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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We probably all have been there, great fishing day ahead, boat all set, and your buddy can't make it. Or perhaps you decide to head out at the last minute. In either case, you are alone. (let's assume you have lots of boating experience on your boat, safety precautions in place etc).

So my guestion is...what do you do differently to manage your boat and find Striper fishing success?

Yesterday afternoon was a good example, I was down working on the boat and decided to head out when I'd finished with the boat. I was pulling my lucky stretch 20, a Sweede's 8 ounce rooster tail, and a green 8 ounce tandum rig that had been effective the last couple of trips. I was trolling near third island in 35-50 feet of water with fish suspended from 20 to 35, hardly any tide... and fish on!!

The heavy 36 plus striper was full of fight and fun as the rod tip danced. I pointed the boat away from the bridge and other boats (few boats working then anyway) put it in neutral, grabbed the rod (stuck on the bottom?, no, he's pulling hard) and tried to keep him from getting tangled in the other lines. Under the boat, around the stern, best fighting fish I recall from trolling. Then up close.... hooked deep in the mouth so I could not see how firmly set the hook was, I grabbed the mono leader with a gloved hand, dropped the rod, and pulled the net from the rod holder.

Tough to get the fish in the net and too long to fully go in while thrashing around, I sort of scooped it up from the tail with the net and into the boat while "controling" the head and pulling with the leader. He was on the floor of the boat and up against the measuring tape but wrapped in both of my other lines in seconds. I was sweating but happy to have my first big striper of the season, even with all my lines tangled up :)

Lessons learned for me when trolling for striper by myself:
1. Go to two poles to keep things simple (unless in open water)
2. Heavy mono leaders and handy net are important
3. Point the boat in safe direction, and go neutral before fighting the fish

What do you do differently, when fishing solo, to manage your boat and find Striper fishing success?

Charlie
On the "Ms Cait"
 

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fishing

The best thing i have bought for my boat while i am fishing alone is an autopilot. You can't go wrong with one on your boat, it gives you so much freedom to do other things while fishing. Doug.
 

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The only thing I may do is kick the boat into gear a couple of times to counter act the wind and tide.

It's even tougher when you're in the fleet, with boats on both sides and lot's pulling up the rear.

I definetly go to 2 rods at that point and try to steer clear of the fleet.

Great Job!

Les
 

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If the bite is fairly good, and I`m fishing alone, which I do quite often,
I usually keep my boat in gear at a crawl until it`s net time. I never use
more than 2 rods, even in the ocean. I also keep my set-up simple..
That`s just what I do for open water blind trolling, otherwise I`m
wirelinning with rod in one hand and the wheel in the other.

Capt.Skid
 

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I agree...keep the boat in gear if possible to help control boat/tangles. If the bite is strong, I will only run 2 lines...If the bite is slow, I run my regular spread until all hell breaks loose.
Good Job on the solo fish!

bc
 
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Had similar situation last week - made sure I trolled on the downside of the current so if I put the boat in neutral, the current would push me AWAY from the pilings.
 

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Fish alone-

Probably at least half of my trips are by myself. When rock fishing, I'll run 3 or 4 lines, two out the back running deep and stretches on the outriggers. My auto pilot is a screw drive wedged between the wheel and the collar. If I get a "fish on", I make sure I'm heading away from other boats. Keep the net where you can reach it with a rod in your hand.

Usually there are plenty of boats around, and someone to yak at on the radio. I live in Mathews and cross the bay to Cape Charles routinely.
 

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I agree that you need to keep the boat in gear, assuming it will go slowly enough. I troll with one engine most of the time, so I can slow down even more than the usual crawl when trolling for rockfish. I have hydraulic steering, which is good for holding course, but if the wind is blowing much, it won't hold her, so turning downwind (which usually means downsea) helps as well. I try to find a place with few other boats and I don't call anybody in if I catch a fish. I did try to contact a Parker on Friday near New Point that was fishing right next to me, because I don't think he noticed I had just boated a 37" fish. Guess he wasn't monitoring 68, 'cause he trolled away. Wish I had an autopilot.
 

