The itch returned to me this afternoon about 1:30 PM. I noted that the tide was turning pretty well, so I thought I would go hit the beach. Last weekend my two friends and I hit the beach at three different locations with very minimal SRC success in two days of fishing. Giving in until today, I figured most of the fish are up spawning, but the itch hit this afternoon. So I headed out. I parked, strung up my rod, then tied on my old standby, a “Popsicle Stick”. A simple fly that has proven itself time and again for the last two years. Nothing fancy and I’ll be the first to admit it. Anyway, I wandered down the beach, made a few casts on the way to my further beach destination. Nothing. It was approaching 2:30. The Hood Canal conditions were perfect, a slight ripple on the water, overcast with half the Olympic mountains under cover. I was all alone, except for a loon out far from the beach and some other shoreline birds that I have trouble identifying. It was quite peaceful. I worked the beach for about 15 minutes then got a good tug. The fish was an acrobatic cutt of about 15 inches. It looked like a solid fish. She came out of the water several times, took some line, and spit the hook at me with another bold leap. Darn. I wanted her. The madness lasted a minute or so. Five minutes later, I was stripping the fly with rather long slow strokes. I could feel the slowness but deliberate take of a fish. I set the hook. It felt like a heavy fish, strong and another mad acrobatic one. He leaped free of the water several times and was taking line quite well. It was a long fight, unexpected really. He must have thrashed and half leaped another 3-4 times. He was getting close to shore and made another thrashing dangerous move in the foot deep cobbled beach water. Damn, I wanted that fish! Hang on! I finally beached him. A nice male of 17 inches. Pretty fish. My camera was handy, so I snapped a couple and it still had lots of power when it left. As I was playing that fish, I saw another cutt roll very nearby. I quickly got my fly back into the water. Another 10 minutes or so passed. I worked my fly down deep and slow again with long slow strips. I felt the subtle tug and there she was, just as the other. Slow, determined take. I set up. Some more acrobats, but not as much as the pissed off male before her. I beached her faster than the male. She was a good 17-1/2” (my rod is marked), but was obviously slender from recently spawning. Back into the water quickly. Another 15 minutes passed, a long cast, and a little more deliberate retrieve nabbed me a nice 14-1/2” female. A bright fish with plenty of spunk. Things began to slow. It was only an hour of fish catching. They moved on, got less hungry, or I failed for the rest of the afternoon. Elusive fish, the mighty cutthroat. I wandered more beach without another strike. Ah, but what a nice day as I watched the sun go down! Hood Canal is one of the most beautiful places in the Northwest! I will try to let the cutthroats rest now after their spawning activities…I think. Seems I get the itch too often to get on the water.