Sculpin patterns for searuns


the Menehune stole my beer
Okay, the weather is nasty today and I just went shopping for a party of my fishing pals and their wives and I take a break......I'm going over an older copy of Fly Fisherman from my vast library (a stack of mags on the back of the toilet in my guest bathroom) and I'm reading a cool article on fishing for searuns in Puget Sound (my wife is convinced I'm physiologically unable to answer nature's call without a fishing magazine in my paws) and they are talking about sculpin patterns for searuns. I've never tried these in the salt using the dumbest "logic" on earth. Of course I have woolhead sculpins, the usual muddler variations and others for rivers but I never gave one thought to trying them in saltwater :confused:

My stupid, non-scientific reasoning was that sculpins must surely be on the bottom of the list of snack items a searun would want to eat. Kind of like the searun's version of liver and brussel sprouts. I figured salmon fry, candlefish, shrimp patterns etc have no barbs, taste great, are less filling, are easy to swallow without giving the searun a sore throat or choking it if it goes down weird and would just be more palatable. :thumb: Duuuhhhhhh......I think I hafta raid my freshwater boxes the next time I go out!!!! I may have been missing the boat by lacking something else they like to grab !!!!!!

At the very least I'll tie one on the leader of my searun-chasing pal (me teaching him to flyfish the salt is like the nearsighted leading the blind) and see how he does. He is my favorite lab I'm going to experiment next time out!!! :D

Since SRC tend to hug the bottom particularly when there is tidal current, stickleback and sculpins are part of their diet. My fishing buddy and I have caught a lot of large SRC on a modified wooly bugger pattern that he came up with. The SRC probably mistake it for those baitfish.

The body is dubbed with medium brown krystal dub with brown saddle hackle palmered over it with a short tail(natural fox squirrel tail). The hook shank is weighted with .03 lead wire. It is fished with a slow/moderate irratic retrieve near the bottom.



the Menehune stole my beer
thanks for the you just go with the body weight or do you add a cone head or big bead? and is this a "go to" or do you use it a backup pattern? I've caught searuns on some things I never thought they'd go for (and I still wanna try the popper thing) so they constantly surprise me
Is that your wife in your avitar? :rofl:

Classic fly for searuns is a beadhead rolled muddler tied on a 4xL hook. I use it with a type 3 sink line to get the fly down moving across the bottom. Interestingly, I have hooked more that a few sea runs and resident salmon in the body with this fly. They're usually hooked in the back third of the body. The fish seem to slam it as if to stun it.



Active Member
Yeah!!!! Is there a way to enlargen the picture so I can see the flies better

probably heard that one already?

Regarding SR ...I'm trying to venture more into this myself...fishiing from beaches......the advice I have received and the flies many recommend are little green leech like things....Some are olive and others are bright green w/crystal. A weighted fly and can be fished w/ floating line or ST line...I have tried a couple times but so far only 5-7" bullhead - sucker type fish caught. I don't know scientific or common name for these guys but they are ugly. These flies resemble something you would use in Alaska on Salmon and Steelhead. Basically they are leeches....which I guess can resemble sculpins to some degree.


the Menehune stole my beer
My best searun fishing pal lives in Alki (his building is the only one here that juts out over the water) and in September we have an annual "salmon derby / bbq fiesta" at his pad that involves a full day of fishing the incoming tide with our wives.....when the silvers are running we do take a few legals for the grill, along with lots of beer and whatever the girls like to drink (they are using gear) We are working hard to convince our wives that sculpins are actually baby ling cod so they think they have caught something worthwhile.

This salt game is so much fun............and there are times it is the only thing we can do on short notice when the rivers are blown eh? I'm gonna listen to you guys and start trying some more dark patterns......I'm grabbing some woolheads , buggers and black bunnies out of my freshwater box the next time we go.

sorry to knock you off your concentration fellows.........she's downstairs getting ready for our party tonight! yes, my searun bud and few steelhead chasing fools are bringing their wives over and beer.....ahhh I love this country! :beer1: :thumb:
Having been fishing for searuns for a few months now, I've used a super stoopid simple "sculpin" pattern that's consisted of nothing more than a beadhead with a dark green or flesh colored piece of rabbit strip about 125% of the hook length to reduce the number of short strikes. Other flies that are effective are Jim's Dandy, a worm imitation developed by Jim Kerr a guide out of Port Townsend as well as any shrimpy looking fly pink white or green in color and dead drifted with the current. The Miyawaki Beach Popperalso sounds like a good fly to use, I've tied up a few and am looking forward giving those a go.
Leland's Popper is entirely a top water lure for cutthroat and salmon....and a good one. A Muddler tied for salt water is a very good offering along the edges of Hood Canal in particular. Always seem to be a lot of staghorn sculpin hanging out in the shallows. One of the best imitations for the staghorn scuplin is Dave Whitlock's Sculpin tied for saltwater. However, the coastal cutthroat is an oportunistic feeder rather than selective. For this reason you should be carrying in addition to the Miyawaki Popper is the Hubert Humpy, Nose Bleed, Rolled Gold Muddler, a pill bug imitation and at this time of year little pink and chum salmon imitations to mimic the fish making the outmigration from the creeks. The Thorne River Emerger is a pretty good imitation for baby chum and pink salmon.
Finally, never leave home without standby attractors; Ferguson Green and Silver, Johnson Beach Fly, Silver Brown and others that have stood the test of time. Give them options and release 'em alive.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson
I've caught nice SRC's on a simply outrageous very large sculpin-like pattern in bright yellow designed for freshwater bass. :p :eek: :p Then, again, this is written by one with a healthy disrespect for the orthodox in either fresh or saltwater, insofar as streamers are concerned. BTW, SRC's are alleged to STRONGLY prefer the color yellow per some articles I've read (Canadian authors). FYI, FWIW...


