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Ask the Pros


Welcome to Steelhead University "Ask the Pros" section. Got a question? Ask away!


Q: I am curious when jig fishing with a bobber using a spinning reel. Can you use the switch or little handle that controls the rotation of the spool, to feed out line while drifting your float and jig? Rather than keeping the bail open?

Ron

A: Hi Ron, I've never tried it, but thought about it a few times. I use my finger against the spool to control the line going out. There's no "rules" for how you control the float, so if switching to free spin mode allows you to feed out the line in a controled manner while keeping pressure off the line and float so there is no resistance, then I bet it works great. I'd experiment if you feel that method would be beneficial to you. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with it - again just make sure no resistance that would cause an unnatural float.

Good Luck ~ Terry

 

Q: If you're fishing for Chum, what's best to use from the bank, do you fish the slow waters like with silvers or other type of water.

Paul

A: Hey Paul,

Big PINK jigs - either twitchin or under a float. This is also the only time I might use bait with a jig. A piece of prawn meat on the hook of a pink jig under a float. I'll only use the bait if they aren't hitting it by itself. Twitchin is preferred, but if you don't have the right rythm they may not smack it. Also - if pink for some reason doesn't work - try chartruese. It the slow water - same water as the coho. Also, the slow flats next to the bank is where they'll spawn.

Terry

 

Q: Hello, Do you know anything about fishing the cispus river. It is beautiful but I have not found anyone that has fished it. Please let me know. Thank you

Jake

A: Hi Jake,

Tacoma power trucks many salmon and steelhead from the barrier dam hatchery to the upper Cowlitz including the Cispus river most of those plants happen in the fall around the yellow jacket creek area if you go to the Tacoma power web site and look under Parks and Rec then go to Cowlitz fishing report they list how many fish they have trucked and where they put them. The Tilton , Cispus, skate creek, and upper Cowlitz at Packwood all get planted about once a week in the fall. If you dig around one the Tacoma power wed site to will probably find the trout plants also. At times both the salmon and trout fishing can be good.

I'd check the rules and it is not a bad idea to call the Tacoma power fishing hot line 1-888-502-8690

Good Luck, Todd

 

Q: Hi Terry, Thank you for taking the time to read this question. I'll direct this one at you since you are the float fishing specialist. I am taking the dive into float fishing but after several steelheading trips, I've discovered that my 8'6" Loomis is sorely inadequate for this style of fishing. I am pretty stubborn I must admit, and concluded that I could make my drift rod work by holding my arms over my head to keep the line off the water (I probably looked foolish!). Anyway, I'm in the market for a 10"+ rod, and in my research, I've come across the "traditional sliding ring" reel seat. I would like to know the advantages/disadvantages to this type of reel seating. Dose this style allow one to convert the rod from spinning to bait casting to center pin? Or is it more for achieving correct balance? Chris

A: Hi Chris, I think that you will find a 10' plus rod will offer you many advantages when it comes to this style of fishing. I would probably stick with the 10' 6" and not go any longer as the longer ones seem to be awkward unless you're used to fishing with them. The sliding rings are more traditional and are more for centerpin reels. With a centerpin you need to adjust the distance from the butt to the reel to be comfortable when casting, and also like you indicated for balance. With a reel seat it's in a fixed position and doesn't offer that adjustment (with a spinning reel or baitcaster most rods are pretty standard as far as the distance from the butt). The sliding rings are also lighter but with the new titanium reel seats you don't notice that much, especially on a well balanced rod. Terry
 

Q: Hello I have been trying to fish the Puyallup river for silvers. I can only plunk fish, I am handicapped. the river is always dark can you help on what color of bobbers or yarn or any good hookup to use. Thank you for your help.

Chuck

A: Hi Chuck,

Basically your fluorescent reds and greens (chartreuse) are going to be your best bet. But more important than color is going to be your profile and smell.

Something that's going to attract them by noise (spin-n-glo), profile (size and location of presentation), and smell are going to be what triggers a strike.

Since you are plunking, the Spin-n-Glo is going to be your most important part of the presentation. Make sure it's large enough to help float the eggs off the bottom in the current. Not only will it help the eggs float up off the bottom and into the strike zone, but the movement will create noise and be an additional attractant.

