pressure and you're through the meat. It kind of falls apart and dries out on the grill, or in the oven. If you come over to the lake trout, and you put pressure on it, you can push all day, anywhere in the fillet, and you get this nice response with your finger. It's more firm, there's not as much fat in the fillet as there used to be, not as much oil, but there's just enough oil that whatever application you want for cooking, it really holds its moisture and doesn't dry out. It has an awesome flavor. So it's really nice that Sport Fish Michigan can get out and catch these fish and show the public what they have to offer in northern Michigan. One more thing - the goby is really kind of the key to this whole scenario. Because the salmon are still eating the alewife, but the lake trout, which used to feed heavily on the alewife is now almost predominantly goby. It's a much more white-fleshed little bait fish, it's found on the bottom, right where the lake trout like to be, and they have a very low oil content in them. So, in comparison, the lake trout now are much less fat-laden than they used to be. Now they have this beautiful peachy, orange-ish flesh, which used to be more white due to the higher oil content. These are just fantastic to eat. They really, really are. So anyone that's a fan of salmon, I'm sure would absolutely love these lake trout. For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

AnglingBuzz Technique of the Week: Vertical Jigging for Lake Trout,sport fish michigan,lake trout,vertical jigging,michigan fishing

AnglingBuzz Technique of the Week: Vertical Jigging for Lake Trout


Sport Fish Michigan's Capt. Ben Wolfe is featured in this week's AnglingBuzz Technique of the Week: Precision Vertical Jigging for Michigan Lake Trout

Lake Trout Vertical Jigging Fun - The Best of Michigan Fishing,

Lake Trout Vertical Jigging Fun - The Best of Michigan Fishing


Vertical jigging for lake trout in northern Michigan is fun and exciting! Book your hands-on, light tackle, vertical jigging trip with Sport Fish Michigan to experience the best Michigan fishing.

For more information, or if you would like to experience the excitement of this hands-on, light tackle jigging technique, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web

Early April Lake Trout Fishing - Northern Michigan Humminbird, Minnkota, Under Armour,humminbird, minn kota, gopro, under armour, shimano, g. loomis

Early April Lake Trout Fishing - Northern Michigan Humminbird, Minnkota, Under Armour


Jigging for lake trout on the Grand Traverse Bays, near Traverse City, in northern Michigan - with Capt. Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. It's early April. We're out here on Grand Traverse Bay. We have an early spring pattern here - we're looking for lake trout, cisco, maybe some whitefish, and possibly even some early smallmouth bass. They're in deep water, but they should be just starting to move up a little bit shallower. So, let's see how we do - we've got a beautiful day! Here's what we want, we've got an absolute pile of lake trout right here in the graph. There's still a pile of them on the graph. Look at this graph right here. Early April, Grand Traverse Bay lake trout jigging. Let's get this fish back in the water and let him swim another day. For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the state of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Jigging for Salmon: Using Humminbird Electronics for Salmon Jigging Success,fishing, salmon, vertical jigging, humminbird, minn kota, michigan, coho, chinook, catching fish

Jigging for Salmon: Using Humminbird Electronics for Salmon Jigging Success


Capt. Ben Wolfe shows how understanding Humminbird electronics is critical to success when jigging for salmon.

I've got fish coming in on the graph. A nice school. I'm dropping down - you can see the jig dropping down. Then we look at the 360. I've got them up there in the top right-hand screen. You can see them - they look like little submarines. You can see the fish come up on it, and he's going back down on it, and he's coming back up on it. Come on... There we go!! If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

How to Rig for Vertical Jigging Lake Trout on Grand Traverse Bays using Jonah Jigs ,

How to Rig for Vertical Jigging Lake Trout on Grand Traverse Bays using Jonah Jigs


Jonah Jigs creator, Larry, shows Capt. Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan how he rigs to fish for lake trout, whitefish, and salmon on Grand Traverse Bays near Traverse City using the vertical jigging technique for deep water. Vertical jigging is a hands-on technique using jigging spoons that is extremely effective at targeting fish holding in deep water.

