MC Rocket Artificial Herring Strip

Tips & Tricks

This section contains tips and tricks for using MC Rockets.

Teaser Head Selection

Teaser Heads
Teaser heads: straight and bent fin

As previously mentioned, the MC Rocket was designed to fit snug in a Rhys Davis teaser head. Prior to inserting your Rocket, I use a small file to take off a sharp edge of the inside of the finless side of the teaser head. Because the Rocket bends 90° in that direction following a hit, the sharp edge could cut into the plastic.

I prefer a clear teaser head, especially early morning. Some people prefer glow teaser heads; but most - if not all - are still made with zinc sulphide glow, which lasts only minutes whereas a Rocket will glow through the clear teaser head for hours.

chrome teaser heads
Chrome teaser heads

I also like to straighten out the fin on the teaser head - which allows for the roll to come more from the Rocket, and less from the teaser head. A couple of 3-D Eyes and you're good to go.

On a bluebird day, chrome teaser heads also work well, but you cannot adjust the fin as you can on a plastic head - it might crack or break.


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Magic Marker

#69, 4 weeks
#69 after 4 weeks
#3, 10 weeks
#3 after 10 weeks
#4, 10 weeks
#4 after 10 weeks
Green on #3
Green on a #3
Rocket with black marker
Rocket with magic marker - just done
Rockets with magic marker
Top: After 6 weeks, Middle: 10 weeks, Bottom: 1 year

I've found that after applying a permanent, black waterproof magic marker down the back of a Rocket - especially a #1 it gives a more realistic imitation of a real fish. I use a black, chisel tip Sharpie and over time, the plastic slowly absorbs the black colour, moving down the back. This looks best after 4 weeks even better after 8 weeks. Unfortunately, the absorption will continue and as you will see, after 1 year the black will be throughout, losing its appeal.

After applying, allow to dry; then with a lint-free cloth, wipe off any excess. Be careful not to get any magic marker where you don't want it, because it won't come off and will also be absorbed. If the black back comes into contact with another Rocket, transfer will occur.

Other colours, such as green on #2 or #3 also look impressive.

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Just as the plastic absorbs magic marker, the same happens with scents. The MC Rockets come in a polypropylene bag which is designed not to leak scents, so scent can be applied prior to use, stored and slowly absorbed. But remember, when using coloured scents, the colour will also be absorbed - so just apply prior to use.

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Hooks Siwash vs. Treble

I think most of us agree you get more hook-ups on a treble; but more hooked fish landed using a siwash.

After much testing, I found the best action for use on a Rocket is with a treble and the further behind the bait, the better. However, the further back, the less hook-ups.

The use of an underwater camera certainly allows you to see how a salmon stalks its prey then attacks. Rather than hitting straight from behind, they approach from the rear, but hit on a 45° angle, sometimes missing the rear hook - and you come up empty.

So in 2009, we started to run a sliding-snelled siwash in front of the treble and our hook-up percentage definitely increased. On some days, 75% were hooked by the front siwash and sometimes, both hooks were taken.

When using the sliding snell setup, you can use the snell to set your trailer hook position, eliminating the need to use of a toothpick in the fin hole. But I still use a toothpick to position the siwash so it points straight out. (See Photo.)

Sliding Snell
Sliding snell

I cannot stress enough the importance of using nothing but quality, razor sharp hooks. And use a good hook file after every fish. It's critical. My preferences are Owner #2 ST-41 Stinger trebles and a 4/0 Octopus single hook. Red hooks are preferred by some. Your choice.

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Leader Material

30lb 40lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon leading material works well. When you go more than 40lb test, I find the stiffness impedes the Rocket's action.

For those who tie their own twinkies with a 72 length, this tip will save you a lot of leader material and time.

Make the front end of your leader 48. Fasten your twinkies where you like with the rear twinkie covering a small chain swivel. You then attach a separate 24 leader complete with teaser head and hooks. The reason to do this is because you will get a lot of nicks around the hooks and rather than have to re-tie your entire rig, just put on another pre-tied sliding snell setup and you're ready to go in no time.

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Colour Selection

Most colours depend on the availability of light for their appearance, which is why some colours are more visible at different depths than others. Normally, the deeper you go the less light penetration. All colours eventually disappear, except white and GLOW, which has its own built-in light source.

My favourite colour is a #1 Ultra Glow, Reg or Mag, with black magic marker down the back in a clear teaser head.

Some colours that work well early season in the upper water colours include #29, 30, 37, 39 and 40.

Mid-water colours include #11, 17, 23, 34, 35, Frog and Blueberry Muffin.

Below 80': #24, #69, Dalmatian, Wonder Bread.

Other factors include bright or overcast conditions and water clarity.

I've only been making the 2-coloured Rockets for 2 years; so as I get more reports, I will certainly pass them along.

(If you have feedback you'd like to share, click here to contact me - or check out the photo contest to win free Rockets.)

Blueberry Muffin in 6" Mag and 5" Reg
Blueberry Muffin in 6" Mag (top) and 5" Reg (bottom) - Actual size

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Reg or Mag?

Many fishermen, including myself, prefer the action of the reg when trolling  above 2.4 mph, but prefer the action of the mag when trolling slower.

The proof is in the catch. When Salmon are foraging on 7- 8 alewife, I switch to mags, & slow down. It works!!

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Teaser Head
Teaser head with rattle

Rattles & EChips

Want a little extra attention down there? Try a rattle or an EChip into a teaser head, so that it lies flat in an up/down position at the front of the teaser head. It will probably be necessary to trim some plastic off the front of the rocket in order to line up the toothpick hole. Insert the Rocket and toothpick and the rattle or EChip is secure. Works really well especially on copper or lead core.

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Check Often

If I've been fishing any longer than a half hour, especially while marking fish, I'll pop my line and quite often the Rocket is shoved 2' up your leader and bent 90° to the right. When did that happen and it didn't release? I'm not quite sure how they do it. If you're watching your rod and see it bounce once, you're Rocket is probably bent. Check it and re-tune.

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Rocket Repair

MC Rockets were originally made for my own, personal use and designed to be as durable as possible. However, a rip or tear is possible from the fish's sharp teeth. If this happens, I recommend using Mend-It, a product found in many tackle stores, used by bass fishermen to mend tubes. It works well, remains soft and natural after use, and will extend the life of the rocket. Crazy glue, or Locktite will also work, but it hardens the plastic where joined.

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