Yeah Plugging!!!

Discussion in 'South West Michigan Streams and Rivers' started by steelton, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. So it seems every discipline of fishing is represented in the site except for ONE! And though many people turn they're noses up at pluggers, like it or not those who choose to plug are just as die hard as the rest. I think it's time for us to have a place to ask questions, post techniques, and generally discuss ways in which we can help fellow pluggers put more fish on the lines. No we won't ever have days when we challenge the numbers put up by our float fishing brethren, but we don't do it for the masses. It that SLAM!!!! we look for every time we hit the water. Watching rods dance for an hour or more is well worth the wait just to see a bruiser try and rip that plug rod from the boat. I for one have been counting the days till I can sweep my favorite hole for the first time of the fall season.

    I have been trying to figure out more ways to put fish on my plugs during those fringe times, when the holes aren't stacked and the fish would rather watch a plug wiggle right on by than try and strike it. I recieved a book recently called "plug fishing for steelhead" by mike laverty. Thing cost $45, but it would have been money well spent for the ideas and theories alone. I was wondering what colors you guys like to run when it's sunny as opposed cloudy? Or is it plug style you change out and not color?

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
    #1 steelton, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2015
  2. well, I just added this technique to my Arsenal 3 seasons ago so im no expert, but so far for me its been style change not so much color, rattle and flash in both hot-n-tots & kwik fish always seems to put a fish in the boat. I dont have the luxury of oars on my boat so we either anchor up and back bounce plugs or back down with the motor, I just aquired some chain for a chain anchor so this year Im going to try dragging some chain and see what happens.

  3. I dropped about $600 on plugs during the summer :lol:. Most are available around here but some are special order colors that some of you guys have never seen available over here. A few kings took a liking to the one, but hope the chrome bruisers can but some scratches on the others.
  4. Sorry to do this, but why wouldn't you have oars on your boat? I have launched without oars a few times, and felt naked without them. And I've had to row out several miles of river in a pretty heavy 16 foot boat a couple times, when I had motor problems. I would have been screwed without oars.

    I've caught Steelhead on plugs, but only casting them from shore. And not in a long time. Spawn just puts more fish on the end of my line. But I understand the thrill of the slam, believe me. I get it bottom bouncing. It isn't as thrilling watching a bobber drop, but that sure is a productive way to hook up.
  5. Successful anglers do it all, bottom bounce, bobber fish, and plugging, etc. I too do not have rowing oars on my boat, I have the one little hand held. Used for extreme occasions or when pushing off, but its not suitable for long term rowing.
  6. Spawn is king in michigan, and for good reason, there is a very strong tradition here for it and its not likely to dissapear anytime soon, its effectiveness is unquestionable. So any Michigan steelheader who chooses to run anything but spawn is operating in that environment.

    There are lots of steelheaders who only use spawn but there are more than a few who fish multiple methods, I think things are slowly starting to change on that front. But we still have a ways to go before we see boats stacked with rods rigged up all sorts of ways like in the PNW.

    After doing the spawn under float thing for 10 years and then hitting plugs for another 4, I don't see each style of fishing as the end all be all thing.

    Spawn is tearing it up right now, its really earning its keep behind those noids. But things even up a bit more when the water gets colder and those salmon become distant memories.

    Whatever methods we choose as steelheaders our job is to leverage our techniques advantages and minimize the disadvantages.
  7. Our biggest advantage while pulling plugs is our ability to control our baits very precisely, we can control the speed our plugs slip downstream very easily, we can even hold our plugs stationary when we know we have a fish cornered in the tail out. Nothing brings out a fishes inner wrath like that.

    Another advantage is our efficiency, our baits are in the water pretty much all the time, there is no wasted time casting or retrieving. Over the course of a long day this can really add up to more time fishing, and this can make or break a tough day.

    A large run on a bigger river can take quite some time to float fish properly. A single pass with plugs can fish that run in half the time it takes to drift via floats.

    Wind! Float fishing can be incredibly difficult on windy days, requiring special float rigging and heroic amounts of patience. On the really brutal days the plug puller simply positions his boat relative to the wind, otherwise his technique does not really change. I have caught fish on days when there have been standing waves on the rivers, big ones. Adaptation to changing conditions is always an advantage. Not having wind as a deal breaker is a big big deal.

    Finally plugs have a pretty good ability to bounce off snags as they slowly move backwards while pulling. I have pulled through lots and lots of snaggly stuff. I think I have lost two plugs in 4 years. Not too shabby.
    #7 centerpin, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  8. A sunny day, with clear water and lots of boat traffic have been my worst days while plugging. Even worse during the early season, I don't even try fishing in those conditions in OCT.

    Late Nov and into Dec those same conditions have actually been good for me more than a few times. Early season is rough though.

    Those same conditions in the early season with stealth mode float patrol have been money. But thats really playing to that techniques strengths.

    Fishing super early and really late on those tougher days while plugging have helped a lot. I have heard of guys downsizing their lures and lines on the really tough days but have yet to try that seriously.

    The smaller more natural lures like baby craws and minnow imitations seem like they would work in that situation.

    One thing that I have been doing on the sunny days has been going with non-rattle plugs. I feel like this has made a difference on those tougher days. I will still run a rattle plug in the dim hours on those days but overall its no rattle.
    #8 centerpin, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  9. I find the plugs with rattles tend to run better in faster water where the aggressive or active fish are where as the plugs designed without rattles tend to run better in slower to moderate water where the more lathergic fish hold. I've always believed color to be secondary to action within reason.
  10. I've never had 200' of line RIPPED off a reel with a spawn bag!
    You fish plugs for One reason- It Catches Bigger Fish!!
    You can have your 10 fish days, I'm fishing for 1, and he ain't a scared of a spawn bag.
    depth is most important, then location, color next, And if you can keep the bobber guys from lowholing your swim you will get what your after... the latter being the most important :coolgleam
    #10 Ron Matthews, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  11. I do like the fact that big bruisers like plugs, however last spring I was managing about 2 steelhead and 4 trout a trip. Some of the trout were 18-24, but several were only about 10. I was also running tuna wrapped plugs which may have played a role.
  12. I wanna try this plug fishing!!!:xzicon_sm
  13. Last year I started casting plugs for kings in the river and do way better than I do with spawn. I don't know if it's just my luck, but the Salmon I catch on plugs are generally fresher than the ones on spawn.

    I've never tried using them for steelhead but this season I'll give it a try.

    I prefer smaller plugs, and actually use one almost exclusively that I put together myself. (Buying body, split rings, and hooks seperately) This is a smaller firetiger colored plug with a rattle. Altogether they cost me about $1.50 - $2.50 a piece to make. It could be cheaper if I bought them in a larger bulk.

    I'm excited to see how they fare against Steelhead!
  14. I'm excited to try a little plugging this winter. I have a boat almost set up and ready. in the past I've trolled up through the holes with success. Never anchored above and bounced back though. I try a little of everything when I make the day trip to fish the rivers. I start out drifting and bottom bouncing spawn and do some trolling to break up the dullness of casting bouncing and snagging logs. :)
  15. I started dropping back plugs on small little ditches, where you had a good view of what's going on. One thing is that the fish almost always react to a plug dropped in their face and it really seems to get them edgy almost unlike anything else. They might smash it right away, back down or to the side (sometimes before mauling it), or get the heck out of the hole, but they always seem to react to it.

    Seems like they can put drifted baits (spawn, flies, etc) on ignore, and react a little differently to swung offerings such as spinners (and plugs).

    Definitely live for the hit with plugs, and especially love using them for early run/fresh kings because of it. Great way to get an arm dislocated:lol::lol:

Share This Page