View Full Version : Follows that dont go into the 8
08-26-2009, 01:06 PM
Ok, so I have had lots of follows this year. Every single time I would get the fish to the boat and start the figure 8, it would turn away. I did not get one fish to commit this year and have yet to catch one on a figure 8. I go as deep as I can and I go wide too. I have no idea if I am doing something wrong or if its the fish. Anyone have any suggestions?
08-26-2009, 01:21 PM
There are lots of reasons why the fish may not go into an 8. There are basically four categories why:
1. Fish sees you -- Don't wear bright colors, including white. Don't move abruptly, just smoothly transition into the 8 (f you figure-8 on every cast, this will become second nature). Don't step as you make the 8 (some end up stomping the deck). Try not to have the sun at your back in the morning or evening (shadows or harsh silhouettes can spook fish).
2. Fish sees your partner -- The best partner to have when you're doing a figure-8 is one who doesn't move (outside of retrieving his own lure so it doesn't sink and snag), and then tells you what the fish is doing because he may have a better view from his angle.
3. Fish isn't aggressive -- Sometimes they just follow like they're escorting the bait from the neighborhood, and then sink or turn off as the bait nears the boat. There isn't much you can do about this except remember where the fish was located and return at another time.
4. Fish is pressured -- See the Vermilion thread on this page. If they've seen the bottom of the net too many times they don't like to repeat the experience. Again, return at a different time when it may be more aggressive.
08-26-2009, 01:43 PM
Don't wear white? My lucky shirt this year is white? Now what am I supposed to do?!? I agree with that principle, Steve, but I think white shirts are ok most days unless you have a dark or cloudless sky. Kinda makes me look like a cloud!
What is your opinion on boat color, Steve? At the beginning of the year I almost swore off red as a boat color when I was having issues putting fish in the boat. However, in the past month and a half I've had more action boatside in my shiny red boat than I can remember ever happening in my other boat.
08-26-2009, 02:08 PM
I will always wear blue, light blue, gray, tan or green shirts over white. I want something that will blend in and not reflect sunlight nor create a silhouette. If white works for you, fine.
Regarding boats, I don't believe boat color matters because the boat is stationary. I think to the fish it's just another object. I get a light gray hull bottom on my boat every year because it won't show the ultra-fine scratches that occur from driving it onto dry, often sand-embedded, trailer bunk carpeting, and I've caught more fish in the 8 the last couple years than not. And a friend, Kevin Schmidt, has a Ranger that's so bright it's scary, yet he gets plenty in the 8, too.
While it may seem contradictory for me to prefer nearly-white hull bottoms while not wearing white shirts, I think the difference comes down to movement. If you're surprised by the fish's sudden appearance, it's often an abrupt movement. Something that's reflecting light and moving may catch the fish's eye, whereas the boat is just sitting there.
08-26-2009, 02:23 PM
Alot of my fishing shirts are white or light color it keeps me cooler on the water. Whem I bought a sun shirt this year I was loooking for gray or a light blue, I settled on tan. My rain gear is green and alot of my fall warmer gear is camo.
08-26-2009, 04:34 PM
I used to dig as deep and go as fast as I could on the figure 8 and got very few fish to eat in the past 8 years on LOTW.
After watching all the musky shows on TV this past winter, I kept my figure 8's much more shallow this year probably within a foot or two of being under the surface.
I caught 6 muskies on LOTW on my annual trip this year ... all on the figure 8.
I'm convinced that my figure 8 technique in the past was flawed and by changing things up I was able to make my conversion % much higher this year.
Funny thing in the past I almost never expected the fish to eat in the 8. This year I was surprised when they didn't !!!
My confidence level sky rocketed this year due to slowing down and not digging so deep.
08-26-2009, 09:20 PM
I noticed many years ago on pressured waters that I was frequently having fish follow but break off 20 or more feet from the boat. I used to wear a lot of white golf shirts, and really believe they were seeing me.
I'm pretty sure that a "hot" fish doesn't care that much, but seems that the fish are getting smarter due to catch and release.
