Fall is a great time for opportunities in the world of fishing. This time of year, nature calls for a time of harvest and renewal in the circle of life on Earth. This is a great time to choose your bounty. In water or on land, most of God’s creation answers the call. Mammals, fish, and birds are preparing for the winter months ahead.
I like to travel to a place in New York called Oswego and Pulaski to fish the salmon run. Once a year, these brute fish swim from the lakes to the river to reproduce and complete their life’s journey. These are the hardest fighting species of fish you will ever catch. They transform from a lake body to a river body, which is incredible to see with your own eyes. They turn from a silver smooth shaped fish in the lake to a dark toothy humpback monster with a bad attitude. I have been fishing all my life and finally decided to give it a try and it was a decision I do not regret.
This year, New York experienced a bad drought that threatened and delayed the run on the dates we planned to visit. No salmon were pushing up the rivers yet, but they were feeding into the river mouths and staging there to make their push up-river. I planned on fishing the rivers using a flossing technique I learned previously. I had to start from square one on learning how to catch them this time. I figured out that I would be using lake techniques, much like bass fishing instead of the river method.
I used stick baits as the choice of lure. Small adjustments were made to the setup and tuning for the baits to strengthen the weaknesses. I finally eliminated all weak links in my chain and dialed the gear in so I could have a fighting chance at landing these fish. They were fresh out of the lake and were in top shape to make the run, which put me at a disadvantage. Being a bass angler, I applied the same problem solving techniques to overcome the disadvantages. Countless salmon and lures were lost the first few days. Line failures and hook failures were the most common problems that needed to be solved.
I first started with fresh line but the first day was all bent hooks from the sheer power of a king salmon. I solved that with some 1/0 x2 owner stinger hooks and it was a night-and-day difference. Now the line failures started happening once the hooks were holding. I noticed after two fights that my line just was not holding up so I changed the line out with every two fish caught. That was the magic I needed to submit these brutes to my will.
The gear choice was a 10 foot spinning rod with heavy moderate action. Twelve-pound monofilament worked perfectly in dealing with shock and the capacity you need to deal with the long runs. I used thunder sticks crank baits with upgraded hooks to anchor them in.
I look forward every year, since the first trip, to satisfy that itch. It is a great way to fill your coolers with a tasty treats. Enjoy once you get home and share with family and friends. It’s always good to try something different to renew the passion for fishing.
Scott Norton is a Western North Carolina native. Born in Asheville, N.C., he is a long-time hunter, angler and weekend warrior. He is a member of Southern Raft Supply’s prostaff, representing them in his Jackson Kayak Coosa FD.