Best Alaskan fishing tackle for anglers in 2022
Kodiak Custom Bottom Fish Jig kodiakcustom.com We’ve had great success over the years catching bottomfish with this jig. Not only is it extremely effective, it is highly durable. This year we filmed the jig underwater and it’s no wonder that so many fish eat it. It looks alive, particularly on the drop. We like the eye on the jig body. It makes this deadly lure look even more alive to predatory fish like halibut. If you don’t have some of these jigs, call Tony Davis right away and get some! We can’t wait to fish the new white body/white skirt that Tony sent us on 2022 bottomfish hunts. The Bottom Fish Jig comes in four sizes (6-, 10-, 14-, and 26 ounces) and in a wide range of color combos.
Dardevle Seadevle dardevle.com Big fish in Alaska eat big lures; the Seadevle is a spoon fit for Alaska-sized fish. We fished it in the salt to rockfish and lingcod and it worked like a charm. It comes stock with a treble; we prefer to fish single hooks, so we swapped out the treble for an 8/0 VMC Techset Siwash Open Eye Hook. The spoon flutters on the drop, which entices just about everything to eat it. It comes in several sizes and many good-looking patterns.
Pro-Troll ProChip 11 Flasher, Honey Moon stores.protrollsales.com Honey Moon is a new color in Pro-Troll’s ProChip 11 flasher. Anglers know that Chinook often have an affinity for chartreuse and UV; this Honey Moon-colored flasher capitalizes on that weakness. It starts with a clear chartreuse blade, and is half covered with Chrome Scale tape, and half covered with Moonbeam tape. The result is a flasher with loads of chartreusey-UV flash. We used this flasher to target migrating Chinook salmon. Our standby in the ProChip flasher line for trolling Super Baits and size 3.5 spinners is the Chrome Scale color, but by the end of the season we were fishing the Honey Moon pattern more and more. P-Line Bobber Dogging System p-line.com
Bobber dogging is a technique rapidly gaining in popularity in Alaska. It’s a very effective method for targeting Chinook, coho salmon, and steelhead. P-Line makes a range of quality components needed to bobber dog. We use their X-braid as a mainline, the Pucci Black Rolling Drop Swivel with Safety Snap to attach the main line to leader, as well as to attach the snap to P-Line’s Draggin’ Ball sinkers. For leader material we use P-Line’s SS Fluorocarbon. Depending on the water being fished and species targeted, you’ve got options for sizing on all the components. The whole system works well together.
VMC TechSet Siwash Open Eye Hook rapala.com This 2x-strong hook works well as a replacement hook on saltwater jigs with trebles. We used the 8/0 sizes on bigger jigs and 2/0 on smaller ones. We also swapped out trebles and inferior J-hooks on several different spoons and liked the way the size 1 and 1/0 fished on ½- and ¾-ounce spoons. The short shank helps reduce leverage for the fish, which allowed us to land most of the coho we hooked. We landed halibut to 75 pounds and lingcod in the 30-pound class on the 8/0. The open-eye design makes it quick to add this hook to lures with- and without split rings; simply close the eye and you are done. The forged, high-carbon steel hook sports a sticky-sharp needle point and they stayed sharp and held up to the abuse of an itinerant jigger.
Maruto Barbless Grabber Hook: Single Sickle Style anglerinnovations.com Some fisheries require the use of barbless hooks. Maruto has come up with a unique style of barbless hook that decreases the likelihood of fish coming unbuttoned. The Grabber Barbless Sickle combines the sickle bend, known to help keep fish hooked, with their patented spade-shaped cutting point and ridges in the spade to provide a little bit of friction to help keep the hook in. Like their barbed sickle hooks, the Grabber is available in black nickel (sizes 4- to 13/0), red (sizes 4- to 4/0), and pink UV (sizes 1/0 and 2/0) finishes. The UV pink color is rather unique. We used two, 2/0 pink UV hooks tied close together to form size 3.5 spinners on fluorocarbon leader material and trolled these to good effect behind Pro-Troll ProChip flashers for Chinook. We also used size 3/0s in red to hover fish for Chinook and coho. Our hook-to-land ratio was comparable to our landing ratio using barbed hooks (sample size, roughly 25 kings), so we think the sickle bend and unique configuration of the point does work well.
