Category Archives: Rigs

Rig of the Month– Henny Penny’s Pikeminnow Bait

Story and photographs by Don Talbot

Chicken liver balls are a great bait to use for pikeminnow when you’re sitting on anchor in a hole and looking to draw in hungry fish.

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Step 1

Step 1: Gather the following supplies to make 250-plus chicken liver balls:
• 6-foot-long work table
• Bowl of water and sponge to wet the table
• Scissors
• Five containers of chicken livers
• Five packs of Spawn Net
• Two packs of Miracle Thread
• Attractant


Step 2:
Cut the Spawn Net up into squares. Each pack makes 50 to 60 squares.

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Step 4

Step 3: Wet the table so that the netting doesn’t blow away, and then place the squares in rows up and down the table.


Step 4:
Cut the chicken livers into thumbnail-sized chunks and place each in the middle of a square.

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Step 5

 

Step 5: Grab and twist the four corners of the netting together around the liver.

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Step 6

Step 6: Wrap the Miracle Thread around the twisted liver ball end 10 times and pull to break.

Step 7: Cut the tag end of the netting off and place the bait into the chicken liver container.

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Step 7

Step 8: Marinate with your favorite fish oil – this is one of my secret weapons! I use Super  Dipping Sauce in garlic scent.

Step 8

Step 8

 

 

Step 9: Put the loaded containers back into your refrigerator or freezer. I like to keep my liver balls on ice, as I like fresh bait most of the time for pikeminnow fishing.

 

 

HOW TO RIG

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Step 1: Load your reel with 100 yards of 20- to 30-pound braided line, which helps to detect the bite better.
Step 2: Slide a snap swivel up the braid to clip to a 1- to 6-ounce cannonball, and then add a 6mm rubber bead or other bumper to help minimize metal-to-metal noise.
Step 3: Tie a good barrel swivel to the end of the braid and then attach a 3-foot-long, 20-pound-test leader rigged with a size 4 Gamakatsu hook.
Step 4: Barely hook the liver ball so that the fish will hook itself while biting the bait.
Step 5: Dunk in your favorite marinade and cast away. NS

Rig Of The Month: Estuary Sturg ’n ’Nook Quick-change Set-up

NOTES

Getting a chance to pull off a successful combo fishing trip is very satisfying, but it usually involves such long days and so much gear that it feels daunting to even attempt. This rig simplifies things.

With the rise of a new summer Chinook fishery in the Columbia River estuary just above the AstoriaMegler Bridge, many anglers will be making the trip here this season. But with salmon fishing so concentrated towards the last part of the incoming tide, it will leave many wanting more. Enter the very healthy population of hungry sturgeon roaming these waters this time of year. Retention is closed, but there’s nothing more exhilarating than hooking into multiple fish that will put you and your gear to the test.

No special tackle is needed for sturgeon – your salmon rod and reel will work just fine. And it just so happens that those fresh anchovies you bought for Chinook are a favorite of estuary sturgeon. Check the tides and target diamondsides from low slack and halfway
through the incoming before pulling anchor and making a run to the Washington side above the bridge to fish salmon for the last half of the incoming through high tide. – Andy Schneider

(Andy Schneider)

(Andy Schneider)

Rig Of The Month: Channel Cat Set-Up

Standard operating procedure for plunking for most species that hunker near the bottom is an egg sinker, bead, swivel and long leader to lift your bait out of the weeds, and that’s certainly the case with this channel catfish set-up. However, where it differs is with that 2-inch-long float, which does not go above the sinker, as with eggs or worms under a bobber for stocker trout, but actually in the middle of the leader. While channels have whiskers to find food on the bottom, they also will rise to grab a bait. The float allows for scent to be broadcast more widely than if the bait’s anchored to bottom. –NWS

RotMtemp

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

By Andy Schneider

NOTES
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

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:

ingredients

* 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.steps1and2
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 reclosing 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.

result

THE TALBOT CORKY-YARN RIG is simple, as is my North-central Washington steelheading vest. I like to take just my Pip’s Box and a small components container when I drift fish. I don’t need a tackle box, period.
Enjoy all your new creations with jamming yarn into a Corky. It really makes my rig fish a whole lot better!
If you have any additional questions about this subject, contact me at Don Talbot’s Fishing (509-679 8641; donsfishingguideservice.com). NS

Editor’s note: While the Methow and Okanogan Rivers opened Oct. 15 and the Similkameen River opens Nov. 1, WDFW had not announced a season for the Wenatchee as of press time last month.

Beginner’s Drift Fishing Set-up

NOTES
There are simpler steelheading set-ups – swivel, leader, spoon, for starters – and there are presentations that are all the rage today – floats, er, bobbers and jigs. But perhaps none has accounted for as many winter- and summer-runs over the eons as the ol’ drift fishing set-up. Call it a gateway rig, it’s what many of us started out casting before eventually diversifying our approaches for different waters. With a Corky for floatation and either baited with a hank of yarn doused in scent or loaded up with sand shrimp or a thumbnail-sized chunk of cured eggs, this rig is great for working generally uniform-bottomed sections of river moving at faster than walking speed, especially near certain hatchery zones. Adjust the amount of weight until you’re ticking bottom every second or so. –NWS

RotM

A Better Corky-yarn Rig

beacon

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.

fishrig

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.

hands

A number of bait hooks.

