2015 Fish Alaska ECA: Lures, Attractors, and Hooks
1.Eppinger Dardevle MSRP: $3.99 to $11.99 Dardevle Lures are crafted to perfection, just as every Eppinger lure has been for more than 94 years, and this, of course, is one of the most classic North American fishing lures of all time. Trolled or cast, its distinctive ‘wiggle action’ is irresistible to all gamefish, and we have tossed it in waters just about everywhere in Alaska, to the typical fishy results.
2.P-Line Double Squid Skirts MSRP: $3.99 To us, this is the optimum lure for saltwater applications: when halibut fishing, we used the bait to add life to some of our favorite jigs and bait rigs, while when trolling we could create clone-like lures by simply inserting lead into the head and adding our favorite leader and hooks. The skirts are offered in 10 colors, five of which are glow models, adding to the versatility of the product.
3.Silver Horde #35 Octopus MSRP: $11 for a package of five Coho absolutely inhaled the OG151R Double Glow, Spatter Back, 4 ¼-inch octopus when we trolled it in Sitka last August. The lure comes in many colors and all are lifelike, supple and catch fish.
5. Luhr Jensen Kwikfish K-15 UV Bright MSRP: $8.49 Perhaps the most famous, and effective, of all the salmon plugs ever pulled in Alaska, our testers appreciated the Luhr Jensen Kwikfish all over again this season, hitting the water with a pair of brand-new colors, Blazin’ Blue/Pink and Blazin’ Purple/Pink in UV Bright.
6. Hot Spot UV Flasher MSRP: $14.95 This classic, proven flasher is even more deadly with the addition of UV finishes, and we got results with the 11-inch Metallic Blue UV on Black model. It worked great trolling for silvers on a typically cloudy fall day. Try it out at deeper sections of the water column; we confirmed its deep-water effectiveness when dropping below the coho to target feeder kings.
7.Mepps Comet TRU-V MSRP: $4.75-$6.60 We caught coho, rainbows, Dollies and char on sizes 0- to 5 in a range of colors and know that grayling, lakers, steelhead and pike will be next to whack these bright spinners. Fish just can’t seem to resist Mepps lures and the addition ofUV makes them even more effective.
8.Yakima Bait Mag Lip MSRP: $7.40 to $8.34 This plug dives extra deep and comes in 3.5-, 4.5- and 5-inch models. We’ve caught 15-pound steelhead on the 3.5 and fat Chinook on the 5-inch. The 3.5 dives to 14 feet and the 4.5 and 5.0 dive to 20 feet in optimum conditions. We appreciate the side grooves that snugly hold bait-wrap thread and the wide range of available patterns.
9.Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Glow MSRP: $5.49-$8.49 The iconic Vibrax spinner is enhanced with a calf tail and fiber hackle surrounding the VMC treble hook and has proven to drive salmon and steelhead wild. We’ve fished in places for coho where the bite turns off, and this spinner starts taking fish, big ones at that. Same with wild steelhead. Try the Glow Pink/Orange Tail option in sizes 3- to 6. The spinner comes in seven sizes from 7/64- to 5/8-ounce and in a range of colors.
10. Storm Wild Eye Live Herring 5-inch MSRP: $10.49 for 4-pack The ultra-lifelike PVC soft bait features a 1-ounce internal jig, 5/0 VMC hook, genuine swimming action, 3D holographic Wild Eyes and realistic shape and color. Salmon, rockfish, lingcod and halibut munched it.
11.Jackson Cardinal Flies Articulated Leeches MSRP: $2.50 Thirteen different color options in this leech series meant we were able to chase slab-sided kings as well as hordes of oversized rainbows. Available in a range of hook sizes, there’s a leech for all five varieties of Alaska’s Pacific salmon, plus any size trout and char.
