How do you guys do it ?? I have on Lake Superior in a 16' Tuffy with a tiller .. Tied ropes to Keep motor straight ... Now I bought a 23 ft Sylvan Offshore because I am obsessed with this and sick of depending on others to join me and looking at my boat in the yard ..
Just watched the video of the the young man and girl on fish reports ! Scared the hell out of me! I am 72 and been fishing the Big Lake since 64! Started with 14 ft. Similar to his and Was lucky to get out alive from scary early mistakes! Weather and conditions can and do change in a minute ! Oars don't do a dam in 4 footers! And one wash over the stern and you are toast! I respect the hell out of the lake ,and with my later boats ( none bigger then 18 ft.) have towed in boats from 40 ft. to 14 ft. I mainly fish alone now, and weather dictates everything! I hope people new to the Big Lake with a small boat DONOT go out 5 miles and wait until the fish come close to shore! Might be a little more crowed,but a hell of a lot safer ! Grandad
Always wear a vest and keep your floor clean of anything that can trip you. I run a 16.5 and run a rigger a board and a Dipsey on the opposit side of the board. If fish let me that is. Sometimes two riggers and a Dipsey if I have to go deep. I fish alone quite often and just slow down a bit and you will be fine. I have a bungee cord that steers for me when I am manning rods. The cords name is Jim. He is quite an interesting bungee for how little he is. He really opens up out on the lake. Likes the same music as me too!!
Although I prefer having a crew I have often fished solo off my Lund Tyee 5.5 which just short of 18'.
I control the boat by always fishing with the wind, or nearly so. Find a direction that requires little steering and sometimes make minor adjustments by shifting my weight. If I find a spot I want to go back through I lift lines and power back. No autopilot.
I land fish on starboard so I can have the rod in the forward (left) hand and the net in the rear (right) hand. Yes it is still tricky. I run most of my rods on the port side so that I can keep starboard clear of obstructions.
And yes, I have had double headers even though I slow down to 1 mph once a fish is on. Fun, fun, fun.
I've never been that lucky hockeyguy. I keep a box rig rod pre-rigged for when more than two guys are in my narrow boat, or when it's rough and I'm lazy. Usually it's clipped to my rigger ball with a flasher fly on the bottom and a spoon on the top leg. The first pic shows the black swivel with two lines of 15# flouro tucked thru the guides, and at the tip the other sampo swivel next to a rubber band looped to the bight of the longer leg that gets clamped to the ball. If the fish are biting they often hit the upper spoon and occasionally the flasher fly. Because the rod is 8'6" the length of the legs is seven feet. The main line on this one is 30# mono because it shakes fleas better than braid. I won't mention the name of the guide who first showed me this rig but his initials are Lee Haasch (Algoma)!
I fished Lake Michigan solo for many years. My boat (the Rainbow Runner) is a 17' MonArk deep-vee with a 75HP Merc.
You know what my "auto-pilot" is? A bungee cord. Wrap the bungee cord around the steering wheel and around one of the windshield support posts. Bingo, instant auto-pilot.
I never really had any terrible god-awful problems fishing the big lake alone. I never fished more than three lines, one on each downrigger and a long-line (usually with a Shad-Rap) WAY back there behind the boat. I always stayed well away from the crowds and did "reasonably well", at least by my standards. I can't remember being skunked more than a couple of times.
Now that I'm old I think it would be a real challenge getting the boat back on the trailer alone. Particularly because I'm OCD and the boat has to sit "just so" on the roller trailer.
Might be time to move the mighty vessel on to a younger man?
I fished Michigan alone since 1964! Number one rule watch the weather! Fish mainly Grant, and North to towers! Have boat set up for easy reach of everything!Things can get Harry quickly in a instant! Wear life jacket and have radio or now cell phone! Netting a Big King can get interesting,but I have done plenty!I only use 1 down rigger,and generally fish just 2 rods,limits presentation,but switch a lot! Most important thing!Wind,Wind,and Wind!
It's tougher, of course, and the tips like always wearing a life jacket remind me how nice it is to have a witness to help locate the body if you go overboard in this cold water. Setting up with the wind is good advice, even with a group, because I do not have autopilot! When it's rough I shrink my spread by putting two hooks on the down rigger, sometimes with a box rig. I almost never fish the big pond alone....That said, getting out when you can "when the window of opportunity opens", I'll fly solo. Netting a big king solo can be exhausting but it's worth it.