Double Trouble On The Ocean

Ocean salmon can be a very fun, but challenging fishery at times. When conditions finally allow anglers out on the briny blue, it can be tough to locate Chinook and silvers, as well as get them to bite. Good starting points for your search include riplines, near birds and temperature breaks. Move to them and monitor your fishfinder to locate schools of baitfish, then drop your tackle to that depth. The rigs above offer two options for covering the water and feature different approaches for attracting a bite. Keep alternating your speed and course to trigger a bite.

–Andy Schneider

 

ROTM: The Humpy Killin’ Posse

gng

Notes

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.

 

The Lowdown On The Lake Wenatchee Sockeye Slowdown

August is the month for sockeye fishing at Lake Wenatchee. I have been actively participating in this fishery for over 20 years and can say that the techniques have improved dramatically over the past decade.

When I started fishing the Chelan County lake for its red salmon, the secret was to put the leader back 30 feet behind the downrigger ball and use a size “0” dodger with two Gamakatsu 2/0 octopus red hooks tied about an inch apart on 12-pound Maxima line. (Well, secret might be an overstatement as the set-up was very similar to the Lake Washington sockeye rig.) The overall leader length was 18 inches and the boat speed was about 1.2 to 1.5 mph. The bite was over by 9 a.m. and you were lucky to pull any fish afterwards. The typical rod used by anglers was an Ugly Stick that could take a 16-ounce railroad spike as a weight.

One afternoon about 10 years ago I was fishing the west end of the lake with my brother Jim when another boat came our way to check out the fishery. They had never fished Lake Wenatchee for sockeye and asked me how deep we were. I told them that I was marking fish between 60 and 80 feet, but couldn’t get them to bite. They said thank you and proceeded to catch their limit in less than an hour.

I knew that they were professional fishermen from the other side of the mountains and needed to get some information from them. I ran up to their boat after they’d pulled their last fish in and offered to take them out to dinner at the 59er Diner at the US 2-Highway 207 intersection in nearby Coles Corner. They accepted my invitation and I proceeded to grill them on what we’d been doing wrong.

lk2

They laughed at us and said that everyone was using too long of a leader and their troll speed was too high. I asked how long their leader was, and they laughed again and said no longer than the length of their dodger, a size “0,” which measures 8 inches long. When I said “no way,” they took me to their boat and pulled out rods with dodgers still attached. The leader was 8 inches overall. I then asked how fast they’d been going, to which they told me 1.0 to 1.3 mph.

The next morning we caught 24 fish using their techniques and thought that we had mastered the sport.

But it took nine more years of playing around to figure out a way to catch almost twice as many fish in less time.

lk3IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE concept of “maximum action at the slowest trolling speed” after you read this article, then you will know the secret to never having another bad day out on sockeye waters. What follows is the ultimate formula to having more fun fishing for the red-coated and red-meated salmon with ultralight rods and reels at Lake Wenatchee. Heck, it might even work over on Lake Washington, if they open it back up again.

Let’s start with rods and reels. I use kokanee rods for sockeye fishing and they work fantastic for this fishery. I have four 8-foot TICA Kokanee rods connected to four TICA Kokanee reels that I use at Lake Chelan to catch landlocked sockeye. I fill each reel with 30-pound SpiderWire and top it off with 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader. You will not believe this, but I only use 4 feet of leader material; I will explain why later. I attach a nice 100-pound swivel to the end of the leader, and the rod is ready for action.

The dodger is the exact same one as was used 20 years ago, except that I bend it into a banana shape (as shown in the picture on the previous page) to get a ¾-inch overall arc. I use three 2/0 barbless Gamakatsu red hooks tied about ¾ inch apart, and my actual leader length is as short as I physically can tie the loop on the end, as shown on the preceeding page. I use 20-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon to tie all my hook leaders.

Why bend the dodger into a banana shape? The idea is to get maximum hook action at the slowest trolling speed. My trolling speed now is a solid .8 mph on my GPS.

Why fish only 4 feet behind the downrigger ball on a clip that is attached to the downrigger line right above the ball? Brad’s makes a ton of wobblers for attracting salmon to bite. I thought I would try using these wobblers as downrigger ball teasers to attract more sockeye. I attached three of these wobblers on last year’s opener and we landed 28 sockeye in about half a day of fishing. We wanted to see how close we could fish to the teasers and figured that 4 feet was a really good distance to try. The teasers made a huge difference in attracting schools of sockeye to the strike area.

7greatsTHESE ARE THE BIGGEST changes sockeye fishing has experienced in the past 20 years. It is time that you get out and try all these tricks to see how effective you can become out on the water at Lake Wenatchee. I can confidently catch fish any hour of the day here. The morning hours are still prime time, but I had several 20-fish days after 9 a.m. last season using the new techniques.

The greatest thrill in fishing for me is discovering a new technique and sharing it with the rest of the fishing community that is willing to listen. This is the time to apply the “maximum action at the slowest troll speed” with the maximum teaser attraction. Enjoy your massive catches out on the water. NS

BASIN BEACON By Don Talbot
Editor’s note: Formerly a sharpie at Hooked On Toys’ fishing counter, the author is now guiding as Don Talbot’s Fishing (donsfishingguideservice.com; 509-679 8641) and says special half-day guide rates will be in effect for the Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery.