All posts by Zak Mohamed

Rig of The Month: Clear-Water Bobber Set-up

By Andy Schneider

When tributaries start running low and clear, downsizing your rigging may be necessary to continue having success. Often times fall will bring freshets that barely raise river levels. While the showers will start pulling fresh fish into the upper stretches of tidewater, the flows may still be gin-clear, making fishing especially challenging. Downsizing to a ½- to 1-ounce bobber with matching cannonball lead will allow long casts, a quiet entry for your presentation and a bobber that will slide under the surface easily when salmon get finicky. Some of the biggest Chinook often fall victim to the smallest of baits.

A Better Corky-yarn Rig


By Don Talbot

I started playing with Corky drift rigs over 20 years ago on the Wenatchee and Methow Rivers. In the past five years I have figured out how to put yarn in the Corky to act like a bobber stopper and give the rig more flare. I like yarn for the simple fact that it gets stuck on the small teeth in the steelhead’s mouth. I use to tie the yarn on my egg loop until I learned how to use a loop of mono to pull the yarn into the Corky. This method has made my rig look better and fishier at the same time.

Let’s get started with my favorite ingredients to make these
rigs come to life:
* Gamakatsu No. 4 barbless octopus hooks;
* 8-pound P-Line 100 percent fluorocarbon leader;
* The Bug Shop Glo Bugs Bling yarn in flame, pink black and
roe colors;
* Size 14 Corkies in peach, flame red, black sparkle and pink;
* Mack’s Lure Pip’s Leader Dispenser for holding all the rigs
perfectly without tangling.

ONCE YOU HAVE THE above ingredients it is time to snell the hooks. If you do not know how to snell a hook, look it up on YouTube, a great source for learning the correct method of tying up all kinds of hooks. You can also look up bumper tie and egg loop tie if you would rather have a loop in the hook for eggs in a river that allows bait. The Methow and Wenatchee don’t, so I just snell the hooks without an egg loop. Basically a snell is tied the opposite way an egg loop is, from the back of the hook towards the eye, and over the top of a straw or something that the tag end can be inserted back into so that it ends up underneath the loops.

 I tie the leader about 44 inches long for the simple fact that if I tie it longer, it will not pull out of my leader dispenser very easily. I drift fish 36- to 42-inch leaders. Pulling yarn into a Corky is a pretty clever trick. I learned this method by accident a few years ago when I was getting tired of tying yarn into my egg loop. I will slide the smallest Corky that Yakima Bait makes up my octopus hook and thread an independent loop to catch the yarn, as shown in the picture on the next page.

I will place the right amount of yarn in the loop so that it jams tight into the drift bobber. If the yarn goes in too easy, it will fall out. I will pull the yarn all the way to the other end of the Corky and pull the independent loop of line out of the yarn when I am done. I will use a drop of Super Glue Gel on the snelled hook and pull the Corky with the yarn jammed in it all the way to the top of the snell. The picture at bottom right shows a cute little Corky bug on the hook. The steelhead love this Corky yarn bug. Just don’t let the yarn go past the hook shank. Steelhead will short bite you all day long if you do.


You can follow the same steps to jam a chunk of yarn into a Corky for anywhere on your line. The yarn jams so tight that it acts like a bobber stopper. Fly fishermen are using this method for strike indicators as well. Just make an independent loop closest to the hook with 8-pound-test line and place a fatter chunk of yarn in it so that the yarn jams hard into the Corky. After you are done tying, say, a dozen rigs, it’s time to make some slinky set-ups.

If you don’t have the parachute cord and lead BBs to fill the cord to make your parachute weights, buy some Danielson slinky weights in a variety of sizes. I will cut down the 1-ounce weights to make three or four smaller ones. You can save money cutting up the longer weights and burning the ends and re-closing with a pair of piers. I run my mainline through the eye of a cheap No. 10 crane swivel, which also holds my slinky weight. Between that and a small, roller-bearing barrel swivel connecting my mainline to my leader, I include a black 5mm bead.


