How to Man an Alaska Salmon Fishing Rig

How to Man an Alaska Salmon Fishing Rig
Fishing for Alaska salmon takes place in both beautiful and ever-changing conditions. The streams and rivers many anglers fish in Alaska in pursuit of salmon can easily rise several feet as the result of torrential downpours. Rather than miss out on a good days fishing, many anglers change to a method of fishing known as plunking. Heavy weight, leaders, a three-way swivel and heavy rods and reels are used when plunking for salmon.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 7 foot heavy rod and matched reel with line
  • 3-way swivel
  • Scissors
  • Leader (20 lb. test or heavier)
  • Swivel snap
  • Pyramid or pancake weight
  • Beads
  • Hook
  • Bait
Step 1
Attach a three-way swivel to the end of the fishing line on a 7 foot heavy rod with matched reel. Tie the three-way swivel to the line with a uni knot. Form the uni by feeding several inches of the free end of the line through the eye of the swivel and back up beside the main line.
Step 2
Continue tying the uni knot by turning the free end of the line back toward the swivel forming a loop. Wrap the free end around the double line and through the loop three times. Moisten the knot, pull tight and trim excess line from the free end with scissors.
Step 3
Attach a 2-foot length of leader to each of the two remaining eyes of the swivel with a uni knot. Attach a swivel snap to the end of one leader length with a uni knot. Open the snap and attach a pancake or pyramid weight of your choice. Close the snap securely.
Step 4
Slide two or three beads on the remaining free length of leader. Thread the free end of this leader through the eye of a 1/0 or larger bait holder hook. Attach the hook with a Palomar knot by turning the line back through the eye, forming a loop on one side of the hook and a double line on the other. Tie an overhand knot with the loop and double line, pull the loop around the hook bend, moisten and pull tight.
Step 5
Place roe or a bait of your choice on the hook and cast the salmon rig into the current of the water. Position the rig in areas where the current is not as strong as salmon will often use the path of least resistance. Allow the rig to sink into the swift water and do not retrieve or move the rig.
Step 6
Man the salmon rig by holding the rod so that slack is removed from the line and you can detect a strike from an Alaskan salmon. Set the hook by raising the rod tip and reeling down on the line.

Tips & Warnings

Be prepared to sit or stand for some period of time with the plunking rig in the water. Plunking can be effective in rough or high water but may require some time before the bait is taken.
Check the bait often.
Look for areas often within the first few feet from the bank where the water shallows and Alaskan salmon may be running.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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