I tend to not use a gas engine while chasing cutts--only use it for transport. Instead when I have to move in an area I'm fishing, I use an electric motor. My preferred means of boat positioning is an anchor, but that means I've got current near by.
Floating line, clear intermediate, or sinktip are what I use-- whatever fits water depth and current speed for undersurface work. And close to shore is a must-- most of the time.
The last two times I've been out in a boat, I've spent as much time out of the boat as in. While in the boat, I fish about the same way I do from shore - only out in the water. Get within casting distance of a rip, and swing the line through it. We did pick up a couple fish trolling behind the boat - s turns along a drop-off further than one would have been able to cast from shore - floating line, long leader, baitfish patterns. Using oars - people power, buddy! R. Stephens could probably give some awesome insights on this topic.
i have caught a lot of SRCs out of my various floating devices.... float tubes, wooden boats or the bigger fishing boats... I like to float along the edge of a drop off and casting into the shallower water, although sometimes casting into the deep stuff. with slow currents this works but with a big rip i have to anchor and cast from the boat. when the current in moving that fast i will anchor so my casts land about 4 feet from shore and strip line back out. Then i will just pull the anchor up and float down the beach so that i cover the shoreline... or until i find a hot pod of fish.
I almost exclusively fish a baitfish pattern on a slime line.
Sometimes I anchor, sometimes I troll. I used to always troll by oar power, but lately I've been finding no difference in hookups when trolling with a motor. When anchored and casting I like to cast dries towards downed trees or large rocks close to the shoreline; anything that stands out along the shoreline. When trolling I use a clear intermediate with a baitfish or shrimp type pattern. I like to troll along the "junk lines" that usually form about 10-20 yards from shore, in the clean water right next to the "slop".
A couple of thoughts from an "old geezer" that might give you some things to think about when fishing for SRC and silvers from your boat.
1. When fishing from my boat on Puget Sound I allows have two rods string up. One rod has a floating line for skating floating patterns and the other rods has a extra fast full sinking line for baitfish patterns. The Scientific Anglers WET CEL type IV is an excellent line as it is a small diameter sinking line that will load up your rod to make long casts with a minimum of false casts.
2. I used to use 3 wt. rods but now use 6 wt. rods. SRC are a very tenacious fish that will fight until they are totally exhausted. These fish need to be released quickly so that they will not go belly up. Also, every once in a while you will get lucky and hook into a large SRC or blackmouth salmon. You don't want to be out gunned when that happens!
3. For SRC I always fish locations such as points, gravel bars, or beaches where there is current. I will always anchor the boat as you can get a better retrieve and hook set on your fly pattern. You can raise the anchor and reposition the boat as you fish your way down through the prime waters.
4. After anchoring the boat, I will first fish the water with a floating pattern. If there are any SRC present they will invariably strike or take a swip at the fly. In Steve Raymond's "The Estuary Flyfisher" he used floating patterns as a searching pattern for SRC with great success. You usually only have one shot at a SRC if it takes a swipe at your floating pattern but occassionally they will come back 2 or 3 times.
5. Once you have covered the water and the SRC stopped chasing your floating pattern, it is time to use the baitfish patterns and full sinking line to go down after the fish.
6. For floating patterns I will use a moderately fast retrieve to keep the fly skating/popping on the surface. When using a full sinking line, I will vary the retreive from slow to fast depending on the amount of tidal current, water depth, and mood of the fish. If the current is fairly strong or the water is 6-8 feet deep, I will usually use a slower retrieve to get the pattern down near the bottom maybe even casting cross current and throw in a quick mend as the line hits the water.
7. If you are fishing an area that you are not framiliar with, trolling is an excellent way to cover a lot of water to determine where some SRC might be hanging out. But casting is a lot more fun than trolling!
Hope that I have helped you out.
PS. Teeg: I will send your a PM in the next couple of days to plan a trip.
Roger hit it on the nose. I fish Hamersley Inlet with all of the techniques that roger just described and have great success. I'd like to mention that there is a lot of feed this year in Hamersley and cutt, and silver fishing has been better than usual.
Wow, great responses guys. Since I have not targetted these fish in the saltwater, I like the idea of trolling until you find them. Being that I'm a north end guy, I think I'll start off Camano and see what happens.
Amen to Roger's suggestion that you use a 6-weight rod for cutthroat in the salt. For that matter I would never use any rod lighter than a 4-weight even for presenting tiny dry flies in a clear stream for sea-run cutthroat. I documneted killing one cutthroat in "Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout". It was probably an unusually tenacious fish but I did kill it while using my 4-weight. I don't want to do it again.
As for fishing from a boat, when my pal Bruce Ferguson sees fish feeding he cuts his motor and gets into position with the oars. At times even this puts them down. Bruce then takes out a magazine and reads part of an article. Within several minutes the feeding commences again in the same area. He then begins casting and almost always hooks up within a cast or two. I've fished with him for thirty years and have watched his "reading a magazine" method work many, many times.
I am absolutely astounded that Roger said (admitted) that he used a 3 weight on these fish. I'm glad he move up to heavier line weight rods. As he later noted in his message, a 6 weight is a much more appropriate rod, not only for those reasons he mentioned but also for:
a) casting a fly in the Puget Sound breeze is a lot easier with a 6 weight;
b) sometimes the fish are just at the edge of your casting distance, and the 6 weight will be more likely to get you that additional distance that lighter line weight rod would not;
c) the 6 weight will turn over a weighted fly and will cast a bug more to the size and liking of a cutt than you would/could cast with a 3 weight, and
d) the 6 weight line category provide you those various line options (i.e. sink tip and full sink) that are not typicall available to lines 4 weight and below.
These are just performance reasons to use a 6 weight, and no less than a beefy fast 5 weight, if you plan to relegate your fishing just to cutts. The big reason to use a 6 weight, as noted by Roger and Less, is to land these incredible fish as quickly as possible to ensure they live to fight another day.
You would be amazed at what you could catch and land, out in the salt, on a fast beefy 6 weight rod. I know a Puget Sound fly fishing guide who said that, although he uses 6 weight for most of the year, if he only one rod to use out in the Sound, it would be his 7 weight Sage Xi2, because he could catch every species with it.