More of my research into kayak fishing for salmon mentions mooching.

A fellow I know in Seattle, Wa. and Ken Shcultz both mention the practice.

It’s the method of carefully trolling so that the line lies off the stern, transom or gunwale at a 45-degree angle. Any less and the lure/bait is too shallow, any more and the lure/bait is too deep.

There’s also supposed to be a specific way to needle-shank live or dead bait.

I’m writing about this and other northwest methods for an upcoming kayaking magazine story on salmon fishing.

Anyone have inside info on mooching?

Thanks in advance,

Adam Bolonsky

There are mooching reels. Both Shimano

– Last Updated: Mar-12-07 10:19 PM EST –

and Daiwa now make them, but the original idea is Australian, I believe. The reel looks like a big fly reel. You turn it to 90 degrees of the rod, cast like with a spinning reel, then the reel is swiveled around so that the spool is in line with the rod, much like a baitcasting reel. That provides for a better drag, I assume. Holds a large amount of line for large fish...easily 400 yds.

Alvey reels, on which the Shimano moocher is based:

article on mooching for salmon:

Slow troll with power from nature

– Last Updated: Mar-12-07 11:29 PM EST –

Among knowledgeable salmon fishermen I know, including a long time guide I just asked, mooching is a specialized salt water method of trolling for salmon. Tide currents and wind are the key ingredients to supply the movement of the bait in the water. The bait presentation can be duplicated by use of a motor when the wind and tide aren’t right, and then it’s called motor mooching or power mooching, rather than drift mooching.

In classic mooching, the tide and wind had to be somewhat opposite to get movement of the bait in the water, rather than a dead drift. Wind pushes the boat, dragging the suspended lure through the water, or in the inland channels where this method originated, wind holds the boat in place while the current spins a cut plug or herring. It is also done with live herring for bait.

A version of this advocated usually by American writers is to ideally find a wind and tide combo that makes the line go down at 45 degrees. I have read in recent years about the 45 degree business but understood that to be a by product of good mooching conditions. A Canadian fishing guide in Campbell River, BC just told me that in his method, ideal mooching conditions will have the line going straight down, perpendicular to the boat, with the leader and cut plug herring, candlefish or live herring streaming out in the current with just enough flow to cause the bait to turn. He said that when there are lots of salmon, any angle will work, but when the fish are harder to come by the ideal straight down will catch vastly more fish, and he counts catches in thousand. When using a motor, he calls it power mooching.

Depth is controlled by length of line and sinker weight. Most salmon fishermen who actually catch large Chinook keep their lure or bait as close to the bottom as they can without snagging, whether trolling, mooching, jigging, whatever. Those same fishermen also know when and where the exceptions are to fishing the bottom. I.e. rather than fish a certain depth, as some writers recommend, the guys who consistently catch large Chinook fish the bottom whatever depth that happens to be. My guide friend mentioned letting the rig to the bottom and then reeling up 5 to perhaps ten turns on the single action reel and fishing at that depth. The key is distance above the bottom rather than depth below the surface, because the big salmon will be near the bottom most of the time.

Most mooching rods are long and soft, not made for casting the weight of sinkers they are rated for, but just letting line out off the back of the boat. As Jer says, mooching reels look like an oversized fly reel, and are especially popular in Canada. Most don't flip sideways for casting like the Australian Alvey reel does, which looks the same. Mooching reels are classically single action, with one turn of the handle making one turn of the reel spool. I genially hate single action mooching reels. I like my Alvey for long range casting for salmon from shore, but that's a totally different kind of fishing. I've never understood why mooching reels are called that, except that they don't cast worth a hoot. I mooch with a baitcasting reel, and some Canadians consider that cheating, not sure why.

The term mooching has been so tattered and pulled every which way by marketers trying to gain an aura of old time mooching expertise, that it doesn't seem to mean anything very specific other than fishing for salmon from a boat in salt water, at least to the modern masses of salmon fishermen.

Oops, just saw your post of the article, Jer. did a quick glance and think he's generally in agreeement with this post, just uses a motor. I suspect Native Indians developed the mooching technique in pre-outboard motor days. It sounds like a word from Chinook Jargon language, but am not sure of that. Would be worth checking for an article bit.

Thanks, guys
Thanks for the helpful info, guys. Informative as usual, and thorough. And thanks also for the relevant links.