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Written By: Cal Kellogg, March 12, 2012
Gary Miralles of the Shasta Tackle Company is a reknowned lure manufacturer and trout angler that also enjoys targeting kokanee salmon, but his strategy for catching sockeyes is a little different from that of most kokanee fishing enthusiasts.
“I grew up trout fishing and I’ve applied a lot of that experience to kokanee fishing, says Miralles. “Most kokanee anglers like to troll around 1 mile per hour, but I prefer to troll fast. Many times I’ll have my best success at 2.5 miles per hour.”
In fact the reason, he set out to design the Sling Blade dodger in the first place was because he wanted a dodger that he could use at relatively high speeds. “I think that when your lure is moving fast it forces the fish to react quickly and you get more reaction bites as a result,” said Miralles. “Think about playing with a cat with a piece of string. If you move it slow, he’ll look at it and maybe paw it a little. If you pull it along fast, he’ll pounce and I think it’s the same with fish.”
“A lot of fishermen think that smaller lures are better for kokanee, but that has not been my experience. I designed both the Cripplure and Hum Dinger for trout fishing so they are larger than the lures often used for kokanee, but I’ve never had any problems catching (kokanee) salmon on them,” related Miralles.
“I also place my lures farther behind the downrigger weight than most other guys. You’ll see a lot of kokanee anglers working 15 to 20 feet back, but I like to be back a minimum of 50 feet and often more when the water is clear,” continued Miralles.
“In a general way kokanee and kings are very similar. At times you’ll find them holding near structure, but they are mainly open water fish. All things being equal kings tend to hold deeper than kokanee because they prefer cooler water. As far as lures are concerned I use the same offerings. Early in the season I have the best results teaming Koke-A-Nuts and hoochies with Sling Blades. Once summer gets underway spinners and spoons become more productive,” tipped Miralles.
“The biggest difference between the lures I use for kokanee and kings is the color selection. Kokanee feed primarily on plankton. When they strike a lure they are not trying to feed. The strike is a form of curiosity or aggression, so when I’m targeting kokanee I tend to use brightly colored lures. King salmon feed on baitfish. When I’m after kings I try to match the color of my lures to that of the baitfish the salmon are feeding on,” concluded Miralles.
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