The best fishing tackle selected by the Fish Alaska team after scrupulous testing. All things considered, this tackle is reliable and effective against the target species around Alaska.
Best Fishing Tackle
Mustad Moonriser Jig
This is a slender “speed jig” designed to get to depth fast. It comes rigged with a single UltraPoint assist hook at the head. The shape and size of this jig make it an excellent sand lance imitation. The 90-gram size we tested is best suited to fishing depths from 75- to 100 feet of water. We used this jig for salmon and pelagic rockfish. It is available in weights from 90 grams up to 300 grams in a variety of colors.
Mustad Zippy Jig
The Zippy Jig is a versatile baitfish imitation that comes in numerous colors and 3 sizes (40-, 60-, and 80 grams). It can be cast and retrieved, or fished vertically. It comes rigged with a single assist hook—Editor George Krumm’s favorite hook configuration for small jigs of this type. Like other jigs of this type, it’s effective for rockfish and salmon, and it’s not unusual for lings and halibut to snarf one up if they see it.
Sea Falcon Drain Inchiku Jig
We tested the 300-gram in Lightning Glow Pink and the 150-gram in Lightning Glow Red Gold. These are Japanese slow-pitch jigs with a couple different hook-attachment points. The Drain Inchiku is a slow-pitch style jig that produces maximum action with minimum effort. These jigs feature a double-drain structure to produce an irregular movement and are pre-rigged with twin Gamakatsu assist hooks and a hoochie for an even more tantalizing action. These work great for halibut, lings, and rockfish. This jig is available from 45- to 500 grams in a variety of colors.
SPRO Shimmy Semi Long Slow Pitch Jig
SPRO’s Shimmy Semi Long is designed to easily get to depth in deep water or fast currents. It’s a versatile jig design, rigged with double Gamakatsu Assist 700 Hooks at both ends. You can fish it with the slow-pitch technique or in typical Alaska-style vertical jigging. It comes in 4 sizes from 180- to 330 grams, so it’s heavy enough for a lot of our halibut water. It’s available in 7 colors, several of which glow. We tested the 180- and 330-gram models, in Crushed Ice Glow and Tequila Sunrise colors, respectively, in water up to 330 feet deep, for halibut.
Daiwa Zakana Casting Jig
The Zakana Jig is a great small-baitfish imitation, reminiscent of both herring and sand lance. This jig is rigged with a single VMC 9626 treble hook and can be cast, jigged, even trolled. It’s available in 6 colors and 7 sizes from 20- to 130 grams. We caught scores of several pelagic-rockfish species along the rocky coast outside of Sitka Sound, including black, widow and yellowtail rockfish on a 60-gram Zakana in a few different colors.
Ahi USA Live Deception Flash Jig, Pink & Blue Bonita Pattern
We’ve been catching fish using Live Deception Jigs for years; the Live Deception Flash Jigs are even better. In addition to realistic-looking patterns with a holographic finish, the jigs also emit a vibration that make the jig seem even more real to the predatory species we target. We have exclusively jigged these for salmon, lingcod, halibut and rockfish; they can also be trolled. This pattern is available in 6 sizes from 1/2- to 4 ounces. It comes stock with a Mustad treble hook; we prefer to replace it with a single, heavy-duty, short-shank, wide-gap, offset hook.
Daiwa Saltiga SL “SEMI LONG” Jig
This is a skinny jig that is a good imitation of sand lance. Everything will eat a fish-shaped metal jig if you present it reasonably, and this is a great lure. It comes in 5 sizes from 80- to 200 grams, in 6 colors. It comes with 2 heavy-duty assist hooks for multiple rigging options. This jig slides horizontally from side to side on the fall. We caught a lot of rockfish and a few lings on this jig in the 80-gram models, Sand Eel and Holo Silver colors. We think salmon will like it, too, though we didn’t have the chance to target salmon with it.
