Modifying a Standard Plastic
Flasher to a Break-Away Style



Flashers / Dodgers ;  Flashers and Dodgers have been around for years as an attractor for salmon fishing.  Typically using a limited explanation, a flasher rotates, while a dodger sways from side to side.    Years ago, the main attractors were Abe & Al  metal flashers or Les Davis dodgers.  There were a few copies of the Abe & Al, of which two were B&B and Martin Tackle.  The metal Abe & Al and it's running mate the Kelp Kutter along with the copies have disappeared but have been replaced by plastic Hot Spots and Pro Trolls.   The Les Davis dodgers have survived, and have even been downsized to small units many of which are used for attractors for trolling for Sockeye salmon, trout or kokanee in lakes.

Shown here are well used Abe & Al,  Kelp Kutter & a Les Davis herring dodger,
all in 1/2 & 1/2 (tarnished) brass & nickel


The drawback for the flashers in those days was getting the gear down into the strike/fish zone.  That was usually accomplished by using a heavy weight on the line.  These weights were rigged with a wire loop and split ring combo running from front to rear.  The mainline could be inserted into the loops then slid partly into the split ring which held the weight in that location ahead of the flasher.  When a fish hit, the mainline pulled out of the split ring's grip, yet was retained by the loops, where the weight then slid on the mainline so that it was not near the flasher creating a chance for the fish to throw the hooks.


Then along came divers and downriggers which totally changed the game in getting the gear down.  Flashers then flourished, being made of plastic and when being used on a downrigger, the weight problem no longer existed.  However there was still a drag between the fish and the fisherperson once the fish was hooked. 


Break-away Flasher ;  Some fisherpersons accepted that this was the way it was, while another concept of having the rear of the flasher become disconnected when the fish hit the lure, which will allow the flasher to move up the mainline, more or less fluttering but still captivated on the mainline.  This is known as the "breakaway flasher",  in that when the fish hits, the flasher's rear retaining pin pulls out, disconnecting the flasher's rear section from being inline, and removing some of the inline resistance directly to the fish.   The flasher is made by NW Cove and comes with it's own short section of mono which has a large bead sliding on the front section of mono and to position the flasher when in operation, a metal crimp about midsection on the mono to trip the plug.  It uses a tapered plastic plug on the rear that the line goes through.   When a fish hits, the crimp slides rearward, pulling the plastic plug out of the flasher body.  The large bead also stops the flasher from sliding far up the line when the fish is on the hook.


If you are like me, having numerous standard flashers and the availability of now being able to obtain reflective UV tape, gives you the opportunity to salvage some older experienced functional flashers.  In making this break-away modification, you need to acquire a nylon bushing at your local hardware store for under 25 cents.  These bushings need to be 3/8" OD x 1/2" OAL x .171 ID.   You then need to saw the rear metal ring out of the standard flasher's plastic so you can have a press fit of the bushing in this slot and then epoxy the bushing into the flasher. 


You will note in the diagram below that the placement of the crimped on metal sleeves is critical in the operation of this unit.  Shown here, the mainline is attached to the swivel eye on the right side of the illustration.  The main pulling point of the flasher is on the large plastic bead held in place by the crimp and then against the large (but slightly smaller) front swivel ring.  When the fish hits, this 60# mono is pulled to the rear and the center sleeve comes against the plug, pulling it out of the rear of the flasher, allowing the flasher to then only be attached at the front and with less resistance on the line.


Illustrational diagram of the Q Cove break-away flasher


NW Cove sells replacement plugs for their Q Cove flasher for about $3 a pack, and you can make up the rest for your own unit using a short section of 60# mono, a large plastic bead, crimp and swivel/snaps.  It may be best to probably purchase the newer style factory unit and copy the mono length and spacing of the crimp/bead and swivel.  This unit adds about a foot more between the mainline terminal swivel/snap and to where the leader is attached to the flasher, so you may want to look at your leader lengths and adjust if needed on some lures so you do not have an excessively long line from the mainline swivel at the rod tip to the hooks, which can be a handicap at netting time.


One fisherman who uses these, suggests you smear a bit of Smelly Jelly on the tapered plug to be sure it releases when a smaller fish hits.


The Q Cove flasher Hot Spot flasher Modified Hot Spot Flasher

In the photo below, you can see the Q Cove flasher on the top and a Hot Spot on the bottom that has been modified to accept the Q Cove style plug.


Here is a factory break-away flasher on the top & a modified
Hot Spot on the bottom, note the large red bead on the modified one while the upper factory uses a clear bead


On the modified flasher, you will notice newer tape overlaid on the deteriorated original tape.  


Copyright © 2014  / 2016  LeeRoy Wisner  All Rights Reserved

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Originated 02-14-2014, Last updated 12-25-2014
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