Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Voices from the Past: Salmon Plugs (1947)

Salmon plugs are one of the neatest collectables and have enjoyed a renaissance of late. The following chapter is from the book Salmon Fishing on Puget Sound by Harry M. Howard (1947) detailing the why of salmon plugs. It's a neat piece of salmon fishing history, and it may explain why so many salmon lures are found chewed to the wood.


This information was gathered from the leading plug manufacturers of the Northwest.

When fishing the salt waters of Puget Sound, it is interesting to know that, in colors, white and a combination of red and white are, in the majority of experiments, shown to be the most attractive and excel in the take of salmon by sportsmen. Scientific experiments carried out by widely known scientific bodies have proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that fishes can distinguish the difference in colors, and have distinct ideas as to taste of various foods.

Fish life in Puget Sound is so wide and varied, and spread over so much territory, that what appeals to one kind will not affect another. The assumption is that the various species of Pacific salmon can distinguish the difference in color or action of plugs.

Colors that go well in clear water will not do so good in mirky waters. It would be natural for one to believe that white colored plugs produce the best results in mirky waters, but the exact opposite is the case. White colored plugs excel in clear waters. In murky waters the herring scale, or frog colors are the best attractors.

Plastic and other new types of light made plugs are being manufactured, which may catch a goodly share of fish, but what the future holds in store for them will depend on a fair trial given them by the sport fishermen. But let me say right here and now, it's going to be a long, long time before local sportsmen and anglers alike will break away from the local made light cedar plugs that have proven so successful with the plug fishermen, in the catch of salmon.

If you don't believe it, look in any angler's tackle box and count the vast assortment of local made plugs. Many anglers have a certain plug in which they have considerable faith. Why, because it has always produced when others failed. What about that old hot plug full of teeth marks with most of the paint chewed off it? "That tells the story, that's the plug the guy offered me twenty bucks for, and I refused to sell it. No sir'ee you couldn't buy it for love or money." Didja ever hear that line before? Well brother you're not alone, I not only heard it, but I have one too.

Regardless of how battle worn it looks, as long as it catches fish that's all that matters. Of course we're all suckers for new types of plugs, but it's lots of fun trying 'em out.

-- Dr. Todd

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