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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
01-05-2011, 06:43 AM
DonP





Speaking of losing stringers of fish....
salmon_slayer06's story of losing fish stringers on the pier makes me think about one thing that you do not want to do on the pier. Some of the West Michigan piers have ladders on the sides of the pier that are spaced out a goodly amount of distance... maybe 50 yards or so... or whatever it is. They are both on the river side... and lake side of the pier. And seeing that on some of these piers... it can be very hard to find someplace to tie off a stringer. Well... there is a very strong temptation to use these ladders as a tie off point for your fish stringer.



DO NOT DO THIS!!!

I know... I know... you are saying... why not? It is an awful easy solution to finding someplace to tie your stringer to when nothing else is available. You can go ahead and do it... and you might get away with it... once... twice... even a number of times. But... eventually... your stringer WILL get tangled in the rungs of the ladder and you will either lose your stringer and fish or you will have to climb down the ladder and somehow try to untangle your stringer (with hopefully fish still on it) to get it back.

You can bank this one... it WILL happen eventually. Maybe 15-20 years ago (or so... probably more)... shortly after I really got into pier fishing... after a number of successful "tie offs" to the top ladder rung... yep.... you guessed it... it happened to me. I was lucky enough to get my fish back after about 45 minutes of "creative untangling". I was one of those that figured... it's fairly calm today... it's not going to happen to me. Yeah... right!!!... lesson learned the hard way!!! And since that time... I can't even fathom the number of times that I have seen it happen to other people. Probably at least a couple times (or more) a year. And yes... this is even after suggesting to them that they might want to tie their stringer elsewhere (and letting them know why). The reason it gets tangled is because of wave action and currents along the pier. And those waves and currents can tie a knot or weave a braid in your stringer that would make any Rastafarian proud! (For those that might wonder on that reference to Rastafarians... it pertains to how they weave corn rows in their hair!! :lol: )

So.... don't say that I did warn you. Most of the pier fishing "veterans" know about this.... but possibly some of the newer pier fisher(people) might not know this.

So... take my .02 cents for what it's worth (probably less than a penny!!).

And if you care to... let's hear from those of you that have seen or experienced this unfortunate circumstance and the outcome.
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Screaming Drags to All...
Don P.
THE "Whitefish MassaH"
 

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That issue can easily be resolved by simply tying off your rope so that it is tight, if you do it right, the heads of your fish will be out of the water the majority of the time, leaving the rest of the fish in the water...

Keeps the rope tight enough that even in waves, you never get any knots...
 

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3 years ago on the Chicago Lakefront my cousin landed his first king. Got it up roped the fish and yup tied off to the ladder. Around 11:00 PM the super friendly Chicago PD strolls by the breakwall with their megaphone telling everyone to leave or get tickets of course as politely as possible:rolleyes:.

We packed up our gear and went down to get the fish and yup it was stuck. Fortunately we did not park far my cousin ran to his car put on his hip boots and climbed down the ladder and loosened up the rope just enough that I could scoop the fish up with the net. Lesson learned! We were almost tempted to leave being threatened with tickets but it was his first king and I don't blame him for wanting to get it. It was early September and it was a good clean fish.

Another lesson learned. Use a heavy duty stringer. I had some nylon rope I use to climb up and down river banks in my bag not an actual stringer. I had 3 kings one steelhead and my buddy had a smaller king all on the same stringer while fishing in Wisconsin. We did not think about it until we were getting ready to leave. Packed up our gear looked down and the rope broke. I think it was a combination of heavy fish one was pushing 20lbs., intense wave action and friction between the rope and concrete pier. I am not big on fish but I am sure that fresh chrome summer salmon would have been good on the grill or smoked. I am glad I did get pics of all but one of my fish. Oh well you live and learn from your mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited by Moderator)
Went through a period when I liked using some really hard poly rope for stringers. Upsides were that you could burn (melt) the ends to keep it from unraveling, it floated, and spilled blood tended not to penetrate it (and stink later). Downside was that it didn’t really knot tightly. Was fishing Oscoda one April with a building surf; had four fish on the stringer and I noticed that my stringered fish were beginning to pound (up and down surf) on the stringer. I figured that I’d get the fifth and be out of there in a minute. I left with one fish.

I’ve tried to help people out of a jam with the ladder issue on a couple of occasions; including taking waves and ripping a rope through the gills in September. I warn guys off of the ladders when I see it. It usually isn’t an issue unless there is some decent surf; or in the smaller channels; when at times the current ceases or flows backwards.

