Wonderful fishing for resident silvers with floating candlefish pattern

Yesterday I was blessed and lucky to find a nice group of resident silvers(13-16") that stayed put for 2 hours along a current seam. Initially I used a chartreuse/white clouser minnow(as of late it has been much more effective than an olive/white clouser minnow) and was having good success with it.

For the last couple of weeks I have occassionally skated a floating candlefish pattern with with some success. So I decided to take a crack at this group of resident silvers with the floating candlefish pattern. I was fortunate to have switched flies as the top water action was absolutely wonderful and exciting. I landed 23 resident silvers on the floating candlefish pattern which I concocted several years ago for SRC and adult silver fishing. It has worked very well for these fisheries and now resident silvers. I call it "S.S. Candlefish" since it acts like a battleship chugging along on top of the water. Battleships get the attention of an adversary and so does the "S.S. Candlefish" since the resident silvers will "attack" it.

The resident silvers hit the fly in three ways: (1) slashing strike from the side, (2) explosive upward strike with the fish coming partly or all the out of the water, (3) nosing up behind the fly with swirls. I needed to be quick on the trigger on the hook set as most of the time there was quite a bit of line on the water. A couple of fish were hooked when I occassionally dead drifted the fly. Most of the time I used a rapid/steady retrieve to skate the fly on the water surface. However, if a resident silver followed/swirled behind the fly for several feet, I would pause the retrieve for 1-2 second which usually would result in the fish nailing the "S.S. Candlefish." It was almost comical sometimes as a fish would follow the fly for 10 ft. or so and I would be saying to myself "come on smack it" and then "The Pause" would get the fish.

The day was topped off by watching two coyotes savenger along a shoreline while motoring back to the boat ramp.

If you are would like to know more about the "S.S. Candlefish" pattern, there is a picture and short write-up/materials list on page 100 of "Fly Fishing for Coastal Cutthroat Trout" by Les Johnson. Also, there is a picture of the fly on this site under Gallery/Fly patterns/Fly swaps/Beach Silver swap(last fly on page). I will post a detailed step-by-step tying recipe by the first part of next week on the Fly Tying Forum on this site.

As I have said before, I am just a 68 year old "Fud" who is trying to pass on some of my experiences before the Lord calls me Home. Hope that I have helped some of you get more enjoyment out of the saltwater flyfishing opportunities on Puget Sound. If so that gives me great joy!


Scott Willison
Thanks for another great post Roger. You clearly speak from a lot of personal experience. I've been fishing the salt for close to eight years now, but continue to learn and glean new ideas from your posts. In particular, I appreciate how you can communicate a lot of effective and useful information without getting into specific locations.
Hey Old Fud...

If you would like another old fud for company and laughs, give me a PM and maybe we can hook up. Sounds like a lot fun what your are doing and that's what it's all about. :D

Bob, the fud of 67 years. :thumb:
Thanks for the good information. Sounds like a lot of fun and a lot of fish for one day. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of line, leader, tippet do you use w/the SS Candlefish? :thumb:

For the line I use a WF8F line on a 6wt. fly rod to load up the rod for added distance and to deal with the annoying winds on the Sound.

I tie up my own leaders and use Maxima chameleon because of it's stiffness and Maxima clear for the tippet. The lengths for the leader are: 4' 30#, 6" 25#, 6" 20#, 6" 15#, 6" 10#, and 3' 8# for a total of 9'. Sometimes I will drop the 25# and 15# sections to shorten it up. The resident silvers do not appear to be leader shy so I use an 8# tippet plus there is always the chance of hooking into a large black mouth salmon.
Mr. Stephens you slipped so quietly into this forum. Your information has always been superp. However you let the cat out of the bag when you mentioned your feature fly in Les Johnson's new publication.

How about telling all of us how your fly became featured. I am sure it is a good story and we would all enjoy. The flies that are shown are the best of the best so fess up. LOL I like to hear from the best of the best! I always thought you were a bit understated so wave your flag for a minute or two so the rest of us can pick up a few more scraps of information. Golly Gee that sounds a bit, well greedy and self serving. But to fill in part of the story would be of interest.

iagree Indeed. Also, thanks for the leader info....Man, That's a few knots! I tie my own leaders also, but usually only 2 or 3 sections. But then, I'm sure my line would turn over a lot better if I added in a couple sections for a better taper. I've always used Maxima Ultragreen. My wife bought me some Chameleon for my birthday last year & I haven't used it. She just saw the "Maxima" label & thought she had the right thing. Anyway, maybe I'll try putting it to use. Other than its stiffness, are there any other qualities that you prefer it for?

The "story"(not much of one) is that a friend of Les Johnson asked me to send him the S.S. Candlefish fly for possible inconclusion in his book. Never have meet or talked to Les.

The S.S. Candlefish fly was one of over 100 flies in the fly pattern section of Les's new book. If any fly was "featured," it would be the Miyawaki Beach Popper.

There is a quote from a book(I have forgotten the name of it) that says it all. The quote goes "Every angler likes the idea that there is a piece of water not far from his home on which he enjoys the advantage of superior knowledge. It is probably the place where one fishes the most and generally where one fishes best."

I was fortunate to be able to retire 13 years ago which has given me the opportunity to spend 70 to 90 days a year fishing on Puget Sound. It is my "Home Water." There is humbleness in enjoying the openness/beauty of God's creation and knowing that in your lifetime you will never completely understand/experience the ever changing flyfishing opportunities on Puget Sound.
Thank You for sharing that information with all of us. I have Les's new book and I can not put it down. The fly section is going to be worn out before I get a chance to tie some of the flies featured. LOL There are not enough good things to say about THE book. My favorite fly shop is probably drooling over the thought of all the material I am going to be buying.

Your use of the sequin is really interesting. There are a couple of patterns I tie that I think I will have to incorporate that particular feature. Your fly is really interesting too and I can see me using it in a couple of lakes that hold some larger cutts.


Agree with you that the fly pattern section of Les Johnson's book is superb.
It has some amazingly, innovative fly patterns in it and the fly tier's comments are extremely informative. The book is well worth adding to a person's collection.
I was lucky enough to get out with a friend on New Years Eve as well. I was using Seth's Maribou Sand Eel (see Mr. Johnson's book) imitation to get my first Purdy SRC. Then since the fish were jumping all over the place I tied on a popper pattern that my friend had tied and whamoo a nice 16" silver whacked it hard. I was really confused because I didn't think a silver would take a surface fly like that but it did. It was way cool. We were fishing for Cutt's but we were also both lucky enough to hook into a silver. What a great day of fishing. A couple of fat SRC's and couple of Silvers and perfect December/January weather.