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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Fishing For Ferox

Fishing for Ferox
Ferox are as aggressive and carnivorous as their name implies. These cannibalistic and voracious feeders live in deep water and owe their size to their protein-rich diet. These huge Trout will feast on everything from Arctic Char, Brown Trout, Coarse Fish, Frogs and even Small Rodents.


The first big question that you need to ask is where are Ferox and Predatory Trout found?

Many of the large glacial lakes and lochs could potentially be hiding these monsters, they have a marked preference for Arctic Char so if you find them, may find Ferox.

Ferox make wide-ranging movement and have been found to congregate around Loch outlets during the Salmon smolt run. Ferox are active during the day and have been recorded making dives down to 30 metres, possibly in pursuit of deep-dwelling Char. This suggests that Ferox are active pursuit predators as opposed to ambush predators using cover to attack prey.

Your next big question is, how do you catch them? The most common way, and many would argue the only way, is trolling.


If you are unfamiliar with trolling then here is a brief description. Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait, are drawn through the water, usually behind a moving boat. These traditional techniques are often complimented with state of the art boating equipment whilst you carefully and systematically search the area for the fish.

Humminbird Helix 9X CHIRP
Your chances of catching will be substantially higher if you invest in specialist equipment such as fish finders. The Humminbird Helix 9X CHIRP is built for those who want to see everything at once. It is almost more like a tablet than a regular finder, making it a valuable addition to your boat.

While many fish finders point directly underneath your boat, higher end units like this one will sweep to the sides as well. Side sweeping is much more valuable as it allows you to find fish wherever you are, rather than finding them, moving the boat, and then trying to catch them.

Having GPS included in your finder makes it easier to pinpoint your location and mark hot spots so you can return to where the fish are time and time again.

Investing in this kind of kit not only helps you find the fish but your trolling experience will be safer and more productive as you avoid running aground and snagging your lines.

There are several boat rods that can be used for trolling. The rod must be able to withstand heavy pressure. A lighweight rod may break under the pressure. A rod of around 11-12 feet should be used for the port and starboard sides. Anglers have been known to use old salmon fly rods around 15 feet. The reason that you need a longer rod is simple. When you make turns with the boat, it ensures the lines do not cross and tangle.

Westin W3 Trolling Rod
There are many makes of rods available for trolling but unlike other conventional trolling and downrigger rods the Westin W3 Trolling Rods are designed specifically for trolling large lures and targeting big freshwater predators. These rods are ready to set the hooks even if the lures are swimming far from the boat. The rods will also handle line-mounted planers, paravane and other tactics used for modern predator trolling.

It is a matter of personal preference when it comes to reels. Multiplier Reels are preferred by many anglers as they are great if you hook into a big fish. Multipliers come with level winds which help get an even lay of the line when you wind in. Some multipliers are available with a line counter that shows the angler how much line is out, this can help the angler know how deep the lure is fishing or how far the line is from the back of the boat. If you see fish at a certain depth you can let out the exact length of line to get your lure to the fish.
Okuma Cold Water Line Counter Multiplier

The Okuma Cold Water Line Counter is a premium multiplier with seemingly endless features all designed to deal with the toughest cold water conditions. Little details like the expanded wide mouth level wind that can acccomodate allbright knots or thick wire leaders. From a drag system that is a dream to use to the ergonomically designed handle all in all this the weapon of choice when trolling for massive Trout.

When it comes to line, although it's personal preference, a lot of anglers use braid for trolling. Braid has very little stretch so you feel everything. You should always use a snubber when fishing with braid. One of the reasons for missed strikes when trolling is the sudden jerk the fish feels when mouthing a lure. These in-line snubbers let the fish feel the "live resistance" it expects, and keeps it holding on long enough for you to set the hook.

Just to reiterate line really is up to the individual angler. A monofilament line with a breaking strain of around 15 - 20 lbs should be ideal. Many anglers normally use 15 lbs on their side rods and 20 lbs for the downrigger.

Canon Lake Troll
Downriggers are a great accessory when trolling. There are many different makes and styles to choose from. Downriggers are available either manual control or electric. The rod sits in the downrigger holder and the line is set out 30-40yds. The line is clipped to an 8lb lead weight attached to the downrigger cable. The line is attached to a release clip which is set to allow the line to release when a fish is hooked. The tension needs to be enough to set the hook but release the line once the fish is hooked. The downrigger weight is then lowered to the desired depth. When you are trolling, and a fish hits the lure, ideally the fish will be hooked, and the line released from the clip. All you must do is wind up the downrigger weight and play the fish.

Savage Gear Manic Prey Deep Diver
The right lure at right speed will attract big Ferox. The key is the striking rate. A Ferox attack is usually very aggressive and it’s important that you nail your strike at the right time to set the hook.

Lures make a tempting enough snack and on most occasions and will be often be found fully in the Trout’s mouth after the attack, which should make your job of setting the hook a bit easier. Using natural coloured lures with a steady action are a good choice.
Savage Gear 4play Lip Scull
When trolling with frozen bait, the bait should always be mounted head first on the trace so that it appears to be swimming. Hook the top treble through the lips while the bottom treble is hooked along the back directly above the anal vent, the hook spacing is critical. The Ferox aims for the middle of the bait but as its still being drawn through the water it hits towards the back end of the bait around the vent area, so to hook these fish the bottom treble must be further back than normal.

It's worth noting that Ferox are often accidentally caught by anglers targeting big Pike. This should give you a good indication of the aggression and appetite that these monster Trout have. So if you feel your Pike is fighting differently as you reel in, don't be surprised if it isn't a Pike at all.

There will always be a debate about what constitutes as a Ferox Trout, but these techniques certainly produce specimen sized predatory fish.

Of course, large wild Brown Trout like this are prized by fishermen, yet only a tiny proportion of the Trout in a lake or loch may be are Ferox depending on the water and the fish stock. These valuable and rare fish must be protected. Catch-and-release is therefore of the utmost importance.

If you would like more information about the tackle and tactics mentioned in this article, you can contact us on 0141 212 8880 or visit us in store at the Glasgow & Edinburgh Angling Centres where our expert staff will be happy to help you. 

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman magazine.

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