Help me out!! I need some coho love

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jason Rolfe, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Alright,

    I'm getting frustrated. This is my first year fishing for coho in the sound. I've hit Lincoln park three times in the last week--twice in the AM (6-10 ish) and once in the evening (6-after sunset).

    I'm not getting a darned thing. I realize 3 times out may not be much, and maybe I'm just not getting into the fish. But I thought I'd check in with folks for any advice on gear/presentation, etc.

    Lincoln park seems to drop off pretty steep out at the point. I've tried a couple different things--Floating line, ~9 ft leader, and Chartreuse clouser; Sinktip (15 ft, I think), ~6ft leader, chartreuse clouser.

    I guess my main question is: how long of a leader should I be trying to fish, and should I be trying to get the fly deep (using the sinktip) or do you think I'm fine sticking with the floating tip, or maybe a clear intermediate?

    Mainly, I want some tips so that I can fish with a bit more confidence. If there is a certain set up that seems to work best for people, I'd love to hear about it.

    (On a side note, I saw some cutts jumping at LP last night, tied on a popper, and had a bunch of hits on it--so that was fun.)

    Thanks for the help guys.

  2. I'm not familiar with that beach, but 99% of the time I am fishing for coho I have a clear intermediate line (integrated shooting head), ~6 ft Maxima leader (10-12lb level line), and a clouser of some sort. I tend to use fairly fast retrieves with 6-12" strips, but I also vary my retrieve speed, length, and pauses. The whole thing with beach fishing is that you are targeting actively feeding fish that have come in to a shallow area to chase bait around (usually in low light conditions) so you aren't trying to get you're fly down deep. I do often tend to give my fly a 5-10 count before starting my retrieve. Hope this helps. BTW, this is consistent with all the information I got after countless hours researching and talking with the real beach masters.

    PS: I was in your position last year (not a single salmon the whole season). Keep at it and you'll figure it out. Even this year I fished the same beach ~10 times before getting a hookup. The fish are always moving, so the more you're at the beach, the better chance you have of being there when they are around and feeding. Last weekend I landed 5 nice fish in 3 days of fishing - just to show that persiatence (and a little luck) pay off.
    Tacoma Red likes this.
  3. ^ What he said.
  4. Jason,

    Use a clear intermediate fly line. Fish the moving current, not dead water (check the tides). Fish early before sunrise and/or on cloudy-foggy days. Fish the beach often, but not necessarily for hours on end. Focus on your stripping technique so that you make your fly look alive in the water. Select 3 different saltwater patterns in a couple of colors to keep it simple (Clousers, Shock&Awe, a squid pattern). Check your fly and hook every other cast (it must be razor sharp always). Watch the birds, the seals, and the water for signs of salmon. Be patient. Be mentally prepared for how you will fight the salmon once you hook one.

    Good luck
    Tacoma Red likes this.
  5. Yeah and listen to what DimeBrite and Stonefish say...they're good examples of who I refered to in my first post ;)
  6. I second everything DimeBrite has said. I find the biggest problem most people have when starting to fish for Coho is how far they can cast. Can you catch Coho with a 30 or 40' cast? Absolutely. I will say I have never seen DimeBrite fish but you can bet the biggest advantage he has over others around him, is not the fly or length of leader, but his ability to consistently get beyond 80'. Add that skill to what he mentioned above and you will be surprised at how "lucky" you become.
  7. If you're doing everything else right how important is that 80' cast?
  8. Thanks guys.

    This is all super helpful, and brings up a good point--what the hell should I expect should I be so lucky as to hook one?

    Lots of head shaking? Blistering runs? Hunkering down?

    I have to admit I've never caught any big game on the fly rod (though I have hooked one steelhead that was huge and spit the hook after 10 seconds). I've seen the gear guys hook them and then proceed to muscle them up on the beach, usually with the fish thrashing around 4 or 5 feet from shore. How might it be different on a fly rod?

    Again, I really appreciate the tips. I think I've more or less been doing things right, but it's good to get confirmation of that to help boost my confidence.


  9. All things being completely equal, I'd tend to agree. If everything else is exactly the same, then it stands to reason that casting 20' further than anyone else will equate to your fly being in the water longer than anyone else, which is bound to lead to a few more hooks ups.

