In Northern California most anglers and guides wrap their Flat Fish and Kwikfish with sardines or crawdad fillets. This has been standard for longer than I’ve been fishing. However, few guides go beyond this.
On the other hand, I’ve learned to not get complacent in my techniques. Its important to me to constantly seek new methods and be on the cutting edge for my clients whether I’m running plugs or fishing bait. Most guides don’t share every trick we use. Meanwhile, in the last few days since our salmon season opened on the Sacramento River I’ve discovered a way to generate more strikes on my plugs and I feel obligated to share it.
Even though we are only a short time into the season it hasn’t taken long to assess the value of Pautzke Nectar. Historically, I’ve wrapped my plugs with sardine or crawdad fillets and soaked them in krill, but this season I’ve been soaking them in Nectar and have seen strikes improve.
I don’t want to say the Nectar scent overpowers the sardine scent, but Ill tell you the plugs with fillets dyed/scented in Nectar are out-fishing others. Keep in mind, salmon bite plugs out of a reaction bite. They see the wiggle, the color and they can definitely smell it, but I’m trying to get them to hit it. And, whether it’s the smell or the color, they’ve been doing so more frequently since I started soaking fillets in the juice.
Think about it. When you have a chartreuse and silver plug and dye the sardine with yellow Nectar it gets the fish’s attention. Consequently, many overlook that red and yellow Nectar are naturally UV. On the other hand, blue, purple and orange don’t have natural UV qualities, but they are packed with bite stimulants and powerful scent.
Having this Nectar scent on our fillets have been a difference maker for me. For those who don’t know what Nectar is, Nectar is pure salmon egg juice. It’s the runoff derived when Pautzke cooks their world famous Balls O Fire salmon eggs. No other company in the world can produce a scent like this. I was just introduced to it last month and quickly learned it has the ability to create a feeding frenzy.
This isn’t something that only works on the Sac, though. It can be applied anywhere plugs are used. On the Sac (and Feather River) we don’t have gin clear water like some of the rivers to the north, but we still have a good three feet of visibility, even 25 feet down. Those fish are seeing that color from the Nectar and definitely smell it, too.
Scenting your fillets in Pautzke Nectar couldn’t be easier. There’s five colors available, all complete with pure salmon egg juice. Whether you choose red, orange, yellow, purple or blue is a personal preference. Regardless, the fillets absorb this stuff big-time.
The process requires you to take your fillets and place them in a Tupperware or Ziploc, add the Nectar and wait. That’s it. Soaking can take as few as four hours, but I recommend leaving it overnight to ensure complete penetration. Personally, I add salt, too. By doing that it toughens them up.
The key I’ve found is long soaks. I like to pull those fillets and drain the juice. Then salt them. If you salt them they store better in the fridge. You can store them for a week without freezing and they’ll remain fresh. Nevertheless, if you aren’t going to use them within a week period Id freeze them. They’ll stay good for a solid year, just like roe would.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke pro staffer Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service guides for salmon on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. For more info on his services please visit feistyfish.net