carkeek this morning 3/7 and popper '?'.

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jason Rolfe, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Posts: 1,178
    the beach
    Ratings: +373 / 0
    Went out this morning and it was windy and choppy as hell. Spent quite a while with various minnow imitations, clousers and etc., but to no avail.

    So finally I went to my Miyawaki popper. I really like using that fly (probably because it's what I caught my first cutthroat on). As I was bringing it in at one point, I was wondering to myself if it was even a good fly to be using, since the surface was so choppy and ripply. I was actually thinking I should post something. But just then, I got my answer. Fish on, on the first or second strike. Only had it on for a minute until it spit the fly (I don't think I set it very well). But it was nice to get something for the effort.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if most folks give up on the surface flies when it gets too choppy and/or windy? Half the time, no matter how fast I stripped it, I couldn't get much of a V wake. Any thoughts? I'm hoping Leland might see this and share some wisdom.

    Cheers all,
    Jason
  2. Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

    Posts: 1,433
    Port Orchard, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Jason...

    As you said, let's hope Leland will weigh in on this, but in the meantime, let me say that I have used his poppers fairly often, though less often recently, and my own experience is that some chop on the water is actually helpful. It's my opinion that the "busy water" allows the fish to feel a little more secure in coming close to the surface. Keep in mind that I only have a fraction of the experience of some of these other guys but I see this enough that I always hope for some chop when I get to a beach, and conversely, sometimes see things get quiet real fast if the wind dies and the water turns glassy.

    Just my own opinion, and like you, I'm interested in what others have learned. Good question - I've wondered, too.
  3. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    I have found that small waves do help to a certain point. Mike has a very good observation that I fully agree with. The busy water, I beleive allows the fish to feel secure and come up and take a top water fly. I think that the waves only to a point help and then after that are not helping you any more.I like little waves up to 6 inches. Also, I try to avoid whitecaps not beacuse of the fishing, but it starts to get interesting casting and there are usually two us in my boat. I am fortunate to live on the water and I can chose the days to head out and when to stay in by simply looking. Although a 20 mph wind rarely stops me because of all the spots I fish. I can go to the ones that are protected or are not getting the full force of the wind. I have also caught a fair share of fish on dead calm days and could see the fish in the water and cast to them. They sometimes are reluctant. It's like fishing super clear water which it is but now there is no surface break to cover you at all. It is pretty awesome seeing them attack.
    Hope this helps
    Chris
  4. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,719
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +241 / 0
    I really like the observation/hypothesis that a bit of chop makes the surface less intimidating for a trout to strike at the surface. How is your experience with fishing a dropper (maybe a nice amphipod or small shrimp fly) under a popper when the weather is calm? I would think that the commotion of the popper would bring fish in and then it would take the dropper as a consolation prize.

    Steve
  5. Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Posts: 1,178
    the beach
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    That's something I've been wondering about. I've heard about using a euphausiid dropper under the popper (sorry about the rhyme). But I'm not sure exactly how to fish that. Is it basically a "dead drift." Or something a little more involved? Either way, it's something I plan on figuring out.
    Having a little chop does definitely make a lot of sense, though. As proved by this morning.
    Anyhow, thanks for the thoughts guys.
    Jason
  6. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    Very interesting Idea and I might take a look on friday. The only thing that I see is that I fish a Slider pretty quick. Strips and constant movement, where as I fish a euphausid dead drift. So Maybe one fly isnt being fished as effectively as it could be. Im going to go mess around with the idea. Maybe put a small clouser off the back.
    Chris
  7. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,228
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +879 / 1
    Jason,

    Sorry it's taken so long to respond. It was a busy day at the shop.

    I have found that the most difficult water to fish is dead calm slack tide. That being said, a little riffle on the water goes a long way. The "nervous water" created by a floating fly is accentuated by the riffles on the water. I slow down my retreive when fishing "bumpy" water and many times, will simply let the belly of the line pull the fly through the water. The wake looks enticing as all hell.

    I have caught some of my largest fish in raging windstorms. Sometimes a slow retreive will work, but mostly an aggressive short strip, throwing spray up into the wind, draws viscious strikes and well-connected fish.

    For example, for more years than I can remember, I have fished callibaetis dries on lakes. I have found that when I put my back to the wind and hold my fly in place with a tight line, the "agua nervosa" makes the fly look alive. And when the wind really comes, the biggest dry you have in your box will bring salacious strikes as you kick against the wind.

    The winds can make surface flies seem even more alive.

