How would you fish this situation?

#1
I originally had this in the fly fishing forum and it was suggested that I place it here. I copied and pasted; I hope that was ok.

Hello, I’m new to fly fishing this year. Every year kings attack baitfish within easy casting distance behind my house. This happens to all the properties north and south of me (I live on one of the San Juan Islands). This action always happens sometime in the last week of June until around July 4th. I’ve tried in the past with spoons and Buzz Bombs but no luck; my luck was the same the last 2 nights fly fishing. Oh this surface explosion always happens from about 2 hours to the peak high tide in the evening until the actual peak and tapers off. I have an 8wt Aetos with WF8F line. The only flies I have right now are ones that my son-in-law purchased for sea run cutthroats. I’ve been using the biggest Clousers he had, which were not very big. I’ve tried a variety of stripping tempos. There are so many baitfish; I figure I have to tie or purchase flies that stand out in a crowd. Even though my offerings have been totally ignored, it’s really neat to see all of that surface action. The fish I’ve seen that totally clear the water have looked to bein the 20 lb size range. I have a Hobie kayak I can take out but plenty of active fish are within reach. Any suggestions?

Bob
 
#2
I originally had this in the fly fishing forum and it was suggested that I place it here. I copied and pasted; I hope that was ok.

Hello, I’m new to fly fishing this year. Every year kings attack baitfish within easy casting distance behind my house. This happens to all the properties north and south of me (I live on one of the San Juan Islands). This action always happens sometime in the last week of June until around July 4th. I’ve tried in the past with spoons and Buzz Bombs but no luck; my luck was the same the last 2 nights fly fishing. Oh this surface explosion always happens from about 2 hours to the peak high tide in the evening until the actual peak and tapers off. I have an 8wt Aetos with WF8F line. The only flies I have right now are ones that my son-in-law purchased for sea run cutthroats. I’ve been using the biggest Clousers he had, which were not very big. I’ve tried a variety of stripping tempos. There are so many baitfish; I figure I have to tie or purchase flies that stand out in a crowd. Even though my offerings have been totally ignored, it’s really neat to see all of that surface action. The fish I’ve seen that totally clear the water have looked to bein the 20 lb size range. I have a Hobie kayak I can take out but plenty of active fish are within reach. Any suggestions?

Bob
I will gladly come to your house and help you solve this mystery Bob :)
 
#3
I originally had this in the fly fishing forum and it was suggested that I place it here. I copied and pasted; I hope that was ok.

Hello, I’m new to fly fishing this year. Every year kings attack baitfish within easy casting distance behind my house. This happens to all the properties north and south of me (I live on one of the San Juan Islands). This action always happens sometime in the last week of June until around July 4th. I’ve tried in the past with spoons and Buzz Bombs but no luck; my luck was the same the last 2 nights fly fishing. Oh this surface explosion always happens from about 2 hours to the peak high tide in the evening until the actual peak and tapers off. I have an 8wt Aetos with WF8F line. The only flies I have right now are ones that my son-in-law purchased for sea run cutthroats. I’ve been using the biggest Clousers he had, which were not very big. I’ve tried a variety of stripping tempos. There are so many baitfish; I figure I have to tie or purchase flies that stand out in a crowd. Even though my offerings have been totally ignored, it’s really neat to see all of that surface action. The fish I’ve seen that totally clear the water have looked to bein the 20 lb size range. I have a Hobie kayak I can take out but plenty of active fish are within reach. Any suggestions?

Bob
Hey, bob
I don't post much but I have fished a bit up north,a couple things to think about is current speed? If your beach is similar to mine a shooting head in a type 3-4-5 will help. Not a fan of full sink lines, unless you like changing spools. If your beach has a steep slope a type 4-5 will do the trick, if your beach is not as steep use a type 2-3 head. When your targeting kings low light is the key to success from the beach which you have figured out. Another thing to throw out there is size and shape of the bait your trying to mimic. Clausers are great for candlefish but I prefer a fly the hold it's form in the water. Also if you want to pm me, I will send you some pics of bugs you might want to try.
Tight lines
Dennis
 

Bagman

Active Member
#4
Bob, I'm fairly new to fly fishing myself but I can offer you a little advice. If all you have is a floating line, you should take DenWor54 advice it is sound, or try before first light, or just after sundown with a floating fly, or even a good size flatwing with your floating line, and remember if you can see the fish the fish can see you. Also remember the PM is your good friend, most everyone I've PMed have gotten back to me with good info. Good luck.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
#5
There are so many baitfish; I figure I have to tie or purchase flies that stand out in a crowd. Even though my offerings have been totally ignored, it’s really neat to see all of that surface action.
Just a guess since I've (unfortunately) never been in that situation with adult kings.

