With so many species, and so many techniques used in Alaska to catch both saltwater and freshwater fish, there is a lot to know about tackle to be a good angler. Read on to learn about the terminal tackle that’s helping us catch more fish; make your list and fill up your tackle box.
Best fishing tackle for fishing in Alaska in 2021
|BnR Soft Beads
We float fished with 20- and 25 mm soft beads for Chinook on the Togiak River in 2020. Popular colors included Mottled Red, Mottled Natural and Clown. We like how kings will hold onto these beads longer than a hard bead, we like how the bead was always fishing (especially after getting bit and missing the fish, which is an advantage over roe), and that it caught multiple species of fish. These beads are tough enough to hold up to a bunch of fish, they are easy to rig and the T-stops do a good job of holding the bead in place. We had planned on fishing 12-, 14- and 16 mm beads for steelhead in Yakutat last April, but COVID delayed the event, so we’re locked and loaded to try again this spring.
|Appanage Fishing Original Scent Striker
We used this lure with great success in 2020. Threading it onto the line above our jigs, the Original Scent Striker allowed us to add scent to our presentation without having to apply it to the Ahi USA Live Deception metal jig. Additionally, the Scent Striker fiber body holds the scent very well, so reapplying scent is reduced. We used Pro-Cure Butt Juice Super Gel on the Original Scent Striker. Appanage Fishing makes three models of Scent Striker: Original, Fob, and Untrimmed Singles. Color options include florescent orange, florescent chartreuse and pink.
|Eagle Claw Trokar TK32 Glo Bug/Bead Hook
This is just the hook for creating egg patterns and Glo Bugs. It also makes for a good bead hook. Available in sizes 1, 2, 4, and 6, we fished sized 2s under hard beads to coho this fall and plan on that size or maybe size 4 for steelhead in the spring. This medium-wire hook is easy to set, made possible by the shape of the Trokar triple-sided hook point, as well as the non-stick coating that is applied.
|Silver Horde #3 Kingfisher 942
This Spatter Back, Double-Glow pattern on the tried-and-true Kingfisher spoon by Silver Horde stood out this season as a consistent fish getter. As good as the king fishing was in Larsen Bay, Kodiak this year, the 942-finish seemed to produce just a little bit more than other patterns.
|Dardevle Notangle Spinner
Tested on Chinook in 2020, this spinner proved effective in instigating aggressive strikes from the Alaska state fish, making it a best fishing tackle pick for 2021. The unique design minimizes line twist. It is available in a wide range of color patterns and in six sizes.
|Mepps Comet Combo
This lure combines a Comet spinner blade with a curly-tail grub, providing both flash and wiggle to attract strikes. We found it worked to entice coho near tidewater, and we know that it will work to catch pike (but we haven’t tried that yet). We are also interested to see if spring steelhead will gobble these up. We tested the #4 in a range of colors. The Hot Pink Blade with White Firetail model was a producer, and you’ve got plenty of options for color combinations. Each lure comes with three tails, so you can mix and match between lures to get a custom combination.
|Kodiak Custom Trolling Spoons
His lifelong quest as a fisherman and lure designer makes Tony “Famous” Davis pretty dang fishy and that’s evident in Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle’s trolling spoons released last year. We used these spoons with Hot Spot 11-inch flashers and fished them on downriggers to troll for Chinook in Yakutat in 2020. The 3.25” version is a good size to imitate various baitfish. The 5.5” size is a good choice when larger baitfish are around. The hexagonal scale pattern draws attention, and there’s a range of colors to choose from. A small spinner blade is attached near the hook and this creates extra noise and flash. We like that there is a barrel swivel between the hook and split ring, and we think this helps to increase the hook-to-land ratio as fish are less able to throw the hook because the hook can spin independently of the spoon.
|Mepps Aglia BRITE
The combination of a silver-plated or polished-brass blade and a colorful brass body with a bead, make this lure attractive to salmon. The French blade spins easily on the brass clevis. We caught both coho and pink salmon using the #3 with pink body/silver blade. The lure is compact, casts easily and sinks quickly. It’s available in four sizes and several color combinations.
We tested a variety of Baitwaxx scents across Alaska this summer and the feedback was positive. We especially appreciate the wax-dispenser stick that easily rolls on your lure and dispenses a potent scent that lasts. Sardine was a productive scent, and the shrimp and bloody tuna worked too. Testers commented that they like that this product is mess-free and sticks easily to plastic and metal lures. Baitwaxx is made from 100% real baitfish and incorporates amino-based bite stimulants. It’s compact and each stick will provide a ton of scent applications.
|Daiwa Saltiga SK Jig, 2 ounce and 9 ounce
Lead fish-shaped jigs will catch just about anything that swims. Daiwa’s latest is the Saltiga SK, designed for “slow-pitch” jigging, however, it’s equally at home jigged traditionally for rockfish, lings and halibut. Like all Daiwa products, the quality and finish is high. It comes rigged with two assist hooks on the tail end of the lure. We used this jig to good effect for a variety of rockfish, as well as lings and halibut. It comes in several finishes in weights from 3/4 ounce up to 11 ounces.
|Rosco EZ Clip 125 lb
Made in sizes from 25-pound-test to 175-pound-test, the American-made EZ Clip is a fast, strong, easy-to-use clip that allows you to change out lures or jigs in a couple seconds. The clip doesn’t need to be opened; the lure, swivel or whatever is simply wound onto or off of the clip. Our tester used the 125-pound-test size while jigging for halibut and landed fish to about 80 pounds, earning this clip is among the best fishing tackle for 2021. These clips could have many different applications in terminal-tackle rigging. Everyone should try these ingenious little clips.
|Pro-Troll Fishing Products Lighted HotChip 11 Flasher
Our tester did a DIY trip to Sitka this year, a place well known for its consistent Chinook fishing. On that trip, the hot technique was trolling Coho Killer spoons behind the Lighted HotChip 11 flasher. Best color? Green Stryper. Fishing was fairly spotty until he started dragging this flasher 10 feet off the bottom in 100-plus feet of water at about 2.5 mph using a downrigger. The lighted flasher emits red-green-white light pulses, and its built-in, water-activated light burns for roughly 80 hours. The lights are replaceable. To extend life, dry the light off when you aren’t fishing. Our tester believes that when trolling deep, or during low-light levels, lighted flashers often work better than non-lighted ones.
|P-Line Twin Tail Halibut Leader
The Twin Tail Halibut Leader by P-Line features tentacles plus two glow curl-tail legs for added action to entice halibut. It comes rigged with a 300-pound-test leader on either 14/0, 15/0, or 16/0 stainless-steel circle hooks. It is well designed and constructed, and the price point is fair.
|Sampo Ball Bearing Swivel, Welded Ring with Coastlock Snap
Sampo makes extremely high-quality terminal-tackle items right here in the USA. Our tester terminates the mainline on all his salmon-trolling rods with a bead followed by a size 4 welded-ring, ball-bearing swivel with a Coastlock snap. High-quality swivels like these eliminate line twist, and this is especially important when using braided lines (which twist easily) with rotating flashers.
|Gibbs Delta Wee G Cop Car
Some of our saltwater contributors are fans of the Gibbs Delta Wee G, and this year the Cop Car finish just crushed the late-season kings and silvers in Kodiak earning it an Editors’ Choice Award.
|Gibbs Delta Skinny G No Bananas
The Skinny G is a consistent performer on saltwater salmon among the best fishing tackle in 2021. The erratic movement that mimics a wounded baitfish drives salmon crazy. The No Bananas finish is a go-to choice.