Make sure our egg cluster is larger than your spin-n-glo. About twice as large till give it the correct profile. You'll want eggs that milk out but are tough enough to stay on when casting or having the trout and smolts pick at it.

The smell comes from good eggs. If they don't hit off the attraction and noise, you'll want them enticed by the smell of the eggs and cure. You can purchase one of the pre-cured jars of egg clusters or cure your own.

Even if the eggs come off the spin-n-glo can still draw a strike from both site and smell now that you've gunked it up with eggs. But check your eggs often as the whole package will hook more than the parts.

Hope this helped. Please let me know if you have any further question.

Terry

 

Q: Hello, Wanting to branch out for Salmon on some of the local rivers and have been doing some homework. Read your article on river levels and have the following question: Does it affect the fishing much if it is raining (like it does for trout) but the river levels and clarity are good? Or, posed another way, if I wake up and its raining should I wait for a break in the clouds? By the question you can probably tell that I have pretty much only fished for trout! Thanks for helping the rookie.

Kevin

A: Hi Kevin, As long as the rivers have the clarity and the flow is good, hit it! If you wait you might not get to fish. I've had some of the most productive days fishing in the rain.

One piece of advice, invest in some good quality raingear and waders! They'll pay HUGE dividends in the end. I almost plan on it raining while I'm fishing in the winter. If it doesn't, then it's just a bonus.

Good luck Kevin!

Terry

 
Q: Hi Terry, Just a quick question, I recently started fishing in Washington, got tired of Oregon, I have been hearing that Night fishing for Salmon and steelhead is awesome, any good tips? like depth of water? baits to use? what kind of holding water I should look for? I will be fishing the upper Kalama, around the Canyon Thanks Eric

A: Hi Eric, The Kalama Canyon can definitely produce some fish and should be turning on pretty quick.

For salmon you're going to want to use bait. Preferably freshly cured roe and use scent! I like to have at least two different types of cured roe with different scents, usually an anise/shrimp mix and a salmon feast mix. Salmon are chemical junkies. Check out Steelhead University for a great cure.

They hold in the deeper pools, but that have some movement to them. The deeper frog water pools are more for silvers.

Steelhead will also hit bait so you'll have a good shot at either species, but they are not so dependent on chemicals.

As far as fishing for them at night... be careful. That Canyon can be quite tricky even in the daylight. Night fishing can be productive but the best way is to float your presentation so you don't end up snagging the fish. Use a "glow" float and something that "glows" with your eggs. Try to keep your presentation 1 to 2 feet off the bottom. Spin-n-glo's, lil corkies, cheaters, they all work but the glow presence will attract the salmon. Use a camera flash or there's some flashes made for "charging" the glow in most sporting goods stores. This is also where your scent will come into play. In order to draw an aggressive strike make sure your eggs are milking. When the float goes down... set da hook!

Make sure and check the regs before venturing out for any night closures and bait restrictions (there is a night closure beginning Sept 1 on the Kalama). Also make sure and release any wild fish.

Good luck and good fishing. Terry

 
Q: Terry, what is your go to method for catching Steelhead, and how did you choose that method. Rory

A: Great Question Rory! My "go to" method, if I have to choose one, is float fishing. Whether it be a jig, eggs, shrimp, corkie, etc. under a float I believe I can achieve the most natural presentation under a float in most conditions. The main reason I choose to float fish is confidence.

Luckily though, I don't have to only choose one method. Since I mainly bank fish, or use a pontoon boat to float a river, I always have at least two rods with me, one being a float rod, the other a drift rod. Throughout a system there will be many holes which one method I might have more confidence in over the other.

If you can, be flexible in your methods, but above all be confident in the method you choose. Good fishin, Terry

 
Q: Rob, Is there an effective way to fish steelhead in the lower tidal influenced part of a river? I've never seen any information written up regarding this but I've often wondered if there is a proven way. thanks, Mike

A: Thanks for the email, Michael! Since steelhead don't typically hold very well in the tidal areas not many people target them there. An exception to this would be at times when rivers are extremely low and steelhead will wash in an out with the tides and won't venture very far upstream. Bait, spinners and spoons, plugs, and flyfishing will all take fish low in the river when the water is low.

