Using lead weights to take your bait to the desired depth when fishing in the Buoy 10 area has really caught on with a huge number of salmon anglers in recent years. Lead’s effectiveness and simplicity make it the preferred choice for many seasoned anglers and guides.
This year’s huge salmon run has allowed me to do some experimenting and I have found great success utilizing two new techniques. Mooching/jigging and drifting. While these techniques have been employed for many years in other salmon fisheries on the west coast, they are almost never seen on the lower Columbia River.
The advantage of employing these techniques is that it allows you to keep your bait in the fish zone as long as possible rather than quickly trolling through the school of salmon and then needing to fire up the main motor and run back up stream and troll down through the school again. This technique also allows you to utilize lighter lead to deliver your bait to the salmon because the boat’s motor is not in gear moving you forward and away from them. Also, if all of the anglers on the boat look out for each other and work as a team, it allows you to keep fishing while someone is fighting their fish, similar to a bottom fishing trip.
Mooching for salmon is a simple process. Longer 10.5′ rods have an advantage but any rod can be used. All you need is an anchovy or herring, hooked to your two or three hook leader, a swivel with a lead sinker fixed to a drop line or just hooked to a slider. 6 – 16 ounces of lead seems sufficient for most conditions but you may find that you prefer to go lighter or heavier for certain river conditions.
To start the mooching process, hold your rod tip about a foot above the surface of the water and let your bait fall to the bottom (or any desired depth). Don’t free fall the bait, make sure to keep a little tension on the line while it is falling because it is very common for the salmon to grab the bait during the drop. When this happens you will often only feel a slight bump, instantly respond by setting the hook or reeling until the line comes tight and then setting the hook.
Assuming you are dropping all the way to the bottom (my preferred approach),once bottom is reached, close your bail and lift the rod skyward. Remember you started with the rod’s tip about a foot above the surface of the water, now lifting (moderately fast) will allow you to raise the bait 9-10 feet upward, then drop the rod tip back down reeling the slack line in at the same time, this is when you will often feel a slight bump, set the hook! That bump was the fish grabbing it. You can do this “lift up and reel down” technique until you retrieve your bait all the way back to the surface or you can just do it in the “fish zone” which I consider to be the bottom 10 feet of the water column.
We often just raise and lower the rod 9-10 feet with out reeling in on the drop and checking to make sure it hits bottom every 3-4 lifts. This is more of a jigging approach than what is traditionally considered true mooching. I’m always watching the fish finder to see where the salmon are located in the water column, calling out to my anglers where I’m seeing the fish so that the anglers can adjust their baits depth accordingly to get it in front of the salmon.
Occasionally some of my anglers tire of the up and down lifting motion of mooching/jigging and they just place the rod in the rod holder and the next thing you know, we have a fish on that rod! Kind of surprising when we have often thought in the past that the trolling motor needs to be running in order to drag the bait through water and make it spin. The reality is that with great bait, moving water, and a boat that is getting pushed by the wind and being jostled around by the waves, there is more than enough action and enticement being provided by your bait to make the salmon bite it.Remember to always start with your rod tip just above the water before lifting, and after dropping back down be sure to end with it just above the water, that way you allow yourself to get a full upward sweep as well as a good hook set. New anglers find that they make loose fish using this technique because after setting the hook they often just start to reel the fish in. Make sure that after you set the hook, you then reel all the way down the water’s surface and give the fish a strong upward lift to again firmly drive the hooks home and ensure the fish is on the line, then continue fighting it by lifting up and pulling the fish toward you and then lowering the rod and while reeling to take up the slack. This is the standard fish fighting routine for seasoned anglers but an all to uncommon approach for folks new to trying to land large fish.We will often troll until we hook a fish (or until we see fish on the fish finder) and then while we are fighting the fish the other anglers just pick their rods up out of the rod holders and start jigging them up and down making sure to lift the rod skyward faster rather than slower because it is the speed of the spinning bait and the abrupt stops and up and down direction changes that trigger the fish to strike.
I find the drifting technique to work well in deep water (over 50 feet deep). However it can also work very well when the tide is ripping really fast in shallower water. In deeper water I put the baits down suspended anywhere from 20-45 feet deep on the line counter and stick the rods in the rod holder without the motor on. Specifically speaking about the drifting technique, as long as your line has some angle to it (rather than hanging straight down) as you are drifting then it is definitely spinning. If it is just hanging straight up and down then you may want to consider mooching it up and down in the water column to impart more action to it.
