Cutplugging for salmon is often one of the hardest but also the most rewarding way of catching salmon. A “Cut Plug” is a herring with its head cut off in a way that makes the herring act like a wounded fish as it is pulled through the water. Generally Cutplugging is also called Motor Mooching as the herring is pulled along as you go in and out of gear. It is necessary to go in and out of gear to get the herring to change depths and also change speed and action. Doing so will look similar to a wounded fish and trigger the salmon to take a strike. It is a real art to make the herring spin exactly the way you want it to go.
Different types of salmon will strike in different ways. Chinook will sometime mouth it, spit it out and then circle around to take the wounded fish. Chinook are lazy feeders and sometimes it seems they want to play with the bait. Coho on the other hand are ferocious feeders and will often send the reel screaming as it takes the bait. Coho will often hit harder than Chinook even though they may be half or a quarter the size.