The best fishing tackle for Alaska in 2019 below has been tested in a wide variety of fisheries using multiple techniques. Whether you are twitching jigs for steelhead or trolling squid for silver salmon, our Editors’ Choice Awards for best fishing tackle for Alaska have you covered.
We tested tackle best suited to Alaska including spinners, spoons, hooks, swivels, flashers, herring, jigs, and more to compile a list of the best fishing tackle for Alaska to up your catch rate.
This is the best fishing tackle for Alaska in 2019
|Brad’s Super Baits|
We cast and retrieved Mini Cut Plug 3.0 Super Baits and Original Series Super Baits to freshwater coho and caught them at will. At one point, our tester hooked six coho on six consecutive casts on a Mini Cut Plug 3.0 in the orange and pink “Hollywood” pattern. We also slayed them on the “Lady Bug” pattern in the Original Series Super Bait. Most know that these are deadly trolled in the ocean, and more recently trolling Super Baits behind Pro-Troll rotational flashers has been all the rage, adding this product to the list of best fishing tackle for Alaska. Now we will also consider casting and retrieving these handy lures. You can add bait and scent inside the clamshell lure; we did not need to do that to get bit.
|Fish-Field Magnum Grub|
Halibut in Alaska like to bite jigs. One particular day that stands out from 2018 was in July in Yakutat when halibut bit chartreuse, double glow, and white Magnum Grub tails about three times as often as herring despite accounting for only two of six rods. On some days bait is more effective and can be the only thing working, but on many days, jigs work well and should be part of your halibut/lingcod/yelloweye arsenal. We used 16-ounce jig heads with these Magnum Grub tails. They are available in five effective colors, come two to a pack, are 11 inches long, and proved to be durable. Halibut and lingcod can chew off tails from other grubs pretty quickly and then the grub tail is ineffective. The Magnum Grubs, however, are still functioning after multiple days of jigging.
|Eagle Claw Sinker Assortment|
This assortment provides a range of sizes and styles to cover many freshwater applications. The box is segmented into compartments to help keep sinkers organized. This 103-piece kit includes split shot, bullet weights, egg weights, and casting sinkers.
|Shortbus Flashers Bling Wings|
These thin, mylar spinner blades spin in the lightest puff of current or the slowest retrieve. They can be rigged inline as a spinner, in front of a herring to add some bling, or in front of backtrolled or boondogged eggs to add flash and profile. In sizes from tiny to magnum and with multiple color options, you can use them for everything from kokanee and trout spinners to Chinook lures. One tester used these as attractors on the Nushagak to boondog roe for Chinook and they were very effective. The light blade doesn’t add much resistance on the line and the Bling Wing spins well even at low speeds. We like how you can easily add the blade and cut it off if you want to remove it and don’t want to take the time to retie. Another tester has also used the small size to make inline spinners to troll behind 360 flashers to good effect.
|Hot Spot Original #930—Glow/Black/Glow|
This 11-inch flasher puts out a lot of flash and helped us land more salmon when trolling in 2018. We carry a range of Hot Spot flashers with us in the saltwater trolling kit; some work better shallow, others deep, and the hot color changes daily. Hot Spot uses quality Sampo ball-bearing swivels on both ends which insures smooth rotation.
|Silver Horde UV Silver Knight Spoons|
We trolled Coho Killers, and #3.5 and #4 Kingfisher Lite spoons, all in the UV Silver Knight Herring Aide pattern, for both coho and Chinook in 2018. Both lures worked well. Fish are attracted to the red eye on the spoons, the UV Herring Aide pattern, and the flash from the genuine silver plate.
|Eagle Claw Ball Bearing Swivels|
We used a range of sizes to catch both trout and salmon on spinners in 2018. They handled the steady abuse we handed out on the Togiak while battling white-bellied hens and chrome, angry-eyed buck coho too numerable to count on size 3- and 4 spinners. We used smaller swivels with spinners for both rainbows and Dolly Varden char, and experienced equally good performance. Add these to the your arsenal of best fishing tackle for Alaska.