Amazingly enough we have caught dozens of fish this season utilizing these techniques when there wasn’t a single fish being shown on the fish finder. For Coho Salmon my bait of choice for mooching is whole anchovies rigged with a three hook leader and for Chinook Salmon I prefer Blue Label cut plug herring again with a three hook leader. For both types of bait, the bottom two hooks are 4/0 and the top hook is a 5/0.
I and my wife Lacey DeWeert who runs the other guide boat for our business use nothing but Maxima fluorocarbon leader material for all of our salmon leaders. We find that it’s abrasion resistance keeps large salmon from biting through it. We also find that since it is a little stiffer than standard nylon monofilament, this allows the bait’s spinning motion to be transferred up the leader to the swivel, thus keeping those notorious twists and kinks out of our leaders. Generally we use 40 pound fluorocarbon leader which has replaced the 50 pound nylon monofilament that we used in years past. It’s strong enough to handle any of our salmon, we never get bitten off by toothy Tules anymore and the thinner diameter allows the bait to spin even easier, providing an amazing presentation. This has been one of the huge keys to our consistent success during Buoy 10 salmon season.
Here is a compilation of the best new fishing products that came out during 2013. This fishing gift list has items that are sure to please everyone from the novice to the most experienced angler!
In addition we’ve included some unique fishing items that we believe most anglers would love to have but don’t typically possess.
It’s our hope that this fishing gift list helps you in your search for that perfect Christmas gift for that amazing angler in your life!
Voted Best New Rain Gear 2013 – Shimano’s Dryfender 3T Jacket & Bib
Workmanship & Materials are Guaranteed to keep you dry for the natural life cycle of the Product
3-Layer Dryfender 3T shell is waterproof, breathable and durable
Fully seam sealed
YKK center front zipper with storm flap
Chest pocket features YKK water-resistant zipper with custom Shimano zipper pull
Adjustable cuff with inner watertight sleeve gaiter to keep water out
Stowable storm hood features side vents for better acoustics
2 large bottom zippered pockets for storage
Adjustable drawcord hem
Voted Best Fishing Kayak 2013 -Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak
PERFORMANCE CRAFTED TRI-HULL LT900 polyethylene delivers incredible durability and strength. Tri-Hull design offers superior stability and tracking. SLIP RESISTANT EXO-RIDGE DECK Proprietary textured design ensures you and your gear stay dry and secure.
6 REMOVABLE MOUNTING PLATES Strategically placed high-strength mounts mean no more drilling into your boat hull. Customize with rod holders, fish finders, slide tracks or GPS.
HUMMINBIRD® TRANSDUCER SCUPPER (PREDATOR 13 ONLY) Designed to support the latest Side Imaging transducer technology, the recessed scupper port provides convenient built-in mounting.
CENTER CONSOLE WITH MOD POD COVER (PREDATOR 13 ONLY) Mount arrange and customize gear, including paddle leashes, GPS, fish finders and rod holders, open to reveal storage access
What fishing gift do you get that special angler that has everything?
Fishing gifts can be some of the hardest to buy, but we have compiled a list of some of our favorites and we think they will definitely be a big hit!
We have done a ton of research and we believe the following list compiles some of the coolest and most unique fishing gifts for the 2012 holiday season!
Survival Fishing Kit
Survival fishing kits have always been a big hit amongst anglers!
Whether you’re traveling to far off remote destinations, or just like beeing prepared for unforeseen emergencies, these kits have a great assortment of tackle and are sure to make your angler happy and prepared!
How To Tie Fishing Knots (Waterproof & Portable Cards)
An angler needs to remember how to tie quite a few fishing knots and sometimes we forget just the right way to do it, or forget just what knot is needed for that particular situation.
These cards are really a lifesaver in a situation like this! They are durable and stow away compactly in a fishing vest, tackle box or in the boat.
Wrist Mount Fishfinder
This fishfinder made by the trusted folks at Humminbird is a revolutionary concept in fish finder design and function!
This unit is great for bank anglers that want to see what is happening out in the lake or river.
You just cast the remote sonar sensor into the area that you want to fish and it beams back what it is seeing to the watch like display!
Fishing Line Spool Holder & Dispenser
Keeping your fishing lines organized AND untangled is a must for every serious fisherman!
