Learn to Pull Copper the Right Way for Lake Trout, Pike, and Muskies

THE TACTIC If you have electronics, use them to locate fish, structure, or schools of bait. Then let out enough copper line to get your spoon on the bottom. How much depends on how fast you're trolling.

"Most guys go very slow, say 1.5 to 2 mph, which allows them to get down maybe 35 to 40 feet for every 100 feet of line," Lantiegne says. "I usually run around 2.7 mph, which gets me down 22 feet for every 100 feet of line."

As you troll, face the bow, cradle the rod in your lap, and grab the line in your hand about 4 feet from the rod tip. You should feel your lure occasionally ticking on the bottom--as well as its wobbling action--through the line. Repeatedly sweep your arm forward to make the spoon rise off the bottom and then flutter back down. "Basically, you're jigging as you troll."

You'll usually feel a couple of good tugs when a trout takes. Shoot your arm forward to set the hook. Then grab your rod and bring him in.

THE REEL Use a levelwind reel that will hold 400 feet of copper line, plus several hundred feet of 50-pound braided Spectra backing. The Penn 340GTi is a good one.

THE ROD Go with a 6- or 6½-foot moderate-action casting rod of medium-heavy power, like the St. Croix Avid Crankbait AC66MHM.

THE LINE The best all-around choice is .036-gauge (45-pound-test) seven-strand copper line. If you can't find it at your local shop, check Lantiegne's website.

THE LINE MARKERS It's a good idea to mark your line every 25 feet to keep track of how much you have out. A cheap way to do so is with the adhesive portion of plastic bandages.

THE LEADER Attach the copper line to a swivel using a haywire twist. Then add 6 to 8 feet of 30-pound mono.

THE LURE Use a 3½- to 4-inch single-hook spoon, such as a No. 3 Lake Clear Wobbler, a Sutton Spoon, or an old Pflueger Record. Where legal, many anglers bait the hook with a minnow strip.