    Hope this helps,
    Leland.
  8. Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

    Posts: 221
    SeaTac, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    I thought I would offer an observation I was able to make while fishing for adult coho off Prince Rupert this past August. I was always under the impression that coho weren't particularly surface oriented when the water was flat calm and a bright mid-day sun was shining brightly. All of us on this trip were simply astounded by the aggressive behavior of the coho which violently attacked our gurglers all day long. It was literally non-stop action for six days of blue bird weather, regardless whether the water was glass or with a slight ripple. I will probably never again experience a time of perfect (for humans) weather and incredible surface action for big coho. I don't know how this might apply to fishing for searuns and resident coho in Puget Sound, but thought I would add this experience to the mix of conversation on the subject. This is the first year I've tried beach fishing for searuns/residents and I have managed to have one nice searun slam a smaller version of the gurgler we were using up north at mid-day with a calm surface.
  9. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,719
    Olympia, WA
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    Hi Hatman,

    That's encouraging that you had some success with gurglers. I had been wondering if they would be a nice complement to Leland's popper. I have been thinking of tying some gurglers with a white body and strip of blue foam to "match" the juvenile chums that are soon to descend into the rivers. Has anyone had success with Joe Blado's crease fly?

    Steve
  10. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,228
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +879 / 1
    Last Labor Day, while fishing the Queen Charlottes, I caught big "hook noses" six miles out and over 450' of water. It was dead calm except for the fish slashing the surface for herring. At these times it doesn't matter whether it's dead calm or riffly.

    Leland.
  11. Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

    Posts: 221
    SeaTac, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    Hi Cabezon,
    All I can say is after last summer's extravaganza, and a few previous years of ramping up to that level of success up there, I've come to be very confident in a gurgler. For what my personal opinion and experience is worth, I don't feel the color of the foam is important as long as the belly of the fly is similar to the belly of the baitfish.
  12. troutingham Member

    Posts: 260
    Seattle,Wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Nothing like coho on the popper! BAM!...nothing like big sea runs on the popper...BAM BAM!...ok I said BAM! and i'll say it again......... BAM!
    one more time everyone...BAM!
  13. Steve Rohrbach Puget Sound Fly Fisher

    Posts: 608
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    I have fished Leland's Popper and had great fun landing a 14 pound coho on an Alaskan river with the popper. Someone asked about using a dropper. Jim Koolick frequently fishes Leland's Popper with a fly he designed called "Nothing with an Attitude." The fly is included in Les Johnson's latest book on Coastal Cutthroat Trout. The fly is a small egg pattern with a little bit of flash. Jim often gets takes on the dropper.
  14. Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Posts: 1,178
    the beach
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    That's the dropper I've heard about Steve. I think I'm going to have to try that out a little bit this weekend.
    I think Troutingham said it best there. I've only caught a couple searuns on the popper, but damn if it isn't a nice quick adrenaline rush.
    Jason
  15. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,719
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +241 / 0
    Hi Steve and Jason,

    After your recommendation, I pulled my copy of Les Johnson's book to check out "Nothing - With an Attitude". While I can see some resemblance to an egg fly, it actually looks to me more like a larval/juvenile baitfish. If dead-drifted, it may have a more egg-fly vibe, but if stripped, it's a fleeing baitfish with the popper ringing the dinner bell. No matter how translucent a fish may try to make itself, it is hard to mask the red of hemoglobin in the gills. Plus, the big black head is probably a good mimic of the black eye of a baitfish. Regardless, I'll have to add a few of these easy-to-tie flies to my searun cutthroat box.

    Thanks for the idea!!

    Steve
  16. Dylan D Member

    Posts: 323
    West Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Sadly, my experience allows me nothing to add. But I had to say, this is a great thread -- thanks all for your insights.
  17. ibn Moderator

    Posts: 1,885
    Federal Way
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    This thread reminds me of some animated gif's coonrad made from some hot Neah Bay popper+coho action we had a couple summers ago. I've posted these before, but it's been a while.

    Attached Files:

  18. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,719
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +241 / 0
    Those Gifs are very cool!! I've had stripers play the same game in rivers, but i haven't had the opportunity to try the same with salmon off the coast. I've got the flies, I just need the ride...

    Steve
  19. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    Ibn,
    Those little movies are awesome. Man those silver hammer those flies!
  20. Sterling silver Member

    Posts: 188
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    IBN, Hey, thanks for reposting the flicks. Gets me pumped for this summer, even though I'm looking at snow today.

    sterling