Best Diver Option
Stuck with the walkers for quite awhile and started experimenting with leader length quite a bit. Found rather quickly that longer leads off dipsys put more fish in the boat for me. Now, ive talked to guys that run much shorter leads and do well, but when talking about Kings (cohos and bows completely different story) long leads really works better for me.
Wanting to get an even more "stealth" approach, I decided to give Slide Divers a try. I ran them for about a half dozen trips before they got retired. Setting them is a little bit more difficult, but I didnt mind that too much, and wouldve dealt with it but a couple other things really turned me off from them. Number one was my hookup ratio was horrible with the slide divers. More drivebys than Cabrini Green and mid battle losses as well. Im not sure what causes that but my guess would be the slack created in the line when the diver releases and slides down the line? MId battle losses are probably due to the hook not getting set as well on the bite either?
Either way, I couldnt take it anymore as I EXPECT my diver rods to catch fish. Riggers have their days, sometimes boards do the majority of the work, but divers will ALWAYS chime in for a few. They are the first rods in the water every day and the last rods out, so I just couldnt stand throwing away so many bites every day.
So, ended up switching back to the walkers for the most part. Still used LJ's on occasion, mostly smaller orange ones that I have for cohos. But the last change I made to my dipsy setups was probably the biggest single improvement Ive ever made to my big lake fishing. I now run extremely long leads off my walkers (20'+), and my bites and catch rates have gone way up. I think the long lead helps with stealth and creates more bites, but I also think more boat make it to the net this way too. THe long lead acts as an extra snubber and has a cushioning effect that keeps fish buttoned. Lastly, landing a fish with these long leads turns into a completely different process where instead of somebody trying to awkwardly guide a fish to the net from the front of the boat with a ten foot rod way above their head, the fish is easily handlined to the net.
Handlining seems a little sketchy at first but it really isnt. BIggest tip I can give you is, let that fish tire way out before you ever bring it to the back of the boat. If you do that, the fish will just kinda lay on its side as you hand over hand it to the net. Works really slick once youve done it once or twice.
Anyways, I know that was long winded, but like I said, I consider my divers to be my most valuable rods in the boat, so I want them to function the best way possible. Im also really interested to hear from the guys who run slide divers as to how their success rates are and if there are any tips and tricks to make them more effective?