Steelhead will typically enter the river on the high tide, but the best time to target them is on an outgoing tide or at low tide. The outgoing tide will force them to hold up and low tide will give you a better idea where to target them, as most tidal areas are bank full at high tide and fish can be just about anywhere. Sand shrimp and eggs work very well and under the right circumstances flyfishing can also be the ticket. Steelhead moving into the lower Situk River in Yakutat, Alaska at low tide, for instance, will hit a Polar Shrimp or General Practicioner quite well when they're fresh out of the salt. Hope that helps and thanks again for the email! Rob

 
Q: Iím thinking about buying a new drift boat and would like your opinion on style, you donít have to recommend a manufacture if you donít want to. I do lots of back-trolling plugs and would like a boat design for that type of fishing. So what type of drift boat design works best for that type of fishing? Thanks, Eric
A: For back trolling I really like how well aluminum boats track in the current. I run a 17' North River that tracks very well and doesn't slide sideways like a lot of the fiberglass boats do. If you want sports car handling, however, you may consider a fiberglass boat. I've rowed both fiberglass and aluminum boats for years and can honestly tell you that the aluminum boats track much better for pulling plugs. They definitely respond a little slower than fiberglass because of weight and the hard chine along the bottom edge, but for plugging aluminum is definitely my choice. Hope that helps! Rob
 

Q: Hey Thanks for getting back to me so fast, I love your web page and check it often. I live in Challis ID and Iíve been guiding here on the Salmon River for the past 7 years. Just in the last few years I have mainly switch to back trolling with clients. I have been rowing a Hyde glass boat. I have only rowed an aluminum boat a few times, but not enough to get the feel of one. What I was wondering is it seems like some of the guys rowing aluminum boats arenít working as hard as I am to back troll. My Hyde doesnít seem to have the same curved design as say a Willies and most aluminum boats are wider. Does that have something to do with it or am I just getting old. Here is my thoughts: My Hyde was designed for flyfishing, which is comparable to side-drifting in the speed of the boat. My boat will get across the river quickly, but may be hard to slow down to back trolling speed because it moves side to side too much, so you have to work harder at keeping it straight, which in turn pushes you down river. Also without the curved design, more of the boat is in contact with the water or under water. The tracking or running straight of the aluminum boat is caused by the hard chine, which in turn you arenít working to keep the boat as straight. Les strokes to straighten the boat and more on slowing the boat down, just few oar strokes. Also les boat in or under water and less push.

So am I way off here? Thanks again!

A: You nailed it! All of the glass boats I've rowed take constant fine tuning to keep them on the "tracks" while plugging. With aluminum, however, you're taking less strokes to keep in the zone. In addition, I've also rowed a few of the larger 18' and 20' aluminum boats and they track even better. My next boat may very well be something I can handle four people in. Best of luck and let me know which boat you decide to go with.
 
Q: I'm a huge fan of your websit Steelhead University. I had a questions regarding Okie drift bobbers and thought maybe you would know the answer. I was wondering if any stores around sold those or if they went out of production? I have looked at many stores including Outdoor Emporium and have been unable to find any. Let me know if you can help. Thanks alot for your time! Drew
A: Sorry Drew, The Okie went out of production years ago. Unless you get very lucky at a garage sale or raid my on-air partner Bill Herzog's garage you're gonna have a tough time finding them! Tom
 

Q: Hello Rob, This may sound stupid, but I recently caught what I believe to be a steelhead (because of the 2nd picture shows the white gum line) and my father-in-law swears it is a Salmon. Can you view the attached photos and let me know what type of fish it is! I caught this (Steelhead) at Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River last month using a Hot Shot #35 flame red/orange. The fish absolutely slammed the plug so hard, it bit a piece of it off! Just the way it hit the plug and the way it faught and jumped, I knew it was a Steelhead. I would really appreciate it. I hope I am correct! Thank you, Garry B.

A: Thanks for the email, Garry! I hate to tell you this, but that fish is definitely a member of the salmon family and appears from the photos to be a king salmon. The spots, coloring, etc., are all indicative of a king salmon. Even though the outside of the gum line is white, a look inside the mouth probably would have revealed a black tongue and gill rakers. Congrats on a great fish, however! Hopefully you didnít have any bets with the father-in-law on this one : ) Thanks again for the email and best of luck on the water! Rob

Q: I saw your boards out of Steelhead University, I thought I would ask a few questions. I have been reading avidly and trying to learn to catch steelhead in Alaska's Anchor river, on a recent trip I could see steelhead but couldn't get them to bite, have you got a back door secret for these type fish.

