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Mooching Herring for Salmon

Updated on June 19, 2013

The Perfect Salmon Bait

Herring trolled behind the boat is a very effective method for catching salmon.
Herring trolled behind the boat is a very effective method for catching salmon. | Source

Mooching for Salmon with Herring

Trolling with a mooching rig set up with a cut plug herring is a very effective technique for catching large salmon such as Chinook / King salmon. This is a boat fishing technique, so if you are learning how to catch a salmon from the bank it is best to not deploy this rig as you will not be able to "troll" the bait through fish holding spots.The rig is relatively simple in design, yet deadly effective when presented to an aggressive fish that is still heavily feeding. The rig essentially only uses a few simple pieces of tackle, a mooching rig which has 2 hooks which are close to each other, a sinker depending on the depth and current you will be trolling and a series of swivels in order to achieve maximum spin on the herrings without creating twist in the line.

Make sure you always use fresh bait and that your hooks are sharp. When you reel in to check your bait if it has lost all of its scales or starting to break down make sure and change it out. Remove any weeds from the swivels, sinker, and bait before sending it back down to keep on trolling. Some people like to use a flasher to make their bait stand out from the pack, however this is not a requirement and you will catch plenty of fish with no flasher, however if the bite is tough, I always suggest changing it up a little bit and that can be adding a flasher in between your barrel swivel and the mooching hooks and herring.

How to prepare cut plug herring for rigging to mooch for salmon

Spring Chinook Caught with Mooching a Herring

Favorite Salmon Trolling Technique

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Mooching Rig Basics

Gamakatsu Slip Tie Mooching Rig 2/0, 3/0 Hooks (Nickel, 25-Pounds Leader)
Gamakatsu Slip Tie Mooching Rig 2/0, 3/0 Hooks (Nickel, 25-Pounds Leader)

Pre tied mooching rigs make it easy to set up your fishing pole and get a bait in the water quickly without spending time tying up each rig on your own.


What You Need to Troll for Salmon

This is a really simple technique and requires only basic gear that is rigged properly. Salmon can be very finicky at times and require the presentation of the bait to be perfect to bite, but the good thing is this not a complicated rig to set up and is even easier to fish with since you will be in a boat with a rod holder doing all the work for you once you get the herring in the right spot.

  • Salmon rod for mooching / trolling - The best rods tend to be long rods that are very limber so you do not pull the lure away from the fish or exert too much pressure on the fish and pull the hooks out once they are on. A 9 - 11 foot rod is preferred by most guyes. Check out the Lamiglass line of salmon rods, they are awesome and affordable.
  • A baitcasting reel is preferred by most guys and the spool needs to be able to hold 25lbs test line. I prefer to have at least 150 yards on the reel so make sure the reel's spool size will have enough capacity. Too small of a reel will make it more difficult to reel in line fast enough on a fish that is charging at the boat.
  • Swivels, you will need the beaded swivels and a barrel swivel for attaching the main line to the leaders. Two beaded swivels is best in between the barrel swivel and the hooks.
  • Sinkers generally a 1 - 2 oz sinker is what you will want to use in order to keep the bait in the strike zone. A heavy weight is required to keep the bait down in the tides and when trolling wit the kicker motor a light weight will rise up to far from the strike zone and not keep the bait working where the salmon are biting.
  • Mooching rigs, which are a leader with two hooks on the end. The line should be 30lbs test and the hooks should be either a combo of a 2/0 and 3/0 or a 3/0 and 4/0 in size.
  • Herring, cut off the heads at an angle pull the guts out and rig according to the video above to get the herring to spin properly when it is in the water. You want a nice tight spin to the bait when you are fishing.

Use Down Riggers to Reach Fish

Trolling for salmon with down riggers and mooching rigs with herring.
Trolling for salmon with down riggers and mooching rigs with herring. | Source


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