Early in the year stickbaits off planer boards are often the way to go, but you almost always have a few lines down on the riggers even if they're only running 20 ft. down. Keep changing things up until you find what works.
May/June is when the attractors really start to get hot though. Early on minimalism is often the way to go.
On the dodgers... I'm saying give them a go if you're not catching fish with something else, not that I run them all the time early on. Smaller ones work better early on from my experience. I have a couple of the "little" fishcatchers that run really nice off the riggers with a fly.
On the stickbaits... I use the stickbait type to control depth to some extent. Floating rapalas run higher, husky jerks get down, and if I want to get down further than that a little lead works. Usually you're running stickbaits in the top20 feet and don't have to worry about much weight.
Last May at St Joe we nailed some 20# plus kings on an 11" Coyote flasher with Mag Stinger spoon off a rigger. The small red/orange ones are good for coho and steelies with popcorn flies early on as well.
Once the fishcatcher/Spin Doctor bite starts, after the water warms, I'll have quite a few in the water.
A lot of when to start dodger/atractor fishing depends where you fish. In the spring for St.Joe south ok maybe but if you fish north you would be better off just running clean baits. The one or two odd fish you may catch dragging a dodger doesn't justify time lost while using them in cold water. Remember there is no set rules for salmon fishing(if there was we would all be duing the same thing) so everybody has to due what works for them that day. If your out trolling not catching anything put one out nothing else is working that day you have nothing to lose. There is a new theory running an atractor all the time may not catch fish but pulls them into your spread but I'm old school I want my spread to all work not a having a dead rod just to catch fish. For me this theory is worst for people that can only run a few rods due to small boat or few people.
Typically I don't start Dodgers until mid may June time Frame. But there are occasions when I will use these attractors in my spring shallow water program. If we get a big blow and the water ends up getting stained, these attractors will help you put fish in the boat when everyone else think the fish have lock jaw.
I didn't do this last year but this year I'm going to run a dodger off my downrigger ball. The spoons will be run off a pad release set 5' above the ball. If I'm only going to run the planer boards because we are in shallow, then I'll still run the rigger ball with the dodger (that way I don't tie up a rod holder with a rod that has no lure). If we are deep enough, I can run the lure off a pinch pad 5' above the ball and a pinned slider 5-8' above the lower spoon. We'll see what happens.
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