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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The second half of Trophy Season was great with a few trips with 10-15 slot fish caught and several over 40" fish. I don't like to eat fish over 30" or so, so I am very happy to catch and release those slot fish. 1st half of Trophy Season, however, was pretty painful only catching 1-5 fish per trip and constantly dealing with jellyfish.

When Trophy Season ended 2 weeks ago, I downsized baits to Tony 17 and tsunamis (5" and 6.5") behind Captain John spoonbrellas and spreader bars on all boat rods, but I continued running boards with all tandems with 9" shads. During 1st few slow trips I realized that the fish were only hitting the longer board lines with heavy tandems. This made sense because the big fish marks on the finder have moved down in the water column to 15-20'. So all tandems are now 8-12oz total weight, 80-100 feet back. I also added a few mini ubmrellas with 16oz inline closest to boat, with single 3oz 9" parachutes, 80 feet back. With this setup all rods have been catching fish, more than half coming off the board rods, and nearly all fish over 26" coming off board rods. Only a few fish per trip with 20-23" fish hitting board lines and not breaking the rubber bands. Most trips we have caught more than a few over 30", and this week we have had a 40+, 36, and many 28-34, lots of 22-26" fish, and few 18-20's. We have been getting 10-20 bites per trip, 5-12 keepers per trip. Chartreuse and White have both caught equally well. I use blue and gold tsunamis (one of each on each spoonbrella or spreader bar), and the blue ones have definitely outperformed gold by a wide margin. Last week I was focussed on 29-33' water depth, but I have worked out to 31-35' and then 35-45' in last few trips.

2 reasons why I am sticking with all 9" shads on boards:
1) I don't want small fish hitting board lines and not breaking rubber bands
2) The bait fish that the bigger fish are chasing is still 9-10" (see photo of snagged baitfish from this week)

So while many have stowed their boards for the summer and are chumming or running only boat rods with small baits and catching huge numbers of 18-19 3/4" fish to find their keepers, I am still having a great time with boards and 9" baits catching many nice size fish and wonder if it can continue until the spot come in and we start live lining.
 

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Thanks for those details. I am definitely one of those picking through 30-50 18"-19.99" fish each trip to get keepers recently.
 

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I second the motion to keep running boards and 9 inch tandems. On Saturday the 23rd Memorial weekend I was just off 78 in 60 foot water with 16 rods out all 9 inch. 6 rods on each board, two deep umbrellas, and two small umbrellas long. Saw fish breaking surface out 100 yards in front of boat told the one other guy I had with me to hold on. It literally looked like someone had turned on a washing machine in the middle of the bay. As I trolled through the school my Lowrance looked like a Christmas Tree. Nine rods hit in first 30 seconds and before it was all over 14 of the 16 rods all had fish in the 30 to 42 inch range with only two unders at 25 and 27. Took 40 minutes to land and release all the fish. Kept two overs and two unders and called it a day because it would have taken hours to re-rig all the parachutes I had to cut off on deck to untangle. Most fun I have ever had on the Bay, then again I love CHAOS!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Goose - we had a similar experience Friday... max incoming in the afternoon was wild as we found pods of baitfish boiling on the surface and had fish flying into the boat and tackle strewn all over the back of the boat for about 20 minutes. We only had 9 out of 19 lines still in the water when we came up for air and decided to stow gear instead of putting it back out. We left them biting as we reeled in the rest of the rods and caught a few more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Boards with 9" baits still dominating...

Boards with 9" baits still dominating... big bait is still here, confirmed when we snagged one on Sunday.

We had another 2 great days on Saturday and Sunday mornings... fished about 5 hours each morning. Non-stop action... about 20 bites each day, with half coming off board rods and those being the bigger fish. Boat rods that did most of the work have Captain John spoon spreaders, one with Tony 17's out 200' with 8oz inline, the other with Captain John spoons out 250' with 4oz inline. Several times we had 2 fish on the same rod, pair of 26's, and a pair of 23's were notable... and we also caught an 18" bluefish on one of the spoon spreaders. 4 overs (biggest 32") on Sat and 1 over (29") on Sun. Had one on that was probably well over 40" on Sunday, leader snapped when it was 30' from the boat.

Best depth seems to be about 42', we covered 35-45'.

All Spring white vs chartreuse didn't matter, but this weekend almost all fish caught on board rods were on white parachutes.

By the way, we bottom fished Hackett's on Saturday... 25 perch and 1 spot in an hour or so. Spot should be here soon!
 

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thanks for the great rpt/pics. wtg. good info.
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