|P-Line 12.5-inch Sunrise Squid|
This squid worked well to attract halibut, lingcod, and yelloweye rockfish when we fished it in Yakutat saltwater in 2018. We rigged it two ways: standard where we threaded the squid on the leader tentacles first, and then upside down (head first). The head-first rigging we attribute to Pete Hardy, the “Halibut Guru”, who we first saw do this about 15 years ago in Cook Inlet. He called it the “Flowering Octopus.” Tip of the cap to Pete. This squid comes in many tantalizing color combinations and several other sizes.
|Kodiak Custom Silicone Skirt Spinners|
We tossed these spinners to a variety of salmon and reeled in chums, pinks, and silvers until our arms were sore. We tested the #5 spinner, which is about 3/4-ounce and 4½ inches long. The silicone skirt provides a tantalizing enticement to aggressive fish. We were impressed with how well these spinners held up to repeated battles with salmon. The lure is available in multiple colors and sizes, and in both a single and treble-hook configuration.
|Acme Kastmaster Hammered Chrome|
This lure helped us catch a wide range of fish; we used multiple sizes to land rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and coho, pink, and chum salmon in 2018. The action of the lure caused explosive strikes, and the brass spoon is dense and small so it can be cast long distances. An angler could use these lures to catch fish in both fresh and saltwater, through the ice or in open water. It is available in 13 sizes from the tiny 1/32-ounce micro spoon to the 4-ounce hog tamer. We like the 1/8-ounce for trout, and 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-ounce for salmon.
|Panther Martin Salmon and Steelhead Hammered Hoochie Skirt Spinner|
This skirted spinner lit the coho up in 2018. Combining UV paint, a hammered blade, and a hoochie skirt offers a trio of attractors that wild, fresh silvers couldn’t resist, which puts it among the best fishing tackle for Alaska. We fished the 1/2-ounce size in yellow/pink, and the lure also comes in two other sizes and many other color combinations. We are looking forward to tossing this lure at steelhead and pike.
|Berge Tackle Fish Scent Dispenser|
We used this device while trolling for salmon and it helped us land lots of fish. It attracts fish through scent, sight, and sound, and comes in two different sizes: large is 6”x2½” and mini is 3”x1¼”. We had good success with the mini size in chartreuse using a variety of Pro-Cure scents in the dispenser. The Fish Scent Dispenser rotates while being trolled, thereby putting out a vibration and flash that fish hear and see, in addition to the scent being emitted.
|Bullet Weights Reusable Shot Kit|
This kit provides a nice range of split-shot weights. There are 210 pieces in the kit making it easy to grab one box and be prepared for a range of in-river depths and currents. For example, a normal July day on the upper Kenai River might have you flipping for sockeye, sidedrifting for trout with a fly rod and indicator from the boat, and drift fishing with a bead and split shot with a spinning rod for ‘bows and dollies from the bank. This box would prepare you for those techniques in a range of flows, leading us to add it to the list of best fishing tackle for Alaska.
|Hawken Fishing Aerojig Twitching Jigs|
We hammered several hundred coho on these jigs on the Togiak. They were the most productive lure we used there, earning them an Editors’ Choice Award as some of the best fishing tackle for Alaska. They also seemed to entice the bigger bucks to strike. We especially liked the 1/2-ounce Nightmare pattern.
|Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Glow|
If you have fished in Alaska at all, it’s almost a certainty that you have heard of the Blue Fox Vibrax. It’s one of the top 10 lures among the best fishing tackle for Alaska that you should carry with you when targeting river salmon in Alaska. We have fished this lure over the years and think that the addition of the Glow tail makes this tried-and-true producer even better. We suggest that you carry a range of colors and be prepared to switch colors until the salmon decide what they want. When the bite dies, make about 10 casts and change colors until the bite heats up again. That process has helped us land big coho to 15 pounds on this lure. Glow Pink / Orange and Glow Blue are among our favorites.
