Fall Salmon Anglers: Make a Perfect Sardine Wrapped Plug

Learn Pro Tips: Make a Perfect Sardine Wrapped Plug

By: John Albrich

PNW anglers are excited because for the first time in a long time most of our rivers are opened to salmon retention. There’s more fish returning this season than we’ve seen in a long time. In fact, in many systems the limits have increased and I’m excited about it. Throughout the Northwest there’s going to be a lot of anglers drifting bait and running plugs. I sure enjoy bait, but my favorite thing to do is back troll bait wrapped Kwikfish.

Meanwhile, this season I’m going to be wrapping plugs with more confidence since Atlas Mike’s finally came out with new colors of Miracle Thread. We’ve all been using the clear in the PNW for as long as I’ve been alive. However, I received a sample package of the new colors of the thread and can’t believe how well some of them pop in the water, the fluorescent yellow specifically. It literally glows in the dark and is going to be incredible for low light situations.

Personally, I believe having a glow in the dark, and other color combinations, is a game changer for plug fishing. We’ve never had this in the Northwest before. It simply increases our arsenal and allows us to show the fish something that stands out even more. I’m guessing that once anglers realize the fluorescent yellow is available everyone will be using it at first light. Why? It glows. It’ll stand out. It’ll give the salmon another reason to take a look at the bait.

What I’ve been testing is using the yellow at first light and then rotating the orange, red, clear and pink Miracle Thread on different plugs until the salmon tell me what they want. Salmon do like different colors. It’s evident in the number of spinners, spoons and plugs that are on the market. In my experience Chinook always like chartreuse (yellow) or green and coho are big on pink. With the new color combinations you can experiment and discover what your local salmon prefers.

While color is a big deal, let’s not forget about scent. I keep it basic and make sure to use fresh sardines. I always salt the sardine once I fillet them because it firms them up. Many guys will brine their sardines, but I don’t. I do brine my herring and anchovies, nonetheless. You only need to let the salt sit for a few hours to get the job done.

There’s three important factors to making your bait stand out: color, vibration and scent. Showing a salmon all three theoretically increase your chances. To complete my perfect wrapped plug I’ll add a heavy dosage of Fire Power (pure powdered krill) after the salt. The Fire Power absorbs into the bait. I don’t think you can use too much. Salmon love krill and I don’t think anybody on the West Coast would object to that.

We aren’t done yet. As important as scent is I’ll use more. I’ve found that Garlic and Anise Fire Gel coated on the back of any plug completes the arsenal. Salmon are scent junkies. To induce the most strikes make sure you are using scent and keep the sardine wraps fresh.

With so many salmon returning this season is a perfect opportunity to test out the new Miracle Thread and learn what colors are best in different light and water conditions. It’s going to be a fun next few months filled with excellent Chinook and coho fishing. I’m thankful for the good returns and increased opportunities for anglers who enjoy spending time on the water like I do.

*Special Note: While we are working hard to get buyers to place the new Miracle Thread in all PNW outlets, current only Bass Pro, Cabelas and many local tackle shops carry it, as well as AtlasMikes.com.