In my last post I promised to reveal the rigs used to catch salmon and brown trout. Port Washington salmon fishing is unlike any other type of angling I've done. It is done with 7-9 foot medium light weight to medium weight rods, 2500 size reels, and 6-12 pound fluorocarbon line. You can't use the standard slip bobber setup because the fishing is shoulder to shoulder and the current coming out of the power plant discharge is constantly changing. It involves not casting, but simply dropping your line twenty feet to the water directly below you. The action is fast with more fish lost than landed.
The first rig and most common is what I would call a 3 way swivel rig. Bass fisherman would recognize it as a drop shot rig variant. It involves a 3 way swivel tied to the main line. A weight tied to a seperate piece of fluorocarbon line 6-10 inches long. With a final section of fluorocarbon line 12-18 inches in length attached to a #6 or #8 hook depending on personal preference. All the knots in this setup are improved clinch knots otherwise known as Trilene knots. The obvious advantage of this rig is that your spawn sac stays free floating in the water column. The negative is that it takes 5 knots to complete. Those knots are a nightmare to tie on a cold fall morning. This rig would not work with 4 boys constantly tangling in the line of those around them.
The 2nd rig I tried was much simpler to tie. It is the standard bottom rig most of us are accustomed to. I myself have used this rig in different situations from catfishing in the local lake to targeting large blacktip sharks from the Florida shoreline. This rigging uses 3 knots to complete. First you put a weight slide on the mainline (I prefer the ones made by Team Catfish). Then you add a bead or rubber bumper to protect your knot from the force of the weight slide hitting it. Then attach your mainline to a swivel via a palomar knot. Use a Trilene knot to attach 18-24 inches of fluorocarbon line to the other end of the swivel, then another Trilene knot to attach the hook. I have noticed a few issues with this specific setup. First off if the weight gets snagged you may have to cut your mainline loosing the whole rig. The other problem is if the swivel isn't pulled tight to the slide the fish may grab the spawn sac and rip it before you even notice the pick up. I still needed something easier to tie that would put me into direct contact with my mainline.
The 3rd setup proved the quickest to rig. Now let me start by saying that I was lucky to have a few left over packs of #8 hook snells in my tackle bag. These snells have a manufactured loop on one end. The way I tied the rig allowed me to take advantage of this feature. The mainline is tied to the weight with a palomar knot. Then pass the hook through the weight, then through the loop on the snell. Pull the rig tight and you have a rig that is tied with only one knot. Since the snell is attached directly to the weight it stays in contact with the mainline. This allows you to feel the slightest pickup of the spawn sac. The biggest advantage is as long as your mainline is stronger than the snell line, if the hook breaks off you only have to loop another snell onto the weight and you are fishing again. Genius!!! The only disadvantage I have found with this setup is that you need a good quality hook or it will straighten on heavy fish.
Hope this post explains the rigs used to fish Port Washington and why I needed to change from the common setup to keep those 4 boys fishing. The fall migration is terrific and I hope at some point all of you get the opportunity to experience it first hand.