Ahi USA Sabiki Fish Catchers
MSRP: $2.99 to $3.99
We like the design on these ready-to-fish sabiki rigs, which we used to catch live herring. The rigs come with six hooks each, as well as a green glow bead and red flash bead above each hook. Each rigging is pre-tied to a ball-bearing swivel that connects to the main line and a crane snap-swivel that connects to the weight. We had good success with the size 10 and 14 Rainbow Skin models.
Mepps Double Blade Aglia
MSRP: $7.50 to $9.75
Whether throwing along weedy shorelines to the ambushing water wolf or sight casting to waking silvers on the Lost Coast, the double-blade version of the time-tested Aglia proved a winner. Available in sizes 3 and 5 (1/4- and 1/2-ounce) and a wide range of color combinations.
Yakima Bait Flash Glo UV Squid Spinner
MSRP: $3.48 to $5.68
The Flash Glo UV Squid Spinner is a popular in-line spinner for all kinds of gamefish, but we found it incredibly productive for a range of Alaska’s Pacific salmon. Available in three trolling sizes and six casting sizes, we realized our best success this season with the casting model in an orange blade and pink squid combination.
Brad’s Roe Beads
New for 2013 were the killer Brad’s Roe Beads, in four sizes and most of the colors of the rainbow—or at least for wily steelhead, salmon and resident rainbows. These beads are a must for all gear heads, as new techniques and ever-changing conditions keep us busy in our pursuit for innovative ideas that will bring continued success in our favorite passion.
Storm Wiggle Wart Madflash
Greg Brush, Contributing Editor and long-time Kenai guide writes, “This fall, while back-trolling for silvers on the Kenai River, my clients and I found ourselves with high, dirty water. Plenty of frisky salmon rolled all around, sometimes even on top of or next to my standard plugs—they just didn’t want to bite! Oh, we got the occasional take-down, but not at the frequency I’d hoped for given the number of fish I was seeing. Speculating that they just couldn’t see our lures very well, I clipped on a Storm Wiggle Wart Madflash Series plug in Orange Fire with UV Bright. Wow, Fish-On! This little fast-action plug—in super high-vis orange, chartreuse and white color—worked like magic. Every time we let it out, it got grabbed!”
Gamakatsu Big River Bait Hooks
MSRP: $4.10 (1/0-3/0; pack of 6); $5.36 (4/0-5/0; pack of 6); $6.60 (6/0-7/0; pack of 6)
Gamakatsu’s Big River Bait Hook features a unique shape and large gap that are designed to optimize hook penetration and hold fish more securely once hooked. Forged for unparalleled strength with a turned-up eye for easy and effective snelling, this is your hook for the Kenai in 2014.
Blue Fox Vibrax Bullet UV Bright Spinner
MSRP: $2.79 to $4.59
Ever find salmon just out of casting distance? Or, equally frustrating, have them located deeper in the water column or holding in swift water where your ol’ standby spinner just can’t seem to get to them? In the fall of 2013, guide Greg Brush tried the Vibrax Bullet, a long-casting, fast-sinking spinner, and found it to be extremely effective during challenging conditions such as these. The brass bell makes this unique, low-profile lure 30% heavier than an equally-sized standard Vibrax, and gets down fast. Plus, the low-profile shape and added weight helps an angler cast it farther. As an added plus, these spinners come in UV Bright coating, making them even more attractive to salmon. Lots of cool color options and sizes from 0 to 6 (1/8- to 7/8-ounce).
Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics Signature Intruder Plumes
Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics selected the drab for their Signature Intruder Plumes because drabs are stout at the base and taper to fine tips, making them perfect for twin tails and wings. The tips of the drabs are palmerable and can be wrapped as a hackle to create a wide profile with a very slim base. The rest of the drab performs extremely well in a dubbing loop. The length is perfect for Intruders and other steelhead flies, and OPST’s drabs are dyed in all the most popular steelhead and salmon streamer colors.
Limit Out Halibut Bait Rig
Innovation has come to Alaska halibut fishing, with the Limit Out Halibut Bait Rig, which provides the same tight-spinning action as the salmon Bait Rigs, but this one is built with a Glow Hoochie, 150-pound-test monofilament and swivel, two 10/0 stainless hooks and all crimped attachments. Just slide Blue or Green Label Herring under the hoochie and the rig can be trolled, jigged or fished on anchor in the tidal current.
Ahi USA Assault Diamond Jigs
MSRP: $3.99 to $11.99
The Assault Diamond Jig has been designed to mimic baitfish and comes with a state of the art 3-D holographic reflective finish, a pattern that emulates fish scales, and now glow eyes, giving the jig an ever-more realistic presentation. The 3-D finish also protects the paint from chipping and flaking. Jigs are constructed with Mustad 3X treble hooks, solid welded rings, and beefy crane swivels. Assault Diamond Jigs have proven deadly on rockfish, salmon, lingcod, and halibut. They come in five colors – Silver Flash, Mackerel, Baby Red, Glow, and Blue and are available in 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-ounce models. In our real world test, this jig outperformed live bait when fishing for halibut, and testers also caught lingcod, rockfish and salmon on the same jig. We are very impressed.
