Beginner beach access

This fall I would like to try some beach fishing. I have never done it and I am not sure how to begin. I have done some river fishing and I am getting to the point where I can kind of read the water and know where to start but for fishing around the Puget Sound I need a little insight. Can anyone suggest a resource for doing this? How about when to go? Early in the morning? Late in the evening? High tide? Low tide? Is beach fishing more sight fishing then anything? I live in Kent is there anything close? So many questions!! How about where not to go? Last think I need is to get my car ransacked and I usually take along my two boys.

ANY pointers would be greatly appreciated.

This site is great!! I have learned so much over the past year since I started. Thank you!!
Beach fishing for coho is starting now and will build through the rest of the month and September. Most cobblestone points with public access will offer fishing. Lincoln Park in West Seattle is pretty good and reasonably close to you. Fish right on the point in front of the public swimming pool. Other notable areas are Golden Gardens, Picnic Point, Bush and Lagoon Points on Whidbey, and Point no Point on the tip of Kitsap Peninsula. There are lots of others, but those are well known places that I won't get in any trouble giving up. In fact you won't have one bit of trouble figuring out where to fish at these spots; just get in line.

Best fishing will be at first light, particularly if it coincides with the last two hours of the flood (though both sides of the tide change can be good, AND there are plenty of places that will fish well at a low incoming tide). Sometimes the evening can be good too or very low-light days. Of course there will be exceptions, but if I had a choice between a great tide at full-sun 2pm or an indifferent tide at sunrise, I'd rather get up early.

Whether the tide is coming in or going out, you want it moving. Look for a current break or tide rip on one side of the point or the other, as the current sweeps past, leaving a little pocket of easy water in the lee. What we're hoping is that bait will get itself corralled in between the point and the current seam, and the coho will move in to work the bait. Often salmon will show themselves in these situations, rolling, jumping, or even cracking baitfish on or near the surface. Ideally, you'd like to be in that triangle of easy water, casting toward the seam or into it (if you can reach), either letting your line sink as it swings around (if you can get into the current), or just counting it down. The standard strip is a medium fast series of "foot-long pulls," but don't be afraid to mix it up a little if you know there's fish around and you're not getting takes.

Sometimes there'll be sight fishing in that you'll cast toward a boil, or a bunch of bait breaking the surface, but mostly it's kind of a chuck and chance it affair, given the narrow condition types described above. In the south sound thers are some limited areas where you may have opportinity to cast to visable cruisers in fairly shallow water, but that's mostly a boat thing. There's very little opportunity in Puget Sound for actual "sight fishing" in any kind of a bonefish or permit fishing sense. Most of th ebeaches where you'll find good fishing drop off pretty steeply into green, indetirminate depth.

The standard rig off the beach is a 6- to 8-wt rod outfitted with an intermediate sinking line (most guys these days like the clear lines). I like to use an 8-wt because it makes it easier to cast the weighted clouser minnows that I favor. A 6-weight will work fine, and if the clousers prove too much to handle, switch to some unweighted bait-fish pattern. Chartreuse-and-white and pink-and-white clousers are probabaly the most popular patterns, followed closely by some variation on a sea-habit or surf-candy, tied to imitate candle fish or small herring. (I also tie them in chartreuse-, pink-, and orange-and-white.) Later in the season, attractor patterns like a Johnson beach fly, Ferguson green and silver, or gold and orange spider will start to produce beter than baitfish-type flies.

Either buy yourself a stripping basket, or make one with a dishpan or small laundry basket and a tool belt, so you have someplace for your line when you're stripping and casting. It will make casting easier, and help preserve your line against the abuse of sand and cobble.


Active Member
The most comprehensive guide to beach access points is the Harvey and Penny Manning book "Hikes on the Beaches of Puget Sound" (or something like that, I can't find my copy just now). Nearly every legal access point (and some that may not be quite so) along Puget Sound and a goodly part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca are described in some detail. By the way, did you know that Vancouver only applied the name Puget Sound to the area south of the Narrows? The reach between the Narrows and the Strait he named Admiralty Inlet.