The Rock Dancer It's A Fall & Winter Winner! More About Stan

The Rock Dancer
It's A Fall & Winter Winner!
More About Stan
Stan's Archives
By Stan Fagerstrom
Part 1
Ever heard of a Rock Dancer?
If you think my question has anything to do with what you see one of those half dressed gals or the fast footed
dudes doing fancy steps on programs like “Dancing with the Stars”---it doesn’t.
But my mention of a Rock Dancer won’t come as a surprise to today’s serious steelhead or salmon
anglers. Today the Rock Dancer bucktail jigs that Bob Schmidt and his capable crew at Mack’s Lure started
marketing a few years ago rank right up there as some of the most productive lures you can get your hands on.
You're looking at a Mack's Lure Rock Dancer jig. These lures can be deadly
for both salmon and steelhead.
I’ve done my share of steelhead fishing. In the many years I lived in Washington State decades ago I rarely did
anything else on weekends once the winter run of these migratory beauties really got going. I’d usually be up to
my butt in the cold currents of the Toutle, the Kalama, the Cowlitz or the Coweeman in the southwest part of
the Evergreen State.
Old timers may remember my book “Catch More Steelhead” that was published way back in the 19070s. I
know some do because I still get orders for it now then though it has been out of print for years.
One of the most effective means of using jigs for salmon and steelhead is to
fish them beneath a float.
I have a reason, you see, for mentioning my steelhead book in connection with those fish-catching jigs Mack’s
Lure calls Rock Dancers.
What’s my reason? Well, my friends, when I wrote that book I had never even considered using a jig for my
steelhead fishing. There may have been anglers here and there back then who were using them then but I
wasn’t one of them. Neither was anyone else I fished with at the time.
Today there are some darn good steelhead anglers out there in the Pacific Northwest who maintain jigs,
especially those nifty looking Mack’s Lure Rock Dancers, are the best thing you can have on your leader if it’s
steelhead or salmon you’re after.
If you’re a regular reader of this column you may recall a story I had here once about Chris Roney, of
Richland. Chris was clobbering steelhead with the Rock Dancer in the big pools formed by one or another of
the Columbia River’s dams.
You can see the Rock Dancer jig that took this beauty for guide Chris
Romney. It was caught in the Columbia River.
I’ve had the good fortune since writing about Roney to get to probe the thinking of a couple more widely
recognized experts. In my next few Stan’s Corner columns I’ll be sharing what they’ve also told me regarding
how they fish their jigs for both steelhead and salmon.
If you’re up to your rear end in Pacific Northwest steelheading you’ll likely recognize the two experts I’m
talking about. One is Terry Wiest. You’ve undoubtedly seen Terry’s by-line in a number of different fishing
publications in recent years.
Terry, from Covington, Washington, will soon have his first book on salmon and steelhead fishing available. It’s
to be called Steelhead University: Your Guide to Salmon and Steelhead Success. If you want to improve your
own success with the migratory species you’ll be wise to get your own copy.
The other expert is Jason Brooks, of Puyallup, Washington. Jason has been fishing for salmon and steelhead
since he was six years old. That’s easy to understand when you learn that his step-father is a man named Willie
Ross. I say that because Willie Ross is probably better known as “Walleye Willie,” a darn good full time fishing
guide on the lower Columbia River.
What you’ll find if you have a chance to visit with either of these widely experienced experts is that the Mack’s
Lure Rock Dancers are among their favorite lures and not just for steelhead. Certainly they employ them for
steelhead but on occasions they find these tough bucktail jigs even more effective for a couple of the fall salmon
Hearing that bit of information didn’t come as a surprise. In many ways it’s typical of what has been going on
now at Mack’s Lure for a good many years. I’d never heard of a Rock Dancer jig until it was added to the
Mack’s line up of lures.
For that matter, had you ever heard of Smile Blades before Mack’s Lure brought them to the attention of the
angling world? And that’s just for starters.
Today trout anglers all over the place have now quit messing with those overweight multiple bladed metal
spinners they once used for trout trolling. Now they’ve switched to the Mack’s Lure Flash Lite Trolls or its Hot
Wings attractors.
Mack's Lure Rock Dancer jigs come in 14 color patterns and three different
They’ve done so because these flashing plastic blades have 80 per cent less drag than the metal variety. Now
they can troll without having their rods bent almost double. And now they are also able to tell when even a
smaller fish picks up their bait or lure. A trout doesn’t have to weigh a half pound or so before you even know
it’s there.
I’m no stranger to jigs. I’ve probably used them longer than most for both bass and panfish. I’ve also used
them for much of the limited walleye fishing I’ve had the good fortune to do.
But I’ve never used them for steelhead or salmon. Have you? Well, if you haven’t watch for what you’ll find
right here in my next couple of columns. You just might be surprised---and wind up catching more fish as a
-To Be Continued-