Being a detail-oriented fisherman can certainly have its benefits. Paying attention to the little things can make the difference between catching fish and not catching fish. As ‘they’ say “preparation is separation” and nothing could be truer. If you are unprepared and having to tie up tackle, sharpen hooks, or mess around with putting line on your reel, then you likely do not have your line in the water fishing. Spend some time, write a list, or do whatever you have to do to be prepared. Think of all the things you need to ahead of your fishing trip that will keep your line in the water.

Wash Your Tackle

Do you use your tackle then put it back in the tackle box without washing it? I hope not! After every trip you need to make sure you are putting your flashers, spoons, jigs, and plugs in a bag or container on your boat to take home to wash. Many fisherman and guides swear by washing their tackle in Lemon Joy. You can certainly use Lemon Joy if you like, but any dish soap will work in my opinion.


Sharp: Make sure you have new or freshly sharpened hooks on your spoons, jigs, plugs, etc. I prefer to have new hooks at home and in my tackle box, ready to change out in a moments notice.

Swivel: Another little thing when it comes to hooks: putting a swivel on your spoon hook or plug hook to maximize hookups. Most spoons come without swivels between the spoon and hook so it is good to add your own (make sure it doesn’t interfere with the action of the spoon). Adding the swivel means that the hook will rotate properly to penetrate the fish.

SALMON, IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER spoon showing swivel on hook

Tying Up Tackle

Pre-Tie: Part of being prepared is tying up all of your gear you plan to fish with the night before (or days before if you are going on a big trip). Pre-tie hooks, pre-tie leaders, pre-tie hoochies and spoons. Anything you can pre-tie so that you can just snap things on and keep your line in the water.

Tying: Another little thing when it comes to tying up your tackle whether you’re tying on a swivel, a spoon, or whatever you’re tying make sure you WET THE KNOT. I’ve seen this time and time again when a knot unexplainably breaks. And it’s because when you tie a fishing knot and since you’re down it heats up the line making me not fail.


When we are talking scent with salmon fishing, it means two things: 1) your scent and 2) the scent of your tackle.

Your scent: Many times during the day we are doing things with our hands that will transfer to our tackle. Whether it is going to the bathroom, putting on sunblock, or eating, all of these the smells from these activities can transfer to your tackle or bait and produce less salmon strikes. Keep in mind a salmon can smell its home stream, so if they can do that, they can certainly smell the sunblock you transferred to your tackle or bait. One good thing to have on board are fish order remover wipes or game wipes. Another thing you can do is wear gloves to help hide your bad hand scents.

Your tackle’s Scent: When it comes to your tackle you can do one of three things. 1) mask your scent, 2) use no scent, or 3) use attractant scent. I prefer #3 ….unless there are lots of dogfish around, then I would likely go with #2. Most fishing scents sold at the sporting good store are made to cover up smells that salmon may not like such as: human skin oils, soaps, nicotine, sun screens, gasoline, bug sprays, petroleum-based grease and oils. But you can also find fishing scents that actually attract a salmon. I prefer an attractant like ProCure.

No Straight Lines & Patterns

If you are trolling, do not troll in a straight line. Always be zig-zagging or turning. This action of your boat will cause your lines and tackle to speed up and slow down, which can cause a strike.

You can also troll in patterns that systematically cover a patch of water. For instance, you may want to troll in a ‘raster’ pattern or an expanding square pattern. There are many search and rescue and sub-hunting patterns that will help you systematically catch fish.

Raster Pattern

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