These fishing line spool holders (in small & large) do an excellent job of keeping the lines untangled and still easily accessible.
These holders can be used on the boat or in the tackle are of your home!
Fish & Game Cleaning Stations
Having a large, clean and dedicated table for processing your fish and game is a must for hardcore fishermen.
These tables keep you from messing up your kitchen while at the same time providing you with a more than adequate space for doing all of your cutting and packaging.
Plus, they fold up and can easily be taken with you to the field!
Under Water Video Camera – See the fish!
There isn’t an angler out there that doesn’t wish that they had the ability to see under water and find out if the fish were really there!
These units are amazing, now we have the ability to not only visually find fish but also tell what type they are and even see them bite our line!
Lure Wrap – Covers Hooks & Eliminates Tangles
These lure covers are designed to cover the lure/hooks when they are tied to the main line and connected to the rod.
There is nothing more frustrating than grabbing a handul of your favorite rods and then trying to untangle the mess that happens after all of the hooks grab the other lines and lures.
This product is a huge headache saver!
Bubba Blade Fillet Knives
These knives are just awesome! Very high quality and they are going to last.
The handle has a sticky textured grip that will not slip in your hand even when wet!
The full tang blade is made from one piece of steel that goes all the way to the base of the grip.
Teflon coated stainless steel blades that slide easily through the fish and don’t rust!
Daiwa Compact Travelers Rod & Reel Kit
Your favorite angler will never be without the ability to cast a line!
This compact travel rod stows away easily in their suitcase or behind a seat in the angler’s vehicle.
Tsunami Ultra-strong Aluminum Pliers 7.5
Aluminum pliers are the only way to go for the serious fisherman. They won’t rust and they are very light weight and durable. Say good bye to pliers that won’t open because of rust or nasty rust stains on your boats interior.
Titanium coated stainless steel jaws!
Titanium coated carbide cutter!
Coiled tether to keep pliers handy AND secure!
Heavy Duty Rolling Wooden Rod & Reel Rack
This is a great way to keep those expensive rods and reels organized and protected.
Heavy duty but elegant hard wood design.
Wheels for easily moving all rods even when fully loaded.
Holds up to 16 large rods & reels.
Rolling Wire Rod & Tackle Bag Rack
Accomodates 12 Rod and Reel Combinations
Three Adjustable Shelves to Maximize Your Specific Storage Requirements
Each Shelf Can Hold Up to 50lbs
Sturdy Wheels Allow for Easy Movement, Even When Loaded
Rubber Clips Secure Rod Tips and Prevents Them from Falling
Coleman SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater
1,500 BTU unit runs up to 14 hours on one 16.4-oz. propane cylinder (sold separately)
PerfecTemp Catalytic technology for safe, efficient flameless heat — at the game, in the tent, in the garage or around the home
Easy-grip handle for convenient carrying
Tie heater to most surfaces with built-in eyelets
Detachable base stabilizes heater
Rapala 6-Inch Double Sided Hook Sharpener
Coarse Round Side for shaping and initial sharpening of hook point
Fine Flat Side for honing and final stages of sharpening
Non-Slip Handle Grip
Mr. Heater Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater
Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 100 square feet
Continuous odor-free heat for up to 5-1/2 hours; 45-degree heating angle
Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety
Measures 12 by 10-1/2 by 10-1/2 inches; 1-year limited warranty
5 LED Cap Light – attaches to baseball cap
The MasterVision 5 LED cap light is a lightweight, compact cap light that is engineered to withstand extreme conditions and rugged use.
This cap light is powered by 2 lithium coin cell batteries for hours of ultra bright white light from 5 LED bulbs with more than 100,000 hours of burn time.
It weighs only 1.24 ounces with batteries, is water resistant, and attaches to the brim of a cap for the most powerful hands-free light source available.
An essential tool for the professional and recreational outdoorsman, mechanic, hobbyist, or anyone who needs a ultra bright, hands-free light.
Togiak Float Tube
High back stadium seat with adjustable backrest for extra support and comfort
Roomy armrest storage with additional reel pockets, gear pockets, small mesh pockets and flat zip pockets
Rear mesh storage platform and horizontal rod holder
Lash tabs and D-rings for attaching gear and creel bags
Safety flag pocket
Rapala – Soft Grip Fillet Knife Combo
This Rapala 3 Knife set contains a 4″, 6″, and 7.5″ Soft Grip Fillet Knives
3 Coordinated Sheaths Included
2 Stage Knife Sharpener Included
Handground Stainless Steel Blade
Great Gift Item!
