Cutbait Tips and Tricks
This section will cover different ways that I use cutbait to catch Lake Ontario Salmon. From May until the Salmon move into shallow water for there spawning run they can be taken on these methods. I know it's been said you can only use flashers/cutbait out deep, but I've taken Kings on them in as shallow as 35ft of water.
For flashers color is just as important. I stick with a few colors that I think are the top producers like green glow, chartruese glow, plain white, and plain chrome. I will also tape and retape or even paint my blades for some one of a kind custom colors. (I do have other colors and other style blades just to many to name here) All the big name flashers will work if you have the right color and setup. I use the large 11 inch Proll Troll E-chip flashers most of the time and occasionally a Salmon Slasher AKA(the Kingfisher blades).
Taping your blades can create custom colors
I always stick with the 11in. flashers, I've had very little luck with the smaller ones but you could try them if you like. Some people has had great succsess with them. For teasers I only use the Rhys Davis Large Teaser heads. For colors I go with green/chartruese glow, green glow, frog, chartruese, purple glow, chrome, chrome/green blue, chrome/green chartruese and glow blue. Green/chartruese glow being the best in most situations.
Now for some rigging tips. You have to decide if you want quantity or quality because it's going to make a difference in the setup. I'm assuming you know water depth the fish are coming from and that your setting up right on top of a big school of Kings. Yeah right, if it were only that easy. Anyway, let's say you want quantity because you have friends on the boat and they want fish and they don't care what size. Tie on a flasher of choice, tie the line directly to the flasher. Then tie a your teaser. I make my own leaders but if you bought them already rigged(like the twinki Rigs at Port Ontario Tackle are great), make sure you have a 60in. leader length. Sometime you can go shorter if the fish are real active but I found in most cases a 60in. leader is best.
On my leaders I put 1 to 3 tinsel squids down the leader glow or flashy and hold them there with a toothpick, this adds more attraction to the setup. Now the tricky part(you'll get the hang of it after a while), you'll need to bend the flat part of the teaser head down away from the bait so your teaser head will spin more. You don't want to do this if you are after big fish or fish that aren't actively feeding. Now run the hook down to the end of the tail and use a toothpick to hold it there. Now your ready to put it down.
I start 20ft. behind the ball, put it at the desired depth and troll at 2.8-3.5mph. That's fast but it seems to work good for the 15-25lb. Kings. If your after bigger Kings, slow the speed down to about 1.8-2.5mph (2.3 to 2.5 being the best!!). and run the teaser head with the bend that it comes with out of the package or bend it more just slightly. Also you may need to increase leader length to about 6ft. Another tip is to run larger Herring strips (called Tyee). For the bigger Kings, try to find where they are in the right temps and laying on the bottom. Run the rigs 1-2ft. off the bottom.
Longer leads off the riggers may be needed, sometimes running 50-60ft. back. There are some other methods I use that seem to produce well. First in the clear water that we now encounter, running less is better. 2 rigs set, 1 on each side with a middle rigger set with either a J-plug or a plain cutbait rig down about 5ft deeper than the outside riggers, called the V pattern. Also you can stack rods on the middle rigger. I like to stack plain cutbait rigs 3ft. apart and run them back 20ft. farther than the outside rigs to catch any dropback fish. This works great when fish are spooky. Plain cutbait rigs off of Dipseys work good also.
Sometimes I run wire Dipseys and sometimes I put them on the riggers so it will run at the same depth as the flasher rig but out to the side of it. Another tactic for shy fish. One last thing I should mention, is, that in the early morning I go with the whites and glow colors than change to the non-glow colors when the sun comes up. I also like to match heads to the flashers.(glow green to glow green ect) These are just some methods that I use to take Lake Ontario Salmon with cutbait. This is a very versitile bait that when used correctly out produces any other lure out there. These setups can be use right up to the time that the fish enter the rivers. Hope this helps and as always good luck.