Best Fishing Tackle for Fishing in Alaska in 2017
Eagle Claw TroKar Pro V Octopus Saltwater Hook
We love the Pro V Octopus Saltwater hook after testing sizes 3/0 and 4/0 this year in the saltwater of Frederick Sound. Its surgically-sharpened point is ultra-sharp and buries with ease into the boniest jaws. The offset and short shank make it well-suited as a replacement hook on plugs and spoons and a good hook for applications such as mooching or trolling both whole- and cut-plug herring. We also used it with success as an egg hook when boon-dogging for Chinook on the Nushagak. We say that this is one of the great all-around hooks for Alaska.
Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle 14-ounce Bottom Fish Jigs
This jig proved deadly for halibut, yelloweye rockfish and lingcod in the waters of Southeast in 2016. The jig color combinations, hoochie skirt and eyeballs on the lead head of the jig all combine to draw strikes from predatory fish. Jigs are available in a range of colors and in 6-, 10- and 14-ounce sizes.
Pro-Cure Herring Super Sauce
We used this new sauce from Pro-Cure when jigging for bottomfish in 2016. When the other unscented jigs were not getting bit, ours were. It is super-sticky and stayed on the lure for a long time. It is made from real bait and fish oils and is charged with amino acids to attract fish. Super Sauce choices include Herring, Garlic, Shrimp, Kokanee, Trout, Bass, Sardine, Tuna, Anchovy and Anise and are fluorescent colored and packaged in 4-ounce squeeze bottles.
Acme Little Cleo
This has long been a staple in our arsenal. And these days there are many eye-catching colors and patterns on Little Cleos, and a wide range of sizes. The spoon mimics a confused baitfish and that draws strikes from species in Alaska including rainbow trout, coho, king, pink and chum salmon, char, pike and sheefish.
Hot Spot Flashers
We used pattern #967—Salty Dawg—last fall to catch piles of coho in the salt. Hot Spot flashers have long been our go-to choice when chasing salmon on the troll in the saltwater. Over the years, they have introduced many different patterns that fit a wide range of preferences and situations.
Panther Martin SonicEggs
SonicEggs combine gold- or silver-plated blades with translucent and fluorescent imitation salmon egg beads and gold- or silver-plated beads. The outcome is a lot of flash in the water with the temptation of a high-calorie fish egg. The spinner blade is concave /convex, which when spinning produces a fish-attracting sound wave under water. It’s available in three sizes and eight color combinations.
BnR Soft Beads
These beads are neutrally buoyant and soft, making them realistic in the water and increasing the time an angler has to set the hook when a fish picks up the bead since they feel like the real thing. They come in sizes from 8- to 16mm and in many good-looking colors. The system includes bobber stops and bead sleeves; you slide the bead sleeve on your leader and the bead goes over the top. The bobber stop is used to peg the bead. This system allows you to switch beads quickly by pulling the bead off the sleeve and over the bobber stop and hook, making it possible to change beads without retying.
Mack’s Lure Wedding Ring Promise Keeper
This spinner is castable, combining a smile blade with beads, wedding ring and a Mylar tail. We like that the hook attaches to a split ring and that Mack’s Lures provides both a treble hook and barbless single hook, both with a Mylar tail. It is available in three different sizes and many color combinations of smile blade, body color and tail color. Add these to your spinner boxes when targeting trout, salmon, char, pike or grayling in the Great Land.
Silver Horde Kingfisher
In 2016 Silver Horde added to the Kingfisher lineup of spoons with several new salmon-catching colors and patterns, all in ultraviolet and available in three sizes: 7/8 x 3 inches, 7/8 x 3 3/8 inches and 1 x 3 3/4 inches. Now we never leave the dock to troll for salmon in the saltwater without pattern 395, which Silver Horde calls Herring Aid. These un-weighted spoons have an enticing wobble all on their own, so they can be pulled behind a flasher or are effective without one. We use about 3 feet of 25-pound Seaguar Blue Label fluorocarbon for a leader behind a Hot Spot flasher.
Panther Martin Weed Runner
This versatile lure will attract a wide range of salt- and freshwater fish. The weedless inline spinner is a good option for enticing pike out of their grassy lairs as the Mustad 4/0 hook is buried in the soft plastic tail. The inline spinner blade throws off a flash that attracts predatory fish like salmon, and when we tested it on coho this past summer, the results speak for themselves. The lure is available in several color combinations and in two sizes.
Eagle Claw Western Freshwater Tackle Kit
This kit provides a lot of the fundamental items that an angler can use to catch a range of freshwater species. It’s a good primer kit for someone new to angling. It includes hooks, swivels, sinkers, jigs, bobber, line clipper, hook remover, stringer and tackle box.
The addition of a lifelike imitation fish egg to the hook of the Aglia gives this proven lure a new look that helped us catch more salmon, trout and char in 2016. It comes in six sizes ranging from 1/12- to ½-ounce and six colors with two blade color choices, as well as your choice of single or treble hook.
These innovative sinkers resist hanging up in rocks and snags like other sinkers and split-shot often do. Try them when flipping for sockeye, drift fishing or boon-dogging for trout, running bait or jigs under a bobber for coho or casting and retrieving lures to any number of species we target in Alaska. Salamander Sinkers produces a double swivel, single swivel and no-swivel version. There are a range of sizes available from 1/8- to 1-ounce.
