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Old 26-03-2013, 22:55   #1
Jd1
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Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

I have been looking on Google but have found virtually nothing that relates to using a handline/yo-yo for fishing for salmon in the PNW. I want to try trailing a line during my day sails to see if fresh fish could be incorporated in the evenings menu.
Yo-Yo's don't seem to exist in the local fishing outfitters and with virtually no Google info available I wonder if handlining for salmon makes sense at all?
I do not want to get involved with a downrigger. I just want to troll a line. I am curious if anybody is doing that, what kind of success they had, what line strength and length they are set up with, what approximate depth (lead sinker required on line?) and speed works and what kind of lures are working for salmon.
Most of my 'fishing' would happen between Sidney, BC and Victoria, BC assuming the areas are open for salmon fishing.
As a bonus question .... how do you minimize the carnage in the cockpit when you land a fish ? I do not have a dingy yet to do all the nasties there.
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Old 27-03-2013, 05:04   #2
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I'll go for the bonus question ... I tried for salmon with trolling a handline but the pros said it would not be deep enough.

As for killing big fish on a sailboat my favorite way, with one big drawback, is with cheap alcohol. Put it in a squeeze bottle, give them a goodbye shot directly to the gills while still mostly in the water. Gone in 30 seconds. Minimum blood. If you can avoid the gaffing hook you can reduce the blood too.

The big drawback? Sharks and sea lions during that 30 seconds.
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Old 27-03-2013, 08:08   #3
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

If you want to troll w/o a downrigger, you could use a large banana-shaped sinker - say 6-8 ounces, in front of your flasher. Or a plastic diver or planer. If you're trying to get 60-100 feet down where some folks look for big Chinook, these won't do it, but they're pretty good for Pinks and Cohos which are often shallower.

Seems to me that using a rod and reel (and a landing net too) would give you a much better chance of landing a salmon. Their mouths are relatively weak, and hooks can tear out. They are pretty good at throwing the hook if you allow slack in the line. The spring of a relatively long and flexible rod can help with both. We use 9-foot two-piece rods rated for 10-20 lb line.

When you bring it aboard, first thing you want to do is cut the gills to let it bleed out. You could do this in a bucket or tub.
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Old 27-03-2013, 08:44   #4
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

I don't know if this will work for salmon or not. A few years ago I attended a seminar given by a professional fisherman who was giving tips for trolling from a sailboat during a passage. He recommened using 10-15 feet of appropriate test fishing line, attached to a longer length of parachute cord (or something similar). He said to use a fishing planer to get the bait down to depth.

Then attach the parachute cord to a length of bungee which you attach to the boat. The bungee gives the fish something flexible to fight against. Pull in the fish after it tires. Below is a picture of a planer from Bass Pro shop, cost about $15.

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Old 27-03-2013, 08:50   #5
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

Maybe this will help.

Cuban Yo Yo hand line for Trolling.
1) They are compact,
2) Quick to rig because the line, leader, and lure can be stored assembled, and tangle-free.
3) Load the yo-yo with 150 to 200 feet of 60- to 100-pound test line. Attach the line to the yo-yo with a slip knot with a fishermans knot or improved clinch knot.
4) Add a trolling sinker, 2-6 ounces, to suit typical depths and speed. Some fish (mahi-mahi and other bluewater fish) prefer surface lures that incorporate all the weight that is needed.
5) Add a 20 foot leader, to separate the lure from the sinker.
6) Pick a lure or cedar plug
7) Let out all of the line at a suitable speed; 3-4 knots for striped bass, 4-6 knots for blues, mackerel, and bluewater game fish
8) Attach the yo-yo to the stern rail with a sling and carabineer or just a strap. The stretch inherent in the 200 feet of line will easily stretch 10-20 feet with a big fish
9) Clip the line about 2 feet out to a trolling release which is a Quick Snatch Release Clip (a loop of line will give a cleaner release), removing the tension from the yo-yo and allowing it to hang down. Once hanging a hit will pull the Cuban yo yo up and straight out to horizontal.
10) Have some gloves handy to hand line your fish in.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Cuban Yo-Yo fishing.pdf (315.0 KB, 144 views)
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Old 27-03-2013, 08:50   #6
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

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They are pretty good at throwing the hook if you allow slack in the line. The spring of a relatively long and flexible rod can help with both. We use 9-foot two-piece rods rated for 10-20 lb line.
I was looking through the rules and regs last night and salmon fishing requires barbless hooks now. That and their ability to throw hooks is going to be quite a challenge!
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Old 27-03-2013, 08:55   #7
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

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Originally Posted by NewMoon View Post
If you want to troll w/o a downrigger, you could use a large banana-shaped sinker - say 6-8 ounces, in front of your flasher. Or a plastic diver or planer. If you're trying to get 60-100 feet down where some folks look for big Chinook, these won't do it, but they're pretty good for Pinks and Cohos which are often shallower.
How much difference does a flasher make for salmon (yes, I am really new at salmon fishing and basically know nothing). I have only caught one salmon in my life and he was confused and took a lure that was aimed at ling cod.
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:13   #8
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

We fish this area quite often. You'll probably do very well for Silver Salmon (Coho). Most of those we caught right up at the surface level. In fact, some of the more exciting "strikes" we had were right up behind the boat in the wake.

However, I STRONGLY suggest using a rod/reel - not a handline. You will almost certainly tear the hook out of the mouth if you don't have rod to act as a shock absorber. And you have to use barbless hooks when salmon fishing too.

