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Rod Selection

By on October 1, 2015

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 just bought my own crab trap ring and have only been crabbing off a boat in the Langley area. I live in Seattle. Where are the closest places to crab from land close to Seattle? – Trish

Some of the closest places to Seattle to crab from shore would be the public pier in West Seattle located next to the Armeni Boat Launch, the north side of Elliott Bay is a public pier directly in front of the Grain Terminals, and Des Moines and Edmonds both have excellent piers that you can crab from. Be sure to drop your crab ring next to a piling under the pier as male crabs tend to nest around the pilings. WDFW has reopened Crabbing from October 1st to December 31st, so good luck!

Q: Is there a type of rod that is best for buzz bombs or other jigs? – David

Shimano makes a number of nice rods for jigging as does Lamiglas and most other major rod manufacturers. TICA makes some excellent rods and you may want to give them a call as they are great about answering questions about their products. Their phone # is 253-872-2024.   The TICA rods are more moderately priced than others but still maintain good quality. Basically you are usually looking for a rod that is 6-feet, 6-inches in length to 7-feet, 6-inches in length and has a medium-heavy action. If you want a more all-around rod that you can jig and mooch and/or fish in the rivers and saltwater, you can use a quality made graphite steelhead rod. Be sure to read “Buzz Bomb Basics” by Terry Rudnick on the Salmon University website.

Q: How do you select a salmon rod? Can you use the same rod for trolling and for shore fishing the river? – Steve

When I was a young man I could only afford one rod and I made it work for everything. While upscale rods are a pleasure to use and will help you catch fish, the real secret to catching fish is the person holding the rod in their hand. If you are trolling with a downrigger, a primarily glass rod will hold up very well under the strain that a downrigger puts on them, or if you are trolling a weight this rod will work well. A graphite rod on a downrigger doesn’t stand up under the stress as well but will still work if you don’t put a lot of pressure on it. When it comes time to use the same rod in a river, the graphite rod certainly has the most sensitivity while the glass rod lacks a bit in sensitivity, I have still used them in the rivers for years and they work very well. It is just a matter of what your prime fishery is and learning to use your equipment correctly.

rod image courtesy Vince (CC-BY-ND 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.