BnR Tackle EZ Sliders
EZ sliders are ingenious. An Editor’s Choice Award is long overdue. We’ve been using them for years in a variety of different salmon-fishing applications in which we want our lead or diver to be able to slide on the mainline. That means we use them while back-trolling plugs or bait, while back-bouncing, while trolling herring with or without a flasher, while trolling rotating flashers with Super Baits and so on. EZ Sliders are an integral part of our salmon fishing and we buy them in bulk.
Kalin’s 4-inch Jerk Minnow
We pounded on rockfish and a lingcod using Kalin’s 4-inch Jerk Minnow rigged on a Kalin’s ½-ounce Ultimate Saltwater Bullet Jig. Black and dusky rockfish would inhale the lure on the drop and on one of a few occasions that we actually made it through the school, a 32-inch lingcod wolfed it down. We also think this setup would work mooching for coho, jigging for lakers through the ice or casting and retrieving to pike.
Shortbus Super Series Rotating Flashers
The Shortbus Super Series flashers are rotating flashers with the addition of two ‘kicker’ fins to provide a more aggressive rotation than standard rotating flashers. They are available in a variety of eye-catching colors that Jerry Garcia would surely approve of. We use them in conjunction with Super Baits (all three varieties), small spinners (blades no larger than 3.5) with leaders from 24- to 36 inches long. We also sometimes use them in front of herring, but due to the aggressive action of the flasher we lengthen the leader to five feet or so to keep the herring from getting ripped off the hooks. Our favorite colors (so far) are Sweet Abbey, Silver Scale and Mirror Chrome.
Wicked Lures King Killer Lure
Wicked Lures King Killer is a versatile, deadly-effective, lightweight, hoochie-spinner-type lure. It’s tied on a 30-pound-test Maxima Ultragreen leader with a 2/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Being un-weighted, it spins in the lightest currents and can be fished very slowly. For casting and retrieving, we cut the leader down to three feet and added an inline weight of ¼- to ¾-ounce. This was THE hot lure at Lake Creek for king salmon this summer. It caught fish for us while casting and retrieving, and also while fishing it on anchor either back-bouncing or fishing it stationary behind the boat with a dropper of about 12 inches to a two-ounce weight. This lure can also be fished behind flashers (or without a flasher) in saltwater for both Chinook and coho. Being unweighted, rotating flashers are able to impart extra action to the King Killer. Being light, it will also work downhill trolling in large rivers such as the Nushagak.
Luhr Jensen Kwikfish K11x, K15 and K16
The ultimate salmon plug continues to evolve with different colors and patterns. We suggest checking out the K11x in Blue Chrome Pink Streak and Black Chrome Red Streak when pulling plugs for coho. If you are after Chinook, try the K15 and K16 in Rattle Black Chartreuse Dual Dots and Green Chartreuse Dual Dots.
Yakima Bait Mag Lip 2.5
The plug runs shallow—to about 8 feet—and remains effective in moderately fast currents. It comes in many proven colors. This is a good choice for steelhead, rainbows, Dollies and coho, especially when silvers get finicky and a smaller plug will do the trick.
Brad’s Killer Fishing Gear Super Bait Cut Plug Mini
By now, almost everyone knows that Brad’s Super Baits, whether the original or the cut-plug versions, are deadly when fished in combination with a Pro-Troll ProChip 11-inch flasher or with a Shortbus Super Series flasher. Often overlooked is the kid brother—the Cut Plug Mini. We’ve found the Mini works as well as the others, and sometimes better. Like the others, it can be stuffed with canned tuna in oil, minced-up baitfish or other baits. Being smaller, the flasher seems to jerk it around a little more than the larger baits. It will work straight out of the package, but we like to rig it with a two-hook mooching rig. For us, this has resulted in a better hook-to-land ratio. Our favorite colors for the Mini are Black Jack, Seahawk and Mountain Dew.
Thomas Lures Cyclone
We’ve caught our share of coho on the Thomas Buoyant, so this year we tried the Cyclone. They sent us the 3/8-ounce (2-inch) size in Fluorescent Red, Pink Bubblegum and Chartreuse. We casted and retrieved them to freshwater coho sitting beneath massive schools of pinks and the spoon sunk quickly, avoiding many eager humpies and enticed coho to try and maim them. All have contrasting dots on them and an embossed surface that looks like scales. This wobbling spoon produces a strike-inducing action and the embossed surface increases hookups as light reflects off the spoon to create a flash. Try it for chum, coho, pink and king salmon, as well as trout, char, sheefish and pike.
Blue Fox Pixee UV Bright
The iconic Pixee continues to evolve with Blue Fox’s UV Bright. We landed Southcentral Alaska coho salmon in 2016 on the 1/2-ounce size in Blue UV and Fluorescent Green UV. Both feature a unique scale pattern and UV Bright finish; that finish uses a combination of fluorescent paint, reflective surfaces and optical brighteners to make the lure more visible. So combine the unique movement with the brighter lure and this is one deadly spoon. It can be cast and retrieved, trolled, or jigged. They are rigged with a treble hook on a split ring, and come with a replacement siwash hook.
Thomas Lures Eel
When retrieved with starts and stops, the lure mimics the erratic action of wounded baitfish and draws strikes from rainbows or lake trout, all Pacific salmon except sockeye, and char, sheefish and pike. They would likely work well when jigging for rockfish and icefishing too.We tested the 3/8-ounce version in Pink Bubblegum, Nickel, Gold, Fluorescent Red and Chartreuse and all are good colors. They have eyes on them, which we firmly believe helps draw strikes.