Perception Sport Fishing Pescador Angler Kayak
This stable, easy to paddle sit-on-top kayak comes fully rigged with fishing features needed to hit the water right away.
Anglers love the versatile hull design that’s good for tracking on lakes but also maneuvers easily on rivers.
The extra large cockpit opening provides plenty of room to work with your tackle and offers easy entry and exit.
Yeti Coolers Roadie 20 Quart
YETI® Roadie® Coolers are built to take the rugged abuse that comes with the way we work and play.
Unlike ordinary coolers, which are essentially “disposable”, a YETI® is made to last!
Keeping things cold is what a cooler is all about.
With thicker walls, more than twice the insulation and a full-frame gasket, YETI® Coolers outperform the competition – it’s not even close!
Rapala Cut Resistant Fillet Glove
Keep all your digits intact with the Rapala Fillet Glove
A comfy blend of natural and synthetic fibers with stainless steel provides the best protection ever
Plano Guide Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag
Fishing in the rain, on the shoreline or in a boat with a bottleom full of water” Relax…
The 4674 Guide Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag is designed to keep gear dry when fishing in wet or extreme conditions.
The bags are designed to hold multiple StowAway utility boxes for organizing your tackle, while the unique flow-through bottleom allows water to run through, allowing gear inside to dry naturally.
Rapala Folding Fillet Knife
Offers rugged compactness and exceptional value
Textured soft-grip handle provides a cushioned feel that allows for a secure grasp
5-Inch blade is made of Swedish surgical stainless steel for exceptional flex when filleting
Textured soft-grip handle provides a cushioned feel that allows for a secure grasp
Sturdy lock-back design
Celsius 6″ Floating Pliers
With its Tungsten Carbide cutting blades, these pliers have no problem cutting through monofilament or braided fishing line.
The floating soft-grip handles and adjustable lanyard means you’ll never lose these heavy-duty fishing pliers.
A must-have tool for every tackle box.Extremely sharp cutting edge is able to cut through the strongest fishing lines out there.Curved design makes for easier access while removing hooks.
Plano Small Waterproof Boxes Quantity of Three
Package of three waterproof terminal accessory boxes
Waterproof O-ring waterproof seal
Gear-Retractor – great for hook sharpeners, & small pliers!
Keep your fishing tools in easy reach AND secure with this simple piece of equipment.
Casio Men’s Moon Phase Tide Graph Sport Watch
Featuring an innovative moon phase display, the Casio Men’s Sport Moon Phase Tide Graph Watch keeps you in touch with Mother Nature.
The digital-gray dial face is protected by a durable mineral dial window.
Embellishing the dial are an easy-to-read time display, a day-date-and-month calendar, and other high-tech details including a countdown timer, a stopwatch, and an hourly time signal.
Its sleek look is achieved with a silver-tone, stainless steel band, equipped with a sturdy fold-over-clasp, and other a matching 42-millimeter stainless steel case and stationary silver-tone stainless steel bezel.
Presenting a sporty design, this functional timepiece encourages your celestial fascinations.
Powered by quartz movement, this watch is also water resistant to 330 feet.
Allen Company Ultralite Fishing Chest Pack
Compact Chest Pack with the capacity to hold two tackle boxes
Holds one large and one small tackle box
Low profile design
Cool mesh lining, D-ring for net keeper
Non-rusting zippers and pulls
We hope you enjoy these gift ideas for the 2012 Christmas and holiday shopping season!
The Uni Knot is a strong and easily tied knot that can be used for braided fishing line or monofilament.
The major advantage of the Uni Knot over the Palomar Knot is that you can tie it anywhere you want, not just at the very end of your line. The Uni Knot does not require a loop to be passed over the very end of line like the Palomar.
The Steelhead Yarn Ball (Yarnie) or Puff Ball as it is also commonly called, is a great alternative to using Corkies or Birdy Drifters when you’re steelhead fishing. This rig can also be used for salmon and trout. This demonstration shows you exactly how to tie the special knot used for this rig, as well as how to create the yarn ball itself.
Who is behind Total Fisherman?
Kevin Newell & Lacey DeWeert are the Total Fisherman team!
Total Fisherman Guide Service was founded in 2000 and we have enjoyed every minute since!