Hello, my name is Larry with I'm out here fishing with Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan. And we're out here on the Grand Traverse Bays jigging lake trout. I want to show you some of our rigging that we use. First of all, the jig that we're using is a 1 ounce. I prefer a 1 ounce for these average sized lake trout and white fish. This smaller treble hook is designed to get right around the inside mouth of a white fish. To rig these and fish these, we're using kind of a medium to medium-heavy action rod. And we're fishing really deep. Most of these fish this time of year, especially in July, August, when the water warms up, really sets up, they go in deep. So we're fishing 100 plus - 80 to 120 feet of water on average. Sometimes 150 feet. Depends where the fish are. We're using braid. At that depth, you want to be able to really feel those bites and get down and really set the hook. And so usually around 15 pound test braid. And we want to connect that to a fluorocarbon leader. Our water's really clear here. And there's a couple of different ways you can do this. One, you can use a swivel. So you've got a little swivel in the system. And then ending at this duel-lock snap. A duel-lock snap is included with the jigs. And the reason we put that on there: one, we want to have good action, and two, we want to be able to change jigs quickly. Sometimes these lake trout can be color selective, as all trout and salmon tend to be. And so to be able to change jigs and change styles quickly is nice. So we just snap the jig back on and close up the snap. And it helps it fall. And you can change your jigging cadence. What's also nice about these jigs is they're three-wire constructed, powder coated, with super glow paints. So they do glow for a long time at depth. And you can bend them and adjust them. Kind of give yours a little different action there. So get on out there. Enjoy some summer time, deep water lake trout jigging. You don't need much, and it's a lot of fun.

Walleye Jigging: Techniques and Stinger Hooks on the Detroit River,walleye, fishing, detroit river, jigging fish, fishing technique, stinger hooks, minn kota, humminbird, under armour, shimano, g loomis

Walleye Jigging: Techniques and Stinger Hooks on the Detroit River


Join Captain Ben Wolfe on the Detroit River to learn about successful walleye jigging techniques and the use of stinger hooks.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. We're down here in Detroit, and the Detroit River itself can be an absolute world-class walleye fishery. However, it has a high current, and when it's windy, it can be a little bit of a bugger to fish. What we like to do is use a 1oz jig. That really kind of gives us the best of both worlds - to be able to find the bottom quickly in the swift current, but also to be able to feel the bottom on every single lift and drop of our rod tip. That's really critical to being able to stay in contact with the bottom. This helps us stay vertical. We don't want our line to swing off to the side. What we like to tell our customers is that imagine bouncing a basketball. If the basketball gets too far in front of us, or too far behind us, or too far off to the side, it becomes hard to control. We want our lines, similarly, to do the same thing, so that our jig is as vertical as possible. We, as Captains, want to control the boat so that we can help our customers do just that. When we use a 1oz jig, one thing that is critical for our success is using a stinger hook. Especially when those walleyes are biting a little bit short, or in muddy conditions. They don't have much time in this current to be able to find bait and chase them down. It's very, very much of a quick - or a reaction-type strike, if you will. So, a stinger hook can really, really help. It makes the critical difference in a successful day and a frustrating day on the water. For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Walleye Jigging Tip - Detroit River,

Walleye Jigging Tip - Detroit River


Capt. Ben Wolfe shares tips and tricks for jigging for walleye in the Detroit River.

What we have here is the Detroit River rig. It's basically just a ball-head jig, anywhere from 3/4 to an ounce or ounce and a half, with a soft plastic and a stinger hook. A lot of times, we'll tip this, when we have cold water, below 50 degrees, with a minnow. All we're doing is just bouncing this on the bottom - just jigging it vertically. Really methodically. If we stay vertical, we're going to catch less snags, and that will really help the catch rate go up.

