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Ocean Flyfishing for Salmon Perhaps the most under-rated fishery in the world

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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-16-2003 07:41 PM
Halcyon days of yore!!

This thread with all the talk of mooching and hanging around the kelp beds from Shi Shi to Inner Puget Sound has really got my juices flowing. Add to that the fact that "they" are going to open King Salmon fishing here around Port Angeles this summer it really has me dreaming!
Like, it appears, several others I too have had the adventure of fishing in the good times at Neah Bay and the inner Straits of Juan De Fuca. I have also spent a couple of decades in SE Alaska. King salmon, I have caught enough but I have got to say they are the hardest and most elusive prey I have encountered when casting feathers at the sea.
I have been in situations with other more refined and certainly more famous anglers who like myself were literally surrounded by hundreds of heavily feeding "feeder kings" gorging on needlefish right on the Kelp beds where you could cast to several "Howsers" at the same time. Birds reeling through the air, gulls screaming ,and kings porpoiesing through acres of bait fishes. These were heavy feeding deep bodied kings averaging 20#+ many could be seen cartwheeling through the dense schools of bait fish that were constantly showering the surface of the water as the schools of kings gorged on there flesh.
This was the same place where the moochers could catch a fish as fast as they could drop a bait in the water and give it but a single twitch. However even though I have been to many places as described and have spent countless hours in pursuit I have yet to land a "Full Sized King Salmon" in the salt water on a fly that was cast and retrived, I did hook several but other than a breif and hard run I never actually saw the fish so they could have been something other than kings.
Several of my fishing pals have managed to catch a few Kings while we were fishing for Coho. While they were Kings over 30# they were caught while fishing for Coho in August when there were not many kings around.
Its a real challenge folks I am not about to give up, but it certainly gives me pause when I hear of someone who has made the whole thing come together and actually cast to, hooked ,and landed a Salt water King. Maybe this year I'll change my luck!
04-16-2003 05:18 PM
kjackson Beau-- At the speed I was traveling, er, trolling, the bait was in the upper 10 feet or so of water. Compared to the rest of the day where I'd be fishiing 90 to 400 (the deepest I've caught kings) that is shallow. On the springers in PT Bay, they'd hit the herring and be in the air the next second, so they were quite close to the surface, despite being in over 70 feet of water. Guess it's all relative.

Never did get into them three pulls out, but I've got one spot where you'd see the bottom and catch fish.

But you're right-- with the tackle available to us today, we should be able to intercept kings in the salt on flies. Like I said, that's my goal this year.

04-16-2003 03:48 PM
beau purvis
kings & blackmouth

25 pulls? 40 pulls? Hell, that aint shallow! my buddy Pete Tronquet and I fished neah bay a lot and were kelpers in 66 & 67 in summers between school yrs. we had to break ourselves from the possion bar, pt no pt, hazel pt habits of being deep.3 to 15 pulls was the ticket.morning or afternoon.didnt matter. we fished all moring once at spike rock.nothing! tide was right at about 3pm and they bit like crazy.I used to live 2 miles from Hazel pt in the good ol days on Hood Canal. I could look at my watch{leave the afternoon social gathering on the patio] hit 30-60 minutes of the tide and return with 1 or 2 big kings.lately I have done the same thing on the canal at a pt further north in late june early and white clouser.anyway neah bay kings & Ilwaco kings were right on top.i remember one day off shi shi beech in about 30ft of water.candle fish had held in there all summer.we hit it just right with drift mooch herring was past 10am before my lead was able to hit the bottom.and these days with good fly eguipment those fish shld be available to the fly.beau
04-16-2003 11:44 AM
kjackson Can't say I've caught any blackmouth or kings on a fly, but I've caught a bunchon gear in the Straits when we could fish for them.

The low-light trigger for shallow kings is right on the money, for the most part. But fishing out of Port Angeles, Freshwater Bay and Pillar Point has shown me that the kings are not restricted to kelp lines. Early in the morning-- just when you start to see dawn coming up a bit-- you'll find kings up just under the surface. I used to fish for them a lot with 25 pulls of line, a plug-cut herring and a fast troll, and I wasn't sticking close to shore either. When I'd hit it right, it was nothing to have three kings (the limit then) in the fish box before the sun cracked the horizon.

Here are a couple of examples, though, that expand on this shallow behavior a bit-- in one four-day period at Pillar Point when it was extremely foggy, the kings stacked up close to the surface in the middle of the bay, and the "25 pulls" presentation was dynamite. The folks who were fishing on the deck caught zip. When the fog disappeared, the kings dropped down.

