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Downriggers and More

By on July 24, 2015
downrigger fishing

Each week one of the Salmon University experts answers reader questions in our “Ask a Pro” feature. This week’s questions are answered by Tom Nelson. Submit your own question here.

Q: I do not want to use a downrigger. I am going to use a quick release to suspend rocks in small burlap sack. When fish strike and hook is set, the sack is released. I will try using a medium action trolling and mooching rod combo with 12-16 oz of weight.  Do you think this will keep me down where the kings are? I was told by a friend to use a rubber snubber to main line. Thanks – Bud

A: You can certainly use a quick release and rocks in a burlap bag. You could also use a diver but divers don’t ordinarily go deep enough for Chinook. The rock bag, while it works, puts a real load on your rod. Also, I think you will soon get tired of hauling it to the surface to check it. If you are using braided line, then a rubber snubber to your main line would help but if you are using monofilament you won’t need one as monofilament has 20-30% stretch to it.

Q: Downrigging out of Grays Harbor with new Scotty electric this season! Please share your experience with shapes of downrigger weights: ball, ball with fin, torpedo, pancake, fish, or other.  Thank you – JR

A: As far as downrigger balls go, I try to stay with the plain round ball or ball with a fin. They seem to troll in a straighter line than some of the other shaped balls and so you have less tangles. Probably the worst one to use is the fish shape as it swims erratically and makes it easier to tangle your gear.

Q: I can jig a ton of herring in July. I want to brine/freeze for fall and spring fishing (plug cut). How can I process these herring to make them quality bait later? – Tom

A: When you are brining and freezing your bait, please follow the instructions on the Salmon University website.  When you freeze the herring, vacuum pack them. This will give you a quality bait.

Q: I live in eastern Oregon around La Grande, where or can I get one of those KatchKoolers? Either thru a store or online. I would like to try one. – John

A: Hi John – the Silver Horde KatchKooler can be purchased online at Outdoor Emporium or Sportco in Washington. It can also be purchased at Fisherman’s Marine Supply. Fisherman’s Marine Supply has three stores in the greater Portland area.  Be sure to read the KatchKooler review at Salmon University and you will find directions on how to properly use it.


downrigger image courtesy James Wheeler (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson is the publisher of Known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the “Dean of Saltwater Fishing,” he has helped develop and test tackle and gear for Scotty, Pro-Troll and Silver Horde, is a regular speaker at area sports shows, has taught more than 5,000 students how to fish during his classes at western Washington community colleges, and is the co-founder of the Puget Sound Anglers.