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Thread: Silver Salmon Rigs For PWS

  1. #1

    Default Silver Salmon Rigs For PWS

    It sounds like silvers will be a targeted fish in the next month or so and I'd like to be ready for them a little early.

    We just started fishing Prince William Sound this summer. Been out about 5-6 times so far and have caught rock fish, shrimp, and even a couple of halibut. We are co-owners on a 28 foot bayliner and have really enjoyed checking out the Sound with our two families. The boat is equipped with Raymarine electronics. Ocean fishing for salmon is a bit new to me. I have caught 99% of my salmon in fresh water over the years. Mostly fly fishing.

    We have four pretty decent outfits for salmon. They are Uglystick down rigger rods with Shamano baitcaster reels. I had them strung up with mono from B&J Commercial. We don't have down riggers yet on our boat. That's probably a next year purchase because we've spent thousands already getting other things.

    My questions:

    What are the basic set ups for catching silvers in PWS?

    Weights? Bait? Hooks? Spoons? Jigs? etc.

    How deep do you fish? Does one look for bait balls?

    Any tips would be appreciated.


    Last edited by AKGunner; 06-26-2009 at 11:13. Reason: I never get it right the first time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Lacking downriggers, here are some rigs to try. For trolling, with four rods, I'd run two rods with divers (pink lady or deep six or equal), and two flatlined on top with a little weight.

    On the diver rods, I'd use any of a number of lures, but start first with a green/silver or red/silver 8" hotspot-type flasher, a 24" leader, and a fishy-colored hoochie (darkish top, lightish bottom). Decorate the hoochie with a twinkle skirt if you like. Space the hoochie up from the hook(s) so that the hook bend is at or slightly behind the end of the hoochie. Google Captain Downriggins for more ideas on hoochies, and pay particular attention to his leader weight (40# plus to give action from flasher) and hook placement (way back of hoochie). Most of his components can be sourced pretty easily at B&Js or Mountain View.

    3.5, 4.0, and 5.0 coyote spoons work fine as well, alone or with flasher. As do Apex lures, up to and including the really long skinny size. For whatever reason, a real obnoxious color combo of chrome with a green prism sticker on the biggest apex did real well for us last year out of Seward.

    On the shallow rods, you can run a light weight (2-6 oz) with a long leader (6' or more) and a coyote or apex, or run no weight and a 4" tomic plug. The flatlined tomic worked well for us outside main bay a couple years ago.

    If the fishing is busy, you'll find that keeping more than two rods in the water while trolling is challenging...

    If you get downriggers, that's a whole nuther ball of wax. The same general lure selection applies, but you can bump up the flasher size to 11" to run in front of hoochies. Also, 5" tomic plugs are a bit big to flatline, but trolled a little deeper on a downrigger (75' or more) will get big silvers and other, bigger surprise species of salmon and bottomfish...

    If you get into a lot of fish, you can mooch with herring (cut plug and a 4-6 oz weight, 6' leader length) or jigs. When mooching herring, use wind or kicker motor to move boat such that your line angle is 60į off horizontal or thereabouts. Work the herring up and down in the water column slowly, just fast enough that it will roll on its axis (like a drill bit). If it rolls like a windmill or propeller, adjust cut angle and front hook placement. I like poking the front hook up from the gut cavity through the thickest part of the fish's back, on either side of the spine. If using jigs (Pt. Wilson Dart, Luhr Jensen Stinger, or Krippled Herring, or similar), find fish on sounder and jig in their neighborhood. Move boat slower than mooching. This can work very well.

    Use 20# leader for anything that's trolled without a flasher, 40# on anything trolled behind a flasher. If a king hits a lure behind the flasher, the flasher adds a huge amount of drag and you risk breaking off with less than 40#.

  3. #3
    Member Xanfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    I like to keep it simple.

    Banana weight, 6'-8' leader with cut plug herring. Adjust your depth with the weight. No flasher, no diver, maybe a hoochie to change things up a bit. Make sure you get the proper cut on the herring as this is your only attractant. You want a tight roll.

    I came to this realization when after tying up a setup that included what seemed to be 40 knots and $20 worth of gear, I proceeded to hook into a nice fatty after about a minute of trolling, the Coho Culprit made a blistering run taking me deep into my line that suddenly bound up and POW, broke off. I vowed right then and there never again will I tie that many knots.

    My life is so much easier (and cheaper) now.

    Oh and I still catch just as many fish as before. Might have to work a little harder to find em, but all in all works great for me.

  4. #4

    Smile Thanks for the tips

    You've given me a great start to head over to B&J Commercial.


  5. #5

    Default Way Simple but effective!

    Line with latch swivel-->
    Diver with 14" --line-- with latch swivel-->, with 4 people 2 with 2 without.
    Flasher with 14"--- line-- with latch swivel-->
    Banana weight
    <-- latch swivel------ 18"line ------- hoochie--double hook rig.
    Whole heering top hook up thru jaw thru top of head, bottom one run thru tail area.
    Now thats how I rig them up so they attach to my rigging rack with the latching swivels, weight can change but everything else is all pre-tied and hanging behind cabin door rigging rack. All the same lengths.

    Now there is one more trick in how to troll this, that so far (after 20 years has always produced silver in the PWS.
    hint; > shows direction of latch.

  6. #6
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I have had fantastic results with chrome buzz bombs. I have jigged them, trolled them, and cast them. In fact, I use them for about everything out in the sound. If I plan on trolling specifically, I will use silver apex lures, but always have one rod rigged with a buzz bomb.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  7. #7
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    um... Wasilla...
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

  8. #8
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Fairbanks, AK


    Catching silvers in PWS is the easiest and most productive fishing I have done in Alaska. After a couple of days the main question is how much fish do you really want to keep. We have caught fish with bare hooks not even in the water while dealing with the fish we just caught. I have even heard reliable accounts of fish jumping into smaller boats chasing after bait that was being reeled in.


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