Fishing tips from Gord Pyzer: Buoyed for success
People are often shocked when I mention that the GPS systems most us have on our boats these days are more sophisticated than the guidance systems Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 had on their space craft when they landed on the moon—but it’s true.
When we drop a waypoint on the sweet “spot-on-the-spot” on a structure, we can precisely return to it time after time after time. Even in the middle of thick fog, or at midnight in a blinding rain storm, it’s that precise.
Still, even with all this sophistication, I would never think about going fishing without having three or four marker buoys in the boat. It is like the Stone Age meets the Space Age, though it’s also the best of both worlds.
What I like to do is use my GPS system to guide me to a favourite waypoint, fishing spot, piece of structure or cover—even a school of fish that I just marked with my sonar—and then throw out a marker buoy.
The colourful marker floating on the surface is such an exceptional visual aid. You can use it to position your boat so that you can make precise casts to the target, or troll right alongside it.
When I am fishing in a relatively remote area, without a lot of boat traffic or other anglers, I prefer to use a bright fluorescent orange marker so I can see it easily. But on popular fishing lakes, especially on weekends, a bright buoy is like a beacon, inviting other boats to stop and pull up alongside you. That is when I like to use a tough-to-see black coloured marker. Sometimes, however, even that is not stealthy enough. That is when I pull out a seagull decoy that I often use. When I throw it out to mark a spot, it looks like a white gull is sitting in the water, hoping for an free and easy meal, and it usually throws off any would-be intruders and claim jumpers.
Although having said that, I was walleye fishing with a friend on Lake of the Woods on the August long weekend and boat traffic was extremely heavy given the hot, sunny, glorious weather. Wouldn’t you know it, my buddy and I found an active school of aggressive fish on a favourite little deep water reef, not far from one of the most popular boating routes on the lake.
So as not to draw attention to ourselves, I pitched out the seagull decoy to mark the spot where the school of walleyes was concentrated. But, even still, within a few minutes, another boat slowed down and motored onto the same piece of structure. As my buddy and I swung several fish into the boat, carefully releasing them, the other boat nudged closer and closer to where we were fishing.
Eventually, they drifted so close that I could easily have made a cast and dropped my jig into their boat. That is when I overhead one of the anglers say, “I can’t believe how close that seagull is sticking to that other boat!”
Here are two other tips you’ll find useful: First, remove the thin string that comes on most of the marker buoys when you first buy them. It is too light and skinny and tangles terribly. Simply remove it, throw it away, and replace it with the same thick, vinyl-coated fishing line you use on your winter tip ups. I use the green stuff made by the Berkley folks, but any vinyl-coated tip-up line will work. It never tangles and peels off perfectly when you throw out your marker buoy. (I suspect even a cheap, thick, 60-, 80- or 100-pound test braided line would work as well.)
The other thing to do is remove the flat lead slab that comes with most of the commercial marker buoys you buy in the stores. It snags on everything, especially rocks and boulders on the bottom.
Simply throw it away and get yourself eight inches or so of thick, heavy chain. It never snags on the bottom, regardless of how rough and rocky it is and you can nicely wrap it around your marker buoys when you pull them up at the end of the day.
If it is true, that picture is worth a thousand words.
Watch this quick one minute tip on the subject of marker buoys I shot for the Fish ‘N Canada television show. Simply slide the adjustment bar to the 11:30 minute mark and you will see why you always want to be buoyed and marked for fishing success.
Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning at 8:00am EST on 590 AM.