HOW TO CATCH TWICE AS MANY SALMON
The next time you are out fishing for king salmon on the saltwater, there is something you should try. Most likely you will be surprised at the results. This “secret” will be counter-intuitive to many sports fishermen because of what they have been taught throughout their lives. But do this, and not only will you get more strikes, you will catch more fish.
Before I go any further, there are some methods of salmon fishing where this will not be effective. If you are fishing with bait that has no teaser head, or fishing with some types of spoons, then don’t rely on this “trick” to work. But if you are trolling with plugs, flasher and hootchie, or even flasher and herring strip, it can be dynamite.
There is this little known grease that you spray all over your lure and BINGO!! BANGO!! BONGO!! You will have more fish in your net than you will know what to do with. For only $39.95 an ounce….okay, okay.. I’m kidding. I’m sure some kinds of over-the-counter fish attracting oils can’t hurt, but in the saltwater, I still haven’t really decided how effective they are. I still spray my gear with WD-40 from time to time, especially if I think my lure has come in contact with a surface that has been exposed to gasoline. WD-40 works great for steelhead in fresh water, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
I want to discuss one of the most-believed but most fallacious adages of all time in salmon fishing. Here it is. “Fish fast and shallow for coho, slow and deep for the kings.” The first half can be true very often, but some days I’ll catch more coho at 200 feet than anywhere else. The second part, “slow and deep” for kings is based in the experiences of the old-timers and got passed down to us. Before the days of downriggers, to troll below 30 feet took a considerable amount of lead on the line or a planer, like a Deep Six or a Pink Lady. I remember as a kid fishing with a pound of lead on my line in the form of a slip sinker, attempting to get down to where the big one were.
The problem was, the faster the speed of the boat, the shallower the lines would fish. So if the fish happened to be swimming deep that day, it was necessary to slow the boat down and allow the lines to settle to a greater depth. We would putt-putt along, and every once in awhile, would catch a king salmon. We were ecstatic to have landed a king, and the logic seemed to hold true. Slow and deep for kings.
Because of big advances in downrigger technology, I can fish at almost any depth I choose, at what ever speed I want. The latest upgrade I’ve done is to get rid of the stainless steel cable on my downriggers and replace it with 200 lb test Power Pro. The smaller diameter line coupled with a 15 pound cannon ball greatly reduces the amount of water drag, allowing me to troll deeper and faster than ever before.
Since I no longer need to go slowly in order to fish deep, my options are greatly increased. And here’s what I found. Generally, FASTER IS BETTER. Especially when you are fishing with plugs like a Silver Horde or Tomic model, make sure you are fishing at least 3 knots. If you aren’t hitting any fish, go faster. The same applies to fishing with a flasher hootchie. The more flash and dash, the better. The fish have less time to make up their minds and micro-analyze the color, shape, and action of your lure. The frenzy catches the attention of other salmon, and they will compete over who gets your lure first. I’ve caught 35 pound kings trolling at 4.5 knots (yes, that’s about five miles an hour) on flasher and hootchie. They hit so hard, it will straighten the hooks if your drag is set too tight.
Of course, there is still a place for fishing slowly for those big lunkers that don’t want to burn too many calories chasing a small bait. One of my favorite methods is slowly fishing a cut herring in front of kelp beds and shoals for mature king salmon. Too much speed in this case is detrimental, and slow usually rules the day.
But the next time you are trolling and not having much success, bump that speed up..way up. You will be pleasanly surprised.