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Sometimes it calls for trolling crankbaits, pulling spinner rigs, vertical jigging or casting plugs. And, there are the times when stealth is the name of the game. As a tournament fisherman, we have to perform no matter what weather or water conditions are thrown at us.
Over the years I have come to depend on a method I call slipsnelling. This simple but effective technique permits presentation of live bait or crankbaits with the subtlety of a free swimming bait.
This method is productive when you're faced with finicky fish and works on all species from catfish to northern pike. It is also effective in shallow water where fish flee from the sound or sight of your boat. Even anglers who prefer to wade wiII find slipsnelling a productive technique.
Though the system was originally designed for river fishing due to the rivers more-pronounced current, it can be adapted to most any body of water. Rivers, streams,lakes and even ponds are affected by currents. In most water's, this current comes from a flow of water, but can also be caused by wind.
You can even adapt slip-snelling to those times when you're fishing
on a dead calm lake.
Slip-snelling allows you to set up froty or fifty feet upstream from the washout. You can then let the current take the bait into the hole.
The system is fairy simple. For equipment, I prefer to use a medium-action rod and reel spooled with one of the new supelines. Six- to eight-pound test FireLine seems towork ideally for this situation.
Thread on a quick-change clevis, a bead, a Dacron bobber stop and a bare bait hook or a snap for use with a crankbait. Finally add the weight and bait. When property rigged, you basically end up with a sliding weight,
Now comes the essential part. Hold the clevis, bead, weight and bobber stop in one hand and feed out enough line so the bait reaches the intended target. I often use the eyes on the rod as a measuring tool.
On most spinning rods, the distance from the reel to the first eye of the rod measures approximately 2 feet. For instance, you might set up some 40 or 50 feet upstream of a washout. Feed out enough line (22 pulls from the reel to the first eye on the rod) to send out approximately 45 feet of line.
Once the bait is in the targeted area, you can secure the bobber stop and carefully lower the weight and clevis to the bottom.
Use just enough weight so the rig settles at no less than a 45-degree. Anything less and you'II lose sensitivity. Ideally, the line should hang directly down (90 degrees) from the boat.
You then let the minnow work its magic. At any time you can lengthen or shorten the snell to work the entire area.
To give the minnow the freedom needed, hook him from under the jaw out the bottom lip, this allows the bait to swim with a natural motion and stay lively. Slip-snelling also works with shallow running crankbaits or leeches.
Though you can just anchor your craft and pay out anchor line as needed, I prefer to use a combination of bow mounted electricmotor,rear 15 hp, kicker and a AutoPilot to keep the crafts bow pointed upstream despite the wind and cross currents.
If you are fishing an area with little to no current, you have two choices. You can let the bait free-roam (set the snell length and let that lively minnow go where he wants) or set your snell, drop your bait and use your electric trolling motor to position the boat.
By threading everything on the line and using the Dacron Bobber stop, you can reel right up the fish. This is a definite advantage when using Dacron bobber stops. Reeling line through a neoprene or rubber bobber stop will often create a groove in the stop causing it to loosen.
Using the slip-snell lets you adjust the length of leader needed to hit your target and allows the bait complete movement. This often finds those finicky fish a bit more receptive.
Next time your faced with tough fishing day, the natural presentation
of a slip-snell may
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