The other example occurred four years ago in Port Townsend Bay when a school of springers came in and fed heavily close to the surface for about a week. Forty pulls of line and a plug-cut herring trolled at bucktailing speeds was the ticket. Haven't found them there since.

What all this means in relation to flyfishing for these buggers is something else again. I am going to be trying to do just that this summer-- unfortunately, my best spots are in the closure area. But there are a couple that aren't where I've caught smallish kings heading down Sound fairly shallow. If nothing else, it will be interesting.

04-15-2003 08:14 PM
I cheat a bit

I have to say, I do cheat when it comes to fly fishing for kings/blackmouth. I do fish for them from the beach, but I watch for exact conditions stated. BUT, here's how I cheat.

Most good sized blackmouth sit deep. And this is from a boat mind you. I use a mixture of conventional with fly. I have my fly rod set up with a sinking line (and big reel with LOTS of backing). I then set up my leader to lay in my downrigger. No flasher, just the fly to line. I then drop it down to depth (depends where I'm at, but sometimes up to 160'). Then, slightly troll. I watch for my flyrod to go off, or stay on a dead drift and do a quick yank to release the line from downrigger. Then do a quick strip, stop, and let line fall. Has put me into some nice kings. May be unconventional. But has worked for me. When I get my new boat, will have to take some of you out to see what I mean. Works great, I call it "Fly mooching".
04-15-2003 08:12 PM
D3Smartie I have to agree with marketic to a degree. I would have to say that the low tide would be much better than a high for blackmouth at almost any beach. You just dont get the kind of water depth with high hide that you do at the low.
I dont know how much you have fished Pt. Monroe but when I was 10 i used to row out there in my boat and hammer the blackmouth. The drop off is very good there but I have caught more fish off the eel grass beds than off of the point itself.

I have my other spots too but since not many people fish the sand-spit, as we call it, i dont mind talking about it. But i cannot stand P-n-P where it has become a zoo. There are plenty of places between thsoe two spots that I have caught fall kings upto 15 pounds, and lost some that I have never seen. They are an exciting fish but a beach angler has a tough time with them and they dont get the same publicity as the cohos.
04-15-2003 06:34 PM

I think the formula for hooking blackmouth (and kings) in the salt from a Puget Sound beach with any kind of consistency probably comes down to two things: putting your time in on the right tides and picking your spots.

I do alot of salt fishing and I'm always looking for steep drop-offs that are right off the beach. Choice No. 1: Point No Point Lighthouse (a fifty foot cast will put you in 90 feet of water). Choice No. 2: Beach just south of Southworth Ferry Dock (entrance to Colvoss Pass,west side) Choice No.3: Alki Point. Choice No. 4: Point Monroe (opposite Jeff Head)

I'm a big believer in keeping your gear wet during either the high slack or the low slack, an hour before and an hour after the change. The time of the day I think is not critical, although low light is indeed when feeder kings sometimes come shallow or come to the top. But I think what the tide is doing trumps the time of the day. Just my opinion, folks. Every time I think I have blackmouth and kings wired for sound, they turn the tables and humiliate me.
04-15-2003 11:37 AM
juro Interesting observations... I would love to have a peek at your journal

I think you're dead on with light conditions. At Sekiu while most of us were kicking back for a while in the evening the local boys would go down to the gaps in the kelp near the Caves and cast buzz bombs into a high tide. They would consistently hook and sometimes even land summer kings up to 25 pounds.

It's a known fact that kings come into the kelp at dawn and dusk in the straits in July. I often wondered if finding an inshore hunting route at dawn or dusk with a grainy sinking head line and a good looking herring fly or squid fly or candlefish pattern wouldn't put a tyee on the line with some patience and luck.

AJ McClane documents radio tagging study results that document a distinct movement of chinook to the shoreline at dusk with withdrawl to very deep water in morning. I would guess that one of the most influential factors would be targeting "o'dark thirty".

I wonder what would happen if someone who works in Seattle hit twilight in the tide changes at Alki from mid-July thru August every dawn before work... hmmm... wish it were me!
04-15-2003 11:19 AM
Leland Miyawaki
Blackmouth "Secrets"

Whenever I've targeted blackmouth off the beach, I've failed.

When I've targeted coho off the beach, I sometimes catch blackmouth. I've caught them on both drylines with poppers and slimelines with clousers. The only constant has been first light or fog and, of course, an area where they are know to be hanging about.

Looking at my journals, it appears that July is a very good month.


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