Making do in the salt


Active Member
Hey All,

I've lurked the forum for a while before finally signing up this year and lurking a bit more. This place has been a great resource and I'm glad I joined. I've spent my fly fishing life of some years now on small and medium sized rivers in WA, but I started searching in earnest/vain for steelhead the past two winters. This summer, I've taken to the salt for SRC and salmon.

I've been trying the beaches on Whidbey (West & Ft. Casey) lately and haven't tied into anything yet. I've got a 9' 5wt and a 13' 7wt spey rod. The 5wt has been cast in hopes of SRC from Ala, and the spey rod has had a Skagit line or a Scandi line on it with the dream of a coho or two keeping me going. Seriously considering a 7/8wt single hander with a shooting head for beach salmon, but it's kind of moot if they don't really show up before the season closes.

Anyways, I was out at Ft. Casey on Saturday morning, and despite fishing with maybe 2 dozen others along the beach in thick smoke and fog, vibes were really mellow. One guy on fly gear said he saw a fish chase his fly, a gear guy reported a jumper, and in 5 hours of fishing the flood tide, I saw exactly one coho hooked and brought to shore (on gear). It was a form of validation that there were other dudes out fishing, and another form of validation that there simply wasn't much or any meaningful catching going on.

The Scandi line was great for moving a dense medium sized pink and purple thing out to current seams, but stripping to the leader was definitely a PITA that I didn't do often with the shooting head and 2-hand rod. Occasionally, frustration with running line (no stripping basket) and current/surf conditions would result in a 'hulk smash' overhead/aerial cast, but when things were right, the line was awfully nice to cast. And, that overhead cast was kind of fun....if only the rod and line were easier to handle on the strip.

Tight lines!
With that long spey rod, when fishing off the beach, I found it easier to tuck the rod under my armpit and use a two hand strip. Really slows down the chaos...


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Something to consider is that the average size of PS fall coho you’ll likely encounter might be 5 lbs.
A 6 wt really lets the fish show off their stuff but is enough to handle a bigger coho or chinook should you encounter one.
Excellent for searun cutts as well especially when the wind is up.
A 6 wt is in my opinion kind of the duct tape of rods when it comes to fishing Puget Sound.

Ditto the suggestion regarding naming beaches.
A lot of beaches aren’t secrets but then again they certainly don’t need any additional pressure.
That is unless you like fishing with a lot of other people.


Active Member
Thanks everybody for the wisdom and the welcome!

A 6wt and a stripping basket seems to be the right answer for beach fishing and I understand the naming issue. I'm accustomed to having river trout water mostly to myself and assumed that the beaches are obvious busy spots during the salmon season, even if they aren't combat fishing situations. There were a few dozen lined up before sunrise on an island beach!

Keeping the 5lb mark in perspective is really helpful.... a 5lb fish in open water doesn't really need all that much power vs. the same fish in a strong river current.

Seriously wondering if the fish will show up....several gear guys mentioned dismal fishing this season.


Active Member
Fly fishermen generally don't reason when purchasing fly rods....

Maybe we could get together sometime to fish. Do you know how to send private messages on the forum?

Feel free to PM me any time.

I'm really avoiding gear acquisition syndrome (my other interests are prone as well) and so reason's gonna have to dictate my purchases for now, much as I'd dig an alternating set of rods, reels, and a glorious catalog of lines.

I'll figure out the PM thing and yeah, fishing would be excellent. Thanks for the offer!


WFF Supporter
I'm the guy you talked to on Saturday. It sounds like you're already there stripping basket-wise, but it is critical especially on beaches with a lot of salad, strong currents, and/or occasional heavy surf action. Trying to manage your line with any one (let alone all three!) of those variables is usually a sh!t show and leads to frustration. Plus, it gives me a good place to put my muddy boots at the end of the day so I don't get sand all over the bed of my truck!

I use a 10' 6wt and an 9'6" 8wt. I rotate between a floating line and an intermediate line for my 6wt depending on the day. This is my primary SRC rod and my back-up Coho rod. I keep faster sinking intermediate line (Int/sink2/sink3) on my 8wt that really like for the west side of the island. The line gets below the surf quickly and keeps me in contact with the fly. The 8wt deals with the wind better than my 6wt. Most of the time I don't really need the 8wt, but I really like the line I have on that rod, so it's my go-to rod in September.


Active Member
Good chatting with you Saturday! My boots have had a dedicated rubbermaid tub since the very beginning. Works a charm for keeping the car from getting crusty and fits a second pair of boots in a pinch if a buddy is along for the outing. Thanks for the line advice. I'm certain that my setup was completely useless for the beach.

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