You walk up to a fishing line. Guys are throwing pink, orange, cerise, nightmare and a combination of all of the colors, thereof. How are you supposed to approach this situation? A valid question indeed, one which we're going to explore.
When you fish a line of anglers, I guarantee you there are Steelhead that are sitting there, nearly always. Whether or not anyone is going to catch those Steelhead is a completely different story. This is when people start catching on strange things, like green headed, yellow and cerise bodied jigs, and excessively large offerings. Why?
First, let me tell you how to approach the water, and why. I've tuned into the following colors, to systematically work water and with an extremely high success ratio; in the medium flows of summer, I'll fish 1/8th ounce jigs, while later on in the season, I'll use longer leaders and 1/16th ounce jigs. The order goes like this: white, nightmare and cerise or orange. That's it. We start with white, because it is an extremely noninvasive color, and Steelhead love white. What does it represent in the ocean? Possibly a food source, though I do know they love the color. Oh yeah, and remember to tip your jigs with either cocktail or sand shrimp tails.
After that, I believe in throwing the nightmare pattern (my favorite is a peach head, red body, peach yarn tuft and black tail) in order to generate more of a curiosity bite. If they're not hungry, throw them something leaning towards the neutral side, that will stoke their curiosity. Since Steelhead do not have hands to feel, guess what they use instead?
Now, when all options have been exhausted (every jig color, spoons, drift gear, floating bait, drifting bait, spinners) it's time to activate the aggravation bite. In my experience guiding, this is when the almighty, trip saving pink worm comes out. They do not want to eat this. They are not curious about this; the worm is extremely invasive, and they will do everything in their power to remove it from their territory. What this oftentimes results in is pulling stale fish, and picking the most aggressive fish out of the bunch. Get ready and hold on, because you're about to have your arm wrenched off.
If you're an advanced jig fisherman, give this technique a shot on your next outing, and stick to 1/16th ounce jigs. If you're a neophyte, pick up a bucket of sand shrimp and 1/8th ounce jigs and pound away your favorite known water; remember that depth is very important here as well.