When you mention using spinners, the first thing that
comes to mind is standing on the edge of your favorite lake, pond
or river casting and retrieving spinners. There are several alternative
methods that work well too. Traditional float fishing rigs consist
of a float, pencil lead or split shot and your choice of lure. Most
common choice of lure would be cured roe, wool combinations, or
corkies and small spin n glo's.
Over the last few years, the rivers edge is getting
more & more crowded, as fishing pressure increases so does the amount
of lures the fish will see in a day. Trying new methods of fishing
can sometimes prove to be rewarding.
There are three presentations that I like to use,
that have all proven to be fruitful. Free floating for fishing slow
or transition water, down & across for tail outs or riffles, and
last of all dead floating for slow deeper pools.
Before I describe these three methods, we need to
establish several important facts. Salmon and Steelhead will attack
lures at almost any speed. I have found that the slower the blade
is turning the more hookups I have. That is not to say you won't
be successful with a faster presentation. Light is another important
contributor to success. I have had a lot of hookups on bright cloudy
days or just when the sun hits the water. In order to have a blade
flash you must have some degree of light penetration. The last factor
might be the most important to consider before choosing your lure.
The greater the speed of water the faster your blade will turn,
therefore for slow water use smaller blades, # 2 & 3 for medium
flow # 3 & 4's and for fast water use # 5 to 7.
There are many variations of spinner's on the market
today. The most popular in the Fraser Valley is the Colorado blade.
The 3 most popular finishes are chrome, brass and copper. They come
in several styles, hammered, plain and teardrop. Hammered Chrome
in a # 3 is the most common used for salmon and I prefer the brass
or black for Steelhead in the larger sizes.
Free floating is used in slow to medium slow water.
Set up your rod the same as if you were fishing yarn or bait; float,
weight, leader and spinner. Cast slightly up stream and allow your
lure to reach bottom. Reel in any slack line, then when your float
is directly across from you, free spool and allow your float to
freely float down river. Your weight should be fished so you feel
the river bottom every 3 feet or so, and presentation should be
Dead Drift. It is important that your float is drifting at the same
speed as the current. The bite is often soft, if you feel your spinner
stop turning, set the hook, that's a fish.
Down & across presentation is used for tail outs or
riffle water. Often the water is less than 3 feet deep and to Free
Float would result in snagging the bottom. Cast your lure upstream
and across then reel in any slack line. When your float is across
from you, free spool. Unlike the Free Floating put your thumb on
the drum of the reel and allow slight drag. This will slow your
float and allow it to come across the river.
There are several important factors to consider while
fishing this method. Anytime you allow drag on your reel, the lure
will lift off the rivers bottom. To compensate, try setting your
float 3 to 6 inches deeper than the water you're fishing. The second
factor to consider is what size of blade to use. When allowing drag
on your reel your blade will speed up, the greater the drag the
faster the blade will turn, so you may have to increase the size
of blade to slow your presentation.
Dead Floating is one method that I discovered by accident.
It was mid January and I was fishing one of my favorite early Steelhead
runs. This fellow angler was fishing above me and had been there
for a short time. I had noticed that he was snagging bottom frequently,
his float was almost laying down flat in the water, and not Free
Floating through the slot like most anglers would. 10 minutes past
and I was ready to move on, when a sudden burst of water broke the
silence. Fish on!! He yelled. This was the first of six fish this
gentleman had on. The lucky angler whose name I don't recall had
never hooked a Steelhead and was experiencing the day of his life.
I managed to hook 1 12lb Steely on wool, by the time he had his
4th fish on. I sat down and watched him for a while trying to figure
out what was taking place in front of me. He was using a large #5
brass Colorado under a float rig. His float was set 12 inch deeper
than the water he was fishing, therefore he was consistently snagging
bottom. He would lift his rod tip to unhook the snag, and then drop
it and the float would stop, then lift and stop again. Every third
time he lifted to unsnag- Fish on!
I soon realized what was happening, by getting snagged
the blade would stop turning. When he lifted his rod tip to unsnag
the blade, it would turn 4 or 5 times then stop. The action he was
creating was a slow blade action. I'm convinced he had no idea why
he was doing so well and probably didn't care. I quickly changed
over to a #5 brass blade, set my float 6 inches deeper than the
water and preceded to fish this method. After landing 4 more Steelhead
I soon realized he was on to something. During that season I managed
to hook a total of 15 Steelies using this Dead Floating method.
There are many methods of hooking Salmon and Steelhead that are
untried in this area, many are discovered by accident. Adding a
few more will only help increase your success.
Tight lines and hope to see on the water
STS Guiding Service