Tips on Mooching for Salmon

Mooching is a method of fishing that came about in the early 1920s. This method of fishing for salmon involves giving the fish that are used for bait a more natural appearance, which helps catch more fish. To the inexperienced, this could be jerking the hooks to make the bait move, but those that are experienced in mooching are well aware that this isn’t going to lead to success. 

In order to successfully mooch for salmon, it’s important to follow several tips. The goal is to make the fish appear natural in the water and to properly get the bait down to the salmon. These tips will help you do that perfectly. 

Proper Salmon Mooching Equipment

The easiest part about mooching for salmon is purchasing the equipment. It’s important to make sure that you have the proper equipment so that you can bring in those impressive fish that you’re already dreaming about. 

Mooching Rod

Picking up a rod for mooching for Salmon is relatively simple. All you need is a rod that is between 8-10 feet. It should be light and flexible so that you can feel it when the Salmon bite, though. In addition to this, it needs to be strong enough to pull the fish back in once they are hooked. There is a vast selection of flexible but sturdy rods on the market, so you don’t need to purchase a specialty rod if you do not want to. 

Mooching Reel

A sonar reel is one of the best reels for fishing, especially when you’re mooching for salmon. These reels let you see where the fish are, and where your bait is. You can determine how far down the bait is, and how much further you need to go in order to bring in the big ones. 

If a sonar reel is out of the question right now, any reel that can hold a couple of hundred feet of line will suffice. Reels are going to be held in your hand, so it’s 


The sinker that is used for mooching is more specific than any other equipment you will need. It is a swivel sinker with a swivel on one end, and a bead chain one on the other end. Most bait shops that sell sinkers have knowledge regarding mooching for salmon, so you can inquire with the staff as to which one to buy. These are also advertised as mooching sinkers online, making buying them relatively simple for those that are new to mooching. 


When selecting a leader, most people follow the general rules that they use in everyday fishing. The longer the line, the bigger the leader. It’s also important to note the size of fish and prey in the area. You want your leader to be the same size as the area prey but big enough to bring in the fish that you’re after. If your leader is too big for smaller fish, you can avoid having to throw back the ones that are too small for your preference. 

Remember that the bigger your bait is, the bigger fish you will catch. It’s important to make sure that you have a sturdy rod and strong line so that you don’t lose them before you get them to shore. 

It’s also important to read state guidelines pertaining to fishing. This will tell you whether you’re allowed to use a tandem set up or not. 


You can use the same bait that you would normally use when mooching for salmon. Most people prefer to use Herring for salmon, making this the go-to choice for those that enjoy mooching for salmon. These can be found fresh, frozen, and in some fake bait varieties. 

Mooching For Salmon Tips

Once you have the right equipment, it’s time to take it to the water for that beautiful harvest that you’ve been dreaming about. Making sure that your bait spins properly, checking the wind direction and other key tips will help you enjoy mooching for salmon like a professional. 

Double Check The Spin Of The Bait

Before you drop the bait further down in the water, it’s important to make sure that the bait spins as it should. If not, you will have little or no success. To do this, slowly lower your bait into the water and watch. It should spin just a bit to give it a realistic appearance. 

A Small Breeze Is Ideal

If there is too little wind, you will have to use the motor on your boat to create more of a drift than mother nature has in mind for the day. If there is too much wind, such as a strong breeze, you run into tangles on the line or have to drop the bait faster than you want. (If you’re fishing in a strong breeze, use a heavier sinker to get the bait further down in the water faster.) For mooching, a small breeze is ideal. You can let the boat naturally drift along the water, and this will do most of the work for you. 

Keep The Bait Moving

Salmon are known for taking their time when they go after prey. They wait. They study it. Then, they follow it. If one of these fish is after your bait and it stops moving, they will move on. Because of this, you need to make a considerable effort to keep it active. Once your bait is down far enough, immediately start to reel it back in. Try to maintain the same speed that the bait was lowered at for that realistic appeal that mooching is known for. 

Don’t Reel Fast At The First Bite

When you feel that first nibble, it can be tempting to reel in the fish. However, salmon might nibble on the fish before they actually take the bait. If you feel a small tug, keep slowly reeling in your bait. It will keep the salmon interested. Then, when you feel the harder tug that is undeniably a fish on the other end, it’s time to reel it in as fast as you can. 

Mooching for salmon can be summed up into making the bait appear as real as possible. This means it should be moving, hence the importance of the special sinker. It should also be moving at a consistent speed, and slowly moving throughout the water at the same time. Once you have a technique down that makes your bait appear realistic and the proper equipment, you’ll enjoy being able to go mooching for salmon and bringing in impressive harvests. 


The founder of Catch and Fillet, “Chum Charlie”, has been writing articles within the fishing community for over 9 years. He got his nickname due to his preference for chumming while he is fishing. Chumming is a common practice that is used in the ocean to lure various types of fish to the boat. Chum can consist of various fish parts that attract fish due to its overbearing odor.

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