I was thinking of throwing a squid or shrimp imitation( this is fly only water) or a pink worm since the ocean is within 400 yards would they hit a shrimp imitation in fresh water? What about that worm I read allot about it, is there a worm out in the ocean they eat or is is just instinct to hit that I look under rocks and don't see worms here in Alaska so the river bed must not have any in it.

My other questions is on float fishing the Anchor river is about 50 feet wide and relatively slow moving about waist deep in most areas with big rocks and tons of white water runs into slack pools. I have been reading about jig fishing and dink floats there is a ton of rocks to hang up on would float fishing be better? How do you rig a dink float it has holes in it but I cant figure out how to rig it, is this a slip bobber operation with a bead and bobber stop or peg with a toothpick?

I grew up fishing for Catfish in water just like this in Oklahoma we drift spring frogs for big channel cats with bobbers, but the hang up problem the hooks get into the rocks, I was thinking of a break off rig with split shot crimped on the tag end of the line to bounce bottom and the jig up about 6-10 inches so if the weight snags a steady pull will remove it. And then re-crimp more lead.

All of the guys I encounter are fishing with fly rods and floating line and a flash salmon fly or leech pattern, I have one of these rigs and have caught a steelhead with a fly but it is slow and tough its tough to back cast with all the brush. I think a float even one of those old time balsa wood corks with the spring on the bottom of it rigged to break off ought to make things happen. I have note seen anyone float fishing, so I am kind of on my own.

Also I have been fishing the river upstream where it is narrower and choked full of brush and logs rocks and etc, what about the float up there, have any tips. I think the float will help float the jig in behind rocks in eddies leaving the jig hanging like a target for the steelhead.

Anyway thanks in advice for any tips you can give me. - Joe

A: The fish that you are encountering on the lower Anchor might have already been disturbed by your approach or by other anglers passing them before you. For starters, I would purchase a pair of polarized glasses and use them to spot steelhead before they spot you. Also remember that steelhead are usually pointed upstream, so if you approach them from downstream youíll usually have a better shot at getting close to them before they spook. If the water is low and clear, which it sounds like it is, youíll want to ďhuntĒ for them and approach every pool like itís got a fish in it. Shy away from brightly colored clothes and stalk the river like youíre hunting for whitetails back in Oklahoma.

A shrimp pattern or egg pattern will probably be the best way to get these fish to strike, but if you get to them before they spook they may very well hit just about anything. If the river is gin clear youíll want to cast well upstream of them and either swing the shrimp pattern in front of them or nymph an egg pattern thru the area where they are holding. Youíll probably have to use a roll cast along those brush choked banks.

Since itís flyfishing only water youíll want to check the regs to make sure jig fishing with a float is legal. To be legal and ethical itís probably best to stick with the fly gear! - Rob

 
Q: Rob, Do you typically run divers (crankbait style or Jet Divers) in front of your plugs like Hot Shots (Size 30 or 35ís), Tadpollys, etc. for steelhead or can they be fished alone? If fished alone, do you recommend adding weight, swivel, & leader? Thanks, Jeff
A: Thanks for the email, Jeff! Since most of the water I fish for steelhead is less than 15 feet deep I will never run a diver in front of the plug. I routinely use Tadpollies and Hot Shots and Iíve never found the need to run a diver in front of the plug and, in fact, I think it would detract from the side-to-side ďhuntingĒ action of the plug. In deeper water I will often use either a Hotín Tot or Hot Shot SE, however, as they both dive consistently deeper than the Tadpolly or standard issue Hot Shot. On deeper rivers like the Snake River in Southeast Washington a Hot Lips (Luhr Jensen) or Mag Wiggler (Storm) will get the job done, as they will dive as deep as 20 feet. Hopefully I answered your question, but if you have any others please feel free to email them to me. Thank again! Rob
 
