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Couldn't find a way to post a link to this old post, so here it is again. If someone feels like putting a thumbtack on it to keep it up here on top through the coming 'looper season, that's fine too.

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Here’s a quick course on loopers the way I do it. Others do things slightly differently, and there’s lots of room for difference and experimentation, but these are the basic shore angler looper techniques. Thought I’d run through the whole thing all in one post, so it’s all there instead of scattered piecemeal throughout the board.

Rods: 8 to 10 foot spinning rods, light action that’s appropriate for 4 to 8 lb line. Stiff butt and fast tip are good. You can use shorter rods, but long rods mean longer casts and more shock resistance when you’re fighting a fish. The also keep your line off the waves that break near shore, which can pull your rig into rocks if your rod’s too short. You can find affordable rods from $40 to $80.

Reels: Spinning reels. I use the inexpensive 4000 series Shimano reels, which have smooth enough drags and a big spool. Big spool also means longer casts since each revolution contains more line on a big spool compared to a small one. These reels run about $30.

Line: Maxima 6 lb, with a 6 lb fluorocarbon leader about three feet long. I use fluoro on the live bait slip rigs because it’s one more advantage against sometimes finicky trout. Whatever your main line is, whether mono or braid, it MUST be abrasion resistant. Standard soft lines will get chewed up on the rocks when a fish runs.

Rigging: There are two basic live bait rigs, the slip rig and the bobber rig. The slip rig is just like a walleye slip sinker rig, except the sinker is a slinky (how to make them later). On main line, slip on the sinker, then tie a barrel or ball-bearing swivel, then 3 feet or so of fluorocarbon, then a small strong hook, a No. 8 or 10. You bait them with floating spawn sacks (you can buy them or make them) or a night crawler hooked once or twice and injected with air so it floats. Some guys add a twist of green or red yarn as an attractor, but that’s never made a difference for me. However, it’s all what you’re confident in, and experimenting is part of fishing. You hook the spawn bag by passing the hook through the fabric gathered in a knot. It’ll never cast off the hook if properly hooked. The other rig is a slip-bobber. The bobber of choice is a custom made weighted bobber that casts a mile, is available at Duluth tackle stores and is called a Ross bobber. I don’t use fluorocarbon on this rig because I tie it like a standard slip bobber, with the knot first (no bead needed, since the bobber has one built in). Tie a looper bug on the end (small weighted jig especially made for this. Cheap and in all the Duluth tackle stores). Tip the looper bug with a couple waxies. The bobber slides all the way down to the bug before you cast, which is another reason you can cast a mile with them. I set mine from 3 to 5 feet deep. The bugs come in all colors, with black and purple being the standards and most commonly used. But some days bright colors are better. Don’t worry if the bobber drifts back in close to shore. Lots of fish come only 30 feet offshore, not just from farther out. A note on bobber color: Black is best in many situations. If the sun is out, North Shore anglers are staring into it, and it’s low in winter, so black shows up really well in silhouette. I like the blaze orange on days when color shows up easily. Get a couple of each and see which color works best for you. Some folks chuck spoons for loopers in winter/early spring and catch some, but with the water so cold I think your odds of catching them are better with the bait/bobber rigs.

Rod holders: I use 2-foot-long PVC pipe in 1.5 inch diameter and buy steel dowel from the hardware store, cutting it about 3 feet long. Using black electrical tape, wrap it around and around, fastening the rod to the outside of the PVC with about 2 feet sticking out. You can drive these into the pebble/sand beaches using a handy rock (watching out you don’t shatter the PVC), or you can use bigger stones to make a pile and anchor the shaft. With these holders and the 8.5-foot rods I use, the tip of your line stands over 10 feet off the ground, keeping it out of the close-in breakers. But standard 7-foot walleye spinning rods with the lower-capacity reels work OK. You can’t cast quite as far and it’s a bit harder to keep the line off the waves, but plenty of guys who don’t want to shell out for new rods/reels do it that way, and they catch fish too.