the Menehune stole my beer
Porter where have you been fishing for SRCs? bummer you haven't caught one yet, they are totally hit and day you slam them and think you're King Kong and the next two trips you stink like SKUNK and feel like PeeWee Herman......stay with it you'll get some soon I'm sure...

The last three searuns I caught had these weird, alien-looking things stuck all over them....not sea lice but these weird things like little grey horseshoe crabs. The great guys at pacific flyfishers told me they are .......ahhhh what was the word....anyway one had so many I felt sorry for him, it must have been heavy wearing all that armor, poor bugger looked like an armadillo. I tried to flick 'em off but they were stuck in his fishy hide and wouldn't budge..........

Les, always wonderful to get some tips from the "Dean", thanks,........oh and the Orvis reel you sold me is working great but I can't use a "matched set" around Michigan Guy so I'll have to put it on my Loomis stick if he's around and stick a Bauer on my trident................. :D :D

Mike D, thanks man, and I think I need some Red-X with my Red Bull this morning!!!!!! :)

Kundzja, yellow? that's a new one.....I know brownies like yellow, hadn't heard that about SRCs.....but then again my bud and I have caught them on some wacky things they "shouldn't" hit so I am always surprised by what they munch! Maybe that was you I saw last week, I didn't know that was a giant yellow streamer, I thought you were some guy trying to teach a canary to fetch....... :)

thanks guys......oh crap time to go fight traffic................. :( :( :(

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
G'morning fellow cutt nuts... :eek: .wait a minute...that doesn't sound right! Make that "fellow cutt maniacs!" :clown:

Anyway, I just happened to check up on a friend's house I'm watching while he's out of town yesterday at exactly 11:30 am when, coincidentally enough, the show "Columbia Country" was on Ch 11 and featured a show on fishing for searun cutts in Hood Canal.
The guide who was guiding the show's host commented that many searun cutts have become infested with limpets, which were those organisms armoring the back of the cutts Mingo caught. The guide said that he had not noticed any adverse effects to the cutts, although he had caught some whose backs were covered with them. Any fish biologists out there who could enlighten us about this?
The guide was using sparsely tied baitfish patterns, and recommended tying them on with a loop knot to give the fly more action. He said, that in his experience, it really makes a difference. He was fishing his patterns with foot-long fast strips, and they caught a few, even with the camera running!
Just thought I'd pass that on. :ray1:

Jimbo, buried under an avalanche of work :beathead:

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
As for Sculpins and Sea Run Cutthroat Trout, my best has come from using a weighted Sculpin. I like (Mike)Lawson's Sculpin, which is a very huge and heavy thing, hard to cast but deadly effective and sink rate a of an average sized brick. Only complaint I have is that you need to use a very big hook for it.Most recipies call for size four, long shank. I tie a smaller version on a size six.

Another good producer for me is a bead chain eyed sculpin, in olive or natural rabbit, or dyed black. I make the strip tail about two inches long. More weight can be added with wraps of .010 lead wire wraps. Keep the hook gap open, dont crowd it. I like the hackle tip pectoral fins on a sculpin too.

I also tie them with Hen Saddle and Neck feathers, barred or grizzly olive, with a Matuka Style body and tail, with dumbell eyes or a conehead, sometimes with a dubbed and oversized "head section".

Swung slow and let drift deep, bumped along the bottom, hung downstream at end of swing, slow strip retrieve of 2 to 4 inches increments...

I would agree with Bob. The more realistic the motion and body shape, the more likely to trigger strikes from the large fish. As for buggers, they only seem to work for small fish. The large (savy) fish like the flesh of olive rabbits and large weighted heads to drop the fly back down into the rocks, oysters, or etc. Watch the originals and you will understand why.

Willie Bodger

Still, nothing clever to say...
So, along those lines (and forgive me if this should be in the fly-tying forum) if I want the sculpin to ride hook up so I can get it closer to the rocks with less worry about getting fouled but I don't want to do dumbell eyes, do I just put a hair wing on the point side so that it is more bouyant on that side? Or is there a better way?