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Fish Flash Owns the West... For good reason!

By Mark Romanack

The Big Al Fish Flash produced by Yakima Bait
 is hands down the flasher of choice on the west
 coast and this trend is starting to invade other
salmon fisheries.
Recently I had the great pleasure to fish the famed Buoy 10 region of the Columbia River for king salmon. My friends at Maxima Line and Yakima Bait hosted the trip and treated the Fishing 411 crew to some amazing salmon fishing west coast style. The Columbia receives one of the richest runs of salmon in North American and countless anglers from all over the nation converge here in August and September to experience the best sport salmon fishing found anywhere.

Before I even stepped into the boat I could see a trend that put a big smile on my face. Literally every angler walking down the dock, every captain getting his boat ready for clients and every anxious group of anglers at the boat launch had an unique flasher hanging from their fishing line called the Big Al Fish Flash.

Produced by Yakima Bait ( one of the largest tackle manufacturers in the USA, the Fish Flash is a triangle shaped flasher that spins on it’s own axis. Compared to other attractors, the Fish Flash puts out more strobes of light and moves through the water with zero drag or resistance.

These flashers are used most commonly in front of cut herring rigs, anchovy rigs, spinners and plugs. On the Columbia River anglers use a three way rig that encompasses a lead weight on a 12 inch dropper. A Fish Flash (usually an eight inch model) is added behind the lead weight and a four to five foot leader is added terminating to a cut bait rig or lure.

On the Columbia River when a salmon is hooked, everyone on board reels
in their line to avoid tangling with the hooked fish. During this process you
can clearly see what everyone is fishing with and it’s unanimous that
anglers on the Columbia River are using the Big Al Fish Flash.
This simple set up is lowered to the bottom, the rod placed in a rod holder and anglers troll either upstream or downstream depending on the timing of the tide. To say that trolling with Fish Flash is effective would be a gross understatement. Every angler on the west coast has bought into this technology because it works and it works day in and day out.

I’ve been using Fish Flash
back home in the Great Lakes on various diving planers, Tadpole Divers
and in combination with my downrigger set ups for several years with lots of success. To date I’ve caught king, coho, Atlantic, and pink salmon on the Fish Flash. I’ve also landed steelhead, walleye, brown trout and lake trout using these same flasher attractors. Unfortunately, I rarely see other other anglers following my lead. Even many of my trusted charter captain buddies who I’ve shared the secret with are reluctant to try Fish Flash.

Jake with his biggest Columbia River king to date.
Note in the background the Big Al Fish Flash that
helped him catch this monster salmon.
In Oregon and Washington it was refreshing to see everyone is already onto the Fish Flash band wagon. The Fish Flash comes in four sizes including the 4, 6, 8 and 10 inch models. I find that the 4 and 6 inch versions are ideal for walleye and brown trout trolling applications. The larger 8 and 10 inch models are tops for salmon and lake trout.

Produced in literally every color combination imaginable, my buddy and salmon fishing legend Buzz Ramsey taught me that chrome finishes tend to work better for on sunny days and painted finishes are the better producers on overcast days or early and late in the day. In clear water I’ve also discovered that downsizing the flasher and using more subtle colors pays off big time. In stained to dirty water conditions I find that brighter colored flashers and larger models produce best.

It’s also a wise idea to use a longer six to seven foot leader between the flasher and the lure or bait when fishing in clear water. In stained to dirty water a four foot leader is about perfect.

If you haven’t discovered the Yakima Bait Fish Flash, it’s time to take the plunge. Remember, most of what we know here in the Great Lakes about trout and salmon fishing is thanks to our west coast counterparts! Viva La Fish Flash Baby.
As Jake fights this salmon you can clearly see the basic rig used on the Columbia River. Depending on the water depth and tide level a lead weight of eight to 20 ounces is fished on a three way rig in front of a Big Al Fish Flash and at the terminal end either a spinner, plug or bait rig featuring cut herring or a anchovy rig.