With winter steelheading in full force along the West Coast and portions of the Great Lakes right now, it’s time to talk plugging!
Backtrolling plugs such as Hot Shots, Wiggle Warts, FatFish, Tad Pollies and the like is extremely deadly at times and is a great way to get inexperienced or young anglers who don’t cast well into some fish.
Plus, when a steelhead tries to atomize your lure, it almost looks like somebody dropped a FedEx truck from 10,000 feet onto your rod tip. Of course, I’m not sure why (or how) somebody would try to pull that stunt, but you get the idea…plug bites are insane!
We could go on and on about plugging, but this time around, let’s just cover color selection. As with any type of fishing, there are zillions of colors available to you and it can be pretty intimidating to try to figure out which ones to throw in the box.
Keep in mind that most of the fancy paint jobs are designed to “lure” your credit card out of your wallet — and not so much to catch fish. You can really keep things simple by going with a few basic styles. Though I still have about 10 pounds of plugs sporting countless color schemes in my box at all times, I use 3 colors most of the time:
Copper, silver and gold.
Those 3 will cover just about every situation you’ll encounter. To add some variety to my stripped-down kit, however, I’ll take about half of the new plugs I buy and leave them in a clear plastic box where they’re sure to get some sun. Over the course of time, the sun will tone down the factory paint jobs so that I’ll end up with slightly different shades of the “big 3”.
If you just can’t stand to only have 3 plug colors in your box, try throwing in a few “cop car” models, some silver/orange and silver/blue pirate and green/gold pirate.
tim milan says
I find that no matter what color the fish seem to want that day there needs to be some additional painting to the lure before it hits the water. I always place a small orange dot on the belly where the bill meets the body of the plug. Consistantly hook up multiple fish at one time.
Fred contaoi says
The Hot shot 50 is an excellent choice for picky or pressured steelies. I will have to say the vintage Pee Wee by the former Storm company is hands down my favorite plug. It is small and stable. Free from rattles and has a wiggle that will get bit like no other. I suggest removing the trebles and putting a #10 Sampo crane swivel on the front split ring and add a #6 Gamakatsu siwash hook to it. Make sure and leave the back split ring on with no hook (the added weight of the rear split ring balances the plug. The later immitations of the Pee Wee however are not the same and will leave you frustrated as they are very unstable and just don’t run well.
Don Brier says
Can’t beat a size 50 gold w/a #4 siwash trailing. Smash City !!!