ANGLERS WORKING HARD AGAINST MOTHER NATURE TO CATCH FISH

September 06, 2008 12:00 am

By Larry Ellis

Pilot staff writer

Anglers working hard for the reef-dwellers

Last week inclement weather prevented most anglers from plucking the dusky jewels from Davey Jones' Locker, but when Mother Ocean has been cooperative and northwest winds died down, a few fishermen were able to put the hurtin' on the bottom-grabbers.

I arrived at the fillet tables on Wednesday just in time to see four limits brought to the cleaning station. The group of four said they had to work hard for their fish, which has been typical of late.

I am of the opinion that rockfish bite best on the incoming tide two hours just before high and during high slack, and at the change of tide during low slack for the first hour or so during the flood.Most anglers who are struggling getting their limits are fishing in between the tides.

It's been a while since I've seen grubs being used, but that's what the aforementioned group used to nail their limits.

Rigging up is easy.A lot of people merely take their shrimp flies off their pre-tied rigs and switch over to snelled leaders or smaller hooks, and that works OK. But when fish are being temperamental I like to rig up a little differently.

I prefer to use lighter line, say, 15-pound test, and tie two dropper loops spaced 18 inches equidistant to each other.I like to tie a leadfish on the end of the line about 20 inches below the first dropper. The leadfish tends to attract the lings while the grubs tend to hook more rockfish.

Tying a good dropper knot is important.If you've never tied a dropper, the Internet is full of how-to-rig knots.

Using at least five twists on the dropper is critical. If you use less than five twists, the loop will tend to break. I learned this the hard way. After using five to six twists, I found the knot to be a lot less resistant to snap, especially when using lighter lines.

It is also crucial to wet your line before pulling the loop taut.Always lubricate your line with water before pulling any knot tight to prevent friction.

Use 2/0 snelled hooks and pass them through the dropper loops.The grubs slide up the hooks easily.Use any color grub as long as it's white.If you don't get bit after 30 minutes you might think about tagging your hooks with small strips of squid or anchovies.

The lingcod bite was a little on the slow side last week but that will turn around sometime this month.

58-pound Chinook caught in the Rogue Bay

Fishing picked up a little bit in the Rogue estuary last week when a 58-pound monster king was caught by Joe Vallone from Las Vegas on Sunday.

"He was trolling an anchovy/spinnerbait with a green blade," said Virginia McKinney, owner of Jot's Resort.

Vallone was fishing with Terry Kennedy of tkfg.com, who said the fight lasted a good 15 minutes.

Historically, September is the month when the hawgs start getting caught.It's also a good month because people often have the river all to themselves.

There were several other good days in the estuary last weekend.

"From the numbers I was getting, there were between 35 and 50 fish caught a day," says Larry Cody from The Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach, regarding the weekend's fishing.

Now I'm not saying that the Rogue's on fire.But there have been a few days this week when that baby has been popping out some really nice fish, as well as having decent fishing days.Saturday was a better than average day and so was Tuesday, when Mark Van Hook pulled up to Lex's Landing with 20-pound-plus king and a nice, bright jack.

Mark's clients landed their fish on spinnerbaits with a No. 4 green-on-green blade. Since those last two fish were caught on basically the same set-up, there is no better time than the present to discuss how to make your own.

How to tie up your own spinnerbait rig

Although there are premade spinnerbait rigs on the market with the Rogue Bait Rig being the most popular, most guides tie up their own spinnerbait rigs.

Tying up your own has several advantages.First of all, you have total control over all the materials.You never know how long line has been sitting on the shelf and you don't know if the monofilament has been exposed to sunlight, which weakens the line. So now you can always use fresh line, and whatever brand or type of line you wish, whether it's mono or fluorocarbon.

In addition, tying up your own rigs gives you the control of making your own knots, as well.If the fish should break off at the knot you know where to point the finger.

You'll need at least a 48-inch leader, so start out with a piece of mono that's 54 inches long.

On the end of the leader tie a perfection loop.This knot is surprisingly strong. The way to tell if your knot was tied correctly is to put your loop around the plastic part of one of the handles of needle-nose pliers.

Pull good and hard.If the knot breaks, it wasn't tied correctly.Again, the Internet is a great source for learning how to tie this knot.

A double overhand knot also will work, but the perfection knot has two advantages.First, it is a lot less bulky.Second, the tag end always sticks out at a perfect 90 degrees, which allows you to pull the loop through the anchovy with a lot more ease, having less tendency to mangle the inside of the baitfish.You can also cut the tag end a lot closer to the knot itself.

The next step is tying a number 1 slider hook, allowing you to adjust the tension of the anchovy, the same as a mooching rig.Once again, there are demonstrations how to tie this sliding knot on the Internet.

You'll want to string a series of beads over the top hook.Some people like using about nine, 5mm chartreuse beads.Others will be using the traditional three groups of three different color beads (three red beads, three gold beads and three chartreuse beads on top).

On top of the leading bead put in a plastic quick-change clevis, which allows you to change the color or size blade at will.

Both of the aforementioned fish were caught on No. 4 green-on-green blades. When the silvers start running this month, you'll want to change color to hot pink.

Rigging up

You'll be usinga single anchovyon the end of your rig, but first you have to string the loop through the bait.Making sure you have plenty of extra line,insert the point ofa hook threader through the vent of the fish soit comes out of the fish's mouth.

Grab the loop with the notch in the threader and pull it out of the fish's vent. Now insert the loop through a No. 2 Gamakatsu treble hook and insert one of the points into the fish's vent.

Hook the top hook from the lower part of the anchovy's jaw up through the center of the fish's head and wrap a dental rubber band around the head. Now adjust the anchovy so that it has a slight bend in it, so the bait arches from the front to the rear, not side-to-side. This gives the bait a nice tight spin.

A lot of folks are using two bead chains inline with the leader in order to prevent line-twist.

Tie your leader to the end of a spreader bar.Use about an 18-inch dropper with between 3- and 6-ounces of lead. Tie your mainline to the other end of the spreader bar and you're good to go.

Tight lines!