The deadliest boating technique ever developed for catching
game fish in rivers is "Hot Shotting" . . . one that derived
its name from the Hot Shot® diving plug. For years, Hot Shots®
and "Hot Shotting" were closely-guarded secrets of professional
They had to have successful customers in order to stay in
business. In many areas, guides attribute 70 percent or more
of their catch to this technique and lure.
This Luhr Jensen Tech Report will provide you with many of
those closely-guarded secrets and, we hope, help you enjoy
the same success as the pros.
The Hot Shot® is a self-planing, diving lure. Its design
incorporates a built-in planing bill which makes it dive when
pulled through the water . . . the faster it's pulled, the
deeper it dives. Because of this built-in, natural swimming
action, Hot Shots® are often used with no additional weight
attached to the line. You simply use the existing river current
or reel in line to make the plug dive.
The big advantage of using a non-weighted plug is that the
lure will naturally follow the river currents, guiding it
around snags and rocks, while still maintaining a position
near the bottom, home of most game fish.
When rigging to use Hot Shots®, most any rod and reel combination
is acceptable. The choice will depend on your personal preference
as these plugs can be successfully fished with just about
any outfit. However, the "Hot Shotting" technique has resulted
in some very specialized rods being manufactured for salmon
and steelhead. The Berkley Series One or Fenwick Magnum-Taper
"Hot Shotting" rods, have been produced especially for pulling
plugs. These rods feature a heavy butt, with a light, sensitive
tip that allows maximum visual contact to determine a lure's
action. As you become more familiar with the technique, you
may wish to purchase one of these specialized rods.
Line weight is important in relation to how deep you wish
the plug to dive. Light line will create less water friction
and allow the Hot Shot® to dive deeper and closer to the bottom,
while heavier-test will increase friction and thus shorten
Note that in order to maintain proper lure action, your
line should be tied directly to the round eye snap. Tying
a line to the lure eyelet, or using any other type of snap
or snap swivel may adversely affect a Hot Shot's® built-in
The Luxon® Duo-Lock snaps provided with each plug are especially
manufactured to ensure that only a perfectly-rounded, lightweight
wire touches the screw eye on the lure. This creates optimum
swimming action and maximum fish appeal.
Another of the easiest, yet most important, things you can
do to improve your fishing success, is to maintain super-sharp
hooks on your lures at all times. A fine-toothed file such
as Luhr Jensen's Sharp Hook File is the absolute best hook
sharpening tool available. Hold it parallel to the hook point
and with gentle, one-way strokes, remove a small amount of
metal on at least two sides of the point to obtain a sticky-sharp
point with a knife-like cutting edge. Keep the file clean
and dry and occasionally spray it with a non-corrosive lubricant
such as WD-40. Files are available in 5 1/2" x 3/4" or 4 1/4"
x 5/8" sizes.
Hot Shot® hooks are high quality, 2X strong trebles which
will yield maximum hooking power. A large or particularly
active fish may possibly render a hook unusable so, after
landing it, check the hook carefully. If it is bent or twisted,
replace it. We recommend using a straight point, 2X strong
hook, such as a W & M Eagle Claw 934. A plastic 35mm film
container is a handy place to carry a few replacement hooks.
The final critical step in rigging the plug is to "tune"
it so that it will dive straight and true. It is often said
that some Hot Shots® fish better than others. The factory
and designers believe that ALL Hot Shots® can be hand-tuned
by the angler to achieve proper fish-enticing action. With
proper rigging and tuning, each lure will have optimum action
and will dive to its maximum depth.
Here is the secret to tuning a Hot Shot®: Pull the plug through
the water, observing its diving action. If it dives straight
and true, it requires no additional tuning and will produce
the correct fish-catching action and vibrations. If it runs
off to one side, it needs to be hand-tuned to assure the ideal
action and greatest diving capability. If the lure runs to
the left, then, with the bill facing you, turn the screw eye
slightly clockwise. If the lure digs to the right, turn the
screw eye slightly counter-clockwise. Adjust until the Hot
Shot® dives absolutely straight down. Feedback from Luhr Jensen
fishing teams indicates that with proper field-tuning, a Hot
Shot® will outfish any other lure of its type.
With the plug rigged and properly tuned, you're now ready
to fish. Head your boat upstream and above the area you wish
to fish. Row or run your motor just fast enough to hold even
with the current. Strip out or free -spool line until the
plug is 50 feet downstream of your boat. (NOTE: if
you wish to run more than one plug, they all should be at
the 50-foot distance). When you stop paying out line, the
current will make the Hot Shot® dive. The stronger the current,
the deeper the lure will dive so be sure to maintain constant
pressure against it.
As you backtroll through an area, allow your boat to drop
slowly downstream, keeping the lure actively working at all
times by maintaining steady pressure against the current.
To keep the plug constantly wiggling and diving, always run
your boat downstream slower than the river's natural speed.
Working a Hot Shot® downstream into fish-holding water (such
as that just below a riffle, along a deep side channel or
at the head or tail end of a deep hole) provides the optimum
results as fish can see the lure coming and anticipate its
Most anglers agree that by watching their rod tip, they can
tell just how fast to run their boat. Some even paint their
rod tips orange for easy visibility. A constantly pulsating
rod tip indicates the plug is working properly. The faster
your rod tip pulses, the deeper the plug is diving. Hold your
boat back against the current enough to force the Hot Shot®
to dive and then thoroughly work through each stretch of fishy
water before moving on downstream.
A special round Luxon® Duo-Lock snap (no swivel) comes with
each Hot Shot® lure to ensure maximum fish-catching action.
