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Doublespey 08-28-2001 12:06 AM

Coho with and Attitude
Was out fishing Seiku this last saturday with my good friend and Popper pioneer Leland Miyawaki. The words are his, the pictures mine.

Coho With An Attitude

Fellow listmember, Brian Lencho, and I fished the outgoing tide yesterday at Sekiu from 7 am to 12 noon in a rented boat from Van Riper's ($86). Occasionally, the morning sun would peek out from behind the high clouds, but for the most part, it was overcast and the water was dead calm. We began our search for coho by trolling.

Brian fished a traditional bucktail and I switched back and forth between various streamer concoctions and poppers. We motored back and forth over most of the water in Clallam Bay, concentrating our search along the kelp beds.

We trolled for an hour and a half without a strike. Next to the bell buoy at the rocks near Slip Point, Brian hooked his first fish, a five pound wild coho. We narrowed our search and began circling the area looking for feeding schools. On our third pass off Slip Point, we made a tight turn and Brian hooked up again on his bucktail. The change in speed and direction also brought a huge boil to my popper.

The game was on.

Schools of three to four inch herring were swimming under our boat. Gulls were diving into the water inside the kelp beds and just enough salmon were crashing into the herring to let us know they were around. And we were the only boat there.

For the next three hours, we drifted along the outside edge of the kelp beds just off the beach. We cast poppers into the holes in the kelp and stripped them back to the boat. I don't think we made more than a dozen casts that didn't elicit a strike or follow. We lost count, but figure we each had at least 30 fish up to the boat. We weren't netting them. We simply reached down over the boat and and slipped out the barbless hooks. We took photographs of the first few
salmon but soon became too busy to shoot. We were in a zone, you might say.

There were a few shakers but most were wild coho between
four and five pounds with a few that were over. Toss in a couple good-sized blackmouth, and we had the makings of a good day.

What made the fishing so fun was the popper on the surface. We would make a long cast to the edge of the kelp bed. As soon the popper hit the water, we began stripping with short strips and pauses. Within the first couple strips, we could see a salmon wake behind the fly and that's when the fun began. We provoked strikes by manipulating our poppers. Brian said it was like teasing a cat with a string. We sped up like a frightened baitfish and the salmon would slam the fly
from behind. We stopped dead and the salmon would turn away, then when we twitched the popper, the salmon would turn back and take the fly from the side with a huge boil. We changed directions with quick mends and the salmon crashed the fly. When we stripped our poppers up to the boat, we could see the salmon behind the fly. If we raised the
rod and pulled the fly alongside the boat and stopped, the salmon would take it at our feet. All our moves brought violent strikes.

These coho had a bad attitude and wanted to annihilate our flies!

Around noon, the action slowed, so we headed back to the docks to get something to eat. On the way, we decided that since Brian needed to get home that night, we might as well call it a day and leave after a gourmet lunch of hot roast beef sandwiches with instant mashed potatoes, powdered gravy mix and canned peas at the Breakwater. How
else could we top the morning we just had?

juro 08-28-2001 12:28 AM

Many a morning and evening I've reveled under a sky like that, burning brilliantly over Vancouver Island. I've rented more than my share of kicker boats to enjoy the plentiful salmon fishing in the aqua waters of the Straits at Sekiu and 12 miles further out at Neah Bay. Yet when I read this great report and stellar photos I still get a sense that the fishery is in it's infancy, boundless discoveries lay ahead, and we have only scratched the surface.

The innovation shown by Leland in popper fishing for salmon in the salt is a perfect example.

I am counting the minutes until I am there myself! Great piece, keep them coming!


Howzer 08-29-2001 06:49 PM

Got home last night after 4 full days at Sekiu. Wish we'd have spotted you guys, I'd have begged and pleaded for some of those poppers. The fishing was phenomenal, both bucktailing and casting from a drifting boat. We caught mostly wild fish, up to 8 or 10 lbs, and just a few hatchery fish that were in the 3-7 lb range.
We even bucktailed up some of this year's crop of super-humpies, they were monsters (relatively speaking at least). Word has it that the state record for humpies has been broken twice in the past couple weeks, now somewhere around 10 or 11 lbs. The old record was something like 8.6lbs. Amazing. I cannot wait to get back, though my September is so booked right now that it may have to wait until October...

saltRon 08-29-2001 08:41 PM

Your open water catches sound great especially top water and with the popper.
Come north to the Fraser runs and you will find the Humpies [Calico - Dog - Chum] regulary top the 12Lb to 15Lb range with a lot of 20's thrown in to really give you a workout.
Just like trying to stop a freight train, need lots of backing and a 9WT.

Doublespey 08-29-2001 10:35 PM

Hey saltRon

the Humpies Howzer's referring to are Pink Salmon, not the infamous Dogs.

All the same - BC salmon are certainly big. A friend who regularly fishes the Skeena has taken some Silvers in the upper teens!

BTW - do you ever fish the mouth of Black Creek? I've heard there's some unreal Silver fishing there in October.



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