Hawken Fishing 360 Breakaway Flasher System hawkenfishing.com There is no questions that when trolling elongated flashers, especially those with “agitator fins” or “kicker fins” like the Pro-Troll ProChip or Shortbus Super Series, we lose a lot of fish. The incredible drag of these flashers is the culprit. Over the years, we’ve gone from using no breakaway system, to homemade breakaway systems, back to no breakaway system, and finally we tried the Hawken 360 Breakaway System. After years of exhaustive testing, we’re convinced that the Hawken 360 Breakaway System results in fewer fish coming unbuttoned. This breakaway system uses magnets that that are strong enough that they won’t release unless you or a fish pulls them apart. If you like to troll elongated flashers (whether with or without the agitator fin), do yourself a favor and buy a couple of these breakaway systems. You’ll land more of the fish you hook!
Dardevle Copy-E-Cat Spoon dardevle.com The shape, profile and patterns on this spoon are very effective in getting most of Alaska’s freshwater fish to bite. It can be cast and retrieved, jigged, swung and trolled. We recommend adding the 1/3-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce spoons into your arsenal. Northern pike; rainbow trout; lake trout; pink-, chum, king- and silver salmon; char; sheefish; steelhead; all of these species will eat this spoon. Gamakatsu Superline Swivel gamakatsu.com Gamakatsu has entered the barrel-swivel arena with their Superline Swivel, available from a tiny size 10 to a big size 1. The swivels have a nickel-silver-black coating to provide stealth and fight corrosion. The quality is indisputably Gamakatsu, but what is really surprising is the strength of these swivels. The size 10, tiny though it is, has a break strength of 35 pounds! The largest, the size 1, has a break strength of 330 pounds. No matter if you’re fishing the trout lakes or the big blue for giant halibut, Gamakatsu has a Superline Swivel to meet your needs.
Mustad Addicted Tailout Twitcher Jig mustad-fishing.com A lot of companies make good twitching jigs; now Mustad does too. The Addicted Tailout Twitcher jig is a twitching jig made completely of synthetic materials. There are 18 different color patterns, so there’s a color for every water condition. It comes in three sizes (½-, ¾-, and 1-ounce sizes) and is built on Ultrapoint black nickel 60-degree jig hooks. The hooks are very sharp and super stout. We used these jigs primarily to target coho, but it’s not uncommon at all for Chinook or chums to inhale these jigs. We use the half-ounce size the most, but for big, deep rivers, the ¾- and 1-ounce jigs are a better choice. If you haven’t tried twitching for coho or Chinook yet, buy a handful of these twitching jigs and give it a try.
Maruto Barbed Sickle Hook anglerinnovations.com Maruto’s Barbed Sickle Hook has the upturned eye and sickle shape you’d expect, combined with extremely strong wire and likely the sharpest points we’ve seen in this style of hook. They are astonishingly sharp! They’re available in black nickel (sizes 4- to 11/0), red (sizes 4- to 4/0), and pink UV (sizes 2 and 4). It’s a great hook for any application in which you’d use an Octopus hook. We’ve used the hook in size 3/0 to hover fish and backbounce eggs for Chinook and coho, in sizes 4/0 and 5/0 on mooching leaders, and in size 11/0 for halibut, big lingcod when using live greenling as bait, and for giant white sturgeon in the Columbia River (with the barb pinched down). We’ve never had one of these hooks bend, and they’re so sharp, you have to be extra careful handling them. The pink UV color is especially attractive to fish that like pink: saltwater silvers, freshwater kokanee and steelhead come to mind.
Daiichi 1120 Curved Hook, sizes 8-14 anglersportgroup.com The Daiichi 1120 is built with 2x-heavy, forged wire for uncompromising strength. This hook has a 1x-short shank, perfect for scuds, glo-bugs, chenille eggs, or when you want a wider-gapped hook like some people like for their chironomid pupae. This hook, is exceedingly sharp with a small barb that is easily flattened. Eagle Claw TK3 Offset Lancet Circle Hook eagleclaw.com We tested the 9/0 TK3 Offset Lancet Circle Hook when fishing halibut on bait in 2021 and think they performed very well. The offset point, combined with Trokar’s surgically sharpened, insanely sharp hook points, made it a simple process of getting halibut stuck. And once stuck on this hook, they remain stuck. The hook features a wide gap, which helps increase solid hook-ups on big-mouthed halibut and it also allowed us to place ample bait on the hook while keeping the point exposed. It’s made from medium-wire, cold-forged, high-carbon steel, and sports a welded eye and black chrome finish. It’s available in nine sizes from 1/0 to 9/0. Silver Horde KingFisher #5 spoon silverhorde.com The #5 is the largest in the KingFisher lineup. It’s rigged with a size 4/0 Eagle Claw Siwash hook and is most effective when the prevailing bait in the area is large herring. Editor George Krumm recalls a September day off Kodiak Island trolling #5 KingFisher spoons on downriggers (without a flasher) where they caught a mixed bag of Chinook, coho and even a couple bonus halibut. The KingFisher line is a great choice when wide-bodied baitfish like herring are around, and in such situations, it pays to have a few KingFishers in your arsenal.
