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Thread: Trolling Flasher Questions?

  1. #1
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    Default Trolling Flasher Questions?

    I have been looking around for info on rigging flashers since the only trolling I do is for River Stripers with planer boards......same but different. Any info is appreciated but in particular......For Spring Kings (late May), what kind of rig do you use and what leader length from the flasher do you use? Hook size?

    Any better info than this out there?
    http://www.luhrjensen.com/downloads/...kesFlasher.pdf

    I have some 10" Abe and Al flashers I am bringing with me.....too big? Too small?

    Thanks for the input, P-geek

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    Abe-n-al are likely fine. I'm more familiar with the 11" hotspot and its clones. Some generalities:

    Hoochies - fishy glow or UV colors, 3.5" octopus size, single ~3/0 stainless siwash crimped to barrel swivel or bead chain then spaced with beads to where bend of hook rides at end of hoochie, 40-60# leader (stiffness lends good action), leader length equal to 3 flasher lengths. Leaders short by necessity - flasher gives the hoochie its action. Troll 2mph +.

    Spoons - up to coyote 5.0 size or so, 30-40lb leader, leader length can vary from 3 flasher lengths to over 7 feet. I start long. Too big a lure will kill the flasher action. Fish bigger lures by rigging a dummy flasher (by itself) off the cannonball and clipping a separate release line to your wire 6-8' above the ball.

    Bait - helmeted anchovy or herring - leader length of 5-8+ feet. Cut plug usually has to be trolled slower than the hotspot type flashers like to work, so substitute a big herring dodger instead. Big bait will kill the action of a too-small dodger.

    Flashers drag a lot in the water, and that works both ways. If you hook a big hot king with a 30# leader and a full size hotspot type flasher, you probably break off the fish. Newer flashers that decouple at the back fix that - see Jim's Break-a-way or Qcove flashers for that. I've not tried them but will this summer.

    Run the flasher 15-20 feet back from your downrigger release.

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    Vek pretty much covered it.

    One thing about Abe and Als. Some fish better than others. Get about 5, and figure out which ones will fish for you. I think it's the angle of the bend and the "thump" it gives off. Some guys say that they fish better turning clockwise. If you let it out and it turns the other way, give the line a yank and get it spinning in the right direction. Rule of thumb for leader length is 2.5 wraps around the flasher, lengthwise. I don't fish many Abe and Als anymore because I'll find one that catches kings like crazy, and then one day it'll stop turning for me.

    11" Hotspots are pretty much all I use anymore. 34", 100lb leader, 7/0 hooks, hoochie. When using light gear, 34" leader, double 4/0 or 3/0 hooks, 30lb test.

    Very good success on the coyotes vek was talking about. I had a few big fish straighten the hook out though, so I stopped using them. Some years they pound those 4/0 green/glow coyotes behind an 11" flasher.

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    My go-to setup for downriggers for spring kings is an Abe&Al #2 trolling a whole herring. I usually run a 40-44", 40# leader with solid tied 5/0 or 6/0 Gama Octo***** hooks.

    Troll slow with the flasher "wagging", not spinning. 20-40' is my norm for Taku River kings.

    Hot spots are not compatable with Abe&Al's. I run Hot Spots more in the summer and down a lot deeper for kings.

    I prefer bigger hootchies - 4.5" min. I will run magnums (6") [bigger the bait, bigger the fish, right?] Use a strip of herring as much as possible.

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    On the little spoons - google captain downriggins - he shows how to change up the back end a bit. In particular, add a split ring to the spoon back if not there already, crimp your slightly-heavier-than-factory stainless siwash hook to an appropriately sized barrel swivel (100# or 150# size), and thread the other end of the barrel swivel on the split ring. The little thin delicate spoons will last longer as they're decoupled from the fish a bit by the swivel, and the fish can't use the spoon to lever out the hook, and the heavier hook resists straightening. The factory coyote hooks are pretty marginal.

    I do this on spoons up to about the size of a 6.0 coyote. Bigger than that, I just use a big ol' stainless siwash on the spoons solid rear ring and give'er 'ell.

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    Default Glad I Found This Site!!!

    Hey......I appreciate the effort that you guys have put in to your response. Those answers have some "meat on the bone" and that at the least takes time to write up even if you have it all committed to memory.

    If this helps in your responses, we are going to be using light"er" tackle and at this time my thoughts are that we will try to catch Herring to use.......buy as a last resort. I do not know enough I guess at this time to have a preference - plug cut or whole? Heck....for that matter I do not have a preference of "fake bait" over the real thing. I think I will start a thread on that topic if I can not find one in the search function.