Q: Thanks for the info Rob. When using say 12lb. mono, do you use a swivel and leader or do you tie directly on your main line? When using line like Power Pro or Tuffline, do you use a mono leader? How long of a leader do you recommend? Is there any reason to add weight? Thanks, Jeff
A: When using mono I tie the plug directly to the mainline and the only time Iíll use a leader is when Iím running high vis mono for mainline. When using high vis Iíll blood knot a leader of 4 to 6 feet in length onto the mainline. I use Power Pro almost exclusively now for my plug rods, however, and Iíll use a uni-knot to attach a leader of 17 to 20 lb test ahead of the plug. I also started using YuZuri fluorocarbon last year for leader and had some great luck with it. In regards to leader, many of the better plug fisherman are running Power Pro straight to the plug and arenít seeing any decrease in hookups. A good friend does this and uses a black felt pen to color the last 20 feet of line to decrease itís visibility under water. The only time I ever use weight is when Iím backbouncing Kwikfish. Best of Luck! Rob
 
Q:Greetings, I have a plug rigging question and this may be purely an opinion type of thing but here go's, I have read a couple of articles that suggest removing the tail treble on plugs such as "Brads", "Wiggle Warts", Hawg boss, Kwikfish etc., adding a bead chain to the belly eye with split rings on each end and a quality treble would improve hook-ups and result in a decrease in lost fish. I lost a monster steelhead just recently on a small Rapala and when the plug popped free both the belly hook and the tail hook were locked together so it would stand to reason that by having that single treble on that bead chain the fish wouldnt be able to use those 2 hooks as leverage. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this as i certainly dont want to be messing up the action on a few of my favorites. Do you run yours in a similar fashion or would this be just a matter of ones personal preference? By all means keep up the good work there. Best Regards Brian

A: Howdy, Brian! Iíll take a stab at a couple of your questions. Adding a swivel or bead chain between the hook and plug does two things, it moves the hook closer to the tail of the plug and it allows the fish to twist and turn without binding the hooks up against the plug. This is especially true with Kwikfish, as a king or silver doing the death roll in the middle of the river will invariably use the plug to pry the hooks loose. Since the plug has tension on it from the rod it wonít spin as readily with the fish and neither will the hooks, the end result being a lost fish.

There are a couple of problems with adding a bead chain to the plug, however, and that is that it adds weight to the plug that may effect itís action and in very slow water the bead chain and hook will hang straight down from the plug and be somewhat out of the fishes strike zone. When this happens fish can get hooked in the side of the head, under the chin, etc., which increases the chance of a lost fish.

My advice would be to run swivels on both hooks and only run a bead chain on the belly hook when single hooks are required. The bead chain allows the Siwash hook to get far enough away from the plug to allow for a solid hookup without the plug getting in the way of the hook. Throw a single Siwash hook directly onto the belly eye of a Kwikfish and youíll see what I mean.

On steelhead plugs like Wiggle Warts and Hot Shots the use of a bead chain on the belly eye (not the tail eye) get the hook far enough towards the tail of the plug for a solid hookup and like the Kwikfish setup allows a fish to twist without binding up the plug. On steelhead plugs, however, itís important to not use too large of a bead chain, as the extra weight will usually hinder the performance of the plug. A light, yet strong, bead chain will get the job done.

Sorry to hear about the fish you lost on the Rapala. Rapalas typically come with very small hooks that really arenít suited for salmon or steelhead. The hooks are only big enough to penetrate the skin and donít usually get a good hold on any bone or cartilage in the fishes mouth, which is why they pull out so easily. My advice would be to use a swivel to attach Siwash hooks that are larger than the hooks supplied, without being so big that they hinder the action of the plug.

Thanks again and best of luck to you Brian! - Rob

 

Q: Hello- I was reading on your Steelhead University site the article on how to rig the pink worm. It's all very simple, I understand how to thread it. My question is, how long of a leader do you run.... and do you run an inline slinky? Also, what do you think the best size/brand of dink floats are for this application, or would you use the Steelhead Stalker? Thanks a lot! AWESOME SITE! -Eric

