Dirty Downrigger Trick: Silver Horde’s Rudder Flasher!

Now that “seminar season” is begrudgingly giving way to fishing season, I’m looking back on the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard after my  “Dirty Downrigger Tricks” PowerPoint presentations.

I’m always looking for some new and interesting blog ideas and I believe a series of blogs answering these questions regarding controlled-depth trolling techniques may just be what the “downrigger Doctor” ordered!

One of the relatively recent additions to the downrigger fisherman’s attraction repertoire is the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher!

“We originally marketed it as a halibut spreader back in the mid 1970’s and by the late ’80’s some guys out of Edmonds started using them as rudders on their downriggers” said Silver Horde’s Kelly Morrison. Indeed, it is the “spreader effect” that is one of the most endearing qualities of the Rudder Flasher. As soon as it’s placed in the water, it immediately “weather vanes” or points behind the boat which allows you to easily reach your release -without untangling it- and quickly get your gear back to the fishes’ depth.

There are two ways to rig the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher: One, simply run your release directly off the back of the rudder…

…and two, running a “Dummy” or remote flasher off of the Rudder Flasher and then stacking your release a few feet up from the flasher!

By far the biggest advantage of the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher is it’s fish attraction characteristics. The Rudder Flasher affords your downrigger presentation a consistent horizontal profile which allows salmon to find your gear more easily. Simply stated, a rotating flasher makes noise and vibration in the water column but it’s continually moving, rolling aspect can often be a challenge for a salmon on the far reaches of the attraction threshhold to locate. The combination of a rotating flasher and a Rudder Flasher is a one, two salmon attracting “punch” that will result in more fish in your box!

Next time you’re out on your favorite trolling drag and you see someone land a fish, take a close look at what is running just on top of their cannon ball… The Silver Horde Rudder Flasher used to be the trollers secret handshake. Now, it’s more like the mark of the highliner fishermen.

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


6 thoughts on “Dirty Downrigger Trick: Silver Horde’s Rudder Flasher!

  1. If you wanted to run a rubber snubber with the rudder, would you run the snubber below the rudder or above? I like having a like shock absorber between the ball and the rigger.

  2. I’m just not a snubber fan so you may be asking the wrong guy.
    I’ve never been convinced of their effectiveness or necessity, so I keep it simple and don’t use ’em.
    Further, If they were beneficial, we would see the pro’s using them…and I never have.
    However, if the principal of the snubber as I understand it affording some “forgiveness” or elasticity to your downrigger system, I would run it BELOW the Rudder Flasher.
    I hope that answers your question.

  3. Tom I was listening to you this morning and thats how I found this rudder flasher site. What one is your primary go to with these setups, the single rudder or do you use the extra attraction one. Also, what percentage of time do you use this, do you ever run the regular flasher setup behind the rudder flasher, or only rudder release and lure or bait? Thaks for your time and help. Jason

    • Hey Jason, thanks for listening and I’m glad you’ve taken notice of the Rudder Flasher as another weapon in your downrigger fishing arsenal.
      In Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands I run the Rudder Flasher 90% of the time.
      Behind the Rudder Flasher I’ll go with flasher/spoon or squid the majority of the time with plugs and cut plug/whole herring rounding out my salmon trolling gear.
      What do I base my terminal tackle choices on? Depth Sounder echoes, gut content analysis and the “word on the street” or other anglers chatter about successful gear choices.
      Good luck out there!

  4. Just a quick question when running a “Dummy” or remote flasher off of the Rudder Flasher and then stacking your release how far above the Rudder Flasher to you attach the release and how long show the release be?

  5. Hey Mike,
    I’ve really tried to simplify things and I run Cannon’s with five-foot booms. I like to run releases that are a foot longer than my booms for easier re-rigging. To keep things from tangling, I let six feet of cable out to the ball that has a flasher six feet behind it. Stack the release six feet above the ball and since each piece of the system is six feet long, tangling is all but eliminated! Good luck!

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