At times I’ve had a problem with, as Kory described: too much rope. A number of years back, in a year when my egg supply was terrible; I was on the end of the Frankfort pier in November chucking spoons, praying for a hen steelhead; and getting nothing but lakers. The fish gods took mercy on me and blessed me with a ten pound brown hen. I tied her off just inside the lighthouse (these were the high water years); and went back to casting. Another angler caught a steelhead and tied it off too; but told me I should check my stringer. I pulled and the stringer was caught in the rocks! I was despondent (gold-those eggs are gold!). I went back to casting but no more luck. When I went leave I thought I’d rip the stringer loose, but brown had swum out and freed the stringer (unfortunate for many fish that next spring).

I did virtually the same stupid thing on the Elberta side one calm June morning (except on the outside of the pier). Let a Skamania swim around on a long stringer for half the morning. I stopped paying attention to the fish and worked on gathering bait. I noticed when I went to leave that fish was not visible and the rope reached out to the larger rocks northwest of the ladder. I horsed around with the net and rope for 15 minutes until reaching the decision that I either needed to try to break it or get in the water (sunny, calm, air mid 70’s, water maybe 60). Since there was no one there to witness my shame, I eased down the ladder and on to the rocks, gasping as the water reached belly button high. I kept my balance and managed to kick the rope freeing the fish without either diving or treading water. I climbed back out thinking that I had preserved my dignity. Unfortunately a couple of guys came walking out as I was heading in and there is simply no way of hiding a large man soaked from the belly down.

I recall a whole pile of guys fishing on the skirt of the South Manistee pier in waders (high water years), one year in late May. They were sharing common stringers and catching a large number of Kings on alewives. Those of us who could not get on the end were getting a few browns in closer and waiting on those guys to limit and clear the spot. There was a fair amount of surf and they claimed they lost a stringer of over 10 fish in the rocks. Later they were hauling up a stringer and a number of fish ripped off. They never gave up the spot and didn’t count those fish towards any limit; these days I would have reported it. That day I thought of it as stupid and wasteful.

As a rule now, I don’t leave fish on a stringer for an extended period; I ice my cooler and make some periodic trips to the car. If you want to eat them, or you need the bait: bleed them and ice them as soon as practical.
 

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Thanks Earl for putting this up as a separate thread. Should make for some interesting stories and mid-winter reading!! :lol:
 

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big phish said:
Well how would you suggest stringing up your fish on the pier then.
I sometimes tie the stringer to my pier cart and let it hang over the side. Or I will take one of my shorter rod holders and stick it into a crack on the pier and tie it off to that. If its cold enough outside... I will "pull the gill" of the fish and let the fish lie on the pier for awhile until it bleeds out... then into a plastic bag it goes. This goes for whitefish too. On a good day of fishing for whitefish... it looks like a bloody massacre out there!! :yikes: (right Timmy?? ;) )

A cooler is a good option too!!
 

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I'm usually an extra rod holder or cart guy.
Same here. Stringers too.

I usually tie off to the cart when there are no better options. On some of the east side piers we sometimes have to tie off onto a narrow spot on one of the limestone boulders that we're standing on or use a cooler if we have one.
 

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SY I'm sure you have seen it at Whitehall and Montague. Doesn't matter how you tie them off they will get tangled period. One of the first times I fished Whitehall after they did the construction work I was going to tie on the ladder and my buds said "no no no!!!" Then after I saw someone on the Montague side with big swells coming have a problem - then it clicked in my head.

We tie off to rod holders when other tie off methods are not available. Bring a spare holder for just such times. Also bleed them out first right as you add them to the stringer - long ago I had a pizzed off male rip the stringer from my hands when I was getting ready to add another fish - fortunately he swam under the pier and I could get to the stringer fairly easy.
 

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I've seen the ladder tangle at the pier in Oscoda more than once, and one time it was mine! Lesson quickly learned, I now tie off to an eye beam further down the pier or use a large 12" I-bolt I carry that fits inbetween the steel and the cement of the pier like a rod holder. :)
 

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I now tie off to an eye beam further down the pier or use a large 12" I-bolt I carry that fits inbetween the steel and the cement of the pier like a rod holder. :)
Great idea.

Time to go to the hardware store for a large stainless eyebolt:)
 

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I have a cooler on wheels that I attached two rod holders to. It works great for a pier cart, and I put all my fish immediately in the cooler! No stringer needed.
 

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Lost a stringer at Grand Haven in a ladder. Calm water "developed" in 3 footers as time passed. The stringer was hopelessly wound around the rungs and the choice became get wet/swim to retrieve or learn a lesson. I no longer use stringers on the pier; the fish are better quality bled and iced rather than hanging on a stringer for hours.
 

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If you tie it to the top of the ladder then stretch the stringer over to the next grove in the pier and I have had a problem. I used to put mine on my rod holder but one time while frantically changing spots I lifted my holder and watched a stringer of about 20 perch float away LoL opps. Now where a ladder isn't available I tie it to my cart
 
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