A: Thanks for the email, Eric! Since most worms float like a cork Iíll typically run an 18 to 24 inch leader to keep the worm in the strike zone. Even in clear water there is no need to run a longer leader than that, since theyíre either going to hit the worm or they arenít. For this reason worms are great for covering water, especially when there is some color in the water. You can use any weight system you want for the worms and if an inline slinky is what youíre comfortable with that will work great. As for floats, I will usually run a medium to large dink float, since it takes a bit of lead to get the extremely buoyant worms down in heavy current. Head Hunter worms use to make a sinking worm that worked great for floatfishing, but since we mostly side drift pink worms now Iím not sure if they still make them. Iíll reserve the Steelhead Stalker and low profile floats like similar to it for low water presentations. Hopefully I answered some of your questions, but if you have any more please feel free to email them to me. Thanks for visiting the site! Tom

 

Q: Tom & Rob, I was just checking out the website, but I think it may be even better to ask you directly. My question is regarding the use of a drift boat when fishing the local rivers for salmon and steelhead in Washington. But let me back up real quick first. Since I was little, I've spent countless hours fishing saltwater and continue to do so every year. Probably about 7 years ago I got into river fishing and have spent more and more time doing it as a compliment to the summer saltwater runs. The time I've spent, however, has been 95% going around to different bank spots and drift fishing the standard fare. Over the years, I've also been on several different drift boat trips, and to me it seems like this really allows you to cover more water and often times less pressured water; not to mention the relaxing aspect of it. So lately, I've been entertaining the idea what it would be like to own my own drift boat, new or used. The reason is, it seems like there a fair number of rivers that I've drifted down that don't seem extremely technical (while there are a couple I went on with guides that I wouldn't dare attempt myself unless I reached that expert status some day). But maybe that's where I'm mistaken. Maybe some of the rivers that appear to be straightforward drifts really are more technical than they seem. To me, and this might come from my time spent on the saltwater, safety comes first, then play. And knowing that ending up in the wrong situation in a river can be as extreme as any rough weather on the saltwater, I wonder if I'd be getting myself into something where I'd be in over my head. With all that being said, do you have any thoughts on having your own drift boat, the difficulty of learning how to use it, and the overal danger risk involved? Sorry for the long email, and I appreciate any comments or advice you might have. Thanks! Peter T

A: Hey Peter, I agree with you that "it seems like this really allows you to cover more water and often times less pressured water" and in reality driftboats really do help you reach more water. I would encourage you to invest in a driftboat especially the North River Drifter. One more thing to consider, if you've got concerns about your rowing skills hire a reputable guide for your intended river and let him "Show you the ropes". Driftboats are also great partner outfits as there's no motor and no fuel tank to be left dry... See if one of your fishing friends wants to go in on a driftboat with you! Good luck and good drifting! Tom

Q: Hey Rob, I want to know what to use at different levels of the barometer readings, and if the fish move around to different holding water due to different air pressure. I bank fish, and would really like to increase my fish hook up percentage. Fish-on!!! Arnold
A: Thanks for the email, Arnold! Pretty tricky question, but I'll try to answer it as best I can. I haven't been able to determine if steelhead hold in different water on a rising or dropping barometer and neither have any of my guiding/fishing bum cohorts. One thing for sure, however, is that a falling barometer almost always puts fish off the bite for whatever reason. I know when a low pressure front is rapidly approaching that I'm probably going to have my work cut out for me on the river that day. The best scenario for steelhead that I've found has been sustained high pressure with very little fluctuation. If you ever find the definitive answer to this question please send the details this way. Thanks and let me know if you have any more questions. Rob
Q: Thank You for the quick response Rob. I will give them a call. Another quick question for you. Is there a techinique top fishing "rising" water levels? I know there has to be with as much rain as you guys get up north. Down here (Smith and Chetco Rivers) people don't fish when the river is rising. Is there any difference in fish movement that would cause them to off the bite when the river rises? What would be a good technique to use when the river is rising? I am thinking plugs myself. What do you think? Thank you again for your time. Vince

A: For steelhead rising water levels are the worst, especially if the water is coming up quickly. A little blip in flow isnít usually too big a deal, but a big bump in flows definitely puts them off the bite and usually ends up in a day off for me. Plugs and bait divers are by far the two most effective methods we use up here when the waters up, mostly because you can hang them in a steelyís face for so long, giving them the opportunity to pick up the scent trail or at least see/hear the plug. Iíve heard great things about the Smith and Chetco and hope to get down there someday. Best of luck to you and donít hesitate to email with questions. Rob