What comes to my mind is they are locked-in, keyed on the size and species of bait they are crashing. I know it seems like a fly that matches the hatch will get lost in the crowd, but a big part of fishing a bait fish pattern is movement. Salmon and other predatory fish (don't get me going on albacore) attacking schools of bait fish are constantly scanning for the weak and injured. They are also crazy good at it. Since there's no way (yet) to make a fly move exactly like a live bait fish, an artificial fly will always stand out in that respect. Even if it's an exact match visually.

So, I'd try to figure out what they're eating and get some flies that are reasonably close in size/profile and possibly color. I'd also be VERY tempted to try some floating patterns as well.
 
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#6
You've got a floating line? Prefect.
This sounds like an ideal topwater situation... (Miyawaki beach popper is a good fly to start with, or anything that'll float really)
Cast up above the commotion and "V" wake any buoyant fly through the feeding frenzy. Don't pop the fly just let it create a nice big V shaped wake. Use the current and your slack line to your advance, and slow the fly down as much as possible. Doesn't get much more exciting than taking fish on topwater. If you pull this off, you'll have lifetime bragging rights.
Cheers
 
#7
Bob, I'm fairly new to fly fishing myself but I can offer you a little advice. If all you have is a floating line, you should take DenWor54 advice it is sound, or try before first light, or just after sundown with a floating fly, or even a good size flatwing with your floating line, and remember if you can see the fish the fish can see you. Also remember the PM is your good friend, most everyone I've PMed have gotten back to me with good info. Good luck.
Hey, bob
Check out bagman's avatar, if your fishing rocks piles I would suggest a stripping basket, also check out Jason taylor hollow flies which I assume are menhaden flies ,they are very close representation of herring. Also an 8 wght is a little light for even small kings, so make sure you have enough backing on your reel.
 
#8
Just a guess since I've (unfortunately) never been in that situation with adult kings.

What comes to my mind is they are locked-in keyed on the size and species of bait they are crashing. I know it seems like a fly that matches the hatch will get lost in the crowd, but a big part of fishing a bait fish pattern is movement. Salmon and other predatory fish (don't get me going on albacore) attacking schools of bait fish are constantly scanning for the weak and injured. They are also crazy good at it. Since there's no way (yet) to make a fly move exactly like a live bait fish, an artificial fly will always stand out in that respect. Even if it's an exact match visually.

So, I'd try to figure out what they're eating and get some flies that are reasonably close in size/profile and possibly color. I'd also be VERY tempted to try some floating patterns as well.
What Silver fly said is right on . A couple years back small herring were the ticket. Silver fly brought up a very importan point about movement of the fly it is key.
 
#9
I will gladly come to your house and help you solve this mystery Bob :)
Chris, I moved here in 2011 after I retired. I moved here from Indiana and from the replies It appears that what I see every year about this time is not a common occurrence. Tonight we had a cookout on the beach and had fun watching the explosion of salmon vs baitfish as my grandson threw rocks in the water. I expect this to go for another couple of days based on past history. I’m going to take the replies to my post seriously and should have a modified approach for next year.
 

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#10
I am pretty sure that when you do catch one of those kings, it will have sandlance falling out of it's mouth. They gorge on them. And there's tons of them around now. The flatwing style fly can be tied as a dead-ringer for sandlance, herring, etc. Go to the fly tying forum here, and you will see many good imitations, and several good conversations on sandlance, flatwings, herring, etc. I agree that you are probably not getting deep enough yet. But with that much surface feeding action right in front of you, maybe an intermediate sink rate tip or long "Poly" leader, will be adequate as a beginning.

Here's a few sandlance flies. these are tied on #4 Orvis 9034 Saltwater hooks.
 

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#13
I agree regarding a faster sinking line. They could be crashing the bait at the top then eating the fallen bait below. Just a thought. Experienced a similar thing last year and that was suggested to me and it made a lot of sense.

I'd probably start out with a big chartreuse over white clouser but if it wasn't getting love i would quickly go with a match the hatch mentality. Whether it's sandlance or herring, try to figure out what the bait is and match it's size and profile closely.

Also suggest varying your retrieves. From fast and erratic to slow and steady clear down to dead drifting. You may find a particular retrieve gets their attention. When it was suggested that the fish i encountered last year might be picking off stunned/dead bait fish below after crashing through them it was also suggested to try a dead drift to mimic that. I encountered a similar situation later on and dead drifting was deadly.

Just a few thoughts. Definitely sounds like a problem I'd love to figure out.
 

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