I've been asked a few times over the years to share info on how I setup to plunk the CR. I'm not a technical person and I apologize for my lack of computer skills first. I attempted this morning to diagram and photo a system that I use to plunk and try to explain why I do things a certain way.
The first thing I did was simply diagram the setup.
This is what it looks like live.
I generally stick with a 3/0 owner/gamakatsu octopus style hook, size #2 (sometimes 4) Spin-n-Glo and 25lb Maxima (chameleon/ultragreen) leader. I use a simple sliding knot on the hook to keep the hook in a position that prevents it form hooking itself on the leader during a cast. You can tie it directly on to the eye, but that generally causes me issues.
One of the biggest mistakes I see with new plunkers is trying to run a double setup rig with 2 or 3 Spin-n-glos and improper leader lengths. The key to this is to always keep your leaders shorter then the mainline that spaces them. Doesn't have to be much shorter, but just shorter (I would dive at least an inch or more)
I pulled the top Spin-n-glo leader down to the weight slider to show you how it needs to be above that slider.
Why do I use a weight slider? Because it works well. Early springers and winter steelhead have always been notorious light biters for me on the CR. This is a rigging that was spawned from sturgeon fishing and having a setup that will allow a fish to move the lure without necessarily moving the weight. I'm sure some of you are thinking that the glo will be in the mud and this won't work. The glos' float up an inch or so just due to buoyancy and remember that your fishing off the bank. This keeps your angles from your rod compared to the natural drop of the river floor out at similar degrees regardless of dropper length. Simply put...droppers matter in a boat....not of the bank. It's all about the angles. I would say over 60%-70% of my fish are on this lower rig. Use a bead to protect your knot from the slider (see pic)
I like a spreader on the next rigging up. It simply helps with keeping the gear spaced on the cast to help prevent line twist. Here is a cheap slider that is simply a piece of hollow tubing shoved over the eye of a three-way swivel. This may seem obvious, but you have put the tubing onto your leader prior to tying the knot and then shove the tubing over your knot onto the eye of the swivel. The other advantage to this spreader is you can squirt gel type scents into the tubing which will give you a nice time-released scent trail right to your lure.
Some (like myself) love to employ a slider setup for the top lure. Why a sliding setup and not just tying it directly to the mainline? Helps me prevent tangles and allows me to keep a tighter rigging for casting purposes. You need to remember that the longer your rigging becomes the more difficult the casting becomes. If your like me your going to search out spots sometimes away from your typical open beach areas that are chalk filled with people. Sometimes your along trees, rocks, steep banks behind you that will make casting difficult. Sometimes to overcome this you may need to tighten your rigging down by shortening leaders and mainline spacing between the leaders. You might drop down to one glo to make it work?
Anyways a slider is a typically a plug type lure that is worked down your line after the cast by clipping it on with a snap swivel. One huge key is after your cast your angle of the line in the water from your rod need to be at a slight downriver angle. You need this to allow the current to work the gear down to the stopper. If your angle is upriver the plug will lay at the surface doing nothing for you. It must dive to be effective. I use a barrel swivel and a corkie for a stopper....again cheap and simple. Your corkie or bead must be larger then the snap or it will "hop" over and run down to your top glo causing you a nice mess. Here is what that looks like.
The only other thing that has made my life simplified when storing the rod and this rigging is to hook the top 3/0 hook into the top eye of the barrel swivel right below your weight slider.
Then hook the bottom 3/0 hook into the hook keeper or reel bar.
Then just reel the slack out.
For rods I prefer around a 8'-9' medium heavy to heavy action for casting heavier weights (6 oz- 12 oz). Sensitivity isn't critical for this type of fishing and the fish this time of year generally hit hard enough to even shake a broom stick. I use a 25lb-30lb mono mainline. Maxima (chameleon/ultragreen) and Trilene Big Game have served me well in the rough areas I tend to fish in. Good abrasion resistance. Get a decent level wind reel with good open water capacity for the heavier line. Shimano TR-series, Penn GTI's, ABU 6500 series, etc... are good mid-priced level winds that will do well and have adequate drag systems for big fish. Just keep the sand out of your reels at all times.
Other tips that seem to help me is to learn your spots. Some spots have a quick drop, some have a shallow decent and some are in-between. Typically in low water years I like to find areas for springers that have a steeper drop in relation to cast distance. Look for an area that at 20-30 yards out your in 25'-30' water. For steelhead look for the shallower areas at 20 -30 yards out your under 20' of water. Early in the morning steelhead tend to run close to shore often and will move out with the brightness of the day. A common mistake is to overcast the fish.
High water times I will head to the productive low water steelhead locations and look for springers or summer chinook. Water clarity and current push them closer to shorelines. High water years are the best for bankies and you can exploit shallower, near shore locations better then out of a boat.
Feel free to tip your hooks with cured prawns/shrimp, worms, powerbait or anything else you can think of. I tend to shy away from bait because it attracts unwanted hits from other species, but sometimes it's a good edge. Scent is always good. I like the commercial herring gels type scents this time of year. Sometimes shrimp scent is a good choice. Sometimes nothing works just fine. Experiment as needed.
Use a bell for a strike indicator.....it helps unless you can stare at your rod for hours?
Set the hook good and reel fast or head backwards until you feel tension. Fishing from the bank this way causes issues with hookups due to the amount of line out, mono stretch and using a sliding lure. You are going to miss at least half of the hits and you may have plenty pop off just because. The sliders are the worst for this because sometimes they are not fully seated on the stop and you need to pick up the slack prior to the hookset. This gives them time to throw the hook or stalls a potential hook set. Just part of the game.
Colors seem to go in and out of favor each year or so. Buy a good assortment and be willing to change often if needed. I've had really good luck on the chartreuse and chrome type glos this year. Chartreuse shows up well in murky water. Sometimes dark colors produce well, sometimes the whites/grays, sometimes reds/pinks and sometimes?????
Make sure you clean you gear often. Depends on the debris in the water, but lately I've been cleaning about every 30 minutes....sometimes less. One piece of grass on the glo can stop the spin or at least slow it down.
One last tip for those of you that continue to tangle. Go down to one spin-n-glo. It's better to be fishing one then none.
I think that about covers it. Good luck!