River fish treat Hot Shots® as invaders to their territories
and react to them with savage strikes. A plug fished too rapidly
through a drift seems to be treated as a passing invader and
often is ignored. A slowly-fished plug, on the other hand,
is an "invader to be dealt with" and will produce far more
strikes as the fish will become irritated beyond control.
Many fish species also will view a slow-moving plug as an
easy meal, whereas a fast-moving one may require too much
effort to catch and thus, is left alone. Because of the nature
of Hot Shots®, and the extreme irritation they can cause a
fish, strikes are often vicious. Whenever you get a strike
set the hook HARD!
NO. SIZE WT MAX DEPTH SPECIES
70 1 1/2" 1/10-oz. 3' - 5' trout
60 1 7/8" 1/8-oz. 4' - 6' trout / bass
502 1/4" 1/8-oz. 5' - 8' trout / bass
402 9/16" 1/5-oz. 10 feet lg trout /stlhd
302 5/8" 1/4-oz. 10 feet lg trout /stlhd /slmn
352 11/16" 5/16-oz. 12 feet " " "
253 1/4" 2/3-oz. 18 feet " " "
Smaller models usually are selected when rivers are low and
clear with the larger sizes used for off-color or high water.
The No. 25 and No. 35 models are extra-deep-diving, high-action
plugs especially suited for big water or deep runs.
The No. 25 Hot Shot® has become a favorite for big water
or where a deep-diving plug is needed. This extra-deep diving,
high-action plug will dive to 18 feet. Does it work? Ask fishing
pro Buzz Ramsey who caught a 30-lb. 5-oz. using one!
The No. 30 Hot Shot® is the all-around river angling favorite.
It dives to 10 feet and is effective in most water conditions.
It comes with a special oval split ring to nab short strikers,
is 2 5/8" long and weighs 1/4-oz.
The No. 35 Hot Shot® is an angler's dream. This extra-deep-diving,
high-action version of the popular No. 30 is deadly for all
game fish. It's available with a rattle.
The No. 40 is a high-action Hot Shot®. This small, but deadly
plug dives up to 10 feet and is particularly effective for
steelhead and large trout. The No. 40 is 2 9/16" long and
weights 1/5-oz. It's a top low-water producer.
Of the many dozens of color finishes available for river
fishing and backtrolling, the following are the most popular
ones that we regularly recommend. As with all lure colors,
individual anglers seem to discover which ones produce best
for them. We encourage you to try different colors and sizes
in your local waters to find your own favorites.
FOR STEELHEAD AND SALMON
In our plated/metallic finish series try the #935 Metallic
Dark Green, #923 Silver/Blue Pirate®, #922 Gold/Green Pirate®,
#949 Silver Plate/Blue Top or #943 Metallic Red. Of the painted
series, the #907 White/Black Head, #969 Crawfish, #970 Fire/Black
Dot and #998 Shrimp are excellent choices. The #969 works
extremely well in clear water.
"Hot Tail" finishes are particularly effective because they
focus strikes on the lure's tail end where exposed hooks ensure
more and better hookups. These are: #747 "Hot Tail" Silver/Green
Chartreuse, #850 "Hot Tail" Silver/Chartreuse, #851 "Hot Tail"
Silver/Fire and #856 "Hot Tail" Gold/Fire.
From the Prism-Lite® reflector series, select the #944 Gold
Reflector/Black Scale, #945 Nickel Reflector/Black Scale,
and #961 Silver Prism-Lite/Black Scale . . . all of which
are especially effective late in the season or in clear or
The "Hot Shotting" technique works equally well for trout
in rivers. The most effective trout finishes are #806 Rainbow
Trout, #903 Frog, #908 Perch, #912 Black Scale, #913 Fluorescent
Red "Fire", #920 Silver and #921 Gold.
In extremely low light conditions, a #988 Glo/Fluorescent
Green Top would be recommended and for those fishing rivers
where predatory species reside, an #806 Rainbow Trout, #807
Grasshopper, #808 Brown Trout or #903 Frog finish would be
Another way to fish Hot Shots® effectively from shore is
to wade out or positioning yourself above fish-holding water
and then work slowly down through it by stripping out a few
feet of line, stopping for a few seconds, stripping out, stopping
and so on.
A Hot Shot® can also be worked from the bank with extreme
effectiveness by using the Luhr Jensen Hot Shot® Side Planer,
a compact device which attaches to the line ahead of the plug
and which literally lets you navigate the lure from bank to
Yet another effective technique from the bank is the cast,
swing and retrieve method. The Hot Shot® S.E. was designed
with casting in mind for both the bank and boat angler. The
1/4-oz. model is ideal for trout and steelhead with light
line and a spinning rod. The 1/2-oz is perfect for steelhead
while the 3/4-oz. size is the choice when it comes to Chinook
salmon. Position yourself upstream of the water you wish to
cover (such as a tailout) and then cast across and slightly
downstream. When the plug hits the water, take several turns
on the reel handle to start it diving. Then simply allow the
force of the current to maintain the dive as the plug swings
back across the river toward you. When the Hot Shot® reaches
a position close to the bank directly downstream of you, reel
in slowly and make another cast.
Luhr Jensen's revolutionary Hot Shot® Side Planer
allows any shore-bound angler the ability to reach the same
productive water as the boater. After attaching the Side Planer
to your line, it is placed in the current where it will skate
off across the surface and out into the river carrying with
it a trailing Hot Shot ® plug. By maneuvering the Side Planer
into position, either by letting out line or by changing place
on the bank, the angler can fish a Hot Shot ® down through
productive water as far as 100 feet away. Once the Side Planer
and lure are in a fishy drift, the bank angler can, by slowly
walking downriver, go "Hot Shotting" just like a boater. Send
a self-addressed, stamped envelope for our free "How to Fish
a Hot Shot® Side Planer in Rivers" Tech Report for detailed
rigging and technique information.