Low Water Steelhead and Salmon Fishing Tactic
Low, clear water .. some of the toughest conditions in which to entice
strikes from wary steelhead (summer or winter-run) and salmon (especially those seeming
non-biting low water fall variety). Here's a neat tip that can often help coax these
seemingly lock-jawed steelhead and salmon into biting.
The name of the game
here is spinners ... not just any old spinner, but size 2, 3, and 4 brass vibrax spinners
that I'll tell you how to modify.
Blackened spinners can help entice extreme low water
fish to bite like this 50 lb. class king that Fishgal caught &
released on the Quillayute River.
You must use a brass vibrax ... the other brass
spinners from Mepps, LJ, Pen(Mor)-Tac, etc. don't seem to accept this
treatment very well.
Get yourself a lit candle, a
pair of pliers, and a glass of water filled nearly to the top. Now, with the pliers,
barely grab hold of the tip of the spinner blade furthest from the clevis and hold the
blade perpendicularly (come on remember your HS geometry) approximately two inches above
the tip of the candle flame. You will notice that in a few seconds that the blade tries to
take on a tarnished color (with a prism-like effect much like an oil sheen on water).
Continue holding the blade until it turns a dark brown with this sheen, then place the
blade in the glass of water to cool it off.
Do not hold the blade too close
to or in the candle flame ... the carbon from the flame will deposit on the blade and turn
it completely black and you will not be able to reverse this process!! If you happen to
turn some black ... these work quite well too, but this is not the objective of this tip!!
Once the blade has the darker
color, repeat the process to the body of the spinner by holding the eye that attaches to
the hook. You will have to spin the body of the spinner to achieve the effect all the way
Presto, that's it for
the modification ... looks pretty cool, huh? Well, the fish seem to think so too!! You
will probably mess a few up and turn them completely black ... save these spinners for the
very brightest of days ... they work quite well!
For the ones that turn
out right, you'll know if they seem to have that oily sheen, use these in the morning or
late afternoon in fast water. Cast nearly straight out and use almost no retrieve until
the spinner has swung into the shallowest water near the bank below you. You're trying to
quarter the spinner across the stream just above the bottom ... Hold on Tight!!
I use the different
sizes based on how well the spinner gets down...start with a number 3. If it seems to hang
up a lot, switch to the smaller number 2. If it doesn't tick bottom, try casting just a
hair further upstream and / or switch to the size four.
A blackened Brass Vibrax Spinner