Detroit River Walleye Jigging Tip,underarmour,minn kota,humminbird,costa del mar,lunker city,wyandotte worm

Detroit River Walleye Jigging Tip


Learn how to make and use lures for jigging for walleye in Detroit, Michigan, with Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan.

This is the standard Detroit River setup that we use. It's just a standard ball-head jig, about 3/4 to 1oz. I always like to make sure that we put a stinger hook on there. We use a heavy weight in the river current to make sure that we stay vertical, help feel the bottom. We want that thump of the jig to feel the bottom so that we don't snag. That big weight - the walleyes don't seem to care. They seem really almost attracted to that thumping on the bottom, and they really seem to get it pretty well. We have a wide variety of soft plastics we can use. This is a Lunker City Finesse Fish that I've trimmed about 1/4 inch off of. Another standard that we use a lot is the Wyandotte Wonder Worm, just a brown or a black worm. Those are, day in and day out, the go-tos we use here on the Detroit River. Hopefully, they will catch you more fish, too!

Leadcore to Leader Fishing Tip,

Leadcore to Leader Fishing Tip


Learn how to tie a leadcore to leader with Capt. Adam Collett of Mega-Bite Charters, a Sport Fish Michigan Guide.

Hi, I'm Adam Collett with Mega-Bite Charters and I'm out here fishing with Sport Fish Michigan. I'm going to show you a little easy, fast tip on a fast way to tie a leadcore to a leader line. So you've got your leadcore here, and you pull out the lead about 6 to 8 inches, pinch it off, pull it back tight again - so you just have the flimsiness there. Then you just tie a little overhand knot, and then you take your leader line and you feed it into the leadcore. Then you push it all of the way up to where that knot is. All you need to do is pull that knot, pull down tight, and you've got yourself a very quick and easy knot that will not break on leadcore.

Planer Board Fishing Tip,

Planer Board Fishing Tip


Learn how to use planer boards for fishing with Capt. Adam Collett of Mega-Bite Charters, a Sport Fish Michigan Guide.

Hi, Captain Adam here on Mega-Bite Charters. We're out fishing the East Grand Traverse Bay with Sport Fish Michigan. I'm going to talk to you a little bit about one of our proven techniques that work really well here in the bay. Planer boards - I prefer the walleye board. We use them with leadcore and copper-based line. Because the water is so clear now in the Great Lakes, you still get the same depths out of the leadcore and copper used on downriggers and divers, but it gets it out and away from the boat so we don't spook the fish. They just see a bait floating by. They're cut at a 45 degree angle. When you put it out, the water pressure pushes it out away from the boat. We use them in early spring, summer... we use them all year long. Next time you're out on the water, give one a try and see if you can help your catch.

Nymphing Rig Setup Tip,

Nymphing Rig Setup Tip


Captain Jeff Mallory of Sport Fish Michigan shares a nymphing tip: setting up a nymph fly rig.

Hi, I'm Jeff with Sport Fish Michigan. We're on the river today. There's not too much of a hatch going, so we broke out the nymph rigs. We have a two nymph setup here. Both of them are tungsten bead head nymphs,. They're heavy, and they cut through the water and get down to the bottom in the strike zone really quick. That's key in this method. Our nymph rigs consist of a 10 foot 4 weight rod, with a specialized nymphing flyline, with a 12 foot leader. The first part of the leader is about a 6 foot section of 15 pound test. After that we attach a 2 foot length of 12 pound high-visbility mono-filament - that's our indicator. Below the indicator is our tippet system. There's about 3 foot of 4x tippet to our first bead head, and below that is about an 18 to 24 inch section of 5x tippet with a heavier fly on the end. Next time you're on the river give this rig a try, I think you'll like it. If you're looking for a Guide or a Captain in the State of Michigan, give Sport Fish Michigan a call - or look us up online at

Bottom Bouncing Technique,

Bottom Bouncing Technique


Capt. Chad Dilts shares a tip on bottom bouncing for salmon, steelhead, and brown trout.