Q: I heard a few guys on the river are using a technique called 'Flossing'. Could you explain what this is all about and how well it works and under what conditions it is to be used? Thanks for any input. Keep up the good work. Chuck
A: Thanks for the email, Chuck! "Flossing" is the term used to describe the technique of drifting a super long leader that goes across the fishes mouth as they open and close it in the current. As the lead drifts downstream the leader continues to run thru the fish's mouth until the hook or drift gear hit the fishes mouth or just outside (gill plate, outer jaw, etc.), the hook is set and the fish is hooked up. "Flossing" in most situations is considered highly unsportsmanlike and just short of snagging. The only situation where it isn't totally frowned upon is with sockeye fishing in the river. Sockeye are very difficult, if not impossible, to get to bite in the river and flossing is usually the only way to catch them. On some rivers, such as the Fraser, anglers use leaders as long as 15 to 20 feet to floss sockeye as they make their way upstream. A flossing rig usually consists of pencil lead, a long leader, and either one or two hooks with a pill or corky to keep them just off the bottom. It's not the way I like to fish, but in some very limited situations it can be used to catch fish like sockeye as they make their way upstream. Hopefully I answered your questions. If you have any more questions, however, please feel free to email them to me. Thanks again! Tom
Q: Rob, Good Morning, I have been trying your float set-up as pictured and have a couple of questions.I noticed in the picture that there is a weight attached just under the float.I assume this is to keep the float upright in current,correct?If a weight is used can you tell me how to attach it and is it movable?Also,if you are dealing with current and the weight is holdind your float in the correct position, is the current keeping your jig (1/8 oz.) higher than you would like? Kudos to you guys. Thank You, Chuck L
A: Hi Chuck! Got your email on the float and jig setups. Actually there are two rigs pictured. One is simply a Thill Turbomaster 3 float and a jig (no added weight) and the other is a sliding Thill float with bobber stop, hollow-core pencil lead (pinched in position), swivel, leader and jig. You're exactly right that the weighted rig can hold the float straight up and down. That's why I highly recommend the first rig, with no added weight, for getting started. Start with a Thill Turbomaster 3, and a 1/8-ounce jig, nothing more, nothing less. Without the added weight, you get a great read on what the jig is doing and if there is any problematic drag in your drift. With this rig, the only way the float will stand straight is when the jig is being presented properly. The weighted rig can come with time, as you gain confidence in your presentation. It can be helpful when bank fishing big water where long casts are necessary. As you're experiencing though, the added weight can mask what the jig is doing. Hope I've answered your questions. If not, let me know. Tight-lines, Carmen Macdonald Steelhead University Chief-Instructor carmenm@nwlink.com
Q: I fish the Puyallup River quite often the problem i am having is landing the steelheads i have noticed that there will be times i can see the fish in the water and they will open their mouths and release the hook and the other thing i have noticed the fish will be tangled in the line is there anything i can do to land them better? Also,The other thing i have noticed when i am fishing the river is i will be out in the water about waist high and i will be fishing it half way out and the fish will flap their tails 2 feet away from me can you tell me why they do that and is there any way i can catch them any suggestions will be greatly appreciated Walter
A: Thanks for the email, Walter! As if locating and hooking a steelhead isnít difficult enough, landing them can be even more of a challenge. The only thing I can recommend to you is to use the sharpest, highest quality hooks you can afford and get a solid hookset on the fish when a strike is detected. A common mistake the many anglers make is to wade too deep into a run, thinking they must fish the deepest part of the run to have any chance of hooking up. In medium to high flows steelhead and salmon often move up and over the bars that we wade on and fish from, meaning theyíre literally moving around you to head upstream. If fish are rolling within feet of you, which you say they are doing, youíre best bet is to not wade so deeply into the run and try targeting these moving fish from closer to shore. Hopefully that helps and thank you for the email. Rob
Q: Rob, What line have you found to be the best for spinning reels? Do you tie a 6' piece of flurocarbon to the end?, if you do what knot have you found to be the most effective? Thanks, Jeff from L

A: Hey, Jeff! I use either Ande or Izorline on my spinning reels, mostly because of the quantity of line that we go thru in a year. When it's necessary to use flourocarbon leader I'll use a blood knot to tie the two together. The best flourocarbon I've found is Yozuri or Seaguar, as they're both fairly abrasion resistant and have good knot strength. Hopefully that helps! Rob


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