If I didn’t ask, I would have guessed a whiskey theme for these boat graphics, but I learn something new each day!
Black label herring are about 9 to 10 inches long. Most of the time anglers use black labels for halibut and sturgeon fishing. There are some other fisheries, such as off of Kodiak Island and northern British Columbia where the Chinook are absolutely huge and if you want to catch a big fish then use a big bait.
The boat has a dark gray gel coat and a real modern line so a nice opportunity to try some black and white graphic designs.
If you are fishing for salmon using herring, it is important to ensure that your bait is perfectly rigged, otherwise, it may not be effective. For the perfect spin, you should aim for a bait that spins tightly, much like a rotating drill. While it is possible to use a whole herring, it is generally easier to achieve the desired spin with a cut plug herring.
Blue label are 7 to 8 inches in length and are great for plug cutting and mooching for feeding Chinook. The larger baits are a bit tougher and give off more erratic actions as they are mooched. Lingcod anglers also use the blue label size rigged whole with a mooching weight and double 4/0 hooks. The larger herring makes it easy for “ride-along” lings that grabbed the bait and won’t let go even though they aren’t hooked.
Green label herring is the most popular, as the size lends to a variety of uses. They are 5 to 6 inches long and great for rigging whole with a helmet and trolling or even plug cutting and trolled or mooched. The fillets are also just the right size for wrapping plugs. Most of the time when anglers buy their herring by the case they choose green label for the versatility.
When fishing herring for salmon, you want to produce a perfectly rigged offering, or, don’t use it. When I think of a perfect spin I’m looking for a bait that is spinning super tight like a drill. Although you can use whole herring, a cut plug herring is generally easier to achieve the spin you’re looking for, and is more effective at producing a tight spin.
For years, I’ve heard of the “slow roll” when targeting Chinook and a “fast spin” for coho. In my personal experience, I catch more kings and silvers with a tight fast spin. I also tend to use smaller bait if it’s close to “matching the hatch”. If there are large horse herring around and the kings are in, then I’ll go with the blue or purple label, but my choice has always been green label. It’s also easier to achieve a faster spin with a smaller bait.
The angle of the cut is crucial to get that fast, tight spin. Until you can consistently achieve the perfect cut, you may consider the use of a bait-cutting miter box. If the box has two angle choices, always go with the one that will give you the faster, tight roll, generally labeled as the “Coho Cut”.
The top hook will also determine how fast and tight your herring will spin. Using the smallest hook you’re comfortable with (I use 2/0 or 3/0 for coho, 3/0 to 5/0 for Chinook) insert the top hook as close to the spine as you can, approximately a quarter-inch from the edge. You may need to experiment with this but once you find the “sweet spot”, it’s like money. During a wicked bite, you can leave the back hook trailing, otherwise, insert the back hook along the lateral line.