If you’ve ever fished for spring Chinook, you know that they’re straight-up kookey. Sometimes, they’ll bite like piranhas and other times…you can’t buy a bite to save your life.
When the chips are down and the bite’s off, I go the vault and bust out one of my favorite tricks: pulling micro plugs.
I’m not sure why the like ’em, but springers will somtimes go absolutely nuts for dinky plugs like size 50 Hot Shots and the old school Storm Pee Wee Warts (before the Rapala fiasco).
The copper and chrome/chartreuse bill Pee Wees are my two all-time favorite springer plugs, but,
they’re no longer available and I’m clinging dearly to my last handful. In the Hot Shot department, I run mainly silver, gold and copper models (when I can find them).
It seems odd that 30-pound spring Chinook will devour such tiny plugs, but you’ve just got to trust me on this one. Remember, springers themselves are strange birds, so don’t over-think anything. Just hang with me here and give it a try. I think micro plugs work so well because they’ve got enough wiggle to attract the attention of salmon — yet not so much to spook them.
Of course, you have to scale everything back to make this technique work. First off, I switch out all the factory hooks on my micro wigglers with no. 4 Gamakatsu single siwash hooks. I know, hooks that small look like they’re for bluegill but they’re remarkably strong and hold better than you’d expect. Go any larger and the lure just won’t fish right. You also need to run a micro barrel swivel between the lure and the hook to make the rig work properly and scale down your tackle. i.e.: a softer tipped rod and cobweb-like braid.
When you hook up, say three Hail Mary’s and hag on! You’ll lose more than you land this way, but it’s better than not getting bit, right?
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