Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition 3813 June 7-21 2019 - Page 17

HOW TO... VOL.38 • ISS. 13 June 7 - 21, 2019 15 Tips For Charter Boat Trolling Success < For most of us our best chance to get a limit of big beautiful ocean run kings like the fish we see here being held up by Capt. Joey Gallia of New Easy Rider Sportfishing, is to jump aboard a charter boat. presents I Get Your Troll On For Ocean Kings t’s that time again. The saltwater fishing season is underway, halibut and bass are showing in San Francisco Bay. Along the coast lingcod and rockfish are on the chomp and oh yes there are salmon on the prowl too. So far the salmon bite has been very good, primarily to the south of the Golden Gate and as spring gives way to summer things should get even better as the fish move north. Preparation is the key for fishing success whether we are talking about bluegill in Uncle Bob’s pond or yellowfin tuna from the deck of a long range boat, so let’s take a little time to go over what makes for a successful day of charter boat salmon fishing. For the salmon virgins, out there much of the stuff I’m about to unravel represents uncharted territory. The old salts among our ranks can consider it a review. Here we go! Most of the salmon caught on Golden State charter boats are hooked while trolling. The way we troll from large charter boats here in northern California is as ingenious as it is primitive. We troll with large round sinkers that weigh from 16 to 48 ounces attached to our lines. These sinkers fall off when a salmon is hooked via a spring-loaded sinker release. It’s somewhat like a primitive form of downrigger fishing, except that the weight is attached to your line instead of a downrigger cable and is lost with each hookup. This approach is ingenious because it allows 20 to 30 anglers to troll from a single boat. It’s primitive because it’s a method we’ve been using for the past four decades that I can remember and probably a lot longer than that! When I go salmon trolling I like to bring a pair of rods, one lighter rod spooled up with mono and a heavier rig spooled up with 65-pound braid. If the salmon are shallow, say from the surface to 30 feet, the mono rod is preferred. Deeper than 30 I run with the braid. My all time favorite mono rod is a classic 7’ E-Glass Fenwick Pacific Stick teamed with a Penn 320 GTI reel spooled with 25 pound line. This outfit is responsive and powerful, yet forgiving enough to cushion the headshakes and surges of a husky king. My braid rig is a heavier albacore rod teamed with a Penn Baja Special reel spool with 65-pound braid. This rig sacrifices forgiveness, but since the braid cuts through the water much more easily than mono, it allows me to get much deeper than I ever could with a traditional mono rig. Playing fish and wearing them down is noble, but I’ve got to say that from years of observation I’ve noted that the longer a salmon is played the better the chance that it will toss the hook. When I hook fish with my mono rig I play them fairly conservatively, yet when I hook a fish on my powerful braid outfit I’m much more aggressive. The rig gives me the power to get the fishing moving my way and I do everything in my power to basically strong arm the fish to the back of the boat. Contrary to what you might expect, I’ve yet to pull the hook out of the mouth of a salmon using this aggressive approach. Sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I want to play with this salmon or do I want to eat him?” The heart of any charter boat trolling rig is the sinker release, which you attach to the end of your main line. The most widely known sinker release is the copper tube variety called the “dog whistle”, since it looks like a silent dog FISH SNIFFER HOW – TO ^ Here we see author Cal Kellogg’s heavy salmon trolling rig. The reel is a PENN 4/0 Baja Special spooled with 65-pound braid and the rod is a heavy weight Shakespeare Tiger Stik. This rod is heavy enough for tuna fishing. That power allows Cal to get deep using heavy weights and to land salmon quickly when a hook up occurs by Cal Kellogg ^ Plugs, spoons and hoochies work well at times, but the bread and butter bait for catching kings along the Norcal coast is a rigged anchovy or herring. Most days, natural bait is the best choice for maximizing your chances of hooking up. < When you hook a salmon on a charter boat listen closely to the deckhand and follow his instructions. The crew wants you to catch fish and they know what it takes to put kings in the fish box! CONTINUED ON PG 23