12. Hevi-Beads Salmon/Steelhead Kit MSRP: $43.99 This was a handy kit to have in our packs throughout 2014 and allowed for a lot of on-the-water changes to our setups. Included are 24 ceramic 10mm beads and 24 10mm fractured-glass Ultraviolet (UV) beads; 30 HEVI-BANDZ, perfect for pegging your beads and strike indicators or for adding weight to your existing setup without untying your rig; the BEAD-IT Tool, for pulling material through any fishing lure, bait or bead; and finally, an assortment of surgically-sharpened TroKar octopus hooks.
13.Mack’s Lure Cha Cha Sockeye Squidder Rigs MSRP: $3.99 It combines High UV Beads, High UV and Glow Squid bodies with a High UV and Glow Smile Blade. The result is a highly visible lure that also exhibits flash and motion. It’s rigged on five feet of 20-pound leader with a pair of 1/0 hooks and comes in five color combinations. We caught salmon while trolling and drifting this lure.
14. Owner Stinger Siwash Hooks MSRP: $7.50 (quantities vary by size) These open-eye siwash hooks are the ideal treble-replacement for our salmon trolling lures. They’re manufactured with Owner’s dual-tempering process to achieve maximum strength, and the cutting point and deep throat gap help ensure solid hook-sets.
15. Ahi USA Sabo Bullet Heads MSRP: $4.99 to $5.99, 3 per pack for smaller two sizes, 2 per pack for larger two sizes These jig heads in the 1½-ounce size paired with a 4-inch Berkley Gulp Jigging Grub were money on shallow-water pelagic rockfish. You can rig the super-glow, lifelike jig head with bait or grubs, twin tails, worms and other soft plastics. Jason Morton, Director of Marketing, had excellent results catching halibut, lingcod and rockfish using an Assault Diamond Jig as a weight to get the Sabo Bullet Head down to the bottom. Not only does this allow you to get the Sabo Bullet Head into deeper water, but then you have two lures fishing. And he caught fish on both.
16. Blue River Designs Soft Milking Eggs MSRP: $4 per pack You will love these egg imitations, which are much softer than beads or glue-gun eggs, meaning your quarry is that much more likely to hang on long enough for you to strike. The eggs come in 17 colors, including four ‘dying’ egg colors with a mottled look and four opaque ‘dead’ egg colors. Sizes range from 3mm single eggs to large three-egg clusters and 10mm singles.
17. Mack’s Lure Sledgehammer MSRP: $6.89 This trolling lure has been lethal at nabbing brawny kings and aggressive halibut. On one outing in Cook Inlet, a 50-pound halibut sucked down two Sledgehammers, one on either side of the boat, when we were trolling for kings in 20 feet of water not far off the bottom. The lure incorporates Mack’s low-drag Flash Lite blade with an octopus skirt, internal float tube for buoyancy, a scent-able body cavity, Flashabou and a 5/0 VMC hook, all rigged on 150-pound-test line.
18. Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Flashing Light Bottomfish Jigs MSRP: $25.99 to $29.99 Designed for catching all those tasty critters dwelling on the floor of the Pacific, the Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Bottom Fish Jigs have been favorites of ours since first offered, but now they’re even better. The first improvement is a switch to 300-pound-test monofilament for attaching the trailer hook in the double-hook system. Second, as effective and innovative as always, Kodiak Custom now offers these jigs in a water-activated flashing light model, which worked even better than we expected this past season.
19. Spirit River UV Beads MSRP: $3.99 per bag Spirit River offers a range of hand-mottled beads, and we caught rainbows and Dollies on each. Offered in 6-, 8-, 10- and 12mm sizing, beads are available in the Egg Drop, Blood Dot and UV2 series. Blood Dot beads display a dot meant to imitate a fertilized, developing egg and add more realism to the imitation, while UV2 beads possess color characteristics that add to the visibility of the bead and enhance fish-catching potential.
20. Umpqua Alaska Selection Guide Fly Kit MSRP: $115.99 Many of the 42 flies in the collection are favorites among thread-throwers in the Great Land. From ESLs to Flash Flies and Starlite Leeches, Whitlock’s Mouserat, to sculpin, Glo-bugs and flesh flies, this is a potent arsenal for most of what swims in freshwater in Alaska.