Hi, I'm Captain Chad Dilts with Sport Fish Michigan. Today I'd like to show you a helpful technique on how to target salmon, steelhead, and brown trout on Lake Michigan's wonderful tributaries. Today I'd like to touch on a technique called bottom bouncing. Bottom bouncing can be a very effective technique in shallow and in deep water situations, for both resident trout and steelhead. This can also be used on fly rods and spinning rods. What I like to do is the main line to a size 12 barrel swivel, and then I'll have a snap swivel and a bead in-between the two to stop my weight from catching onto the size 12 barrel swivel. This is really effective because you can choose what size weights you want. A lot of guys like to use split-shot, some guys like to use bag split shot, I like to use just pencil lead. What I do is cut it to a certain length, and then I can put a hole in it and attach it to my snap swivel. I can use whatever weight necessary for whatever current, seam, or depth. After doing that, and figuring out the type of weight that I want, I then move down to my leader line. My leader line, in this situation with the 10lb main, is an 8lb fluorocarbon leader. It's a little heavier program, I like to use it on some of the bigger rivers, and even some of the faster flowing tributaries that are smaller. I move down to about 2.5 to 3ft as a leader, and in this specific situation I have a trout bead - an 8mm trout bead. This bead is then slid up the line, roughly an inch to 2 inches from my size 10 trout bead hook. Whatever hook you want to use is fine. A lot of guys like to use trout bead hooks. A lot of guys like to use owners or just your standard egg hook. With this situation, you can get rid of this bead and even fish a 2-3ft leader with a spawn bag. Whatever you prefer would be fine. In this specific situation, a lot of anglers will do a dropper, they'll tie direct to the shank and run another bead down about 12 or 13 inches, or even a dropper fly. Now, in this specific situation, we like to run just the bead. It's a very effective way to get steelhead in the tail-outs of beds, to get brown trout in the tail-outs of beds, and even fish in your pre-spawn times and try to get your steelhead in that 6-10ft of water. So take this helpful technique - use it for yourself and see what you can come up with. Thank you very much for tuning into Sport Fish Michigan, and have a great day!

Jika Rig Tip,

Jika Rig Tip


Capt. Ben Wolfe shares tips for setting up and using a Jika rig for bass fishing. This fishing rig can increase casting accuracy and allow anglers to more easily feel the rig moving through the water and along the bottom.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan. I've got a rig that I want to use today, and it's called a Jika rig. Up here in northern Michigan, we have really great opportunities to fish with tubes, which are very, very productive. But a lot of our customers, sometimes depending on the wind conditions and the bottom contour, have trouble feeling the bottom with a standard rig tube with the weight inside the tube head. So, what we do with the Jika rig is we modify it a little bit, and then customers really have no trouble feeling the bottom. All this rig is, really, is just an extra-wide gap worm hook - we put a split-ring on, and then I use a finesse drop-shot rig. What that allows us to do is to change the weights depending on the conditions. What happens when this falls is that it falls straight to the bottom, just like that. The tube is flared, so when we drag it along the bottom, the weight is able to be felt by the angler because the weight is exposed. It doesn't have the dulling effect that the plastic does around the weight if the jig head were inside the tube. To rig this, all we do is a standard Texas rig. This is a really versatile rig - you can fish it in a lot of different applications. Especially just dragging along the bottom, which is so productive up here. The hook is back toward the tail, so when the fish grab the tail, they wind up getting the business end of the hook, too. This is the Jika rig that we fish up here in the Traverse City area. It's really versatile, and works really well for us. Let's go fishing! The same areas that I go looking for anything that looks different: a light spot if there's a darker bottom - or a dark spot if there's a lighter bottom. Those are all the same places that we want to cast either a drop-shot rig or a tube, but with the Jika rig, it allows you to feel the bottom better. So, I see a likely looking spot, I'm going to cast it out past that and bring it back towards the structure. The thing I love about this is that you can do it with a bait casting rod or you can do it with a spinning rod. It's such a versatile option. I got one here! Nice! On that Jika rig tube. Nice post-spawn fish. Got it right in the top of the jaw. They're pretty up here, and so much fun. Let's get him back. When we cast out to a very specific structure, this is going to fall straight because the weight is down. So it's going to fall straight down where we want it to go. In contrast, if we had a tube with a jig head inside, it would spiral. So sometimes, we could make the perfect cast, and that spiral takes us away from where we want to be. However, every given day is different. Sometimes, the fish really respond well to that spiral, sometimes they want just a straight fall, so we can get right by the structure. They're so pretty in this water. They don't like the tube! Thank you, darlin'! For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain or Guide in Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Uni-Knot Instruction Video,

