Length of chum fry pattern is important

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Roger Stephens, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Last week I tied up top water and subsurface tube chum fry patterns(1 7/8 inch length) using angel hair for material. Yesterday the weather and tide were good and it was time to try out the new patterns at a location where there was chum fry and sea-run cutthroat activity a week ago. I got there a couple of hours before the low slack tide and was rewarded with the sight of many sea-run cutthroat annihilating chum fry along two shorelines. Sea-run cutthroat were seen, slashing, jumping, and swirling everywhere as they busted through schools of chum fry in a feeding frenzy. Often chum fry could be seen spraying out of the water as they tried to escape the hungry sea-run cutthroat. This activity occurred every couple of minutes as small schools of chum fry were being pushed down current. At one shoreline the sea-run cutthroat appeared to be moving with the chum fry as they were being sweep over a shallow shelf. At the other shoreline the sea-run cutthroat seemed to sitting along a curent seam waiting for the schools of chum fry to be swept by.

    I thought here we go for a "slam dunk" day of non-stop sea-run cutthroat fishing. I cast the new top water and subsurface chum fry patterns for 15 to 20 minutes right into the areas where the bedlam feeding activity of the sea-run cuthroat was occuring. I didn't even get a single strike. As I waded back to my boat, I noticed small schools of chum fry in 1 to 2 feet of water. The chum fry appeared to be about 1 1/4 inches long. I thought "ah hah" my chum fry patterns were too long. I shortened the patterns to 1 1/4 inches and cast the pattern out to the area where all the activity was occurring. On the first cast I hooked a nice 16 inch sea-run cutthroat and was hooking up a fish on almost every cast for quite awhile until the tidal current slowed down. It was an epic period!

    On the top water chum fry pattern I was getting about a 50% hookup ratio if a sea-run cutthroat took a swipe at it. The top water chum fry pattern worked better than my expectations. About a 18 inch sea-run cutthroat came all the way out of the water as the fish slammed the pattern. However, after a few minute "battle" it came unbuttoned but that was okay since the "take" on a top water pattern is what it is all about.

    IMHO when sea-run cutthroat are totally keyed into chum fry, it is a "match the hatch" situation. The correct length of your chum fry pattern can be a very important factor to have success with a chum fry pattern. Yesterday proved to me how critical it is to have the right length for a chum fry pattern under the above conditions.

    Below is a picture of the 1 1/4 inch long top water and subsurface tube chum fry patterns that worked so well yesterday.


    Attached Files:

  2. Thanks Roger. Now all I have to do is find some cutthroat and chum fry up my way!
  3. Good report Roger! Glad you're finding some hungry Cutts down south. It seems each year you get into them thick in your area and I start finding them further north about a week or two after. Thanks for keeping the timeline!
  4. Excellent detailed report Roger, thanks....Good info, and like steve said things should pick up a little further north real soon. I haven't ran into any fry yet, but have found a few cutts that were fresh out of the streams.
  5. The chum fry I observed yesterday were 1" - 1 1/4". A lot smaller than anything I had with me.
  6. Hit Quilcene Bay in my friends little boat this morning. We fished for about 6+ hours, moving to a number of beaches. I landed 3 fish in the 12-14" range, 3 LDR's, and several missed hits. That was it. We saw no chum fry up there, but as we were leaving we spotted a couple schools of what we thought were sandlance. We saw only a few fish surface. "And that's all I got to say bout that". -Forest Gump
  7. I tend to agree that it is critical to either "match the hatch" or... "scratch the hatch." I had a situation last year similar to what Roger described where the cutthroat were actively blasting on chum fry all around me. I was throwing Trigg's chum baby in a size that matched what I was seeing and nada...Frustrated, I threw on a fluorescent orange sculpin pattern and first cast..bingo. Many hookups and fished landed ensued. A total anomaly? Probably, but I do have a suspicion that sometimes it might pay off to put something in front of them that still looks alive and edible but distinguishes itself from the thousands of the "real thing" they see in front of them. Who the hell knows?
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  8. Oh cripes!

    Now I have to tie/toss chum, sandlance and sculpin patterns???? :eek:

    I think I'll just take the spin outfit and throw a spoon! :p

    J/K! This is what makes fly fishin' so much fun! It's never easy and simple!!!!! :rolleyes:
  9. [quote="Steve Knapp, post: 820912, member: 17161" It seems each year you get into them thick in your area and I start finding them further north about a week or two after. Thanks for keeping the timeline![/quote]

    You are right on the "money" with your timeline for further north IMHO. I went back to the same area this afternoon. There was very little chum fry/sea-run cutthroat activity which has been going on for almost two weeks . It appears that it is over. However, I did manage to land 4 -5 fish on a 1 1/4 inch chum fry pattern. About 8 to 9 miles away I saw some schools of chum fry that were probably from the area which I have been fishing lately but there were no sea-run cutthroat chasing them. The chum fry seem to always make a beeline for the Pacific Ocean.

    I will send you a PM the end of the week to try and take you out for sea-run cutthroat fishing trip the middle of April.

  10. I experienced the same thing the other day, quite frustrating! i ended up having a similar size wounded baitfish pattern and they went for it but no doubt if i had a correct size chum fry pattern my day wouldve been more sucessful
  11. After church yesterday, the wife and I packed up a picnic lunch and headed for Ft. Flagler SP for some sun and beach walkin' (and me checking out the area for fishing possibilities!).

    Didn't see any bait fish or other marine activity at Ft. Flagler or Marrowstone Pt. outside of the fact that there were lots of "fur-bags" just off-shore.

    On the way back we stopped at Mystery Bay park and walked out to the moorage floats. Under the walkway were several large schools of sand lance.

    All this spring-time emergence and new life is exciting and promising!!! :D

    Well, except for the yard. I'm already tired of mowing and stupid me put down fertilizer last week!!!! :confused:
  12. Roger is right -- it is key to have a fly that "matches the hatch" in length and profile. In my opinion, this is more important than color. I try to tie my chum fry patterns -- mostly Doug Rose's Keta Rose and Bob Triggs' Chum Baby, but I also like fishing Leland's popper -- in sizes ranging from 1.25 inches long to a little over 3 inches long. Of course, I tend to use the longer fly later in the spring, as the baby chum grow really fast.

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