Even with "normal" sport fishing gear, many fish are lost at the boat when netting. Given the height of a sailboat cockpit, you'll probably be best off using a gaff to get the fish on board. Don't be gentle. GAFF the fish like you mean it - - -and swing it on board. Yep, probably will be some carnage (blood) in the cockpit, but it's worth it. Fresh ocean caught coho. OMG, good eating.

Also, given the fact that you have to use barbless hooks, we have had (relatively) good success keeping the fish on the hook, by using circle hooks (made barbless). Any tackle shop in that area will have these. They look a little "funny", but work pretty good.

One caution, if you're trolling on (or near) the surface, be careful that you don't have a bald eagle or seagull grab your lure. This has happened to us numerous times. Rather exciting - and not necessarily in a good way.

The typical rig (very effective) for any salmon is a flasher and a hootchie. This probably won't work so hot, though, right on the surface. If you can get it underwater at all (lead weight, or Dipsy Diver), this should be fine.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions - happy to help.

~markb
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:36   #9
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

I forgot to mention that we use 25 or 30 lb monofilament line. Plenty of strength for salmon (assuming you check it for nicks and cut off any worn section from time to time), and enough stretch to help along with the springy rod.

We use 30-40 lb mono for the leader between flasher and hook.
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Old 27-03-2013, 09:51   #10
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

If you're after anything but Spring/King salmon, 20-30 lb test should be sufficient. When I sailed around the PNW back in the 60's and 70's, I had the most success with a simple 2 part rod, less than 10 feet long, salmon reel, a good size flasher followed by a Tom Mack #4 spinner on about 8-10 feet of lead all weighted down with around 1/2 lb of lead depending on how fast I was trolling. Faster, you might need more weight.
Because I also fished commercially, I would change up my rig depending on what was successful on my troller. Sometimes hoochies, octies rather than the Tom Macks.
I only fly fished with barbless hooks doing catch and release. If you're fishing to eat, why not use the old reliable barbed hooks? Or is it illegal now???
The whole objective is to catch enough to eat, no more, so try and land what you catch. As far as dispatching the lucky catch, if it was more than 15 lbs, I used a sawed off .22 cal rifle with a stock cut down to use as a pistol. Always worked fine for me and after close to 15 years of commercial fishing, never shot myself.
This advice is probably long outdated now but brought back good memories just writing the suggestions... Phil
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Old 27-03-2013, 10:15   #11
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

Here's the problem with a yoyo for salmon. Salmon have "soft mouths" compared with mahi, tuna etc. The hook can be readily torn from their mouths if you dont play them right when catching one. A pole helps to reduce shock loads by bending. A hand line might just get you a lot of strikes and no landings.....
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Old 27-03-2013, 13:01   #12
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

Thanks for all the great advice guys! I guess I will go back to plan B and put the old rod into service. It will be interesting to say the least as I have a full bimini. I will try and see if I can play the catch from the swim step if I have a safety tether rigged. That should make landing easier as well. Just got to figure out how to deal with getting the sails in (both are on furlers), run the helm (auto pilot) keep a lookout and play the fish at the same time. It might require a lot of practice
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Old 27-03-2013, 13:36   #13
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

In the area you are planning to fish, there are 5 species of salmon going through at different times of the year. The Chinook (called Kings south of the border) are bigger, slower and run the deepest. Hard to slow down slow enough for them in a sail boat 1.5 to 3 knots. The Coho (called a silver south of the border) are faster and can be picked up on the surface trolling salmon flies.(probably your best bet). The Pink salmon also like speed and can be picked up at any depth with pink hoochies. Biggest problem with them is the soft mouth, hook will easily tear out. Sockeye require slower speeds and feed as a school, so you need a lot of gear in the water to attrack them, not surface feeders. The Chum (sometimes called the dog salmon) also feeds in schools and is harder to catch as a sports fisherman.( more of a net type salmon). Barbless hooks have been the order of the day in Canada, for Salmon, since the mid 90s even for commercial fishermen. I have fished every species both commercially and sports for more than 30 years. Your area in late August should have a fair number of Pink available. Otherwise target Coho, a silver and gold spoon called a Tom Mack will probably get the best results ( make sure you have a good swivel and a bit of weight). A rod will give you the flex tension to help keep them on.
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Old 27-03-2013, 13:45   #14
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

I don't know what areas outlawed barbed hooks, but they are still legal in Alaska. I have caught salmon off of a feathered jig on a hand line while under sail, no gaff used, if you use a snubber on your hand line, it eliminates the shock loading from the fish striking. You can use a "Pink lady" to get your line down far enough to be effective, cut plug herring works well, there are web sites that teach you the proper angle to cut them, or you can also make a needle out of a 12" piece of brazing rod and run it along the spine of the herring up through the tail and out the mouth with the leader line attached and a hook on the end, pull the line until the hook is at the tail then there is a plastic hood you can slide down the line and put it on the herring's head. Flashers are a good augment to your rigging. As to the dispatching part, insert your knife horizontally right behind the fish's eyes on top of the head and it stops them right now, or you can just bite them there. The alcohol thing works too. I only shoot the halibut when they get up over 100 lbs.
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Old 27-03-2013, 17:11   #15
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Re: Anyone trailing a handline in the PNW for Salmon?

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Thanks for all the great advice guys! I guess I will go back to plan B and put the old rod into service. It will be interesting to say the least as I have a full bimini. I will try and see if I can play the catch from the swim step if I have a safety tether rigged. That should make landing easier as well. Just got to figure out how to deal with getting the sails in (both are on furlers), run the helm (auto pilot) keep a lookout and play the fish at the same time. It might require a lot of practice
I caught a lot of fish off a boat with a bimini before. For salmon you'll def want a net.
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