    However, of everything that a new saltwater fly fisher has to focus on learning, huge distance is pretty far down that list IMO.

    Give me a properly fished 60' cast over a train wreck of a 90' cast any day of the week.

    Jason Rolfe likes this.
  10. Patrick,
    For me, very important, you are covering that much more water, they are notorious for sometimes following the fly a long way before grabbing. You might get bit 40' out or at the rod tip, but many times they come from the very end of your cast. What if you can cast 60' but the fish are moving through at 75'. I am pretty confident if you were to compare individual catch rates you would see the people who can cast 80'+ in the salt will, through a season, hook up more than those 60' and under. But you know what they say about opinions.
  11. While it depends on what beach you are fishing on some beaches the fish closely follow the shore and often are within 20 feet of the beach. On these beaches actually making short casts will keep you in the zone longer. I used to think when i beach fish and get bites close to shore that the fish were following the fly into the shallows. But when i fish from a boat close to shore the majority of my bites are eithin 30 feet of the shore. Of cpurse as i said this depends on which beach you are fishing as some require a long cast. As others have said use a intermediate sinking head. Go with a fly you have faith in. Unfortunately the most important factor is to be there when the fish are there. That you can only control by trying to pick optimal times to fish the beach you are fishing. Good luck. Keep at it and the fish will follow.
  12. Mebbe bail on Lincoln Park and try a new east/North facing beach on the Kitsap... Look at the creel reports from the boat guys all over Puget sound. Those reports betray a giant ball of fish moving through the Sound. Target where the maximum ball would be next, honing in later this month into tidal systems and then upstream...see coho jump, cast, strip. Hook Coho. Land Coho.

    Then jump and strip and jump some more and run into the water shouting "hallejulah" to give thanks.

    All first time fly guys who catch a salmon off the beach are supposed to do this. To you know, give thanks to the salmon gods. I'll give you ten bucks (but not bail) if you do this at Lincoln Park with pictures and/or supeona to prove it.

    This guy's alternate story is he caught some stocked trout at green lake on the fly and was giving praise to Hatchery gods- check out the action shot at Duck Island:
  13. I'm going to hold you to that ten bucks, Wadin' Boot, just you wait and see.

    As for the fish--I've been seeing em at Lincoln Park. The two mornings I've been there, I've had a couple jump in front of me, and seen 5 or 6 taken by other anglers. So they're there. Maybe not as many as other beaches, though. I'm trying to limit my fishing/gas expenditures at the moment, so Lincoln Park is working out well for me.

  14. When it comes to salmon casting from the beach in saltwater the following are important from my experience:

    (1) What spot I cast my fly into (micro rip currents, salmon travel lanes, near fleeing baitfish, casting the same direction the current flows, leading a jumping salmon.
    (2) Making frequent casts. I recast quickly after I finish a retrieve and use a minimum of casting strokes to conserve energy. Maximize shots on goal and keep the fly in the strike zone and not in the air with excess false casts. Keeping your fly in productive water is a key to getting more strikes. Beginners on the beach are slow to cast and have a much lower % time in the strike zone than those with experience.
    (3) Be able to comfortably cast at least 70 feet without thinking about it very much. Practice at home and visit a certified casting expert to improve your technique (I need to do this often to break my bad habits). Open your stance and watch what your cast is doing behind you to get more distance.
    Tacoma Red and mtskibum16 like this.
  15. Now I want to measure and make some marks on my line to figure out how far I'm casting (consistently).

    If I had to guess, I'd say I make 50 foot casts easily, 60 foot casts occasionally, and 70 footers every once in a while. Mainly depends on casting room and the fly/line I'm using. Something i'll pay a little more attention to, though.
  16. I too am relatively new to Coho/King fishing although I have fished PInks over the years, so I'd consider myself a relative newby too. I've been lucky this year and caught several Shakers or Residents and 2 nice ~7lb hatchery keepers all from the beach. It seems to still be a little early, just a few fish here and there from what I've seen. One thing seems to be consistent though: I catch fish when I see salmon activity on the surface and don't when there isn't (even if its just the occasional random jumper). Went out the last two mornings and there was a ton of bait on the surface but no sign of any salmon.

