X2 John, you nailed it Salmon 101No need for Haterade .
Anyways...I still troll with my trusty Calstar 700M. Gets it done. Any old reel with mechanical dogs will get it done. No need to beat up the AR bearing of your fancy caster trolling heavy lead. Salmon pound for pound are the pussies of the sea so you need practically nothing for drag. Though you will get a hot dog once in a while.
Mooching is always easier with 8' *very* light rods (like 8-15lb rated) as the bite seriously is so light it is nearly impossible to tell between a 30lber and a 1/2lb Kingfish...think fishing for trout on a big lake. The lighter softer sticks (they do make them out of graphite, basically lami steelhead rods) help you stay connected when you are fishing barbless circles and pick up the bite. Moving the bait up and down in the water column can be the key to getting bit. I fish long leaders mooching (like 8') hoping the fish doesn't notice the 6-8oz of lead and preventing the boat from moving the bait too much. Works for me, YMMV.
Braid straight to the sinker. Gets you down faster in heavy current.
Scents, have tried them and people next to me using none have outfished me. If you have the wrong one it will turn them off it seems. Have tried ProCure chovie, krill and squid.
They key to catching is not horsing them in and not letting the fish break the surface when at boatside until you are totally ready to net them. They generally come to the boat incredibly easy until that point then a lot of thrashing and panic ensues...most fish are lost at this point. Remember, soft hands holding the rod. When everyone is ready you want a smooth lift the last few feet to the net then you get 'em before they know what is coming.
After that I am an apex guy for trolling. Green, watermelon, smoke are my faves. Never stuck with trolling bait enough to know if it is better or not. Hoochies work, as above.
1. Quality electronics if you are off on your own to find bait balls. The Salmon are not far from bait. Sometimes the bait is in the mud or near the surface. This is where your hook needs to be.
2. Find the fleet if they are catching. This is the poor mans way to put meat on the table. It might be a zoo but can be the difference between a smelly black and white kitty scent + expensive boat ride versus fantastic eats and a hero's welcome at home even if you do smell like the bait bucket. Done it in a skiff from Capitola a little farther from the pier than they might have liked .
If you find them, you catch them like pretty much any other SW fish. Don't leave fish to find fish thinking you will get bigger/more. The smaller fish are truly the best eating.
Hello John; Nice write up, some good points made. On the Apexs, the leader material from the factory is CRAP!!!....change that out immediately, switch the hook to a better quality, thinner gauge, smaller size, the LESS weight of the hook the MORE action imparted to the Apex. I look for bait balls then "Try" & find bait ball that show Salmon are attacking/feeding on the bait ball, a ball bait without Predators attacking it is a Solid Mass/Ball, if you find an irregular shaped bait ball with obvious HOLES in it,,,that bait ball is under attack from predators. As far as length of leader from sinker while mooching, I use a banana/crescent shaped sinker baited various colors & even have added small blades to the front & back, which flash & send vibrations as the sinker is BOTH dropped & retrieved through the water column. As far as netting, I see MORE MISTAKES at this crucial time then any other, I could write a novel on "Proper Netting Techniques"....it called "NETTING!!!"...NOT beating the salmon over the head....Best piece of advice is...when the salmon is played out, & within netting distance ( You guys using nets with a 6ft handle, DON'T have a Clue!!!) I use a net that measures 12ft total length....with the salmon ALONGSIDE the vessel, GO TO Neutral...the salmon is there for the taking. When you get a fish on....LEAVE ALL GEAR in the water FISHING!!!...these guys that IMMEDIATELY START reeling in ALL the other rods will NEVER experience doubles & Triples & Quads....the initial Salmon hooked is AWAY from the vessel, AWAY from the other gear...USE the vessel's steering to keep the salmon on ONE SIDE of the VESSEL, Then clear that side for fighting/netting....USE the vessel's speed & maneuverability to your advantage!!!...DON'T let a 10lber run from port to starboard, starboard to port, under the boat, ahead of the boat...if you see the salmon trying to get ahead of the boat...INCREASE your speed!!!...Only BAD things happen when a salmon gets ahead of the boat...LASTLY!!!....DON'T be a HARD HEAD!!!..be open to LEARNING & EXPERIMENTING!!!...as much as John fishes lures, I fish bait!!!...but that's a WHOLE OTHER story!!!...Alex