KND Tackle Sprocket Spinner
MSRP: $3.89 to $4.99
The Sprocket Spinner is made from the highest quality brass and nickel spinner parts. The bell body design emits a harmonic sound and aggressive vibration. They are made with .030 gauge wire, have a powder-coated finish, and come standard with a barrel swivel to eliminate line twist. The lure is weighted for easy casting and superior sinking ability. It is available in four sizes (#3, #4, #5 and #6), over 20 body colors and either a nickel or brass blade. Good multi-species lure in freshwater.
Cagi Outdoor Products Sonic Fish Attractor
Most anglers on the water recognize that sight and smell are important considerations when presenting a bait. But what about sound? The CAGI Sonic Fish Attractor was designed by a former NASA physicist to emit a low frequency vibration proven to be in the range that fish associate with distressed or dying prey. The Sonic Attractor can be placed in line ahead of any lure or bait and improve your chances of hooking up. It comes in four colors, weighs 1/2-ounce and measures 1 ¼ inches wide by 2 inches long.
Danielson Egg Beads Assortment
Perfect for Alaska’s egg-munching trout and char species, the Egg Bead Assortment from Danielson should make just about all Alaska trips, especially as it’s even useful for modifying salmon rigs and lures.
Eppinger Cop-E-Cat Skamp
This slimmer-profiled spoon was just the ticket for a range of species this past season, in either the salt- or freshwater environment.
Hot Spot Apex UV 1.0 Trout Killer
The combination of a UV finish and eye and scales made this a killer lure in 2013; we put it to the test in flowing waters of all variety and pulled fish each and every time.
Eagle Claw Steelhead Float Assortment
The slip float set comes in a four-pack with 1/8-, 9/64-, 1/4- and 5/16-ounce options. Floats are yellow on top, making it easy for an angler to see bobber-downs and clear on the bottom for a bit more stealth in presentation. It’s handy to have a range of different sized floats in one package. It attaches to the line with surgical tubing on the top and bottom of the float, in addition to a guide hole for the line at the bottom of the float.
Eppinger Devle Dog and Devle Dog King Spoons
MSRP: $4.49 to $4.99
Available in a range of colors and weights, we put this tried-and-true design to work in waters across the state and found consistent success, especially when going deep in lakes for pike, char and lake trout. It’s also a good spoon to add to your arsenal of salmon attractors.
HEVI-BEADS “All-In-One System”
MSRP: $2.19 to $64.99
HEVI-BEADS fishing system has been fun to use and easy to implement into the egg-imitation arsenal. We like the ease of changing beads as most trout fishing days require frequent bead changes until you find the hot color of the day. We look forward to building other lures with the system in the coming year.
Coming three per pack, the Hawken Fishing Aerojigs are prime steelhead and coho offerings that feature Gamakatsu hooks with powder painted (with UV and fluorescent dyes and pigments) heads. These jigs will stand up to the hardships of fishing in Alaska and come in a host of colors and styles.
Luhr Jensen K15 Kwikfish Xtreme UV Bright
MSRP: $7.99 to $8.99
Need even more from your Kwikfish? We continue to love the Kwikfish Xtreme, which features the same full-throttle, aggressive actions and is available in eight sizes to target different depths and species. This season we particularly fell for the K15 Kwikfish in UV Bright, where the combination of scales, colors, eyes under the bill and UV made for an unstoppable presentation.
Lazer TroKar TK4 Lancet Offset Circle Hook
New for 2013 Lazer TroKar introduced a line of saltwater-specific, surgically-sharpened specialty hooks, and for us the stand-out was the TK4 or “Lancet Circle,” the closest to a classic circle hook in the line. We used both 7/0 and 8/0 sizes for fishing herring to smallish halibut, big yelloweye and medium lings.
Lazer TroKar Mooching Slip Rig
The perfect rig for dominating salmon, these mooching outfits feature a 6-foot Seaguar fluorocarbon leader (25-pound test) rigged to 2/0-3/0 TK400 offset octopus hooks. The top hook in the rig is the larger hook and slides for exact positioning. We also tried the 4/0 - 5/0 tied with 35-pound-test for Chinook and found it just as productive.
Silver Horde Kingfisher UV Double Glow
With lively flash and color, we put the Kingfisher #2 to work for coho trolling in the salt this past season and had outstanding success. A must-have in your box for next season, all Silver Horde spoons are made of brass material and equipped with corrosion-resistant hooks and rings.