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Forum Home > Sturgeon Spearing > Scouting tips and tactics

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

I want to start out by thanking everyone for such a great interest in our scouting footage and to the new members, thank you for joining. Here’s just a little history on YBO scouting and our methods. With over 40 years of spearing the leaders of our group have been refining the scouting method we use today. One of our first objectives is to study topography of the area we want to start homing in on. After that we will set up our cameras and capture footage, which we then take home to review. We have put in more than 100 hours, and over as many miles, of scouting the past few years with varying results. Some days are good while others are wretched. If you didn’t catch it on my blog, I am currently out of town working but I will start putting together another clip when I get home. Also be sure to check this post often as we may be detailing our camera set-ups and lake bed sampling of red worms in the future. If you have any questions or comments, it would help to post them on this forum and that will allow the pro staff to jump in and answer.

 

God Bless

January 17, 2012 at 7:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Steve
Moderator
Posts: 54

Hello Everyone.....I've been asked to share some of our tips on sturgeon scouting. This comes with much difficulty, as I feel about like one of the fish laying on top of the ice. I'm not in my comfort zone. The first and biggest thing you all need to understand is this info and videos comes mostly thru actual 100's and 100's of hours of accumulated time put in by our group. We love the scouting as much as the spearing. As Jason and the rest of the guys have said we plan an sharing. It may not all come at once so if you are really interested you'll have to keep checking in for info and videos. Many of you have asked what is attached to the bottom of the string. It is not one sole answer. We have tried about every catfish bait ever made. We have tried about every fish catching scent that has ever been put on a shelf. We have tried countless decoys hanging and laying on the bottom. For every fish you see on the video going to a decoy hanging or decoy lying on the bottom, there are countless hours of video of nothing. What we are doing is not rocket science or top secret. Yes, while we have greatly increased our success since we began doing all this scouting and recording, it isn't always a given. Last year we never could get on them as well as we liked during scouting and our group only speared one fish. One of our best decoys that you see a lot of fish come to is a white shad type decoy. We happen to have bought ours at CRITTERS in Winneconne. We also have homemade decoys that fish have come to. Enough for now. I hope everyone has as much fun with their family and friends in the outdoors as we all do. GOOD LUCK

Strawhead

January 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

There is one thing that Strawhead didn't mention in his post. The way we get the scents down on the bottom is to weight down a white sock.

January 18, 2012 at 7:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

THE MOLE
Member
Posts: 12

thanks guys. awesome you're willing to share. are the videos all from one lake and all from last year?kinda sounds like not.

January 18, 2012 at 7:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

Mole, we have only been using this type of camera method for the past three (3) years, but all the footage is scattered from all over the system (all 3 lakes). If anyone else has any tips that they would be willing to share it would be great, because we could all use a little more knowledge to tweak everyones respective methods.

January 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Nimrod
Member
Posts: 5

Cowboy i was just wondering is that a beer can or a soda you are using for a decoy and if so what is inside of it the the fish are so attracted to.

January 18, 2012 at 9:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

Nimrod, I can honestly never recall us ever using a beer can or soda can as a decoy. I do know that in the clip there is footage of a white coffee cup and also of the sock filled with scent as mentioned previously. Unfortunately I can not give you specifics on what type of scent(s) were used because I don't remember. I do know that besides the scent(s) working, the decoy my father mentioned above works very well! We have had really good luck with white decoys. Thank you for your question.

January 18, 2012 at 9:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dan hughes
Member
Posts: 1

i never spear without my white coffee mug ! Also on bago atleast a copper cake pan works. This year i have a special weapon . lol if it works i will post pictures. Stay on top and goodluck !

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January 19, 2012 at 5:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Steve
Moderator
Posts: 54

Dan, thanks for the sharing on your part. The copper cake pan is a new one to me. I would venture to guess that there is a favorite decoy or two for just about every spearer.  Nice pic of your setup in the hole from Poygan 2007.

January 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Nimrod
Member
Posts: 5

Steve, Thanks for the reply. You said that you have tried just about every catfish and scent that is out there. Is ther any one that stands out in your mind as a good one. I have a decoy that I make. Our group has used it for about five years now with great sucsess. I started selling it on Craigs list last year.When I can find my pictuers I will share it with you. I think you might be interested in it and how it resembles a dying shad.

January 19, 2012 at 9:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Brian(aka: Bonehead)
Moderator
Posts: 17

Nimrod, to answer your question to Steve, I would say that we haven't really concluded one single scent to be better than another.  The problem we have is that during a day of scouting we typically have 7-9 cameras in our group that are recording and by the time you get home and watch the tapes they are usually mixed up and it gets hard to keep straight what is what.  In all honesty I think more than anything it is the white sock, coffe cup, or decoy that draws them in more than anything.  And just when we think we have stumbled onto something "magical" it turns out to be a flop the next time out.  Believe me we are just like everyother diehard spearer out there looking for that "edge" and to this date we have not found it.  Look forward to seeing some pictures of your decoys.