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Cockpit helm

I have my boat setup to fish solo with a helm station in the cockpit. Keep the boat moving which keeps the tension on the line. A autopilot with wireless remote would be great, but not in current budget specially since the boat is for sale.
 

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I fish alone quite often and it can be terrific fun. A few things I have learned over the years from experience, both good and bad, is to take extra precautions not normally thought of when with a fishing partner or group. Most of these suggestions are second nature to me when alone, particularly at night or in rough seas.

First, turn the stupid boat off when you land the fish. . . don't leave it in neutral or in gear. You will be able to hear, see and feel the surroundings better and somehow it takes the pressure off you to act fast. Surprising how it sounds, it gives you time to think through your plan, calmly.

Secondly, when you are bent over the side and trying to land the fish, with net, rod and leader, if you fall in you are done. So, I sometimes wear a life line around my belt tied to the ladder to the boat. If I go in I can at least try to pull myself to the boat ladder. With tide, wind and wave pressure there is still no guarantee you will make it, especially if the water temperature is real cold. I evaluate the changing conditions throughout the day to decide what I need to do this way. . . .

Thirdly, I put a cell phone in my pocket so if I have an emergency I do not have to go to some other side of the boat to find or get it. Know where you are, when alone, so you can relay the information to the authorities without much effort. If you change locations, check the GPS. . . leave the marine radio on low and ready.

Another thing I do, especially at night, is do everything at "slow and easy". Behaving "frazzled" is not why I am out there. No matter what, do not panic and stay clear thinking. Remember, slow and easy. . . .

If the water is too rough, the wind too strong or the cold too cold, head in. These three factors will compound the smallest problems big time. At night, check the marine radio for weather changes. . . you can not always see storm clouds in a dark sky.

When alone, be sure to listen to the sounds of the Bay. . .it is magnificant. There is life out there!

Enjoy and get the big one.

Greyghost,
Eastern Shore, MD
 

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I see most of the posts suggest leaving the boat in gear to land the fish. I agree with them if you are trolling. Most of the fishing I do is with lite tackle and I avoid big salt water rods with parachutes dragging behind. . . trolling is simply a different and productive method used by some fisherman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Feedback on Thread so Far

Guys, I am hearing your input and thanks :thumbup:

If you did not post yet, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

The biggest tip I am picking up is in keeping the boat in gear when fighting the fish assuming it is safe to do so. That often means prudent steps like being clear of the fleet, downcurrent from pilings, or some form of auto-pilot and tension adjuster to head in safe direction.

Some suggested going neutral only at net time, and even shutting the engine off then.

It seems most agree with using only two rods, though 4 is doable for some in low pressure times or when using outriggers.

There were also some good suggestions on slow and easy, and keeping it safe in general.

Thanks again for your thoughts, any more out there?

Charlie
On the "Ms Cait"
 

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I fish alone 90% of the time, day and night. Ive been doing it for along time. (im 55) Heres my way of doing things. 1. make sure you have at least 2 batteries( i carry 3 at night) on board. nothing worse than hearing your starter click. 2. make sure vhf is working, cell phones dont always work( i loose service at the 4th). if it dont work dont go. 4.make sure bildge is working(i have 2, 1 automatic, 1 switch operated)4. leave word with someone where and when you will return. 5. if you find yourself in seas to rough for you to handle, swallow your pride and call for help. someone with more experience will walk you through it or come to your aid. 6. at night tie yourself off, if you go over in the cold at least they'll find your body.
 

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While keeping the boat in gear sounds like good advise, when you are trying to reel in the fish and net it all by yourself, having the boat in gear makes it almost impossible. Been there and done that a number of times!
 

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Keep the boat in gear unless you have a pig on. Lines will stay off the bottom, and untangled. The advice on avoiding being "frazzled" is right on. Relax, reel the fish in, enjoy the fight, steer the boat when necessary. Here's a suggestion I haven't heard yet. If the fish in hooked well, anything except a lip hook, no need for the net. Just reach down, grab the lure and hoist him in. By yourself, you will knock more fish off with the net than simply lifting them in the boat. The safety line idea someone suggested is a good one too.
 
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