Berkley Money Badger
This new crankbait is really designed for bass, although it’s also well suited to smaller salmon species (pinks, silvers, chums) It’s made in a variety of sizes, colors (including several great salmon colors) and diving depths. We like the 6.75 and 7.25 sizes best, which dive 10- to 12 feet and 11- to 13 feet, respectively. Colors we like best are Pink Pearl, Blaze, Firetiger, Korey’s Candy, Black Gold, and Sunset. The Money Badger can be cast and retrieved, trolled, or backtrolled. Though the hooks that come with the plug are excellent quality, they are a little small for salmon. Consider taking off the 2 treble hooks, putting 2 split rings on the back hook eyelet, then attaching a single Siwash hook to the aft split ring.
Brad’s Killer Fishing Gear 360 Evolution Flasher
There are a lot of flashers on the market aimed at the Pro-Trollin’ or 360-flasher craze. This is one of the best. What makes this flasher unique and so effective is that you can vary how fast the flasher rotates and it has a reliable release mechanism with a bungee that can stretch up to 18” which helps keep fish pinned. It’s available in 9 fish-catching colors.
Maruto Big Game Kevlar Assist Hooks (6/0)
This is a heavy-duty assist rig for large, metal jigs. We tested the 6/0 size, but it’s available in 4/0 and 5/0, too. It’s made with a super-sharp, heavy-gauge, black-nickel hook and heavy Kevlar assist cord. The 6/0 size will match up well for heavy jigs in the 8- to 12-ounce range. We are believers in assist rigs for metal jigs.
Eagle Claw WBHPV Pro-V Ballhead Jig
We free drifted this jig head, accompanied with Cleardrift Steelhead Worms, for steelhead in 2022 and liked their performance. We used the 1/16-, 1/8-, and 1/4-ounce sizes. The jig head is available in 6 colors (black, chartreuse, orange, pink, white and unpainted). The jig uses Eagle Claw’s LV570 Pro-V Aberdeen Jig Hook, which features their Pro-V Bend. We like this shape hook and find that well-hooked fish don’t usually come unbuttoned.
P-Line Laser Minnow
This is one of those jigs that catches a really wide range of species in Alaska. With sizes from 1/2- to 6 ounces, and lots of patterns, you’ve got a good chance at finding a model that approximates the size and pattern of local bait fish. We’ve caught lingcod, halibut, multiple species of rockfish, kings, silvers and pinks from various saltwater ports around the state while jigging with the Laser Minnow. We’ve used smaller sizes to jig trout and char through the ice.
Mustad Tracershot Jig
This little jig is designed for casting to pelagic species. We tested the 40-gram model. In Alaska, it works well for salmon and pelagic rockfish. It comes in numerous colors and is rigged with a single Mustad assist hook with UV tinsel. We’ve found this to be a fantastic jig for casting to the edge of kelp beds for rockfish, or in situations where salmon are found close to the surface. Since this is a light jig, light casting or spinning rods work best, and boy, is it especially fun when you get into a school of ravenous pelagic rockfish! This jig is available from 15- to 40 grams, and in 15 colors.
SPRO Shimmy Flat Slow Pitch Jig
This is a basic leaf-style jig designed for vertical jigging. We tested the 180- and 360-gram models, in Crushed Ice Glow and Tequila Sunrise colors, respectively. They come with high-quality Gamakatsu 700 dual assist hooks at both ends of the jig. We like this hook configuration because the fish often wind up hooked when they bite it. The jig is available in 6 sizes from 180- to 430 grams (6- to 15 ounces) and in 9 colors, 4 of which glow.
Silver Horde Squid Gumpuckie
Reeling hardware into your tip top is a hazard that has resulted in many broken tip tops. Experienced anglers are less prone to the accident, but it still happens. And if you are fishing with kids or new-to-the-sport anglers, then you should expect it to happen on nearly every fishing trip. These soft-plastic, bullet-shaped spacers come in handy to cushion your tip top from the damage inflicted when gear is reeled into the last eye of the rod. The Squid model by Silver Horde measures 1/2” x 1/8” and comes in 5 color options.
