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Spring means springers, get used to it

This is a no-hassle easy-to-tie bank fisherman’s springer rig for the Rogue River. The Pilot/Larry Ellis
 

Fishing report for 

March 16-22

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris. I wonder were the springers is?

If you answered, “The Rogue River”, then treat yourself to this issue’s rig of the week: a bank fisherman’s spring king primer.

 

 Spring Chinook fight three times harder than ocean-caught salmon or river-caught fall Chinook. They can spool you in less than a minute and leave second-degree burns on anglers’ thumbs that were unfortunate enough to have rested on a reel’s spool while a fish was making a run. That’s what springer fishing is all about.

While talking with Monica Fischer from the Chetco Outdoor Store in Brookings last week, we discussed several different fishing styles in which shore fishermen could rig up for springers. She came up with a simple rig that has coincidentally been ripping the lips off of Rogue spring kings in the past week.

My first suggestion is to use a conventional bait-casting reel. These types of reels can take the punishment that a wily springer can dish out. They are also a pleasure to use once you have hooked a fish.

The standard modus operandi is to use 30-pound monofilament main line, although a lot of folks prefer using braid. While braid is excellent line to use on some occasions, I have found that it can be difficult to cast from shore, with backlashes becoming more frequent than usual.

The small diameter of braid wedges between other parts of the line on the spool, creating irregularities of line tension. This makes casting difficult because the line cannot freely release itself from these tension points.

The lure in the photo is a Brad’s Super Bait Cut Plug in the color Black Jack. These lures impart a wicked spin that just drives salmon wild. I buy the ones that come two to a pack instead of buying singles, which come pre-tied. I like to have the confidence that my lures will be tied using good knots with fresh line.

One of the biggest draws to these lures is that they have hinged doors in which a variety of baits can be added for scent. One of the scents that Chinook find hard to resist is tuna.

You’ll definitely want to buy the light-meat product that is packed in oil, because the oil leaves a strong tuna scent trail for springers to follow.

After packing the lure’s cavity with tuna, close the door by using one of the super strong rubber bands that comes in the package.

Your leader should be about 36 inches long made from 25-pound monofilament. Thread the end of the leader through the hole in the wide end of the lure. The line then passes through a series of holes on the underside of the lure. After you’ve passed the leader through the final hole, tie the end of the leader to a four-bead, bead chain swivel. Attach the bead chain to a 2/0 treble hook via a split ring.

To keep the lure off the bottom, use an in-line cork bobber. I like to use bobbers that are no less than 1.5-inches in diameter to float up these heavy lures. Your bobber should be positioned about one third the length of the leader from the hook.

You’ll also need to buy a spreader bar. Spreader bars keep the main line, the leader and the sinker from getting tangled.

There are three eyes on a spreader bar, with a bead chain swivel attached to the leader eye. Tie your mainline to one eye of the spreader bar and then tie the leader to the bead chain. The bead chain helps prevent line twist caused by the rapidly-spinning lure.

Attach a 12-inch piece of 15-pound monofilament to the other eye of the spreader bar, which is called a dropper (also called a lead line). On the end of the dropper, tie a lead weight ranging between 4 and 12 ounces, depending on the strength of the current.

You’ll need a rod holder to hammer into the gravel in which to place your rod. Set your rod in the holder, adjust your drag with the clicker on and kick back in your vehicle while waiting for a savage take-down.

Knowing what type of water to fish is more important than pinpointing specific locations because springer travel lanes can change on a daily, and even an hourly, basis due to the change of tide.

You can’t go wrong casting your rig along a fast-moving current seam, either on one side or the other. Your bobber will keep your lure off of the bottom and the current will cause your lure to spin.

Some of the most commonly-fished areas are Coyote Riffle, Huntley Park, Orchard Bar and Quosatana Creek.


Steelhead fishing ends March 31 on the Chetco

Don’t forget that the Chetco will be closed to fishing for all species after March 31, which is one week from today. There should still be one or two more days of good steelhead fishing, river level dependent.


Sporthaven Marina changes hands

When Howard and Cindy Jones moved to Brookings in the past year, little did they know that their destiny was to become the new proprietors of Sporthaven Marina.

When I found out about the new changing of the guard, I couldn’t wait to try the usual; a cheeseburger and fries.

Nothing’s changed here except for the ownership. If you’re a good eavesdropper, you’ll quickly find out where the prime fishing action took place that day, while sitting on the stools at the famed watering hole. Here, anglers swap farfetched fables over a brewski while watching sports on the wide-screen TV.

Tight lines!

 

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