I wear brown, grey and other neutral colors and seem to have fewer "spooked" fish near the boat than when I wore white.
Incidentally, I caught a couple yesterday, the 1st on a figure 8, and the second at the boat. (bucktail and spinner bait, respectively)
08-27-2009, 11:00 AM
I had this same problem several years ago. could not catch one on an 8 and it seemed they never followed into it or started to and just kept on going. I cannot verify if this was the problem or not, but I think what I was doing was moving to the edge of the boat and bending over to get into my 8. I think the movement spooked them every time. Now in the middle of my cast I get into a good figure 8 posture and am ready each time so there is not a lot of movement to go into the 8. It has resulted in many 8 hookups since then. Now I am kind of expecting to catch them if I can get them to the boat.
08-27-2009, 11:27 AM
Movement is a big one....
Put a newbie in the boat and have a follow and them panic and they are moving fast, stomping around.....GONE! SOLID GONE!!!!
Like Steve mentioned you and your boat partners learn the super smooth trasition to the "8" on every cast and it becomes smoother and becomes second nature. I always coach my partners that are new as much as I can so when it happens they "panic less" and hopefully connect when the time comes.
I've have years like you mentioned though and the fish just turn off and I wasn't sure why either? Could just be one of those years for your boat?
08-27-2009, 12:14 PM
I saw a boat in the repair shop at MW-Marine recently that had the entire boat, and the big motor, and the kicker motor wrapped in a custom design that pretty much looked like a blue sky with clouds. I also saw the boat in the water one time at Little Sturgeon. The fella from MW told me that this guy is convinced that the sight of a boat prevents a lot of strikes and he went to really great expense to take this approach.
08-27-2009, 12:48 PM
>I will always wear blue, light blue, gray, tan or green
>shirts over white. I want something that will blend in and
>not reflect sunlight nor create a silhouette. If white works
>for you, fine.
>Regarding boats, I don't believe boat color matters because
>the boat is stationary. I think to the fish it's just
>another object. I get a light gray hull bottom on my boat
>every year because it won't show the ultra-fine scratches
>that occur from driving it onto dry, often sand-embedded,
>trailer bunk carpeting, and I've caught more fish in the 8
>the last couple years than not. And a friend, Kevin Schmidt,
>has a Ranger that's so bright it's scary, yet he gets plenty
>in the 8, too.
>While it may seem contradictory for me to prefer
>nearly-white hull bottoms while not wearing white shirts, I
>think the difference comes down to movement. If you're
>surprised by the fish's sudden appearance, it's often an
>abrupt movement. Something that's reflecting light and
>moving may catch the fish's eye, whereas the boat is just
Fair enough, just one more thing to think about the next time a fish doesn't go into the 8! I think you've got it with the abrupt movement theory and I can certainly understand how a white shirt would accentuate movement against a blue sky much more than a blue shirt.
I've learned to dunk the bunks before loading the boat this year to wet them and hopefully clear any sand off of them. Was not happy to learn that lesson the hard way!
08-27-2009, 03:43 PM
You are wise and crafty sage. Of those things you listed and I agree with all of them. (I know you're happy for me). I think movement and the a associated sound that an angler produces is by far the most important reason for spooking a fish out of the eight. Sound does some very funky stuff in and under water.
08-27-2009, 09:51 PM
I met some guys on Big Saint Germain... the were pre-fishing a tournament, and one of them told me they had a Tuffy with maroon or red sides that the fished seemed to like. He said they seemed to have alot of follows and boatside hook-ups using that boat.
08-28-2009, 06:38 AM
I like to call these "bird follows" because I always feel like the fish is flipping me the bird. There is even something deliciously insulting in the way their tail seems to be waving goodbye. What I have also found is that right after hours and hours of this...and right before hours more, a twenty or thirty minute piece of time appears when these same fish intend to commit suicide. For me, one of the great questions of musky fishing is whether to abandon the bait that generates these follows in search of one that is more likely to initiate a strike away from the boat or to have the patience to stick with the bait that is "interesting only" to them right up until that moment when some signal (we all wish we better understood) tells them they must eat to live.