Kodiak Custom Bottomfish Jig
We’ve been fans of this jig for many years and have emphatically used it to haul up some dandy bottomfish in many ports across Alaska. It rarely disappoints. Watching its movement with an underwater camera, it looks alive and it’s no wonder so many bottomfish eat it. This year we tested out the model with a white body and white skirt. Halibut and lings wolfed it down. In the photo shown here, an 8- to 10-pound lingcod ate the jig, and a sea monster ate the lingcod. We released both.
Daiwa Rock Rover Jig
Editor George Krumm had his doubts when he first saw this jig, however those doubts have since been vaporized. The Rock Rover flat-out kills it for rockfish and lingcod. It has multiple hook attachment points, but he found the most success tying his line to the skinny end. Daiwa designed this jig for slow-pitch jigging. You can jig it vertically in the normal fashion, although slower is better. One of the most effective ways to fish it is to drop it to the bottom, then just slowly retrieve it until it’s 10- or 15 feet off bottom, then repeat. Although most effective for rockfish and lings, George’s son, Marty, caught a 65-pound halibut on a red, 170-gram model in 60 feet of water in Sitka Sound while targeting rockfish. It comes in 4 colors and 6 sizes from 80- to 170 grams.
Mustad Hoodlum 4x Strong Live Bait Hook
We used these hooks to build assist rigs for metal jigs. These black-nickel hooks are stout and sharp, with a short shank that helps keep fish buttoned. If you’re looking for a hook with which to make your own assist rigs, this is an especially good one. We tested sizes 1/0 to 5/0 on jigs from 40- to 150 grams. The hook is available from size 1/0 to 9/0.
Maruto Stinger Rigs
Are you tired of fish biting the tails off your halibut grubs? This is the solution. Sharp, stainless-steel Maruto hooks rigged on heavy assist leaders can be hitched onto the bend of a lead-head jig hook. The stinger rig hangs back farther, subsequently hooking those short-biting fish that bite at the tail of the grub. We’ve used these with good success on lead heads from 8- to 16 ounces. The Stinger Rig also works great as an assist hook on large B2 Squids. They come in hook sizes 8/0 and 9/0.
Dardevle Crackle Series
These cool new patterns are attractive to freshwater salmon in our 2022 pursuits. The spoons are available in 2/5-, 3/4- and 1-ounce sizes. Our team tested the 2/5 and 3/4 in blue crackle, purple crackle, and red crackle, and caught both coho and pinks. We carry a range of different size and colors from Dardevle in our typical freshwater salmon kit with swapped out stock hooks for a single Siwash.
Mustad Rip Roller Jig, 200 gram (7 ounce) and 300 gram (11 ounce), Glow
The Rip Roller is a fantastic jig for halibut and other bottomfish. The Glow color is especially effective in deep water. We tested the 200- and 300-gram models. This jig descends fast on a tight line, however when jigging, it has a rapid, horizontal rolling action on the fall that is effective for most Alaska bottomfish. Mustad designed it for the slow-pitch jigging technique. It’s rigged with 2 assist hooks, comes in a variety of colors, and weights from 7- to 19 ounces, covering most of your deepwater-jigging situations. We caught halibut on these jigs, though other bottomfish will certainly eat them.
Mustad Addicted Tailout Twitcher Jig
Twitching jigs are popular lures for river coho (and in some situations, Chinook). Mustad’s version comes in 1/2- and 3/4-ounce models in a rainbow of salmony colors. They sport high-quality 3/0 or 4/0 hooks, respectively. One of the things we like, and which is unique to this jig, is that it uses synthetic UV fibers to make the skirt. These fibers soak up less water, are very durable, and are somewhat translucent in the water. If you like to twitch jigs for salmon, these are undoubtedly good twitching jigs.
Daiwa Saltiga FK Jig
This jig is compact and dense, allowing it to descend rapidly to depth if you keep tension on the line. Daiwa designed it for vertical jigging. Available in 5 colors (including Glow) and 6 sizes from 110- to 250 grams, you can fish a variety of depths if you have several sizes on hand. It comes with a single assist hook and works best fished rather fast, vertically through the water column. If you want to cover the water column searching for roaming schools of salmon, this is a great choice. That said, bottomfish hit it, too. After all, there aren’t many fish in Alaska saltwater that won’t hit a well-fished metal jig.