    I have a lot of info to research that you guys provided but I do have a few questions as well --

    1. Hoochies - I am going to buy some for Halibut fishing. I have seen 3.5" up to 6" mentioned. Is there one that I could use for both Halibut and Trolling? The wife says I am not cheap....I guess I believe her but I am just looking to see if there is a "double duty" size/color because when I buy a couple packs I will then have more than I will probably ever use. Do you put anything solid (like a bead or something) in the head of a Hoochie?

    2. Bait - What is considered a "big" Herring? I have seen the helmets (Salmon Killers, FBR(?sp), etc.) Are those suggested over rigging the herring just by itself?

    3. Leader - Talking about rigging bait......what determines if I have a leader 34" or 7 feet? The type of bite that day (shy v. aggressive)? Amount of current? Water clarity? All of the above? It is that wide range in length that really made me start this thread.

    4. Flasher - If I "wag' the flasher do I still want the Herring to spin? My research has shown that green is a popular color in general....would this be the case for a flasher as well? If I get some Hotspots what would the top 3 colors for Cook Inlet be?

    5. How long? - How long do you troll with no bites/fish before you decide to shorten the leader?

    6. Spoons - Very interesting.....I am going to look in to these more.

    Trying not to wear you out.......99 days to go!

    Thanks, P-geek

    P.S. I hope I get the chance to straighten a hook......but not two!

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    I think you could successfully troll fresh herring in a helmet, but not cut-plugged as the leading edge of the bait will blow out. Frozen/commercial herring on a tray is starved before killing/packaging (reduces "belly burn"), and you typically brine the herring to toughen it up for cut plugging, but not always. Mooching is another story - a slow mooched cut-plugged fresh herring should be pretty doggone deadly.

    Others may disagree, but for me, a rolling bait, be it cut plug herring or herring/anchovy in a helmet, rolls real close to on its axis (like a drill bit), with maybe a slight wobble off axis a bit. Not like a pinwheel or windmill. Not like a big 1' diameter barrel roll. Just flip-flip-flip-flip-flip. Again, others may disagree.

    A bait that's not rolling, to me, is not fishing. Others may disagree. I've never tried cable baiters or commercial-type choked herring rigs - I suppose those run pretty straight without rolling.

    Err on the long side for bait leader. If running good-size herring, consider running flasher-less for a bit. Consider also that it could be a guy's life's work to get a herring to roll right. For cut plugging, there are some good links at Seattle's KIRO radio sports line - Rob Endsley's writings in particular.

    Troll a 3.5" octopus hoochy close to a halibut and you'll likely get bit. We finessed a 70-lb halibut to the boat on a flasher/coyote combo, and he came up from 70' to 25' to hit it. Dedicated halibut lures are much bigger.

    If you want a place to start for hoochies, get the golden bait OAL12R and go from there. Catch a fish, cut him open, then match the hatch with whatever else you got.

  9. #9

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    Old school trollers would swear by a herring that didn't roll. If you did it perfectly, it would dart/wobble behind the flasher. I'm not good enough to rig it right, so I don't do it. It's becoming a lost art. I'll choke a herring that spins, and I've caught a ton of kings that way. Sometimes I'll shove a toothpick down it's throat to get a wider roll, rather than a frantic twist. I honestly don't know if one works better than the other. If you get over fish that are feeding, you're gonna catch some fish. I've caught plenty running them naked too. (sans flasher) As far as leader length with herring, I run the shortest leader I can, while still allowing the flasher to spin. With larger greens, it takes a pretty long leader.

    So Vek is a purple haze guy.. I'm a o39r fisherman.. 3.5" behind a 11" chart hot spot flasher.

    Bait Busters also can work very very well, and seem to have a knack for getting big kings to bite. I don't fish them much anymore, but I've done extremely well on them.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiksgeek View Post

    5. How long? - How long do you troll with no bites/fish before you decide to shorten the leader?
    Keep and eye on other boats. Bring binos. If nets are waving, and your's isn't, start changing stuff up. If somebody is out fishing you, watch closely if they are using bait, flashers, hoochies, etc. Again, bring binos. It's fishing, you are supposed to be ruthless. (grin) It's also vital to know how to read your sounder too. If you are going over kings, and they aren't biting, start changing stuff up. Or, wait till the tide slows down, and it often goes wide open as those fish start feeding.

  11. #11

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    11" Hot Spot flasher with the "e-chip" and about 30" of leader back to a Tsunami 6" "glow" squid rigged with a needle sharp treble hook is deadly.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Default Covert Ops....!

    A few more questions...

    270ti - I am bringing the binoc's anyway so I will take them on the boat for sure......By any means necessary! Makes perfect sense to me......I take it you do not use any "helmets"?

