If you fish for salmon in the Pacific Northwest I am sure you have heard about the 360 flashers that are being used on the Columbia River. These flashers are game changers if you know how to rig them and fish them correctly. When I fish a 360 flasher I use either VIP Outdoors 3.5 spinners, Brad’s Super Baits, or a Brad’s Cut Plug. There are many different ways to rig the Brad’s products and I encourage you to check out Brad’s Brad’s Tech Sheets this link has detailed information about rigging the 360 flasher, Brad’s Super Bait’s, and Cut Plugs. Most people have a style of rigging that they have confidence in. Try a few out and find what gives you the best hook up ratio.
Brad’s Cut Plug
Brad’s Super Bait
VIP Outdoor’s 3.5 Spinners
The rod you use will play a role in your hook up ratio and the action of your 360 flasher. When I run this kind of rigging I like to use the LamiglasSuper G BSG1065GH or the Kwik Series XCC 1064. These are 10’ 6” rods that have enough softness to let the gear work correctly and are a little forgiving when fishing barbless hooks. These rods also have the backbone to fight big fish and troll heavy lead.
Lamiglas Super G
When fishing the 360 flasher you will need to have a longer bumper than you would have with an inline flasher. When I am fishing 360’s I keep individually bagged and labeled pre made bumpers so I know exactly the length I am running. Not sticking to the standard 24” inches allows me to change my rigging to change the action of the 360 flasher. A longer bumper will give you a larger rotation and a shorter one will make for a tighter rotation. Leader length is something I play with also. The longer the leader the less action your lure will get. I usually fish around 36” for a leader.
When you are trolling you should be noticing a thump like this 360 Flasher Thump on Lamiglas Super G One thump per second is ideal. If you don’t see the thump your gear is not running correctly. Make sure you are not tangled, dragging bottom, and that your line is between 30-45 degrees.
Breakaway systems are something people use to disengage the 360 flasher while fighting a fish. Personally I don’t use them because it is one more thing to fail or malfunction. I like to keep things as simple as possible because crazy things happen when fishing. When I am fighting a fish with a 360 flasher I don’t pump my rod. I have found that pumping the rod up and down is a great way to lose pressure on the fish and pop the hooks. The 360 flasher will have some action to it if you do not use a break away system, but the steady pressure does not allow too much rotation.
Have fun getting out on the water and experimenting with bumper lengths, leader lengths, spinner colors, super bait colors and cut plug colors. Write down your successes and things that didn’t go well and keep learning from it. The fish will tell you what they want if you keep giving them options.