Learn Big Dave’s 80/20 Recipe: For Blue Herring

By: Dave Manners

Springer fishing has improved drastically on the Oregon Coast since our last blog a few weeks ago. The water has warmed up and the fish are biting better. The good news is there’s fish around and fish are being caught daily. The guys that are fishing daily are generally picking up some fish. For the most part there’s been decent springer fishing all along the Oregon Coast. On the other hand, the old saying that 10 percent of the anglers are catching the fish is holding true.

Fortunately, the fish have been good size. We are catching a lot of fish in the 20-pound class. There’s been some big ones caught. I had one that was 28 pounds. There’s been several others in the higher twenties. Like all springer fishing they don’t always bite, which is why it’s important to have good bait.


I’m on to something new this season. My techniques haven’t changed. I’m still going back and forth between trolling spinners and herring. Generally, I’ve been running herring in the mornings and on incoming tides and been using more spinners at the bottom end of the outgoing and on sunny days. Both baits have worked at different times. Keep in mind we started out this season with colder water. Now that the water has warmed fish are hitting spinners and herring.


Back to my new thing. It’s no secret herring is my favorite bait even though some people prefer anchovies south of me. I’m tinkering with mixing colors of Fire Brine to get what I believe is a perfect color for coastal springers. Blue has been my go-to color this spring, but I’m not using a vibrant blue, perhaps a faded blue is a better way to describe it. What I’m doing is brining two flats of herring at once. I’m pouring one full bottle of Natural Fire Brine in a gallon Ziploc and adding about 20 percent of the bottle of Blue Fire Brine. That’s it. It’s that easy.


Coastal springers like the real thing, meaning they want a natural looking herring. On the other hand, this year I’ve added a tint of blue and they look awesome in the water. A little color (the tint on blue) gives it a nicer flash in the water. That small flash has been what’s catching them for us. This technique works in the ocean and all tidewaters and bays on the Oregon Coast.


However, it’s important to know that if the water has color to it then I’m running six-inch Green Yakima Bait Fish Flash flashers with the herring. I also do this in low light. What I’d recommend doing is always have one herring that’s natural and a few blues. Guys use chartreuse, too, but blue has been my favorite this season. And, one more tip, put the colored baits on the outside and the natural ones in the middle.

Editor’s Note: Big Dave Manners operates Big Dave’s Fishing on the Oregon Coast. For more information on his guided Tillamook area springer trips please visit www.bigdavesfishing.com.