This past year I have begun to use the Lyman Plug made by Lyman Lures, Ltd., and have found it to be very effective for trout as well as salmon. With LongLiner, I can troll my plug any distance from the boat, and any distance from the weight, that I choose. These plugs are made from a durable and buoyant wood which gives them amazing action.
Make a primary leader two to three feet in length and tie to a small barrel or ball bearing swivel on the end of the mainline after LongLiner has been threaded onto the mainline. This will stop my LongLiner in its free slide mode, provide twist protection and an attachment point for the primary leader. Always connect a Lyman plug with a quality snap like a duo lock. Do not tie it directly to your primary leader as this reduces action and increases leader stress. Leader material should be fluorocarbon when after wary fish such as trout, especially in ultra clear water. Salmon are not particularly line shy, and I try to use heavier lines when working plugs to reduce the risk of losing an effective plug and the fish.
As in all situations using LongLiner, a drop line to attach the weight is advisable when there is bottom contact that allows sacrifice of the weight and retrieval of LongLiner and the lure. So make sure that this drop line is significantly lighter than the mainline.
Tune The Plug
When ready to fish, work your plug close to the boat for a short time to observe its action. A tendency to move away from the boat, or to the boat, requires tuning of the plug by turning the front eye opposite the tendency. This is done in small increments as over correction is easy. A Lyman plug has a wobble and and erratic darting that makes it a killer, but it should come back to center and generally track true.
Put It To Work!
Let the plug out while underway or in current to the desired distance and lock down the cam on LongLiner and let it down to the depth you would like to fish. Make sure you set the release to accommodate the gear that is being used. Use trolling tactics that are effective for all lures and baits such as “S” curves, work points and other structures, and vary speed. Generally, troll for salmon 1.5 to 2.5 MPH, Chinook or King salmon slower, and Coho faster. Trout trolling speeds are widely variable but can be up to 3 MPH. Every day is different: light, water color, structures, barometer, water temperature, and oxygen levels. The aggressiveness of the fish will vary along with those changes, including the season. Just when you think you’re pretty good at catching fish, things change. So be creative, change lure colors depth, and speed, until you find what the fish will take. The LongLiner—Lyman rig will give you many options in presentation.
Always set your mind to learn and adapt. If I could share only one pearl of wisdom it would be the fact that the angler must meet the fish on their terms for any degree of consistent success. That is, if you fish the way you want, expect occassional success; but if you fish the way the fish want, expect spectacular success. People who refuse to experiment until they find the presentation/lure/bait the fish wants don’t catch as many fish as those who experiment when the fishing slows.
As with any plug, the addition of bait to the central hook (less affect on action) can be a real game changer. For kokanee, trout, walleye, and smallmouth, a small piece of worm or ball of jar bait on that hook can make your day. I have not tried a piece of sardine or herring on the center hook of a larger Lyman plug yet, but it will happen. Be sure to know your local regulations!