I think I caught that coho's twin brother this morning at another beach. I did the same thing: got him in close, looked for an adipose, and released.
Great fish regardless, and a great reminder that unless you plan to take it home you should not be dragging it up on the beach (which I would say includes staghorn sculpins or whatever they are--saw a guy catch one, flip it up onto the beach, then kick it back into the surf where it struggled to right itself and get away; maybe I'm a softy, but I was so effing annoyed at that).
well I knew there was something different about that fish. All day I was thinking that it was absolutely the most spectacular cutthroat I've caught so far. I guess I know why now. I guess the first tip off that it was a coho should have been the fact that it bit on a chartreuse/white clouser with red eyes
Much of the variation you are seeing in the various photos of "resident" coho are due to feeding conditions (controlling the robustness of the fish) and the maturity of the fish. The same fish will look like what we typically think of as a "resident" coho ( a shiny fatty with loose scales) as an immature fish in the late fall/winter/spring/early summer and look like the one you caught this week as a mature fish.
In fact the coho in the ocean and those that stay as "resident" fish will look very much the same for the first year or so they are in the salt (though the ocean fish will tend to be larger). And as mature fish they will also look much the same though of course once again the ocean fish tend to be larger. It is just that most of us don't see many ocean coho until they return as maturing or mature fish here in the sound or the rivers.
Over the next few weeks here in the sound near the mouths of the various rivers (especially those with large hatchery coho programs) one can find good numbers of coho jacks (males that matured a year early and typically are 12 to 18 inches long). They can provide some excellent fishing for those of us throwing feathers. While some of that fishing can be done from the shore the best is a boat show. Look for rips with bait off the first point or two out from the mouth of their natal rivers. These fish tend to be aggressive taking 2 to 3 inch flies readily. One good years (one with good returns and a dry period in mid- to late September) a couple anglers that have found a pod of fish can expect to measure their catch by the dozen often with one or more bonus larger adult.
I have been catch a few jacks in the Sound for several weeks now so this may be a good year for coho jacks. If this rain stops for the next week or so I just may have do some prospecting (suspect my beloved river cutthroat may be done for the year so will have to fall back on plan B or C).
I got your back as well Pat, there is no doubt that this fish is a cutty, but that makes me wonder how many cutts have not made it through because of mis- identification. I guess when they cook it up they will figure it out.
The backs of the older thread cutt and this thread coho look very similar but the cutt in the 2nd pic in the old thread has spots below the lateral line and your coho does not have spots below the lateral line IMHO..
I've caught a few coho that looked nearly identical to this this year from a beach that I have never seen (or heard of) a cutty caught at. I was thrown at first by the coloration and more pronounced spots. I actually had a couple I almost thought were pinks because of the larger more oval spots and a couple spots on the lower half of the tail. These fish had set scales as well. I'm no expert but all the cutts I've caught and all the ones I've seen pictures of have spots below the lateral line.