Also stay tuned in the future, we hope to be putting togather a clip of our recording and reviewing process so that everyone can see how "crazy" we really are.  Most people would say we have an obsession but we enjoy scouting as much as actual spearing.  It is quite exciting sitting down and reviewing hours of tapes and getting a glimps of a fish.  On the same hand it is quite discourging reviewing hours of tapes for nothing.

Brian 

January 19, 2012 at 9:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Nimrod
Member
Posts: 5

I have the pictures of the decoys i make but i am having trouble posting them on my page under the photo tab. When I go to my photos it won't let me add anything. Any suggestions?

January 20, 2012 at 9:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

Nimrod, sorry about the issue. The only way pictures will show up on your profile is after you go to the photogallery tab and create a new folder and upload the pictures into that new folder. Once they are uploaded to the folder, they will then show up on your profile letting people know that you have added these photos. If you have any other questions, concerns, feedback, just let me know. If you need any other assistance, the fastest way to get a hold of me would be by email. Thank you again, and I'm very sorry for all your troubles.

God Bless

January 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Nimrod
Member
Posts: 5

Cowboy thanks for the info it worked perfect. As you will see by the pictures the decoy is made from polished stainless steel with a four dimentional shape. They are 9" inches  lenght. When they are in the water and moved the slightest bit they shine and flash just like a dying shad.

January 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

YoungBlood
Member
Posts: 2

Hey Guys. First I wanted to say thanks for sharing some tips and tricks that have worked for you in the past. I have been spearing for 5 years now and have not gotten one yet. One reason is that I have never been able to put in time to scout. Luckily, this year with my school and work schedule it has allowed me to take a few days off before the season to get out there and scout. One question that I have is what is the most efficient way to cover water but also get a good understanding of what’s out there? I have Tuesday afternoon and the rest of the week off before spearing to scout. I was planning on taking the ‘worm dipper’ out with my underwater camera. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

January 25, 2012 at 12:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Brian(aka: Bonehead)
Moderator
Posts: 17

YoungBlood-

First and foremost there unfortunately isn't an efficient way to cover water.  One thing with us is we have a great group of guys who are all willing to put in tremendous amounts of hours scouting.  We typically spread out until a fish has been sighted and then will try and hone in on that area trying to see if it was a fluke or if there are fish working that area.  We choose areas to begin scouting based off of what we saw during the summer while out on the lake fishing and from past seasons of spearing.  Using a worm dipper is great but you will end up drilling a LOT of holes trying to locate a good worm bed.  Once you have found some they will generally be in the same areas following years.  Not alway though.  When it comes to looking for worms I can say we have defenitley had more holes with no worms than holes with numerous worms.  Once you have found a good worm bed though they can be great.  The biggest thing with ice conditions this year is to stay safe and remember you can never be to cautious.  The conditions this year are going to hurt everyone's scouting efforts.  I know ours are already way behind schedule and a lot of the places we wanted to check out are probably out of the quesion.  As much as I love spearing I have to remember I have a little boy who loves his daddy much, much more.  This year is going to be very taxing on me mentally because we will be much more limited on where we can go.  Probably going to have to spear where we can and not so much where we want to.  If Cowboy, Steve, Catfish, or BJ have anything to add please jump in.  And remember no matter what some people say most of sturgeon spearing is luck.  If there is one with your name on it you will have an opportunity.  BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME.

January 25, 2012 at 8:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

YoungBlood
Member
Posts: 2

-Bonehead-

Thanks for getting back so quickly. One of the problems I am having is that the people in my group are not as ambitious in getting out and scouting as I would like them to be so I am going at this solo. I understand that you guys have been scouting and doing this for years and have 'honey holes' where you feel your odds of seeing a fish or finding worm beds are better, but as a beginner looking at a topo of Winnebago what would you suggest I focus my efforts on(I'm not asking for your specific spots I know you need to work and find them). Have you seen a concentration around islands, river mouths, and drop offs or is it rather sporadic in where some of your better spots are? Like I said before I understand that you need to put your time in but I’m just trying to get areas where I can focus my efforts and hopefully find something.

Also, I appreciate your note about the ice conditions. It stinks this year that will be a factor but it’s the way it goes. No fish is worth a life especially when you have family and friends that need you. So everyone BE SAFE and use common sense.

January 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

YoungBlood-

To answer your question, with ice condtions not being the greatest depending on where you plan to spear, I would suggest bays would be a good place to start. Hope this helps and stay on top!

January 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

THE MOLE
Member
Posts: 12

Anybody have any updates on water clarity or ice conditions. East shore has pretty good going. Clarity varies daily. Best I've seen is about 9ft being able to see a fish good. Check ice conditions for yourself before you venture out.

February 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cowboy
Site Owner
Posts: 51

Mole-

Reports on water clarity have been 8-9 feet up and down the west end and a little better on the east end. As for ice conditions, almost everywhere where we have been we are running into 8"-9" except the for off of Wayside on the south west shore. Strawhead, BJ and I walked over 1/4 mile from the landing checking with a spud bar and found anywhere from 4"-6". I advise anyone who is traveling on the ice, to make sure they check ice conditions where they plan on going and not to take anyone else's word. Safe travel to all who are heading out in the next few days.

February 8, 2012 at 9:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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