Slinky sinkers: I make them by buying nylon hockey laces, some shot in bulk and some big split shot sinkers, as well as some snap swivels. You’ll need a lighter, too. Cut the hockey lace into about 3-inch lengths. Burn one end with the lighter to seal it. Stuff in shot (I used No. 8 shot), as much as you think you want. Then put in a couple big split shot and work them down in, which will pack the shot nicely. Then trim and burn the open end, flattening it with your fingers when it cools a bit. Then open the snap swivel and stick it through the flattened end beyond the melt, through the lace and back out the other side. Fasten. There you go, a slinky, and way cheaper than you can buy them. Mine averaged about 2 inches long. Not sure how much weight, but you’ll lose far fewer slinky rigs than with standard sinkers.

Some other notes: Half my catch was loopers, half coho. The season picks up in January and continues to get better, especially around the rivers, right up through the April spawn. You can set the hook hard on loopers, which usually take in the whole bait right away, but cohos bite more gently, a rat-a-tat-tat kind of thing, and I’d hook them by slowly tightening up the line and reeling in. No need to set, because the hooks are sharp. If you set it on a coho bite you’ll often pull it right out of the fish’s mouth. I have one stiffer rod that I used for the spawn bag rigs (which stay on the hook no matter what) and the bobber rigs. Made for really long casts. My softer rod I used for the crawler rig, which needs the softer touch while casting. And you won’t get it out that far, but it won’t matter. At least half my fish came on the crawler. Use patience when fighting and landing these fish. A 9-pound looper on 6 lb line is a lot of fun and a lot of fight. No net needed. As the fish tires, you can ease it right up on shore, allowing the waves to help push the fish in. Of course, if you’re on a rock shelf instead of a beach you’ll probably want a net.

Good luck.

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Always a great read Steve. Thanks again.

Just a note that Gander Mt. had some nice shorecasting rods 25% off. Final cost about $30 and some less.

Another note. I make tons of slinky's and a needle nose pliers works great for pinching down ends of melted slinky's and I fill mine with small shot as well. This helps to slip threw rocks. Also instead of a lighter I use a candle and that way I dont have to relight the lighter every time and I have a extra hand to crimp the melted ends with needle nose.

Steve have you ever used Anis scented marshmellows in your spawn sacks? (Marshmellows in a spawn sack makes them float and gives a bigger presentation) Im going to try some out tomorrow AM and see how they work. Crawlers seem to be the ticket lately though.

If anyone needs any Slinkys let me know I can make them up quick and can deliver to any Looper filled shoreline. wink.gifgrin.gif

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Hey Steve:

I never did use scented marshmallows, but I've heard they are the ticket sometimes. If I'd have lived in Duluth/Superior one more winter, I'dve gotten into those variations. Mostly I just used the mini marshmallows and tied the bags using glo green mesh and hot pink mesh. Never noticed much difference in one color being more productive than the other, but, like I've said before, the majority of my 'loopers came on crawlers. I'd say the looper bug/waxies under the Rossbobber and the slip rigged floating spawn sack about tied for second place in productivity.

Also, I've been using my leftover slinkies on Vermilion when slip rigging for walleyes, and they are just as good on the Big V rocks as they are along the shore.

Also by the way, if you're shore casting for streamer trout in designated trout lakes, the looper bug with an inch of crawler under the Rossbobber is a real winner. You can gun those babies out a long ways, and with the slip knot set at 18 or 20 feet, you're always getting down to cold water. I've had great luck with that around Ely.

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Like I say Im going to try the Anis and Garlic also and see if either is any better than a plain sack. A guy was catching fish on fake spawn and scent the other day. Who knows maybe the scent is the ticket this time of year. Could that be why Crawlers are working better? Who knows but Ill find out. Im out all day tomorrow from spot to spot.

