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.
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
• Five containers of chicken livers
• Five packs of Spawn Net
• Two packs of Miracle Thread
Step 2: Cut the Spawn Net up into squares. Each pack makes 50 to 60 squares.
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.
Step 5: Grab and twist the four corners of the netting together around the liver.
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.
Step 8: Marinate with your favorite fish oil – this is one of my secret weapons! I use Super Dipping Sauce in garlic scent.
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
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
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
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 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.
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.