Reader questions spark Q & A post…. Salmon & Steelhead Fishing

Posted: December 7, 2011 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead, Tips & Advice
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Big thanks to reader/viewer Matthew O’Conner for sending in some very good, educated fishing questions to All Around These fishing questions are so relevant to the season upon us I thought it prudent to post the dialogue as a Question and Answer session. He was concernced they may be too much on the beginning side of things….and I say ‘definitely not’. They’re educated and researched questions. Perhaps one or more of these questions are pertinent to your own angling game?

Christopher Heller


1.) Quick knot with doubled braid versus the Palomar knot for braid? Which do you use?

2.) Best size hooks for steelhead bait fishing, (eggs and in particular, cured shrimp chunks), with float and or drift?
Say compared to hook size you might use for Coho?

3.) I lost a quite bit of 14lb fireline braid on my float rig the other day (w/ spinning reel). It’s gotten a abit thin. I was curious if I should get the whole reel respooled or could I just tie on some extra myself with a double uni and call it good. How might that knot come into play with the reel?

4.) Spoons, what are your recommendations for sickle shaped siwash hook sizes to match specific size and weights of spoons? Best rule of thumb etc?


Matt O’Connor


1) Quick knot is superior to Palomar because, when doubled, it’s a larger more bulky knot which is what you want your terminal braided knots to be. A single Quick Knot is also better than a Palomar for lb for lb tensel strength. I’ve tested it.

2) Steelhead hooks in your box should be sz 1, 2 & 4…..with 2 being the most common. Adjust your hook size to water level/clarity. Also, always run a bigger hook under a bobber versus on drift.

3) You can get away with the doubled uni idea IF you’re running a casting reel and you understand how tightly the newly added line would have to be applied. BUT, because you’re running a spinning reel, due to the way it picks up line…you would need a machine in order to feed line onto the spool itself…separated from the body of the reel. Answer: Get the reel refilled. Heavy fishing should give you two seasons with the fireline.

4) Two types of spoons: Traditional and oblong. Tradition spoons are ‘steelie’ style and are pyramid shaped. These spoons work best to swing through tailouts. The oblong spoon techniques perfected by guys like Bill Herzog and Dave Vedder….those are fished in a ‘drift’ typically…much like a regular drift rig. 2/5oz is the most universal size. Little Cleos would be the cheapest way to go that is still effective…while going with something like an R&B or BC STEEL would give you solid metal versus plated for twice the cost.

4b) Re: the hook portion of your inquiry….stay away from ‘sickels’ as they have an unnatural bend that can break when stressed. Your best hook with a spoon will be an Owner brand size 1 or 1/0. The second best is a Gamakatsu…although they have much less bending strength. I got my 16# coho on one the other day though so I’m pretty comfy recommending them to you.

Keep ’em wet,

H3llcat, AAA site founder

I hope this helps and thank you for finding our site!


Christopher H3llcat Heller

  1. Nookslayer says:

    Those are great questions. I completely disagree with the answers though… What the hell does the Cat know about fishing? 🙂

  2. Hellcat says:

    I’ll be the first to say ‘I don’t know nothing’. The minute you think you know something….your streak will come to a crashing end.


  3. scott says:

    ive been useing a 4 ft piece of 12 lb fluoro for my sliding bobber. i think i should of stuck with maxima. fluoro breaks real easy. any how i was running the 12 lb. with a albright knot to my fireline and the fluoro to my swivel. then i tie of a piece about 2 feet long of 10 lb fluoro to the jig. i will use the fluoro till its gone then im going back to maxima ultragreen. found a 9 ft 6 6 to 12 okuma sst for float fishing as this all they had in stock at fishermen in delta park. like the rod any how i put the high vis 20 lb fireline on it. will this work or should i stick with 14 lb.

  4. Hellcat says:

    Hey Scott thanks for the comment! Although I am currently using both 14 and 20# Fireline on different reels….I would say I prefer the 14 for steelhead….and the 20 for silvers and springers. I love that rod you got. Great rods for the money. I use them all the time.

  5. scott says:

    i have a question on jig fishing. . ive been useing a 1/4 oz beau mac slideing float with a split shot above my knot a number 3. would it be easier to use a 3/8 oz slideing bobber with a 1/4 oz inline weight with my 1/8 oz new to jig fishing. just trying to see what works best. i know a guy that uses this setup and he has punched 16 hatchery fish on this setup. this river is small and the water is fairly clear. been useing aero jigs any other jigs i should try. trying to stick with pink,white and cerise. i think maybe i should use darker colors when the water is clear like black,reds and maybe purple. still learning so dont know. thanks for answering my questions. saw a guy on the ****** river yesterday with one of your stickers on his truck.

  6. Hellcat says:

    Hi Scott,

    I think you’ve hit that right on the head. EVEN in low clear water I find it’s best to get down quickly. With proper leader length based on water visibility it doesn’t hurt to get down quick. I would run the second scenario you’ve pointed out. I find many people run far too light under the float and use too small a float as well. Aerojigs are a great product….I catch many fish on them and have for years. I was steelhead fishing when the original Aero Drifters first came out back in the mid-nineties and I’ve always like the products. As far as other jigs to use just try a bunch of different ones and you’ll find your favorites. And yes, in clear water, and sometimes even not so clear….a darker pattern can be the key. Try the Aerojig #63. It’s been my favorite for three years now. And the river you mentioned….I was up there yesterday. Catching a fish on a #63. But that wasn’t my truck you saw. I’m glad to see the stickers showing up on the rivers.



  7. scott says:

    cool video on the stream you fished last weekend. that stream is about 15 minutes from my house. on the 10 ft 6 8 to 17 okuma sst. what size reel are you useing for silvers and bigger steelhead and nooks. i picked up a trio 30 s from okuma for my 9 ft 6 6 to 12 sst bobber rod. nice reels for the money. what size bobber do you use when you are floating eggs or other bait? are you useing a inline weight like you would with a jig or are you adding split shot? when useing spinners are you useing braid or mono. thanks scott

  8. Blanch says:

    Yes. It should work. If it doesn’t send us an email.

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