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great post steve

someone mentioned using anis oil...i would check with your local conservation officer an DNR to make sure that is legal

I dont believe using anis is legal in minnesota an could cost ya your tackle box an fishing equiptment not to mention a healthy fine if they catch ya with it in your tackle box or smell it

Old timers use to use it...back when they used tin foil on traps for coon(extremely illegal now) an many others tricks

Fishing sprays are a anis derivitive but use the real thing an using a spray an the smell on yerself an yer tacklebox are easy to distinquish

Real Anis Oil used on your tackle I believe is illegal...

note the fishing regulations we recieve or get at the local store are but a general rule an regulations book...DNR carry a full-version or should an its huge with a ton of laws most of us are unaware

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Cloyd I would be using anis scented marshmellows that you buy in all local baitstores and I know many guys use them. I doubt they would be selling them if they were not legal. They also have garlic and several other scents available. I think its Uncle Josh product line.

The actual oil may not be legal though.

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i was talking the use of the real oil on lures etc.

believe the sprays an scented stuff are a chemical simulation with similiar effects but not like the real thing..

sorry I shoulda clarified...just hate to see someone use it an not realize..somethin to look into i guess...old indian friend of mine informed years ago on the trapline...I used the real stuff for baiting beaver an other stuff..was told to NEVER get caught with the real stuff in my tackle box

cant get the smell out an it would cost me dearly wink.gif

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what i like to do when making my spawn sacks is after they are tied up rather then curing them in just borax, i use half borax and then half garlic salt, seemed to be the ticket last year although i haven't had much luck on spawn this year so far.

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Do you use only bronze hooks or do you try the colored hooks? Great idea on the slinky sinker. I'm going to try them on the rocky walleyes. Dan

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I just used natural (bronze) hooks. With crawlers, the more natural the better. With spawn bags, the bright colored mesh bags and eggs were the attractant, so why spend more $ on fluorescent hooks? That was my thinking, anyway.

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I use either red, orange, pink or natural hooks. Depends on what I grab out of the box or the type of day. Cloudy days I use all I can to draw a fish in and color does that.

Dont use cheap hooks. A good quality hook is as important as good line, reel and rod. The great thing about hooks is even some of the cheaper brands are still darn good these days. Cant say the same for line though.

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northlander, so what you're saying is that i should take my 20 lb eagle claw line off? grin.gif I haven't really noticed any difference in colors for hooks. As long as they are sharp you should be ready to go. I ussualy use vmc octopuss hooks, but have used mustad, gamakatsu, and even eagle claw razors (good hooks for the price) and had no problem with any of them. kinda off topic, but has anyone tried maxima's new fleurocarbon yet?

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Quick Im using Maxima Perfection or whatever its called on 1 rod now. I think it looks a lot like the old Maxima but is supposed to get clear in the water. I dont know I have always like Maxima for shorecasting. Cant stand it for jigging. Way to much stretch.

I hhave always had great luck with the clear Trilene XT.

Fished for about 4 hours this morning and 2 this afternoon. SLOW! I only saw 1 Coho and 1 Looper caught all day. Pretty windy and the waves were rollin.

Tomorrow is supposed to get nasty so I may just sleep in.

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Oh Quick I thought that was 20# Gander line or was it Wally World? Whatever your using stick with it cuzz your hot lately. wink.gif

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It was such a great idea I had to make up some slinky sinkers today. I'm sure in Duluth,MN you can find hockey laces everywhere, but in Albuquerque, New Mexico trying to find hockey laces is like trying to find the holy grail. I have to go buy a bag of #8 shot now. I made a few by opening up some #7½ dove and quail loads. grin.gif

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actually i am using 6 lb maxima chameleon on my shore casting rods right now but was wondering if the perfection was as limp and durable. you're right, maxima is great for casting but horrid for jigging or anything where you need great feel or a quick hookset. with ice appoaching i'll probally wait til next year to re spool my shore fishing reels.

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10Bears, I live in the twin cities, and I looked all over for laces. The only place I found them here was sport mart. When I was a kid, you could get them at the local 5 and dime. I use them for walleye fishing, they work great, weather your fishing rocky or sandy bottom.

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think i'll give the french one last shot today before i get set for ice. got the shack patched up, reels spooled up, so i guess i'll need to kill some time down on the shore and wait for the lakes to freeze.

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