Sporadic Movement = More Springers | Story & Photos by Scott Haugen
If you think about what catches salmon, it comes down to smell, sight, and sound.
Cured eggs are some of the best scent-delivery packages there are when talking springers. Add even more color and movement by topping the eggs with a drift bobber.
For added movement of a round Corky, drill a hole to offset it’s position, then thread the leader through. For even more movement, run a strip of yarn through another hole, about 90º to the first.
Some plugs, lures, and spinners offer bling along with sound.
Vibrations can be very important in stimulating salmon into biting, and the creators of such gear are well aware of this importance.
In the 1970s plug fishing reached its height in the salmon fishing world.
Ask many seasoned plug anglers why they liked their favorite plug so much, and they’ll give a simple answer: the action.
It’s this sort of movement that experienced salmon anglers know makes a difference in boosting catch rates. All it takes is a little something extra to catch the attention of a salmon and entice it into biting.
Salmon are voracious predators when living in the ocean and much of their feeding instincts are triggered by the visual acquisition of baitfish, especially crippled baitfish. Crippled baitfish means an easy meal. This is where the erratic movement of plugs, baits and drift bobbers come in, for if they simulate a crippled food source, that’s often all that’s needed to trigger the reactionary strike of a salmon.
Drift bobbers serve the obvious purposes of adding color to a presentation while keeping the bait off the bottom. There are various styles of drift bobbers, with the Lil’ Corky being the most popular. Other drift bobbers twirl and dart about. In addition to adding color and buoyancy, spinning drift bobbers offer rotating action, an appealing quality salmon love.
A good friend and salmon fishing legend, Buzz Ramsey, shared how drift bobber fanatics used to routinely stop by the Yakima Bait Co. factory, looking for seconds on Corkies. “What they wanted were Corkies with offset holes, a feature that added movement to them,” Ramsey noted. Today, Corkies are made of special foam, and due to precision tooling, rarely will you find a factory-made Lil’ Corky with an off-centered hole.
It’s easy to make an offset hole, yourself. This can be done by gently securing a Corky in pliers and drilling a small hole all the way through, slightly off-center.
On winged drift bobbers, try creating movement by removing one wing so the spinning action becomes more pronounced. This usually works best on the stiffer, mylar-winged spinning drift bobbers.
Many seasoned plug anglers I know still have their ol’ favorites hanging in the garage. On many, the paint has been worn off due to excessive fish hits. But they still catch fish. Why? It comes down to the action.
Top plug anglers were more interested in finding plugs that had erratic actions than ones with fancy paint jobs. Mind you, erratic action is not the same as a plug being out of tune. Enter the Mag Lip and Hawg Nose Flatfish.
Hawg Nose Flatfish and Mag Lip have made a big impression impact in the salmon world. Plug fishermen know the value of sporadic movement, and these plugs have it.
“We call it a skip-beat action,” shares Ramsey, speaking of the two plugs crafted by Worden’s Lures. “These plugs are tediously designed to mimic the highly desired, precise, yet sporadic movement that catches the attention of fish. They’re designed to run with an occasional darting movement, but not to the degree it will warp the plug out of tune.”
If fishing plugs without a skip-beat action, one trick to introduce movement is to pop the rod tip so it moves a couple of feet. This pulls the line tight, then quickly relaxes it, giving the plug sporadic movement.
Some anglers will release their bail, allowing the plug to start floating, then snap it shut and reel in the slack so the plug quickly dives.
If casting and retrieving plugs, do so in sporadic bursts, not always at a constant rate. This will cause the plug to move up and down, maybe even side-to-side. If trolling plugs, try zig-zagging back and forth to add action.
While some gear is designed to move in sporadic fashion, some aren’t, which means you have to make it move in a non-rhythmic manner if that’s a goal. Take spinner fishing, for instance. If wanting to create movement, try fishing with a relaxed wrist when working fast current.
Let the spinner work in the natural current, don’t force it through. This will allow the hardware to fall back and slow down, an action that mimics an injured baitfish.
Another way to add movement to spinners, especially those being trolled, is to thread a series of Lil’ Corkies on to the wireframe. Of course, you have to make your own spinners to achieve this, but many folks do it.
Scott Haugen relied on a Spin-N-Glo to pull this springer from an upper tributary
When drift fishing, often times the strike comes at the bottom end of the drift.
This could be due to the fact that as we let line out to increase the amount of water being covered, the bait drops closer to the bottom. Then, when we take the belly out of the line, the bait moves back up. This action can very effective in getting strikes.
No matter how you’re fishing for springers, consider shaking things up by adding movement to your gear. In addition to smell and sound, movement plays a big part in attracting the attention of fish, something that will put more springers in the box.
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