Random question: Alaska salmon fishing -When they troll with fly rods on downriggers

Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,852 Moderator
So, I was just watching an outdoor network show, and I have seen this set up before, and never understood it.

Was about a 26ft WA, twin OB, and they were trolling flyrods on downriggers.

What's the point of that?

All I can come up with is maybe the fish have very tender mouths and they use small hooks... therfore they need lots of shock absorption.

If that's the case then I can understand the long rod... but why the 1:1 retrieve of the fly reel, and why was it backed with braid.

If they're trying to keep solid pressure on a the fish and give the fish zero abrubt pulls, why not mount a conventional reel spooled with mono on a 9' noodle.

I've just never understood it.
"Whatcha doin' in my waters?"


  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,186 Officer
    Those reels are not really fly reels. They are called Mooching or Center Pin Reels. They were originally developed for fishing large rivers. Here is a web site that "explains" their function. Personally I think its also about the type of fisherman these charter boats take out. If they used spinners they would have to teach their clients not to reel when the salmon is running etc. to avoid line twist and if these same people drop one overboard, its probably no big deal since these reels are quite inexpensive. I also think these reels are very rugged and can take a lot of abuse, so they don't have to spent a lot of time tearing them down for cleaning and repairs, etc. The last factor of course is tradition which might be the main reason, but I'm just guessing here as I have never fished Alaska.

  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,852 Moderator
    Yeah... I'm going with tradition as numero uno.

    I decked on charter boats all through HS and College and talked plenty of tourons through the spinning reel concept. If the average Panama City Beach charter clientele can figure out the when to reel on big fish, I'm guessing the AK charter guy can too.

    Thanks for the info though. I have heard the ters Mooching reel, before. Probably a TV fishing show that was on in the background.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,278 Captain
    Mooching reels are larger and heavier than centerpin reels and have a greater line capacity.

    Mooching is a specialized type of salmon fishing that involves playing out line from a drifting or anchored boat. A plug cut herring is rigged about 6' below a banana sinker with swivels on either end. A single action mooching reel gives you much more control of this process than a conventional multiplier reel.

    Mooching reels are used for trolling in British Columbia. You will rarely see a conventional reel used with downriggers there. Some folks use them in Washington and SE Alaska.

    They have many advantages over conventional reels for this type of fishing. It is almost impossible to get a backlash when you drop the downrigger fast. Scotty downriggers are used in BC. They have a "gravity" drop with a lever drag that lets you deploy the gear faster than American downriggers that power down the weight more slowly. They are relatively inexpensive, require very little maintains and hold up forever. It is also a lot more fun to fight the fish with a single action reel. You lose fewer fish with a single action reel once you learn how to properly fight a salmon with one. They have soft mouths and the hooks will pull out if you use too much drag. With a mooching reel, you can set the drag very light like a fly reel and let the fish burn themselves out making long runs. Long parabolic rods are used with mooching reels to absorb the shock of sudden runs. You control the fish by palming the rim of the reel with your hand and let it go as soon as the fish starts to run. It's a lot of fun. Because they are single action, it is easier to reel in big 11" salmon flasher gear than with a conventional reel.

    Mooching reels are becoming more popular on the Great Lakes and in Alaska for these reasons.
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