Uni-Knot Instruction Video


Demonstration of how to tie a uni-knot for fly fishing.

I'm Bear Andrews, Head Fly Fishing Guide for Wolfe Outfitters and Sports Fish Michigan. I want to share with you a knot that I use in multiple practices - both in cold weather and in low-light conditions. Let me clip this fly off and show you how to tie a uni-knot. Start by running the leader through the eye of the hook. Then form a loop with the tag in. I'm going to run the tag in around the loop and the main line three or four times. The nice thing I like about it is when it is cold and when it's dark and you may not have a headlamp on, you can still kind of feel your way through this knot and get a good knot tied that you're not going to worry about losing fish with. Before I tighten that up, I'm just going to moisten it with a little saliva. Wetting your leader when you're tying your knot is probably the most important thing you can do because it reduces the friction, so that you get a nice, smooth draw-down on your knot. You're not going to have friction that's going to weaken that leader and break off.

Roll Cast Technique for Fly Fishing,

Roll Cast Technique for Fly Fishing


Demonstration of the fly fishing roll casting technique.

[Bear Andrews - Head Fly Fishing Guide - Wolfe Outfitters] One of the most useful, easy to learn casts that you can add to your arsenal is roll cast. If you have got low-hanging branches or stuff behind you and don't have room to make a backcast, you just bring your rod tip up, then snap the rod in a forward pump. It just turns the fly line right over and gets you right back out.

Jigging for Lake Trout - Fish Finder Electronics Tips,

Jigging for Lake Trout - Fish Finder Electronics Tips


Captain Ben Wolfe demonstrates the use of the Humminbird electronic fish finders when jigging for lake trout in the Grand Traverse Bays, Michigan.

We figured out what depth these fish want. They want 95 to 100 feet, and so we're just idling around the structure. We're out in the middle of nowhere and we're looking for marks on the bottom. So, for instance, here's a trout right there on the bottom. What I'm looking for, hopefully, are few marks right on the bottom and that would indicate a small school, like we're coming into right now. One of the really key things for me, at least on this boat, is I've got a graph on my trolling motor, and I've got a graph back here, and they're separated by 20 feet. What that allows me to do is as I'm moving around on this underwater structure, if I'm starting to mark something in the front I'll anticipate being able to mark it in the back. And then that will tell me maybe there's a school there, and I need to stop and fish that. So that front graph is really critical to tell me what's coming up, so that I could try and position the boat perfectly in-between what I'm marking. Here's a school up front on the graph, so I'm going to stop. Then I'm going to hit spot lock on my ipilot, and we're gonna finish them. What I like about doing this with a bait caster is that I can control all of my line with one hand. If I need a little more line my thumb was right here for the spool. Then I can engage the reel with my ring finger right on the star drag there in the reel handle. There's one down there - he just swirled again - and he just ate it! Oh, my gosh, these late trout are awesome when you vertical jig them like this. Just an incredible, incredible bite. They pull really hard, they fight, they thrash. You know, they go on some really nice runs. I'm only using a 12 pound fluorocarbon leader on this braid, so I want to make sure that I've got a good enough drag that I can set the hook - but that if he wants to go on a nice run, he can. Right here, he blew out his air bladder, so I know that he's going to be able to be released healthy. Another really quality northern Michigan lake trout on Grand Traverse Bay. There he is - head-shaking, he's going bananas. This one is probably about 7 or 8 pounds. So beautiful in this water, unbelievably beautiful. I grab the line, a lot of times the jig, because they're shaking her head, a lot of times when you hold the line, that line doesn't go as much. So when they shake their heads, they're able to release themselves. So I don't even have to handle it, which is nice. For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain or Guide in the state of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