    I've been fishing primarily the intermediate with a 8 or so foot 12lb leader although I've had luck with a floating line and a 10' sink tip add-on and a little longer leader. Pink clousers with a trailing hook have treated me well this year. And all the talk about cast length...both my keepers came within 20 feet of shore; one early morning and one mid-morning when the sun was already up. I watched a gear guy the other day catch one literally at his feet, hilarious watching him unwrap the mess around his feet! I also vary my stripping like was mentioned above. I see some guys setting their rods on their stripping baskets and stripping as fast as they can with two hands, don't know if that's necessary but I'm still new... One thing I've been told too is to keep stripping if you feel a hit until you are confident you are hooked up, sometimes they'll keep chasing after a miss. And definitely check your hook often, all too easy to damage the hook on back-casts.

    Stick with it, you'll start to figure it out. Its addicting once you hook into a big fish! Maybe I'll see you down at LP one of these days-
  17. When you hook a silver, they all seem to have different personalities. First off, they hit the fly a million different ways. Sometimes it's so soft you barely notice until it is too late. Other times it's a peck peck. My favorite is the hard strike and immediate hook-up or the SLAM. Once hooked most silvers will start head shaking and you can see them flashing in the water. The hot silvers will immediately run straight out making a series of jumps (the best). Most silvers will head shake for a few seconds, then immediately swim directly into shore straight at you (causing a loss of tension). You must reel, strip, and run backwards as fast as possible to maintain tension or you will quickly lose the fish. As soon as I hook-up I move up onto the beach so I can get the fish on the reel faster and am able to react quicker with my feet. When the fish hits shallow water, it will quickly turn around and shoot straight out into open water like a bullet (and maybe jump). Let it run! Don't horse the fish, just let it work against your reel. Some silvers will run in close to the beach then zoom left or right in shallow water taking your line behind the legs of other anglers (you must chase these down while yelling "look out big fish"). The bigger silvers over 7 pounds don't always react to getting hooked immediately. They'll swim deep with the fly in their mouth before they make a move (not coming to the surface like most silvers). Be careful, the big guy is planning something scary that usually involves you having to run (so get ready). While fighting the fish manage your line carefully. Strip into your basket, not onto the ground. Get the fly line on the reel, but don't lose focus on the fish while doing so (many salmon are lost when guys are preoccupied with getting slack line onto the reel). Chinook/blackmouth on the fly rod are quite different. They hit pretty hard and will go on hard runs straight out from the beach and take you into your backing pretty fast. Chinook also have more endurance than silvers, with the fight lasting 5-10 minutes or longer.

    Tacoma Red likes this.
  18. Damn, Dimebrite, you just got me so stoked to catch one of these guys.

    I'm going to the beach right now. What the hell.

    Tight lines fellas.


  19. You've received some great advice. The best way to learn is to spend as much time as you can on the water. Soon you'll begin to see patterns develop as to which beaches fish best during certain tide phases. Make note of those because those same tides will keep rewarding you.
    Most important to me is fishing moving water. If the water isn't moving, your chances at success go way down. Fish rips, choppy water etc. If the rip dies out and forms somewhere else on the beach, move to the new rip. I see tons of people fishing frog water. You'll catch an occasional fish there, but nothing like you will out of moving water.
    Learning to read a tide chart well really helps. Look at the exchange in feet and how long it takes for that exchange to happen. Divide the feet by the time to get the feet per hour exchange. Again, you'll start seeing patterns develop based on the exchange rate. I like to fish early possible, but I'd rather sleep in and fish a good afternoon tide in bright sunlight then a lousy tide with little movement in the morning.
    Keep at it, because you'll have a lot of fun when it all comes together.
    Good luck,
  20. If you said you had been out 30 times, maybe it would seem a little more reasonable to be frustrated. But only 3 times out, you just need to be a little more patient. To me, this kind of fishing is a volume game, kind of like fishing for steel. The more you get out and do it, the more likely you are to get one. Just remember these fish are on the move, and you have to be out a lot to improve the likelihood that you'll be there when they are. I fish that beach quite a bit, maybe I'll see you out there one of these days, just look for the guy shaking his head and mumbling to himself after each crappy cast.


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