Fish Sniffer Magazine Issue 3618 August 18- September 4 2017 - Page 7

FRESHWATER VOL.36 • ISS. 18 Aug. 18 - Sept. 1, 2017 5 Cal’s Hot New Gear! presents Salmon Fishing Delta Style W ^ Boom! A giant chromer… That’s what we all want when we hit the Delta and lower parts of our river systems in search of kings. Sharon was fishing with Captain James Netzel when this huge 33 pounder grabbed a Brad’s Cut Plug. Trolling tactics for hooking kings in the Delta are pretty simple, yet it takes patience and perseverance to hook up. Remember there is lots of water in the lower rivers with scattered salmon pushing through. ^ Jordan pulled this beautiful 20 lb salmon out of the Sacramento River while trolling a Shasta Tackle Scorpion Spinner along the bottom. Both natural baitfish colored spinners and highly colorful spinners catch fish depending on the day, so it makes sense to arm yourself with some of each. ^ Brad’s Cut Plugs are deadly baits both in the ocean and in rivers. The baits roll perfectly every time and come in a long list of highly effective colors and color combinations. The plug opens lengthwise revealing a large scent chamber that can be spiked with gel scents or real bait. ^ Scent is a critical part of river salmon fishing success. Pro-Cure Bloody Tuna is one of the favorite scents amount Delta trollers. Guys that pull Brad’s Cut Plugs often mix canned tuna packed in oil with Pro-Cure Bloody Tuna Super Gel and then put that mixture in the plug’s scent chamber. This way both scent and bits of real meat are released into the water. e all know that during the late summer and fall, the upper reaches of the lower Sacramento River and the American River play host to pretty good salmon fishing, but one thing a lot of us tend to forget is that before the fish reach these much heralded up river haunts they must pass through Suisun Bay and the lower Delta. For anglers with the know how Suisun Bay and the Delta offer great opportunities for both trollers and bank anglers to hook big hard fighting king salmon. For bank anglers, the Beni- cia area offers the best chance for success. The bite can erupt pretty much anywhere along the shoreline, so it pays to check with bait shops and other sources to find out where the fish are being caught on the day you head out. Having said that places like 1st Street, Dillon Point and the State Park produce kings every year. Targeting Benicia kings from the bank is simple, but it isn’t easy. The simple part is the tackle. All you need is a long 8 to 9 foot spinning rod matched with a reel that will hold 200 yards of 15 to 25 pound test monofilament. Tip your main line with a snap swivel and snap on a large spinner such as a Mepps, Blue Fox or Silvertron. Once you arrive at an area where salm- on are being caught, stake out a comfort- able location and start casting. Cast the spinner up current, count in down so it is near the bottom and slow roll it back. You’ll have no problem distinguishing the strike. When something grabs the lure so hard it almost separates you from the rod, you’ll know that a salmon has come calling. The hard aspect of the Benicia fishery is having the stamina and determination to stick it out long enough to actually get a strike. Suisun Bay is a big place and you’ll be covering a miniscule amount of water. Add to that the fact that most of the salmon that see your spinner won’t react to it and you start to grasp why a king hooked from the Benicia shoreline is truly a fish of a thousand casts. Yet for anglers willing to invest the time, this is one of least expensive, least complicated ways to put a salmon in the smoker. Moving up river, we come to the Delta proper. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the water from Rio Vista up to Walnut Grove. Every once in a while a guy tossing lures for black bass or stripers will hook a king in these waters, but you can’t hang your hat on such an accident happening. The tried and true approach for hooking kings in the Delta is trolling. Salmon are big, hard fighting fish with a relatively soft mouth. For this reason, a fairly long 7 to 8 foot rod with a soft tip is a good choice. Graphite rods will work, but fiberglass sticks are even better because they are more forgiving. The soft tip plays a duel role. On one hand it cushions the fight of the salmon, keeping them from ripping out hooks, but it also allows you to monitor the function of the lure to ensure that it is working properly and hasn’t picked up debris. The rod should be topped with a quality level wind baitcaster. For many if not most applications I’m a big fan of braided line, but when it comes to Delta salmon trolling you’ll be best served by spooling up with mono in the 20 to 25 pound range. Mono in this range is plenty strong, even for the biggest salmon and unlike braid it FISH SNIFFER HOW – TO by Cal Kellogg CONTINUED ON PAGE 13