Jigging for Salmon: Humminbird Electronics and Minn Kota Trolling Motors,salmon, fishing, humminbird, minn kota, jigging, jonah jigs, coho, chinook salmon, michigan

Jigging for Salmon: Humminbird Electronics and Minn Kota Trolling Motors


Capt. Ben Wolfe shows how Humminbird electronics and Minn Kota trolling motors are key components to success when jigging for salmon.

Out here jigging on Platte Bay, having good electronics is critical. To be able to mark these schools, I can kind of anticipate things with that Humminbird 360, see that there's fish coming in, and kind of get a rough idea of what depth they're at. Then, all of a sudden, they show up on that sonar that we've got on our Minn Kota that's holding us in a spot here. We're able to drop down these Jonah Jigs that we're using, and they're just absolutely clobbering these things when we get them. Beautiful coho here. Love it! If you're looking for a Captain or a Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at

How to Transfer Humminbird GPS Waypoints,humminbird, helix, fishing electronics, gps, waypoints, under armour

How to Transfer Humminbird GPS Waypoints


Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service shows you how to transfer GPS waypoints from a Humminbird unit to a new Humminbird unit

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service. You know, it's spring here in Michigan, and I've got some new electronics on my bass boat. But I also have some really good GPS waypoints on this other boat, and it's in the Humminbird unit on this boat. So, I want to be able to take these GPS waypoints that are on this boat and take them over to my other boat, the electronics on that boat. So, I'm going to walk you through the steps that I use to get the GPS waypoints off of one Humminbird unit and put them on another Humminbird unit. It's very simple. There are a couple of steps to take, but it's actually pretty simple once you know how to do it. Right now I've got my Humminbird unit already turned on. All I'm going to do is open up the access door. That's going to allow me to insert my blank SD card into the slot here. These GPS waypoints doesn't take up much data on the SD card, but do make sure that it's blank before you start. Now that I'm there, I'm going to hit the menu button twice. I come up with a whole bunch of different menus up here. I want to use my cursors, the arrow buttons, to scroll over to the navigation page. So here, right there, is the navigation page. It's just abbreviated "NAV." Once I'm there, I'm going to use the cursor and scroll down until I find the box that says "Export All Nav Data." It's right here, and it's highlighted in yellow. So now, all I need to do is take my cursor and there's a little arrow that indicates to the right - so I'm just going to hit that "right" (>) button. Now it gives me an option - Yes or No. Confirm: Save tracks, waypoints, routes to MMC/SD, overwriting all tracks, waypoints, and routes on the MMC/SD card. That's exactly what I want to do, because I want to take these GPS waypoints off of this unit. It's going to still store them on this unit, but I want to be able to export them onto my SD card so that I can take them to my other Humminbird units. So I'm gonig to hit "Yes" (>). It has already saved this - there's a little yellow band there, and once that yellow band disappears, saying that it has successfully saved, that's all there is to it. I can now take out my SD card from this little navigation port and take the card over to my bass boat and input them into the Humminbird unit that's there. That's all there is to it. So, we're ready for step 2. Let's head over to the bass boat. OK - now that I have my SD card with the GPS waypoints from my other boat, I'm going to input them onto my Humminbird unit on my bass boat. It's very, very simple. I need to make sure that my Humminbird unit is on. Then I'm going to open this hatch door, insert my card, and it's going to give me a prompt. The prompt is going to ask, automatically, if I want to "Upload new data from SD card?" Yes or no. I'm just going to use my cursor, left () to accept or reject uploading. Once I hit upload, it's as simple as that. I'm going to hit upload with the right (>) cursor arrow to say "Yes." I get this little message that says "Loading," as many tracks or waypoints or whatever. Once that goes away the input is done. I have now taken the GPS waypoints from my other boat, from the Humminbird Helix on that boat, and put them on the Helix on this boat. It's just as simple as that. Try this - whether you're using multiple boats, like we do here at Sport Fish Michigan and Traverse City Bass Guide Service - or if you're updating a unit, from an older unit to a new one. This process is just as simple as that, and that's all you have to do to get waypoints from one unit onto the next unit.

