I’m a total newbie to fishing and I did not even know how to tie a simple knot. So when it came to rigging up for the Salmon River in Pulaski. I was not sure where to begin. I read and watched lots of videos and spoke to multiple fisherman on the river. Part of the confusion is that there are so many different terms for salmon fishing and steelhead fishing. The only thing I knew is that the leader was suppose to be less than 4 feet or you were going to be fined by the DEC. To add to the confusion is that salmon and steelhead fishing in the Northwest is different than the Northeast and have different terminology and different styles. The rig that I have diagrammed is the basic preferred method of rigging up for the Salmon River in NY. This will work for salmon fishing or steelhead fishing on the Salmon River in NY.
You start with what is the called your main line. The main line is the line that comes from your reel. The main line should be only monofilament and should be between 10-20 lbs. I’ve read multiple places that you should go heavier but based on everything I read you don’t really need heavier line. Monofilament if properly cared for will hold a heavy fish like a salmon. What I have used is usually 12 lbs of monofilament. One note is that you should never use braided line. Braided line is virtually unbreakable and because of this can get hooked on rocks and debris in the river. What is worse that when a fish starts running you can potentially hurt other fishermen by having the line cut them.
The next piece is a swivel. I personally like micro swivels but which ever swivel you choose it should be low profile. I attach the swivel to the main line with a knot. Its up to you which knot you use but I prefer the following three knots: The Clinch Knot, the Improved Clinch Knot and the finally the Polamar Knot. Whichever knot you choose use please remember to wet the knot with some saliva as your are pulling the knot to firm it up. That will seat the knot securely.
The next piece is to attach 4 Ft or less of Flourocarbon. Flourocarbon and Monofilament are different types of line. Monofilament is line that is used as your mainline and has a great stretching ability but it floats and is visible underwater. Flourocarbon is line has been designed to sink and to be invisible underwater. Having the line sink is really important because salmon and steelhead hug the bottom of the river. I had previously been using monofilament and monofilament and was struggling to catch fish. As soon as I changed to fluorocarbon it seemed like my fishing had improved. You tie a knot using the Clinch Knot, the Improved Clinch Knot and the finally the Polamar Knot. As you attach it do not cut off the remainder of the line used – usually this is trimmed but in this circumstance you need to leave some line so you can add some weight. The untrimmed line that is remaining is usually called a tag end.
The remainder piece or tag end is to attach some weight to get the line down. The weight you use is split shot. Split shots are weighted metal that look like mini pac-mans that have a split in them and then your line is run in between the weight. You pinch the split close and that attaches the line to the weight. At the end of the tag end you want to place a small basic knot as called the granny knot. The reason that this is done is weight typically gets hung up so if you attach your weight on the mainline and you have to break the line you will lose everything. However if the weight gets caught up you break that off and still possibly have the rest of your tackle in tact.
At the end of the fluorocarbon line you add a hook by using a knot mentioned above. I like to use a hook known as a scud hook in 2X heavy wire. The reason for this is that a scud hook design gives you more leverage and imbeds better in the fish’s mouth. I use 2X heavy wire because salmon mouths are pretty strong and salmon and steelhead can bend lighter hooks. My favorite hooks are Daiichi 1120 Scud Hooks – they are chemically sharpened and they are heavy. I like to use hooks from size 6-12 and I use these to also tie on flies.
The last item is the bait. There is lots of controversy as to the type of bait you should use. The controversy is around the fact that salmon bite or do not bite the bait. It is a well known fact that salmon do not eat while they are in spawning mode in the river. So do they bite or do not bite?
Since I am a newbie I’m not sure so I can’t say. However the point of this is to keep things basic in rigging up. What most tackle shops on the Salmon River will recommend that you use plastic eggs. What you do is take one of these eggs and pierce it and place it the top of the hook. I like the blue ones because for some reason salmon on the Salmon River like the color blue.
You don’t have to be limited to these blue plastic eggs – you can use flies, yarn and clusters of fish eggs in sacs etc. I personally do not use plastic eggs because it makes me feel funny but being a newbie I’m not going to judge anyone that uses them. I prefer using flies, beads or cured salmon eggs. However this is the most basic method to rig up for the Salmon River.
Here is a basic rig and what you will need.
4. Water Gremlin Removable Split Shot Super Pak, BB Also try to get some 7 and 6.
6. Atlas Mike’s Jar of Plastic Salmon Fishing Bait Eggs, Red or Flies. ( I prefer flies and in other posts I’ll cover which flies I like)