Plunking can be a very relaxing and effective way to fish for pink salmon. If you grew up casting out bait for trout, and then sitting back waiting for a bite, then you’ll enjoy plunking.
Plunking works great when targeting traveling lanes, as it allows your gear to sit in the fish’s way. It requires a bit of current flow to work effectively.
Rod and Reel
Depending on the current you may need to use several ounces of lead to keep your gear in position, and the need to cast out that weight dominates the rod selection.
You’ll want a rod with fairly fast action, and rated for 15-25# line.
While spinning reels do work, you’ll find that casting setups tend to dominate.
I like to spool my plunking setup with 30 or 40# high vis braided line. This gives you to strength to handle the inevitable time your weight gets snagged up on a rock.
Many people like using some kind of spreader bar in their plunking setup. These do help prevent tangles while casting, but you can get away without using them. If you don’t use them then a 3 way swivel is very helpful
For weights use the pyramid weights, as they tend to stay in place more, rather than slide downstream with the current.
I like using a double or single hook setup of size 4 octopus hooks. On top add a couple beads and then a spin and glow. The spin and glow helps keep the bait off the bottom and adds some attraction. Pink and white are popular colors.
I tie this setup on 8# maxima ultragreen and my default leader is about 3 feet long.
To rig it first tie the spreader bar to your mainline. Then attach the weight using a short dropper line – usually 3-5 inches long. For the dropper line I like to use line that is lighter than my mainline, say 15-20# line. That way if the weight gets wedged I can pull hard enough and have it break near the weight, getting everything else back.
On the other end attach your leader and spin & glow setup.
How To Fish
To fish it first add some bait to the hook. Coon shrimp, sand shrimp and grocery store shrimp all work pretty well. Small pieces of bait usually are best – you want to add some scent, not give them a meal.
Then standing slightly upstream from where you want to fish, cast straight out. When the gear hits the water take out all the slack, and even pull back on the rod a little. That helps pull everything straight and avoid tangles.
Depending on depth it may take a while for the weight to settle on bottom. Between the weight and tension on the line it should stop.
If you have trouble getting the gear to stop where you want it, then increase the amount of weight used.
Put the rod in a rod holder and wait. It tends to be pretty obvious when a fish hits. When that happens grab the rod, set the hook and reel in.