Bringing in the Chum season...

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by kylesw, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. ...with a SNAP!

    In July I picked up a cheap fly rod from a small shop near my parent's place. We're talking about $70 for a 7 wt 9 ft rod, reel, fly line, backing, and tube. Yeah, as you can imagine it was crafted with some pretty insane quality ;)

    Anyways, today was my second afternoon at a well-known Dyes Inlet chum fishery. I've been a bit nervous about testing the rod out on some hogs, so far it's only seen some action from a few decent SRCs. After a couple hours of toying around, I finally connected with a fish on a natural-bunny ESL. I set the hook hard, and the fish responded with a solid tug. I worked to get all my line onto the reel and at that point to battle didn't worry me too much. At that moment I must have ticked the fish off because just as I had my drag set where I wanted it, that thing took off like a FREIGHT TRAIN. After what seemed like an eternity, I found myself well into the backing (even with my cheapo reel performing surprisingly well!). After a solid 10 minutes of playing catch-up, I nearly had the fish landed. With one last burst of energy it started to take off on another run, and I (with my stupidity) clamped down on the reel. SNAP! Well, there goes my cheapo rod. Fortunately I was able to haul the fish in by the leader, and was rewarded with a toothy, hook-nosed buck of about 28"!

    All in all it was a pretty good afternoon. I landed my biggest fish on a fly rod, and have an excuse to buy new gear! I also acquired more research to support my thesis that relates cost and quality: "You get what you pay for"

    Oh, and sorry for the lack of pictures, it was getting dark!

    PS - Anyone have any idea about typical chum weight/length correlations? I was guessing my fish was in the 10 lb ballpark, does that sound accurate for a 28-30" fish?
    Jeff Dodd and troutpounder like this.
  2. That's what I like to hear!! Thanks for the report. Looks like I better bring my extra spool and new floating outbound in to work tomorrow and get it spooled up. Ill be making it after work during the week real soon. I need to speed up my tying!
  3. Nice work Kyle! Yesterday must have been good. Now I'm wishing I would have gone out after work. I cast over those fish for 4 hours last Sunday and nada other than a couple tugs. Guess I need to ad some egg sucking leaches to the mix. What size/length?

    I would think a 28-30" fish would easily be 10lbs but it's hard to say without girth. There are lots of salmon weight calculators online. I caught a 27" lg 15" girth coho which puts it ~8lbs. After actually weighing later fish and comparing pictures I think it was more like 9 lbs but that's just a guess. IIRC, the length is measured from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail (middle).
  4. So far I have spent a couple hours there monday and tuesday night. The activity really seems to increase with the outgoing tide right around dusk. I didn't have a single take until I moved out onto the flats of the estuary. Casting to schools fish swimming by, keeping my ESL in about 1 foot of water seemed to be the ticket. Earlier I was throwing a chartreuse chum candy with no success, but I am definitely still refining my technique.

    The ESL I was using had orange chenille for the egg and a natural bunny strip for the body/tail with a few strips of krystal flash. Hook size was roughly a size 8 which I think was a bit small, I missed several takes before I hooked into the fish I landed.
  5. Maybe add a stinger to those guys. I've read that often a bunny leach or other dark streamer will bring a strike from the biggest fish in the pack if other stuff isn't working. Good to hear that it can be true! I'll tie up some in different colors of bodies and heads and use some painted bead heads too so that I have a good selection to play with if the normal stuff isn't working.
  6. Sorry about your rod! I had landed more than a 100 chum on a $35 ebay special when finally it snapped during a cast. I think I must have really dinged in with a dumbell headed fly the previous day. On the other hand I've seen several ( 4-5) very expensive rods turned into matchsticks while fighting chum on the beach. A single hand above the grip and bang! I really thinl it's more with how you play the fish than how expensive the rod is, unless of course you just happened to get one with a defective spot in the graphite. My cheapo rod cast every bit as good as the expensive one ( a gift from my wife) I have now and I miss the stupid cheap thing :)
  7. ==================================================================================
    Here are two flies that I'd like to share with you that work very well for me in the Dyes Inlet estuary as well as several HC beaches/estuaries both west and east shores and NS. The upper fly is a more traditional ESL on 3xl or 4xl down-eye hook with lead dumbbell eyes.