ROTM: The Humpy Killin’ Posse



Of the myriad ways to catch pink salmon, there may be no more effective way in the salt than putting any of these simple set-ups (the middle rig is the traditional Humpy Killer) 35 to 50 feet behind the boat and up to 60 feet down on the ’rigger. Expert Terry Wiest of Steelhead University believes the white dodgers catch their eye and pink lures trigger their feeding instinct. If you substitute a flasher for these dodgers, add 2 to 3 inches to your leader to keep the action that the short leaders provide. Wiest says to troll super slow in a zigzag, and when you hook one pink, leave the other rods down, if possible, as the fish travel in large schools.


ROTM Vault: Barbless Spinner Rig For Buoy 10



Spinners have proven themselves season after season in the Columbia River estuary and are now considered a Buoy 10 essential. Just make sure you bring lots of different shaped spinner blades, colors and sizes. Also, don’t just crimp your barbs that come stock on your favorite B10 spinners – cut the treble off and crimp on a Big River Bait hook that comes in an open eye. Having a strong single 4/0 hook will ensure deep penetration into any salmon’s jaw. Run your spinner 5 feet behind a Delta Diver and Flasher and you will have a winning combination at the buoy.


The Ohio Way to Fillet Walleye

I learned how to fillet walleye when I went to Ohio State University
for dental school. I would run up to Lake Erie on weekends and pay
$35 to go on a half-day charter boat. (I would eat Top Ramen and
get paid doing my classmates’ lab work to save up money to go.)
I got to know the charter guys pretty good and they showed me
this technique.
Back there the water was at one time very polluted – remember
the Cuyahoga River, which actually caught on fire? – so this method
removes almost all of the dark, fatty meat where toxins accumulate,
and removes the pin bones. This leaves you with nice clean walleye
fillets that are totally boneless. I’ve tried this with perch, crappie and
bass – sorry, bass guys, but they’re good eating too – without success.
I don’t know why it seems to only work with walleye.
This method is very well known in the Midwest, but it doesn’t
seem that people in Washington know about this, or at least the
people that I’ve talked to have not heard of it. With this technique,
electric knives are the best way for getting really nice fillets.
The following directions describe key steps in the process while
the photos show the overall sequence of steps from start to finish:










[1] Make a cut at the tail above and below the lateral line about 3
inches into the fillet. This will allow you to grab the sections.
[2] Grab the section of the fish that would be its back (as opposed to
belly section). Hold onto the lower sections.
[3] Pull the “back” section away. This part feels like you’re unzipping a large YKK zipper, and if you do it fast, it kind of sounds like one.

[4] The “back” section is removed and has no bones in it. Failed
attempts may have some pin bones near the “head” end of the
section that can be easily removed with a knife.
[5, 6, 7] Now grab the remaining two sections and “unzip” these.
This is a little technique-sensitive, but with a little practice you can
get all the pin bones and dark, fatty meat in one step.
[8] Next is the rib cage. Make a cut right behind the rib cage to
remove a boneless tail section.
[9] There is still a good amount of meat on the rib cage that we’ll
be dealing with next.
[10] A fillet glove is recommended here! Push down on the rib cage
to flatten the bones and make a cut to fillet the meat off the rib cage.
[11] There seems to be a really bony section in the forward part of
the rib cage that isn’t worth the effort. The meat is really thin in the
forward section and I just remove up to the portion that is shown.
[12] This shows all the parts of one fillet. Now repeat for the
other side.
[13] This is what one walleye looks like after all the steps. These
photos make it look time consuming, but in actuality this should
only take less than one or two minutes once proficient. Note that
on larger walleye, it’s worth the effort to remove the cheek meat.
[14] Kids love fish! They hate bones!

