Nick Yanchuk, longtime guide and lodge owner in the Ucluelet and Bamfield are
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How to Fish a Radiant HootchieBy Jack James,
Next to bait, the Hootchie is one of the most popular lures on the market today. It is a relatively cheap, clean and easy method of attracting and landing salmon in almost any environment. Radiant Lures Ltd. has spent a lot of time and effort in bringing out new color patterns (such as Radiant originals like the Army Truck, Tiger Prawn, Alligator and Peanut Butter) But like all tackle, color isn´t everything. The right technique will improve your average catch, which in turn improves the fun.
Here are some proven techniques that will improve your catch.
First of all when you purchase your new Hootchie and take it out of the package, make sure that the hooks are balanced. (one facing up and the other facing down) The hooks used on most manufactured Hootchies are optimum for the lure due to their light weight and strength. Radiant uses a pair of 3/0 92553 stainless steel Mustad Hooks tied in tandem and have proven to be very reliable. It is very important to make sure that the hooks remain balanced throughout the career of the Hootchie. Check it every time you catch a fish as no doubt the action of reeling in a lunker will invariably twist the hook(s) in the knots.
Another key to your rig is your choice of a quality flasher. O´ki makes a super Flasher called the "Big Shooter" which has nice Ultra Violet reflective qualities, has a great rotation and is well built. The Big Shooter quite nicely compliments your Hootchie and is made in many Hootchie matching colors.
Leader length. This can make or break your fishing outing. For all Hootchies that are rigged properly, 36 inch leaders are the best bang for your buck. A quick way to get the right length is to use your O´ki Flasher as a measuring stick. The O´ki Flasher is 11 inches long so wrap your line lengthwise three times to give you 33 inches then add the length of the swivel, ring and snap on your last wrap for a total of 36 inches. Pretty simple, but effective. Use the same length of leader when using Radiant Squirts and Radiant Mini Squirts as the centrifugal force with these popular lures is the same as the Hootchie.
We do have to talk a bit about color, as it will be key to your formula for success. Combined with the above mentioned techniques, and the right color combination, the Hootchie will not let you down. There are thousands of different colored and species of squid in the Pacific Coastal waters, and they all change color depending on water temperature, mating seasons and other climatic changes. So the color that works today may not necessarily work next week. Have a good selection of Hootchies in your tacklebox. Change your colors often when unsuccessful. A switch in flasher color can also help.
We have found and now scientific evidence suggests that ultra violet light is a medium that aquatic animals reflect and are attracted to. It is proven that the only source of light that penetrates the deep is Ultra Violet. With this in mind, Radiant has put more emphasis on Hootchies and other tackle that reflects Ultra Violet light. We have now found that the lures with Ultra Violet qualities are out fishing the non-reflecting Ultra Violet lures. The Radiant Tiger Prawn Hootchie, which is a huge reflector of Ultra violet light, was Radiant´s best seller in 1998. The Radiant Ultra Violet Army Truck Hootchie was the lure that caught the winner of the 1998 Port Alberni $6000.00 Fishing Derby, and the Radiant Ultra Violet Alligator Hootchie won the same $6000.00 Derby in 1997.
Another interesting tip is the fact that nearly all vinyl baits are rigged with mylar. The mylar really works well for the salmon up to 30 pounds. However, if you´re fishing for trophy fish, remove all but one or two strands of mylar. For some reason over the years most of the big Kings caught on Hootchies have only a couple of strands of mylar or even no mylar at all.
Another thing to remember when you just have to use a single hook rig with your Hootchie. Don´t use a swivel and don´t use salmon hooks as this will cut your catch performance by 50%. Use a 2 inch piece of Radiant tubing in clear or the new ultra violet pink and snell a single 4/0 stainless Mustad hook. The tubing will protect your leader from sharp teeth. Make sure your hook is back near the end of the Hootchie legs. This single hook set-up is great for releasing undersized fish or catch and release enthusiasts. The single hook set-up is commonly used up in Alaska to catch Coho (Silvers).
Try not to buy the cheap, loose vinyl baits found in grab bins in some stores. You get what you pay for. These are usually fingered by dozens of individuals and become stained and tainted by oils only after a short period of time. This also goes to say that you should wash all your gear in clean fresh water after use.
Radiant Lures has also developed a new rig that will enhance your Hootchies performance. The Gun Barrel is an Ultra Violet bait holder that acts like a dinner bell for those trophy fish. The Gun Barrel is easy to use and you only have to load it once or twice during your excursion. The Radiant Gun Barrel simply attaches directly behind your O´ki Flasher and the "washing machine" action of the flasher causes the gun Barrel to slowly release the scent, which in turn flows over your Radiant Hootchie. These devices can be filled with all types of scent including salmon eggs, Charlie White´s X 10, squid or other bait fish pieces. The Gun Barrel has many other applications one of which the Radiant Big Game Hootchie which is another story.
The only thing left to talk about is how to get your Hootchie and flasher down deep. There are several proven methods, but the best method is by way of Downrigger. Scotty makes a premium downrigger that has been very effective over the years. The nice thing about these units is that when you get a fish on, there is no weight to battle with, which ultimately reduces the overall feeling of reeling in a fish. Fish at depths depending on where you are. Change you depths frequently if not successful. A slip weight is also effective. You can get them in many sizes and perform quite well. Another manor of getting your tackle down is to tie a swivel 10-20 feet in front of your flasher and clip a bell weight to the loop. Not as effective as the other techniques but will work.
The Radiant Hootchie is second to no one in quality and workmanship. See the full line of original Radiant products on line at www.tyeetackle.com or at your favorite tackle store.
About the author- Jack James was born on the coast and is one of the foremost fishing experts in B.C.. Jack worked as a commercial fisherman in the 40´s, as guide in the 50´s and 60´s, and started Radiant Lures Ltd. with his two partners in 1967. Jack speaks regularly to angling groups interested in his techniques and tackle products. Jack continues to invent lures and upgrade existing products in order to keep one step ahead of the burgeoning tackle industry.
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