Power Pole Launch,

Power Pole Launch


Using my 2 Power Pole XLs make launching and retrieving my Ranger Z-520 a breeze, which is awesome during a busy guide season. Their remote control deployment system allows me to secure my boat at the dock, right from my truck, making it that much simpler for me and for my Traverse City Bass Guide Service customers. I have found that use of my Power Poles to be truly invaluable, and they pay dividends when I launch my boat to begin a guide day. The simplicity of the system helps to get me and my customers out fishing that much more quickly. Here's a short video clip that I sped up to show just how easy it is to use Power Poles to launch a boat.

Importance of Catch & Release - Michigan Smallmouth Bass,

Importance of Catch & Release - Michigan Smallmouth Bass


Capt. Ben Wolfe shares information about the importance of catch and release for the preservation of smallmouth bass in Michigan.

There we go! Good one... good one! Someone's gonna get caught. What a dandy, dandy northern Michigan smallmouth. Got him right in the top of the jaw. Absolutely beautiful. Let him go. It's really important to get these northern Michigan smallmouth back in the beds. They're such a slow-growing fish up here. There he goes - that's a male that's guarding a bed. It just goes to show you, you've got 4 or 5 males that are guarding a bed. It's always the males that protect the nest. We want to make sure we get them back. In the meantime, let's have fun with them!

Fall Smallmouth Bass Fishing - Umbrella Rig,

Fall Smallmouth Bass Fishing - Umbrella Rig


The fall season is a great time to target smallmouth bass in northern Michigan. Capt. Ben Wolfe demonstrates the use of an umbrella rig for catching bass.

So often in the fall, it may not be a total numbers game in terms of 50 or 60 fish, but usually they're of good quality. When you find them, you may have to hunt a little bit, but when you find them you can get into them. That's kind of the reward about going in the fall time. We're one of only three boats out here, so the fishing pressure is low, beautiful scenery, nice weather. It's just a good time to be up north. We're going to try to start out with an umbrella rig and some swim baits. Let's see how we do. Here we go! He's on! Not a giant, but a good one right here. This is where care needs to be taken on these umbrella rigs. Look at that! What a beautiful, huge northern Michigan smallmouth. On the umbrella rig - what a dandy! Mid-October, peak colors, and northern Michigan smallmouth like this. Just fantastic. Let's get him back and try to catch another one. Got one! Not a big one. Not nearly as big as our last one, but he absolutely clobbered it, so obviously there's more than just another. Let's see if we can catch another one. That was a lot of fun!

How to Fish for Smallmouth bass using a Spinner Bait,

How to Fish for Smallmouth bass using a Spinner Bait


Here's a quick spinner bait lesson using a willow leaf blade coupled with a trailer hook in clear water to improve your chances of hooking a small mouth bass. Captain Ben Wolfe of Traverse City Bass talks about northern Michigan smallmouth bass fishing in the Grand Traverse Bay.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Traverse City Bass. One of our favorite things to do during post-spawn, summer, and fall fishing is spinnerbait. What we do is we burn them across the flats in the clear water. The two things for our success: willow-leaf blades, and I like them to be gold, and the second thing that we make sure that we do is the use of a trailer hook. A trailer hook is really critical because a lot of times our bass, they follow and they nip at the bait, but they don't always get it. With a trailer hook, a lot of times if we keep bringing that spinnerbait, they'll get it on the second try, oftentimes on the trailer hook.

