One of the best things about starting off each season is grabbing the lure boxes, a couple of sticks and putting the old standby's on the line once again. So we started the 2013 season officially last week, and I remember going through a few possible scenarios about what the program was going to be the first time we rolled out there.
Of course we found ourselves heading out after a week of torrential rains blowing out every river and creek, and gales from every direction. So the inshore program was all but wiped out, and running out to no mans land was not a high percentage call.
So we took a shot and slid to where we thought some structure might break up the nearshore chocolate milk water and we found a slot of clear water....50 foot. Thinking this might be where we would find this, we had rigged up the standard rigger and wire diver rods, but the question was where we were going to pull our long lines.
Lot's of guys will look at the calendar and say it must be flatlines or super shallow cores with stick baits looking for coho and maybe a brown or steelhead. We put one rod up there and decided to work the middle to bottom area of the water column..knowing its not likely that after recent weather anything will be feeding high.
This is where the copper game defines itself. We stagger our coppers in 50 foot segments, always. So out went the 100, 150, 200 and 250's which would pretty much cover us from 20 down to the bottom.
But...the only fish we where marking were right on the bottom, nothing up higher where the 150 was.
So we think that 30ish down is where we might want to slide a couple of other rods into just to see if there are more active fish feeding up there despite not marking them on the screen. Up come the outdowns to 29 and 25, and low divers up to 60 on a 1.5 dial. Bang bang...game on.
Without that copper shot, we would not have known to pull our rigger and diver program up from lower down where we "thought" the action might be because we "saw" fish on the screen. That ended up being the last shot on the 150' copper, but it had now defined our rigger and diver program for the rest of the day which continued to go at that depth.
The next sequence of action were the 200's and 250's going toe to toe for pretty much the rest of the trip. Given that action, you would think to drop the rest of your program down further because of all that action...however, they only wanted the coppers down there and nothing else. Those fish down deeper that we saw on the screen only wanted copper, we could not get them to touch a rigger or diver the rest of the trip.
Long story short, as usual, the coppers give us so many clues of where the action is happening. They give us options to try and duplicate on our other rods and essentially "find" the fish for us to dial in the rest of the program too. Without all of that copper "probing" different layers of the water column, we would have flown blind relying on our other rods waiting for something to happen. And given the way those "other" rods started off, it would have been a very very long day had we not been clued into pulling them up a bit higher by our shorter coppers.