|Alaska Halibut Tackle Giant Skirt Rig|
Alaska Halibut Tackle is a new brand invented by the saltwater charter captains at Valdez Outfitters. They’ve been making these Giant Skirt Rigs and custom fishing rigs for 15-plus years and have become widely known enough to establish a brand. The Giant Skirt Rigs are available in either 14/0-, 16/0-, 18/0-, or 20/0 hooks with six different color combinations. Tim Bouchard and his fishing buddies/charter captains are creating a variety of saltwater tackle you should keep an eye on if you like catching bottom fish. Our good friends the Steenhovens who fish out of Valdez said, “The rigs from Valdez Outfitters that we used worked admirably,” making this rig among the best fishing tackle for Alaska.
|Mepps Aglia Flashabou |
The addition of a Flashabou tail to this iconic spinner makes it even more irresistible to certain species of gamefish. We had success casting and retrieving these for northerns, coho, rainbows and char. The lure comes in size 0 (1/12-ounce) to size 5 (1/2-ounce) and in a wide range of patterns. We like the silver blade and various Flashabou tail options as an all-around, fish-catcher in Alaska; we recommend sizes 3 through 5.
|Sampo Nickel Double Welded Rings with Scissor Snap|
These swivels are super strong and worked well as part of our trolling salmon setup. We used them to troll for coho using flashers, and bait or hoochies. The nickel-plated brass scissor snap is a good design for strength and function. The snap swivel is attached to the mainline, and the flasher/hoochie/hook terminal leader setup is attached to a ball-bearing swivel that connects to the snap when it’s time to troll.
Trolling with heavy lead has greatly increased in popularity up and down the west coast in recent years, especially Pro-Trolling—using what are commonly called 360 flashers and either a small spinner, a Brad’s Super Bait, a thin-bladed spoon, or a herring in tow. Most people prefer to rig their lead with a slider of some sort. One of the major problems with most sliders is that they don’t prevent the line twist Pro-Trolling can cause in braided lines. However, the Shortbus Spreader does. It has notches cut in the rear of the spreader which catch the swivel eye and prevent it from twisting. The Shortbus Spreader is also a slider, so when Mr. Chinook shakes his head or rapidly changes direction, the main line slides through the spreader, preventing breakoffs. It’s available in numerous color combinations and works as an additional attractor. Our tester relies on the best fishing tackle for Alaska, and prefers the spreaders in which the base plastic is clear chartreuse, especially for kings.
|Sampo Oh Snap Swivel |
This swivel features a ball-bearing swivel with a welded ring and an easy to use, wind-on snap. With it, you can change lures faster than any other swivel we know of. Ingenious! It comes in two sizes: Size 3 (rated to 60 pounds) and Size 4 (135 pounds) in either nickel or black finish.
|Luhr-Jensen Coyote Spoon |
We’ve had a great deal of success over the years trolling this thin-blade spoon for silvers and kings in the salt. When the company introduced new Everglo colors to the arsenal last year, we were excited to get our hands on some samples. Try the Everglo Green Tiger next time you hit the salt with salmon on your mind.
|Ahi USA Diamond Assist Jigs |
We’ve used the unassisted version for many years and it is one of the best jigs in our saltwater arsenal. We’ve been on trips where this jig easily outperforms bait. We found that the Assist version was as deadly as the original and when we added a second hook to the tail, it was unstoppable. The jig comes in a range of sizes and colors. We’ve caught silvers, kings, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod on these jigs, earning it an award as best fishing that for Alaska.
|First Strike Lures R&B Torpedo Spinners and FSL Bell Body Spinners|
We fished these spinners to steelhead on the Situk and coho on the Togiak and they caught fish. The blades come in several choices, and silver and brass were our favorites. Bodies come in many colors—green, blue, and black were among our favorites. We like the single siwash-hook option, and that the lures come with a swivel. They also come in several sizes to accommodate a range of water conditions.