    The lower fly I use a size 6 hook: nickel, SS, or reg darker steel (as shown here), regular or heavier weight. My favorite variation is maintaining the "ES"-part with a colored bead (or cone head , glass, plastic, or lead-eye, etc.), cerise, orange, or light red to pink. The heavier gauge hook and selection of bead helps control the overall weight and allows me to pick the fly depending upon conditions such as water depth, current, etc... I like the krystal chenille but sometimes use a cerise hackle.

    I also do well with a Cali Neal, Pink/Cerise Edge Bright body with a palmered black or grizzly hackle. With or w/o bead head.

    Here is a very useful tool that I hope helps you discover placers to fish as it has for me.


    Stonefish likes this.
  8. Sounds like you might be using too heavy of tippet material. Flies and leader are cheaper then buying fly rods! But sounds like a good excuse to buy something better....for chums I'd go with at least an 8 weight.
  9. That lower fly is great looking. I might tie some of those up for that reason alone.

  10. Holy Crap! That map tool is amazing. You just blew my mind with that. I'm pretty sure that if I don't go fishing on Saturday, I'll probably end up spending several hours playing around with that.


  11. tax dollars at work.

    The lower fly has many color variations, from darker marabou type steelhead flies, to the "ala peanut butter sandwich" favorite coho clouser colors; chartreuse over white, olive over white, to a Bob Trigg's Chum Baby (but why tie a substitute when his is perfect!). I've also tied it all chartreuse or all pink. But never larger than size 6. I'm thinking of using it as the trailer for an Intruder tube fly pattern but with a glass or plastic bead.
    The fly works well in BC estuaries, esp Vancouver island.
  12. Nice flies Red. What are the wing materials?
  13. For years, we have recommended the #6 Chum Turd (modeled after Brian O'Keefe's famous bonefish fly, the Turd) and the #6 Chartreuse Comet. Both stripped slowly on an intermediate line.

    Chum Flies.jpg
    Tacoma Red likes this.
  14. Leland, thanks for the patterns. I have been using similar comets. I tie the green ones with green flashabou though. I'll have to tie up some Chum Turds I guess!
  15. Thanks for sharing the patterns all. After having some more success recently, here are my chum fishing lessons learned so far in the season:

    1) Once the line starts to tighten up, set the hook HARD! The jaws, especially on the males, seem to be pretty bony by now, so it takes a little something more than just tightening up like I do when trout fishing.
    2) Check your leader after landing your first fish, them teeth are sharp! I lost a couple flies to what I suspect was a weakened leader.
    3) Although they can seem stubborn, these fish will readily move to your fly in the right mood. It is awesome to watch 6 fish break away from a school towards your fly and anticipate that take.
    4) Dayum these fish can put you into your backing real quick! :D

    Went 3.5/6 the other night!

    And had some good success with the "Chum Candy" from Richard Stoll's "Fly-Fishing Inshore Saltwaters for Pacific Salmon". Just tied up a few more variations, messing around with some glow in the dark flashabou, different proportions, etc:
    Tacoma Red and miyawaki like this.
  16. I've had some success with that fly too. Try pink tail, purple chenille, and chartreuse hackle. That's my favorite so far in that pattern.

    I also like the flashabou comets in Pacific Salmon 2 in the usual colors. The croft spider brought the biggest so far.

    I just tied up some turds tonight so we'll see how they do.
  17. Spent the past hour tying up something similar. Flashabou body, ice dub, hackle. Was pretty money this evening.
  18. Nice work on the chumlies.
    Just have to ask, how does one go 3.5 for 6?
  19. Haha well... I had my whole fly line reeled in and had just beached the fish at my feet when I broke off my fly and the fish promptly flopped back in the water. So I call it a "half-caught" fish, somewhere between an LDR and a full catch :D
  20. Stonefish recommended this pattern color combo to me after Leland posted the chum turd. I tied some up last night so they aren't field tested yet, however Stonefish says it's his best color combo for chum so it must be good! :) Chum turd with purple tail, cerise body, and chartreuse head. Thanks Leland and SF!

    Nick Clayton and porterHause like this.

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