Your go to winter baitfish patterns???

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Alexander, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
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    Alright, been curious about this. Besides the scud/shrimp/squid patterns do you have a go to winter baitfish or general streamer pattern for the beaches? Maybe post a pic with info on hook size and how and where (not gps location but where in the water -ie in a rip, slower water, down deep or middle or top etc) you fish it.
  2. ptphisher Member

    Posts: 70
    Bremerton, Washington
    Ratings: +8 / 0
    I too would be interested, as I have been trying my usual producers at my usual spots and am getting nothing. I have tried clouser, spiders, reverse spiders, squid, white and green buggers all have not even gotten a look. However i am not seeing an fis ation at the usual spots either. should i be fishing near the mouths of streams/ estuary? right now.
  3. Tom Bowden Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Black Diamond, WA
    Ratings: +74 / 3
    I do 90%+ of my sea-run fishing with 2 patterns: a sparsely dressed Rolled Muddler with body of silver diamond braid, and a gold bead-head Woolley Bugger tied with gold sparkle chenille, brown hackle, and tan marabou with a few strands of florescent orange crystal flash as the tail. I tie these in #8 and #10 2XL hooks, unweighted. I use a clear intermediate line most of the time, and fish from beaches in relatively shallow water, off points, around rocks, and near creek mouths.

    The Rolled Muddler is a general baitfish pattern which could represent a small sculpin/bullhead, a salmon fry, stickleback, or maybe even a sand lance or herring. An alternative dressing is a gold body and wing. The gold bugger might be taken for a sculpin or a shrimp. The Gold Bugger seems especially effective in the winter, and works great on resident coho.

    These are old-school impressionistic patterns with natural colors and lots of movement. I've caught a lot of fish on them over the years, and have confidence in them. Sea-runs are rarely selective feeders. They move around a lot, and can suddenly show up for a variety of reasons. I think the best approach is to use flies that you have confidence in, and stick with it.


    I'm a lousy photographer, but here are pictures of the flies. The rolled muddler is tied with red thread.

    Searun Flies.jpg
  4. cutthroat kid cut throat kid

    Posts: 71
    Ratings: +38 / 0
    I would echo toms comment. When I started out 3 years ago.

    I tried all sorts flies. I am down to about 3 o 4 flies 90 % of the time.

    1 chumpy fry( which is basically a muddler minnow pattern) works well especially on dark over cast days, October to March.
    Wool headed Sculpins in size 6 and 8 in brown or olive do the same same job
    I have always have at least 3 rolled muddler minnows in my fly box all the time as well.

    2 Chum babies in march to april. If you don't have chum babies( which are hard to get by end of February because shops sell out. You can use an epoxy shiner as substitute.
    3 Polychaete worms year round. (Read Doug Rose book on Olympic peninsula), in the later chapters there is a lot discussion about what cutthroat eat. Sand lance patterns. June to September.

    4 I always have clouser minnows in pink maribu, for sunny days and dark olive maribu for dark days.
    Duane J likes this.
  5. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
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    I've pretty much strictly been fishing this pattern right here, on size 6 hooks, sometimes 4's. My success has been on/off at the same beach in the same locations at varying tide levels but mainly always on the outgoing. Most of my catching has been done by wading out and casting back towards the beach (it just works better for my back cast that way.) But what i find interesting is that most of the SRC I catch are in 3ft of water or less. Yet these SRC are on the smaller side. When I cast out into the deeper water I do tend to get into bigger fish but just not as often.

    It has me wondering if I should fish that water with a heavier tip. I fish an intermediate most of the time but I think when the current is swift and it is really swift at times I should go to an even heavier/faster sink tip. Which has me wondering would the fish generally speaking, hang out closer to the bottom in the rip or move into the neighboring slower water in the mid to upper water column. I figure any prey would be more helpless in the strong current and prone to ambush as opposed to in slower water.

    Well, just thinking through it all as I sit here stuck in the house for the day. :) Here's this winter go to pattern, not so much because it's a producer though it has produced but because it and it's hook are on trial. ;) So far I believe it to be an effective pattern I don't think an SRC would deny that pattern if it saw it, so I'll blame any fish-less days on the SRC just not being there or me not putting it in front of them. ;)

    Eyejuggler likes this.
  6. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
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    To date my biggest SRC has been caught on a Woolley Bugger and my first Salmon on a fly was on a Woolley Bugger as well. How can you not love those flies? :D Actually now that I think about it most of my big Trout have been caught on Buggers in the salt and in rivers, heck even Steelhead can't refuse a Bugger. :)
  7. Eyejuggler Beech Nut

    Posts: 634
    Ratings: +350 / 0

    Very nice looking pattern!
  8. rory Go Outside

    Posts: 404
    Maple Leaf, WA
    Ratings: +191 / 0
    Poppers. For life.
    golfman44 likes this.
  9. Don Freeman Free Man

    Posts: 1,272
    Olympia, WA
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    Okay, call me a rebel but here goes.

    Clouser or Shock & Awe in olive or chartreuse or pink over white.

    Gamakatsu SC 15 #4
    Alexander likes this.
  10. 5weight New Member

    Posts: 13
    Manchester WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    On Sunday afternoon I landed 11 of 12 hooked on an oyster beach. None of them took a baitfish pattern. None were under 10 inches. Some were beauties.Why no interest in scud/squid/shrimp patterns I wonder. I'm guessing that like fish in streams, the small stuff is the norm and the big stuff are the rare treats or victims of aggression. Consider what a whale(not Orca) eats to maintain his mass.
  11. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
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    For me it's not so much that as it is the way I fish. I just have not been able to seem to get the hang of fishing things not streamer like. Casting out and stripping the fly back is a way that is comfortable for me. I don't think I know how to fish scuds and shrimp patterns, I reckon the retrieve for baitfish isn't like scud/shrimp pattern would move. So if you care to take me out and teach me, I promise I'll be a good student. I really do think I could learn something in that department. Send. E a message and I'll be happy to meet up and learn.

    Every time I tie on a scud or shrimp, I end up switching to a baitfish pattern.
  12. 5weight New Member

    Posts: 13
    Manchester WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Think of it like fishing wet flies; a little drift with the current and varying jerky retrieves. The little buggers don't swim like baitfish. When I see cuts finning near the surface I believe they are feeding like stream fish do on emergers and such so that's the way I fish a good part of the time. Don't get me wrong, I fish plenty of baitfish patterns especially in the warmer months but feel some of the other stuff is well worth trying from time to time. I should mention that when I hit the beach, I'm always looking for at least a little water movement.
  13. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
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    I always fish the beaches with the outgoing tides, just because the ones that fish well on those tides are near me. but I have to admit, even on days when I have caught many cuts I have never seen them "fin". I've seen them jump but not fin at least not in the winter. I've seen them sip fly ants off the water surface etc, but not just fin and eat sub surface. Maybe I have not looked hard enough. I drift/swing my baitfish patterns and then strip.
  14. kelvin Active Member

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  15. ptphisher Member

    Posts: 70
    Bremerton, Washington
    Ratings: +8 / 0
    5Weight-are you useing a floating line for the scuds/shrimp patterns in efforts to keep you from hanging up on the bottom?
  16. 5weight New Member

    Posts: 13
    Manchester WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Yes I am. I get a lot of action when the fly first hits the water and drifts somewhat with the current. A while ago a friend suggested more of a dead drift with shrimp type patterns and he was right. So I stopped using my intermediate line so much and do better with the floater. It also keeps me away from the bottom fish most of the time. Baitfish patterns are another matter.