Earlier this summer, I touched on some of the basics of trolling with Super Baits and Pro-Troll Flashers. Since then, I’ve had a chance to learn more from those that are developing the technique as well as refine it for myself. Let’s talk about a few of those items that we can hone our Super Bait game with.
Speed control is an important factor, but it’s not ‘speed over ground’ that matters. In fact it’s not always about your speed against the current either. Rather what‘s important is line angle, and the speed at which your flasher is turning. What makes this technique effective is the action imparted to your lure of choice by the flasher. Too slow, and the flasher won’t produce the solid thumping action that entices Salmon, too fast and it will spin out of control. I like to keep that rod tip thumping at a rhythm of just over one beat per second but don’t hesitate to play around with your speed and see what the fish like that day.
Rod length should be 9’6” or greater, but a 10’6” rod with a strong backbone and soft tip and mid section really shines here. A short ‘pool cue’ rod doesn’t have the give that is needed to allow the flasher to work properly.
In my last blog on this I mentioned that the length of the leader from the swivel to flasher should be around 24”. This still definitely works, but some of the noted guides refining this tactic such as TJ Hester and Cameron Black have shown that these intermediate leaders can be as short as 16 or even 12 inches. The reasoning is that the shorter bumper will produce a quicker ‘snap’ than a longer one will. It seems that 20” makes for a good starting point and one can play with different lengths from there.
For packing your Super Baits its seems that Tuna is the undisputed champion. But keep on hand some additives such as Sardine, Anise, Krill, or other scents that can set you apart from the fleet and trigger a bite. Garlic is popular for the upper Columbia, but tends not to work as well in the lower river.
When it comes to locating fish, covering ground is the name of the game. Since Salmon are on the move through the lower river any stretch of the Columbia can produce at a given time. Find a water depth that you feel will have Salmon in it given the tide and time of day then fish it. It also never hurts to have several buddies along with in order to stagger your lines and find the depth that is producing. When in doubt, troll the channel.
Having good electronics will pay big dividends when tracking down your quarry. This will help you dial in not only how deep you should fishing but more importantly whether or not there are fish in the area. As thick as the fish seem to be this time of year one often doesn’t have to travel far between schools of fish. As a result it isn’t out of the question to simply choose a starting point and make one continuous pass for the duration of the day. That said if you have a stretch where you’re getting bit consistently then it goes dead, it stands to reason that the smart move is to run back up and make another pass through the water that produced.
I want to thank everyone that has read and shared my blog over the past two-plus years, along with Kevin and the team at CSNNW. The time has come for me to move on to other pursuits. It has been a lot of fun to share whatever knowledge I may have soaked up from people in the industry such as Jack and Brandon Glass, Rob Brown, and countless other outdoor writers and fisherman who I share this passion with. Good luck, be safe, and tight lines everyone.