AARRGGG, Enough Salad!!!

I went out yesterday to try some sea run cutthroat fishing in to salt and found my self very frustrated with all of the salad (broken off pieces of kelp) in the water!! I do not have a stripping basket and I realize that that would have helped, but my fly was also getting fouled almost every time I retrieved the fly.

I found myself wading out to about thigh level to get past the majority of the salad, but in doing that, I probably messed up or missed a lot of promising water. How do you guys handle this? Do you just pack it in and wait for a calmer day when there is not so much debris in the water, or is there some other trick or technique that I should know about?

On a positive note, I got to try out my new furled leaders that I have been tinkering with. I was very pleased (with the leader at least) when I noticed a larger than normal plop at the end of my cast, to witness my leader had turned over my heavily fouled chum baby at the end of my leader. The wind was also giving me problems, but the leader was still turning over the fly as long as I did not botch the cast too badly,

Just to make my day complete, for dinner my wife made…….salad!!

Tom G


Simms recently came out with a gel you can coat your line with that repels seaweed chemically. It sends out a negativly charged chlorophil that in turns pushes away any vegetative substance, thus keeping your line and fly clean. It was derived from hungarian poppies, hemp, and soybeans.

But seriously, like you mentioned, a stripping basket helps quite a bit. If the salad is mostly in close, cast beyond it, and let your fly sink, strip it in, then clean it off and cast again, this works better with a sinking line, you don't dredge as much crap in with you. Not a lot you can do about it. If you've got room, walk up and down the beach and look for a cleaner area, if the tide is moving it can help to, wind change can also clean things up for you.

When this happens to me, I'll usually go to another beach/location.
Tom, I feel your angst. Seaweed fouling was the reason I started to use a basket several years ago, and as ibn notes, that helps a lot.

Salad usually becomes a problem for me around Mukilteo area at the peak of a high tide, then it's time for a coffee break and you can wait it out until the current moves it on, or you move on. On Saturday though, it became a problem for me immediately on the switch to incoming from the morning low tide. It seems to usually flush out within an hour or so, but I agree with you, I don't like spending more time picking goobers off the line than fishing.

I think it was Bob Triggs that mentioned throwing a dry fly into open spots in the salad, and letting the fly stay there with occasional twitches; sounded like a workable solution when you know fish are in the area. I figure that if the seaweed is trapped in a seam, maybe a lot of food is mixed in there too for SeaRuns to graze on.

Or you can try the amazing new ibn gel coat. :) I liked that: "negativly charged chlorophil".
Stripping basket is part of the answer. The other part is to either fish a bend back baitfish pattern or add a weed gaurd to your fly to help not pick up so much junk on your fly. Also make sure to have as few knot connections as possible because each one can pick stuff up, like they are tiny hooks.

If the floating weeds are far enough from the beach they often will hold Cutthrout, small Salmon or bait fish that even bigger fish will key on, under them, so do not be afraid to fish around and under them. I may have to try myself the dry fly action in small little openings. Seems like it would work as well.
Sometimes I get too focused on my predetermined game plan. I was thinking that the chum fry are in the sound, so I should be fishing a baitfish pattern, casting and stripping it back.

Like you guys pointed out, I guess I should have tried different tactics, like let it sit and twitch it occasionally, try a krill pattern or dry fly.

Thanks for the pointers, I may learn something yet!!

Tom G

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I switch to dry flies in the salad hatch season. A stripping basket is pretty much mandatory too. Short casts and brief drifts in the little open spaces on the water sometimes bring up some nifty trout. My favorite for this is a Royal Wulff in size 12-14. A lot of fish feed beneath that stuff. Play through man! Play through!


Coast to Coast
A little seaweed can be good! Just because you're fly comes back with weeds on it doesn't mean your whole presentation was weeded up. Fish the pockets and edges, the fish are there. Now if it gets so thick that everywhere you cast there's bits of seaweed splashing into the air when your fly lands then you gotta move or just wait it out. Learn your beaches and you'll get a pretty good idea of when it may be weedy/weedless.
Fishing an outgoing tide will almost always insure a salad-free (or at least greatly reduced salad) outing. I have a number of north sound beaches that I fish pretty much exclusively on the ebb during this time of year for just this reason (and they fish well then too).
Thanks guys,

Bob, I really like the “play through man” comment. Like I said earlier, I need to become more flexible when I am out fishing. I seem to get a certain game plan in my head and then develop tunnel vision. Thanks for reiterating that for me.

I am getting better, as I often think about why I did not try (fill in the blank) after I get home. Now I just have to start that kind of thinking while I am on the water.

Tom G