Story and Photos By,

Jerry Han

Shotgun Your Plug And Bait

Morning light is just starting to break. A thin sliver of grey to the east slowly drowns out stars as I beach my sled onto the rocks at the Cowlitz River’s Blue Creek launch. The big motor falls silent and there’s a calming and exciting silence: There’s nothing but the gentle sounds of the river.My thoughts race. What will the day bring? Will the fish cooperate? Bait or plugs? Which bait? Which plugs? Last fall’s salmon fishery had a phenomenal egg bite. By the close of season, I had burned through over 60 pounds of eggs. My boat looked like it had been blasted by a paint ball gun, and the rods and reels had a crust that I thought was going to be permanent. It was worth it: I boated  a lot of Chinook on divers with Spin-N-Glo and eggs. It was fantastic, but I found myself wondering, how many plug fish was I missing? Moreover, how many more hatchery fish can I bonk? Most plug fish are so aggressive they hit any intruder to water they occupy. But does this same plug-crazed salmon turn up his nose at bait?

little fish

The same goes for steelhead, for that matter. Divers and coon shrimp are the ticket on the Cowlitz, but some days they are a bunch of crackheads over a plug. So there is the quandary: How do you fish plugs and bait at the same time without giving up the effectiveness of either? Some anglers have tried tying the bait leaders to the belly of their favorite plug and leaving the trailer hook. In my mind it works, but the added pressure from that bait leader will ultimately decrease the action of the plug. This may decrease the predatory or territorial reaction bites. In heavy currents, a belly leader can cause your plug to roll over and ski up to the surface. Over the last two seasons I have been fishing with a better mouse trap. I am running plugs the same way I would run a Jet Diver. It’s that simple. So simple I am mad that I had not figured it out years ago.

THIS ISN’T NEW, BY any means, but my variation is one that works best for me. I know several professionals who have their own versions that work – Cody Herman of Day One Outdoors, Dan Houfek of D&H Guide Service and TJ Hester of Hester’s Sportfishing have their own twists to the shotgun rig. The idea is that the fish get a look at both bait and plug all in one shot, and it really works! So well, in fact, I have for the most part gone away from using divers all together. I have had several occasions where steelhead have eaten both the plug and the coon shrimp. Who needs barbs when they have a bait hook stuffed down their throat and a plug anchored in their jaw? I am no mathematician, but doesn’t this set-up kind of double your odds? I mean, why wouldn’t you use two presentations at once? The sky is the limit on this rig. I have been able to run Spin-N-Glo and eggs, herring, prawn spinners, coon shrimp – the list goes on. And it can be run in all of the plug and/or diver-and-bait water you have fished in the past.

It has also worked on every species I have tried it on. Walleye with a worm harness. Chinook with prawn spinners, choked herring, and Spin-N-Glo and eggs. Steelhead with prawns, pink worms and Spin-N-Glo with egg. Coho with prawn spinners. Even running a plug for summer Chinook paired with a Triple Teazer or Dick Nite for shad in June. It’s no secret I have a love for Mag Lips that goes a bit beyond platonic. They just work the best for me, but they are not the only fish killer on the block. If you have a favorite brand, I am sure this technique will work for you. I know shad anglers who use a metallic blue Brad’s Magnum Wiggler for a diver for their Dick Nites, and other anglers who run a Kwikfish. It is whatever floats your boat. I base my plug selection on depth, water speed and fish location. Pick a plug that puts the set-up where the fish are. Keep in mind the added weight of the bait will affect the diving depth of your plug. Just tinker with diving depth until you get to that ideal sweet spot you’re looking for. For steelhead, I use a Mag Lip 3.5 as the diver. I prefer to run single 1/0s attached with a crane swivel. It’s my opinion that they stick better with the barbless rule. The swivel allows for full rotation during the fish’s out of-water acrobatics. I tried double split rings, but had some failures due to binding. Nothing triggers a man’s thought process faster than gear failure resulting in a lost fish.

Story & Photos by Brian Robertson