How to Fish for Smallmouth bass using Jerkbaits,

How to Fish for Smallmouth bass using Jerkbaits


Learn some great tips and tricks with this quick tutorial on jerk bait fishing in clear water. Captain Ben Wolfe of Traverse City Bass talks about northern Michigan smallmouth bass fishing in the Grand Traverse Bay.

Hi, I'm Captain Ben Wolfe with Traverse City Bass. One of the great things to do in the early spring, during pre-spawn bass fishing is to throw a jerkbait. One thing that's critical for a jerkbait in this clear water is to suspend perfectly horizontal. We don't want it to float, we don't want it to sink - a perfect horizontal suspension. So when we fish a jerkbait, we want to cast out - and the fish, on every given day, have a different cadence that they might prefer. In this clear water, smallmouth have a real preference, sometimes, for a specific cadence. A lot of the time I start with a jerk-jerk-jerk-pause. 1-2-3, then I pause. 1-2, then I pause. Whatever the cadence is, on any given day, it's critical to make sure that you have slack in the line when you make that pause. Sometimes the boat moves, the wind, it's really critical that the bait stays perfectly still.

Sight Casting for Pre-Spawn Smallmouth Bass,fishing, bass, smallmouth, casting, sight casting, sight fishing, michigan, shimano, g loomis, knox marine, minn kota, humminbird, under armour

Sight Casting for Pre-Spawn Smallmouth Bass


Captain Ben Wolfe discusses and demonstrates sight casting for pre-spawn smallmouth bass, including casting to isolated structure. Michigan's beautiful, clear waters create remarkable bass sight fishing opportunities. Learn more about the Jika Rigs used in this video:

One of the things I love about northern Michigan is that we don't always have to have fish on beds to be able to sight fish. By that, I kind of alter the definition of sight fishing just a little bit. Because we have such clear water up here, we can go and sight cast at various targets - whether it's a laid-down log, a rock, weed line, really what-have-you. And a lot of times, cruising fish, as well. We're looking for the structure and making casts to that structure even before we necessarily know that there's a fish there. A lot of times, we can watch a follow, or watch the take, depending on the type of bait we're using. Sight fishing up here can be a really special thing to do, but it doesn't always have to be on beds - and that's kind of the great thing about fishing in clear water. Jika rig tube in there. See if we can get one to come out. There we go! Good one! Good one! That is what we came in here for. You know, I just cast at a likely looking boulder there. I cast on the side. You always want to make sure you go past it, that way the bait is working true when it comes in there. And good things like this. Let's get this one back. One really critical thing when we're structure fishing on these northern Michigan waters is if you find a smallmouth relating to, say, a rock, and it's on one side of the rock - really try to pay attention. A lot of times, throughout the day, what we'll notice is that those fish will orient on that same side of the rock, whether its the northeast side or the south side. That can really help pinpoint when you see structure and you know then which side of that structure to cast to. That way, we can make a good, accurate cast at that fish the first time, and not have to necessarily hunt out or spook them, alerting them to our presence. There we go! One cast! This is so much fun! There is just no quit in these northern Michigan smallmouth. They're so awesome. Beautiful northern Michigan smallmouth. Let's get him back in the water. That was a fun afternoon. We worked our way around a shallow flat, looking for isolated structure, made some casts with a Jika rig tube, and used a drop-shot rig as a follow-up. Got some really nice fish, and that's really what it's all about. This pattern holds true whether it's pre-spawn like we're in now, or the spawn, or post-spawn, and throughout the summer and fall. Clear water - and these fish are going to orient to any kind of structure. Just cast past it, bring your bait close to it, and probably - more than likely good things will happen for you. For more information, or if you're looking for a Captain and Guide in the State of Michigan, please give Sport Fish Michigan a call, or check us out on the web at