Puget Sound Salmon
As some of you know, I have been fishing from the beaches of Puget Sound for quite a few years for searun cutthroat and salmon. At this moment, we're all looking for the resident fish to show up along our central and southern beaches.
I jump-started it by going out with a friend and guide, Capt. Keith Robbins, last week and, most recently, yesterday morning.
We didn't catch any sizeable kings, but we caught over 50 salmon between us. Many coho were in the 4-5 pound range. I caught all mine on a #4 popper. I sometimes had two and three fish slashing at it all the way to the boat.
It was an awesome morning!
You're killin' me! I miss those days out on the Straits and Sound fly fishing in the ocean for chromer salmon. After seeing DoubleSpey's demo of your popper, I can't wait til the next chance I get to try 'em.
I look forward to another Hefferweissen and good chow at the Pyramid ale house with you but this time it's gonna have to be when the Mariners are in town! It's torture being across the street from Safeco without a game going on.
Keep us posted as the salmon move into the sound.
This happening at Seiku wouldn't amaze me, but it's sure impressive when you can get into that kind of fishing in central Puget Sound.
I'm attributing it to having a boat and a very knowledgable guy at the helm (and probably a little of Leland's Popper Mojo:smokin: )
Sounds like a lot of Coho headed our way this year - better get tying!
have never tried a popper for Salmon...will be in BC in a few weeks, and would love to give it a try...are you tying a generic popper? If not, would you be willing to share the recipe? My popper of choice these days here in the northeast is normally a gurgler...plan on tying some smaller versions of those....probably, chartreuse, yellow and pink.
The Miyawaki Beach Popper
Here are the tying instructions. If you have any questions, let me know.
THE MIYAWAKI BEACH POPPER
The popper head, which technically, is a slider, is called a Dink Component and is made by Edgewater Fishing Products in Clearfield, Utah. The other materials are grizzly hackle, Holographic Flash, Krystal Flash and polar bear.
The fly is a two-hook setup. The front hook is only there to be held in the vise and hold the materials. I use Mustad 3407 or 34007 hooks. I use as small a hook as possible, preferably #6, in front to keep the weight down. The hook point above the bend will be cut off when we are finished. The trailing hook, or stinger, is a #4 and I use a #4 Dink Component up front
TYING THE POPPER
1. Take a #6 Mustad 3407 (or 34007) and secure it in the vise. Donít sweat pinching down the barb, it wonít matter.
2. Attach your tying thread. Itís OK to use a fat thread like 3/0 or G. The color doesnít matter as itís going to get covered anyway. Donít worry about keeping the wraps thin and pretty Ė it all helps hold the popper on later. And donít come to close to the bend (see step #14).
3. Take a #4 hook and pinch down the barb, bend the eye up and push two ends of a 5" length of 25 pound Maxima through it and pull the hook through the loop. This is the business end or stinger.
4. Leave the hook to trail about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Keep the hook point up. Tie all the way down and back up the shank.
5. Now, hereís the important part: Double the two tag-ends back over on itself and wrap it all the way back to the bend and back up. This will keep the stinger tight to the hook and wonít pull out when the big boys hit.
6. Trim off the excess mono.
7. Tie in two grizzly hackles (back to back). They should be a tad longer than the stinger.
8. Tie in some Holographic Flash. Vary the length. Keep it scraggly.
9. Tie in a few strands of Krystal Flash. Mixed Colors will do. They should be a touch longer than both the hackle and Holographic Flash. I think they imitate bubbles.
10. Tie in a small clump of white polar bear. Keep the materials sparse. Weíre not tying a herring imitation here.
11. Whip finish.
12. Smear head cement all over and around the tied down materials on the shank.
13. Jam a Dink Component over the shank with the pointy end forward.
14. Take the fly out of the vise and trim away the hook point all the way up past the bend. Donít cut into the materials, or youíll be tying this little puppy over again.
FISHING THE POPPER
I fish the popper on a dryline with a 12' leader tapered to 2x. I retrieve it with a two-handed retrieve giving it short little jerks. Vary your speed with slow, medium and fast strips. Try them all. I prefer a two-handed retrieve because I can do all the different speeds while pulling steadily and I am able to use a strong strip set to bury the hook in the hard salmon jaws.
Keep an eye on your fly because this type of fishing is totally visual. Look for following fish. If you arenít watching, youíll miss all the fun of fishing on top.
If you get a follow, first, try not to swallow your heart, then strip faster, or slow down, pop it, or change the direction with your rod tip. If the fish hits but doesnít stick, play dead then give the fly a twitch or two, or retrieve twice as fast with short fast strokes, or change directions Ė anything to provoke the fish into taking the fly. This is what makes surface popper fishing for salmon or searun cutthroat so much fun. They are are predatory and aggressive and will always come to the fly. Your job is to make them want to eat the popper by manipulating your rod and line. Make your fly act like a wounded fish that is trying to escape becoming a main course.
Always retrieve your fly all the way in. Just before you pick it up, stop and make a quick change of direction with your rod tip. Sometimes, fish follow the fly without showing themselves. If a fish boils, drag the fly across the water parallel to the water with the rod tip. That should do the trick.
Thanks Leland --
now the question is will I have time to find the dinks and time to tie some before my trip....
I've seen them at Concord Outfitters and Blue NOrthern Trading Co., Rod Builder's Workshop, and will bet Fly Rod & Reel in Marlboro has them as well (ask Rich S.).
Jared for a visual reference check out Lelands instructions here:
Thanks for posting the location of the photos. One note for those that are tying. I no longer snell the stinger. I tie in a doubled over piece of leader to make a loop for the hook. It's doubled the strength and it lets you change hooks when they break or rust.
Poppers for coho!!
Great stuff, Had some good luck with Poppers about 8 years ago and have been fishing them ever since in circumstances. As to how perfect they have to be I'm a liitle reluctant to sign off on that one. A fellow club member of mine came up to fish with me for a week some years ago, I told him to either tie up some poopers or buy some, he could find none for sale in the usual hauntsd of Beelevue and Sea Tac so. The mother of invention he bought what he figured just might "get by" he showed up in Sitka with three packages of "Aero Flyus from Forks. they worked very well we caught dozens of Coho in the salt water on these "poopers" a reel education this salt water fly fishing is.
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