Sampo Welded Ring & Corkscrew Snap Ball-Bearing Swivels, size 6, 200 lb test, nickel finish samposwivels.com These heavy-duty, ball-bearing swivels have become our go-to swivel when jigging for halibut and large bottomfish. The reasons are simple: We never have to worry about the swivel or corkscrew failing, and the swivel itself is the highest quality available. A dozen of these will last the casual angler many years. Made in the USA.
Daiichi 1760 Curved Hook, sizes 12 and 14 anglersportgroup.com Fish Alaska stillwater junkie George Krumm ties and fishes a lot of small flies for rather large fish. In particular, he ties a lot of chironomid pupa imitations and other smallish nymph patterns. One of the frustrations he’s experienced is having size 12 or 14 hooks bend or partially straighten out on large fish. Not anymore. Daiichi’s 1760 is a 2x-long, 2x-heavy wire, forged nymph hook with an exceedingly sharp point and small barb that is easily flattened. George ties his Snow Cone chironomid pupa imitations (and other nymphs) on this hook and has never had one straighten. He uses this hook in sizes 10- through 14. The heavy wire not only keeps its shape, but being slightly heavier, it sinks a little quicker than a standard nymph hook. George comments, “This is my favorite all-around nymph hook for large trout whether I’m fishing the Kenai, the lakes in the Mat-Su Valley, or traveling to destinations like Pyramid Lake in Nevada or Jurassic Lake in Argentina. It’s that good.” Pro-Troll EChip Bait Heads protroll.com When trolling in heavy current, such as the Deep Creek/Ninilchik area of Cook Inlet, getting a herring to stay on and spin properly for any length of time is sometimes impossible, no matter how well you brine, cut or rig your herring. The EChip Bait Head solves this problem. Stick a whole herring in one of these and you’ll be able to troll it with a perfect spin until a fish tries to take it from you. The Big Fin Bait Head is designed for 6- to 7-inch herring. The Regular Bait Head is for 4- to 5-inch herring. All Pro-Troll EChip bait heads contain the patented EChip which puts out electric pulses similar to those put out by live baitfish. If you’re a diehard saltwater herring troller, give these a try. The Chartreuse and Super UV colors have both produced for us, though several other colors are available. Over the years, we’ve landed a lot of coho and Chinook with them.
Orvis Essential Trout Fly Selection orvis.com This fly collection includes 20 effective trout flies housed in a utility box with six compartments. The selection is comprised of a mixture of dries, nymphs, and small streamers, and includes: two Gold Bead Hare’s Ear Nymph, size 14; two CJ Nymph in copper, size 14; one Brass Cone Head Woolly Bugger in black, size 8; one Brass Cone Head Woolly Bugger in olive, size 8; two Elk Wing Caddis in olive, size 14; two Adams Parachute Dry Fly, size 14; two Blue Wing Olive Parachute, size 16; two Zebra Midge in black, size 16; two Fly Formerly Known as Prince, size 14; two Tunghead Soft Pheasant Hackle Tail, size 14; two Stimulator in yellow, size 12. Pictured here is a Yakutat cutthroat that ate the olive Brass Cone Head Woolly Bugger.
Silver Horde Herring Aide Ace Hi Fly silverhorde.com The Ace Hi Fly is essentially an advanced hoochie, with the usual tentacles, but also a built-in mylar insert and molded, hard head with more realistic eyes than your average hoochie. The standard Ace Hi Fly is an excellent representation of herring; the Needlefish Fly is a slimmed-down version that’s a good imitation of sand lance. Ace Hi Flies are available in a wide variety of fluorescent, glow and UV colors. Our favorites over the past year are the Herring Aide pattern and the Purple Haze. We caught four species of salmon on this lure (kings, silvers, chums, pinks) while trolling it 3- to 4 feet behind a flasher (Pro-Troll HotChip, Pro-Troll ProChip, and others). Editor George Krumm says if had to pick two artificial lures for saltwater salmon trolling for the rest of his days, the Ace Hi Fly would be one of them. Publisher Marcus Weiner had similar stellar results with the Herring Aide pattern this year and would take this lure and Silver Horde’s Coho Killer as his two choices to catch saltwater salmon on the troll anywhere in Alaska.