I think I mentioned in a couple of other posts that I'm trying to learn this whole saltwater thing and that I had a trip planned for Whidbey Island for a little bit. Well, the island adventure has begun. We got to our place in Clinton last Friday. I've been fly fishing seriously for some 10-12 years now so I know what I'm doing in fresh water. I fish almost exclusively for trout and I rarely get skunked any more, even in new water. But this saltwater thing is brand new. I'm going through the fisherman's lifecycle again. But, since I've got a little general experience, I'm hoping to shorten it up some -- like while I'm here. Fisherman's Life Cycle Step 1 -- I just want to catch a fish. I fished the salt with a fly rod for the first time in, I think, March. Went out 4 or 5 times in the S. Sound with no action. In reality, the first few times was learning how to work the gear. Learning how to cast a shooting-head line. Learning about stripping baskets. Learning how to read the water. So the fact that I wasn't catching fish didn't bother me a whole lot. Still, sure would like to catch a fish. Finally, after a half dozen trips or so things came together. I finally managed to get into some little SRCs and even a fat rezzy. I went out a couple more times and actually caught fish. Step 1: check. Step 2 -- I want to catch lots of fish. We got to Whidbey Friday night and I got on the water for the first time Sunday morning. Fished from 8 until about noon on an outgoing tide. Tons of baitfish everywhere. I tried several different places early and found a couple of little rezzies. Then I found myself a little point where the current was trapping the baitfish and the salmon were going nuts. I pulled a Shock & Awe through the rip and was pulling in 10-15" silvers one after another for about an hour. Step 2: check. Step 3 -- I want to catch a big fish. Went out tonight at the same place I was Sunday. Fished from about 5 until about 8 on an incoming tide. Weather was quite a bit more blustery and baitfish were not as apparent. I fished up and down the beach for about a half mile. Saw a few fish jumping but the action was quite a bit slower. About 7:00 I caught my one fish of the evening. Damn. A monster coho. I'd say it went 8-10 pounds. Here's a question. How do you play a fish like that? Do you try to get it on the reel? Out in the salt, I've got about 100' of line off the reel. I rarely cast it all, but still, it's in the basket. Every once in a while, if I load the rod just right and if I get a little tail wind, I can cast the whole basket with my 6 wt. When I hooked my first real sea run coho, I probably cast out 70-80' and had stripped into about 50' when he took the clouser. Once I managed to get him solidly hooked up, I had stripped in another 10-15'. So, I probably had about 60' of slack line inside the guides. The fish didn't run. He fought nicely, but went in and out and around in circles. At no time did he make a run that would have picked up all that slack. I fumbled with the slack and put it on the reel with none of the running line out. I'd say once I got him on the reel I had less than 30' of line out. Incredibly inelegant and amazing that the fish didn't come unbuttoned. In the future, in the same situation I'd probably play the fish off the reel like I do a little 8" cutthroat in the forks. Is that the correct way? Anyway, I got that fish to hand. Don't know if it's anything I did. Maybe it was an accident. Step 3: In progess. More work necessary. Step 4 -- I want to catch lots of big fish. I'll keep you posted. BTW, props to Les Johnson and Bruce Ferguson. What did Patton say to Rommel? "I read your book you magnificent bastard(s). I read your book." Definetly flattening out the learning curve.