First off, let’s get you rigged up. Here’s a good basic rig to use as a foundation:
- Tie a snap swivel to the end of your main line.
- To the snap, attach either a piece of pencil lead or a Slinky weight
- To the other eye of the swivel, run an 18- to 36-inch leader with one or two 1/0-4/0 octopus-style bait hooks. (The roe is fastened to the forward hook via an egg loop snell, which you can learn to tie in a video on this very website).
Most king anglers also like to add a driftbobber – such as a Spin-N-Glo, Cheater or Lil’ Corky – to their line just above the hooks to add buoyancy, action and a splash of color to the bait.
Use an 8.5- to 10-foot rod rated up to 20-pound line and, as far as reels go, I prefer baitcasters, but you can also start with spinning tackle if you’re more comfortable with it. The line and leaders you’ll use will be based upon the conditions, but keep in mind kings are generally not all that leader shy.
When you’re baited up and ready, make a cast straight out from your position — don’t throw too far upstream as you’ll get snagged too easily. The key here is to use just enough weight to keep your rig moving downstream, tap-tap-taping on the rocks the entire way. The bait will travel along the bottom in downstream arc and end up straight downstream of your position in most cases. At that, point crank up and cast again.
When a king picks up your eggs, the first thing you’ll normally notice is the fact that you sinker has stopped ticking the bottom. That’s usually followed by the rod tip loading up and several strong head shakes from the fish – at that point, you had better set the hook before he lets go of your bait.
Good luck and happy drifting. Oh yea, be sure to change that bait as soon as it starts looking washed out!