    Vek - I have been watching the Youtube videos and reading up on cut plug techniques.....seems straight forward enough. I am willing to try anything but this may not be first thing. I think am settling in on some of the helmets if for no other reason to save time and have bait in the water longer........and that "life's work" comment you made -

    Muttley - talk to me about the e-chip. Looking at it, it does not appear to have a middle ground. Either people swear by it or people write it off as "hokey" nonsense. You obviously use it but do you think it increases the chances that much? Because I am looking to get a few more flashers. In particular the "Jim's Breakaways" that Vek told me about (the color selection is great on those) or the Hot Spots because they seem to be the most popular and appear to have the history to back it up. Do you buy the Hot Spots already with the e-chip or do you mount it yourself? Can you buy the e-chips separately?

    As far as colors go.....I see Purple Haze mentioned a lot so it has made it has already made it on my wish list...C28R, OAL12R, OA12R, GBOA12R, A12R, DG55, OG152R, OGL152R and now O39R........not all will make the cut but this is the list I have compiled to date. Recommendations welcomed......

    Thanks Again, P-geek

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    I am big on a green, red and silver flasher follwed by an FBR with a herring. Also a blue dolphin or green dolphin spoon is deadly as well. I like to run spoons behind a dipsey diver

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    I've used the Bechold cream colored 11" for the most success, followed by his green one. 48" 80# leader threaded through green tray troll herring. Gamakatsu 2/0 treble. I usually brine the trollers and change up often.

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    For illustration purposes (from a photo print)



    Must have been end of June as I got a chromer chumpy also.

    I solid tie with both hooks on the same side for herring setups. I like the Tom Brown green for a whole. No toothpicks, helmets, wires or other such nonsense. I learned how to tie with a mono loop around the mouth to hold it closed. Never met another fisherman who knows this technique. Learned from a Puget Sound guy. I'm sure someone else in Alaska knows it.

    I stagger the hook eyes on hootchie leaders. Usually used two stack on each other. A couple of plastic beads on top of the hooks to hold them down lower on the body.

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    L.G. - Nice Pic.......Do you have a tutorial for tying a loop around the mouth? I take it that the leader in the pic is for Herring? Or am I misinterpreting "stagger the hook eyes on hootchie leaders"? I see they are on the same side and that statement makes me thing they would be closer together?

    Thanks, P-geek

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    That's a herring leader.

    Place whole herring in left hand, head towards fingers, belly down towards pinky. Insert both hooks thru soft tissue slightly under and just behind the eyes. Loop leader one full revolution over the lower jaw first. Place both hooks in the side of bait with the correct bend to make it roll. tighten leader so loop closes around mouth. Sometimes, I will just leave it with no bend and let the flashers make it dart around. 42" to 44" is about right for the Abe & Al #2.

    The flash and vibration beats the Hot Spot hands down for slow spring trolling IMO.

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    I read all this and my head aches Just put a slip bobber on (use a pill bottle or wine cork if you don't have one) set it about 40' to begin with, and put a herring on a double hook solid tie rig any way you want, tail up or down, cut the head off or leave it, but make sure you are in the middle of all the boats trolling around. Their little wakes will make just the right jiggle on the bobber/bait. You will catch just as many while you relax with your honey, or a beer, or entertain your kids, or take a nap with a bell on your rod tip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    I read all this and my head aches Just put a slip bobber on (use a pill bottle or wine cork if you don't have one) set it about 40' to begin with, and put a herring on a double hook solid tie rig any way you want, tail up or down, cut the head off or leave it, but make sure you are in the middle of all the boats trolling around. Their little wakes will make just the right jiggle on the bobber/bait. You will catch just as many while you relax with your honey, or a beer, or entertain your kids, or take a nap with a bell on your rod tip
    HAH.......here I been Nuke'n it. That is brilliant! Question....do you anchor? or drift using this technique?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiksgeek View Post

    Muttley - talk to me about the e-chip. Looking at it, it does not appear to have a middle ground. Either people swear by it or people write it off as "hokey" nonsense. You obviously use it but do you think it increases the chances that much? Because I am looking to get a few more flashers. In particular the "Jim's Breakaways" that Vek told me about (the color selection is great on those) or the Hot Spots because they seem to be the most popular and appear to have the history to back it up. Do you buy the Hot Spots already with the e-chip or do you mount it yourself? Can you buy the e-chips separately?
    I swear by them. I have fished non-e-chip flashers on one side and e-chip flashers on the other and the ratio of e-chip to non-e-chip seems to be about 10 to 1. They don't cost any more than most other flashers so even if the e-chip is just a gimmick as some people think, you're not paying any more for it. And they come with it attached. And you can buy them separately to hook up to other lures or bait. And I also think the fin that they have on them gives them perfect rolling action that I've had trouble duplicating with flashers without the little fin on the back.

    If this counts at all, every single picture you've ever seen of me holding a king (including my profile picture) was caught with one.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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