Seven Tips for Catching Blackmouth

By on October 24, 2013

1) Blackmouth are usually found along drop offs and shelves. If you are a moocher or a troller and trolling with only a sinker or diver, don’t be afraid to go into 25 to 40 feet of water. Blackmouth are often following along these shelves feeding on small herring, sculpins and shrimp. You will often be surprised with a nice sea run cutthroat or the occasional steelhead.

2) The downrigger fisherman usually does best when fishing water 60 feet to 175 feet deep. The majority of legal blackmouth will be caught in the bottom 10 to 20 feet of the water column.

3) If you are downrigger fishing and see bait on the bottom, put your boat in neutral and let your downrigger ball bounce once or twice. Then go back into gear. The sound of the bouncing downrigger ball will attract the blackmouth’s attention and you will often get a strike before your boat has moved 15 feet.

4) When fishing artificials, try to match the hatch. If the bait is small, use a lure such as the Silver Horde Coho Killer. If the bait is larger, increase the size of the lure and either go to a bigger spoon such as a Silver Horde Sonic Edge or a plug. When trolling herring, the easiest way to get the correct roll is to use a Pro Troll Electronic Bait Holder.

5) Stay with either the UV lures or the Glo lures.

6) Add scent. When brining your herring, add liquid Smelly Jelly or inject it into the herring later. With an artificial lure, smear the Smelly Jelly onto the lure. If you are using the gel coat Smelly Jelly on a UV Lure, don’t cover the spoon itself. Put your Smelly Jelly on the hook, leader or flasher. Smelly Jelly now has a UV gel available.

7) My opinion on the best scents to use on winter Blackmouth are: Herring, Shrimp (my favorite) and Special Mix. In the latter part of March, and into April, Anchovy scent becomes more important to me.

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.