Jeff Dodd

Active Member
Do any forum members spend time bucktailing your flies in PS? I'm interested in your experience and tips.

This morning we launched before low tide and headed north toward Lagoon Pt. Along the way I decided to tie on a fly Randy Diefert gave me at a recent club meeting. It's a big bucktail and it looks GOOD!
Diefert Bucktail.jpg

I had the basic bucktail strategy from a Mike Benbow presentation, but I had not tried it myself. I put the 8wt in the rod holder with the tip straight to the fly. Then I dropped my fly into the prop wash of my 10hp kicker and watched it gurgle, pop and waked. I worked the shoreline in and out like I was trolling a cut plug behind mooching sinker.

It was not long before I had a decent fish swing and miss. How cool. It happened one more time before I cut the engine to begin the cast/strip.

The visual hits are really cool and I'm definitely doing this again, especially as I move from location to location. Mike showed lots of awesome photos of fish taken off Vancouver B.C., often enticing fish out from the kelp beds. Kelp beds are not what they use to be inside Puget Sound, so... I trolled the shallows of eelgrass along the shoreline.

Imagine a 12 pound coho slamming the straight line fly!

As for the rest of the day...

Not many fish caught today where we were fishing. Plenty of boats full of gear fishermen targeting pinks/coho. My friend released a pounder coho and 2 greenling. I boated a solitary male Pink.
0832013 Pink on Fly.jpg

Pat Lat

Mad Flyentist
how much line did you have out when you got that strike? I heard of the technique before and I've also heard it can be very effective, but I never tried it. Always seemed to me like the disturbance from the boat would keep them from rising to a surface fly in the wake

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
I had the fly at the tail end of the prop wash. When we saw the bait balls today it made some sense. Micro bubbles in the bait looked a lot like the tail end of the prop wash. I don't know why it works, but I too hear it does!


Active Member
I have done a fair amount in MA 10 (some in 8-2, and 9). Success has been a bit hit or miss as having actively feeding coho seems to be a big help. I often alternate using cut plugs and flies (either trolling or casting to fishy tide rips). While the bait is usually more productive the flies have their moments (even out fishing my friends with their bait at times). Three has been couple magically late August and Septembers where my flies have consistently out fished my partners' herring.

The hard part is getting over the mental hurdle of thinking about you are competing with all the fancy gear and bait the most the boats in the area are using. For the areas that I fish a couple things that I think help.

Often getting the fly a few feet below the surface can help (3 to 10 feet) i.e. sink tips.
My best luck has been with 3 to 4 inch unweighted streamers in chartreuse and white. I especially like spun deer hair heads which seems to give the trolled or retrieved fly some "wiggle".
Like flat water better than a chop and sun light seems better than low light/fog.
Have bait near the surface is a big help.
Tides do make a difference with the best tide varying from location to location (Lacking other information I start with fishing on either side of the low).

I don't experience that kind of success I have read about on the outer Straits and open ocean but do see multiple fish days reasonable frequently with the occasional exception days. The average size tends to smallish (3 to 8#s) though I have taken some larger fish (best middle teens).

BTW some years when there are good numbers of coho Jacks and a dry fall there can be some great "trout" fish in terminal areas. When things line up throwing 3 inch streamers can result in dozens of jacks as well as multiple adults on tide. Finding such fishing with a city scape background can be surprising but it can be good enough to drag me away from my rivers and beloved sea-runs for a change of pace.



Joe from PA
As Curt indicated, I've found trolling flies for coho to be much more productive in the straits as opposed to the sound. Consequently I don't bucktail much in the sound. Last year was a bit of an exception for me, but even with the good numbers of coho we had last year in the sound, it still just ok compared to MA 4. Your fly looks a bit big to me, but otherwise very similar in color and materials to what I use, however I use tube flies. I also always run a flasher 10ft down and about 10ft off the back and run my fly about 2-3 feet off the prop wash. That seems to work best for me. Also, don't be afraid to change up speeds and focus on tide rips. Making big "S" patterns can help as coming out of a turn sometimes will trigger a strike as the fly accelerates. Good luck, it's a hoot when you can see a fish following in pursuit a waked fly.


Active Member
I've tried bucktailing before, it works better if you give the movement by jerking your fly on top surface. At least from my exprerine.


Joe from PA
it works better if you give the movement by jerking your fly on top surface
I've had much better results getting a following fish to take strike a fly when I just leave it alone as opposed to stripping it when bucktailing (although I suppose an occasional strip may be an effective way to attract a fish up to the fly). Once I have a fish in pursuit, I leave the fly alone and "wait for the weight". The vast majority of the time that results in a hook-up for me. Occasionally you get a fish that just follows the fly and will not strike it. This seems to be more common when the sun is on the water. In those situations, stripping the fly rarely induces a strike for me - at least in the straits. Maybe fish in the sound are more responsive to this technique. I have noticed that when casting clousers, fish will often follow the fly all the way to the boat and then strike in the last few feet, so maybe I'm not retrieving a buckailed fly close enough to the boat.


I hope she likes whitefish
Jesse and I did this at Neah bay a couple years ago when we found a bunch of coho rising and demolishing the bait balls. We just stripped out a bunch of line behind the boat and started popping the rod tip up and down until we saw fish boiling on the bucktail. Then we'd wait for them to turn and set the hook. It was an absolute BLAST and probably the most fun I've had fishing...ever. It was so much fun, we ditched the downriggers and just started looking for bait balls and then running over to them and throwing out the fly lines. We were actually more successful in less time doing this than waiting for fish to hit the downriggers. I wish I would have known about bucktailing sooner because I think it'd been the way we fished the whole time.


Joe from PA
Funny, but it does make for easier fishing! It's been so friggin windy this year out there that my Dad could hardly stand in the boat let alone cast. I came home from my last trip with mysterious bumps and bruises all over. When it comes to fishing, there's nothing I like more than standing on the motor bracket on the back of the new boat and casting clousers to coho mulling about in calm waters, but of the 13 days this season in MA 4, I had exactly 2 days with those conditions.

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
Thanks for the ideas everyone, along with pattern suggestions. I will report back if I have any luck.

This fishing has Go-Pro written all over it!
Fishing meadow point in years past when seeing coho active on the surface I have fished spoons in the prop wash with alot of success. I tied up some flies like the one shown and have been waiting to try it. Good luck and please report any success



the Menehune stole my beer
Always seemed to me like the disturbance from the boat would keep them from rising to a surface fly in the wake
The propwash is exactly what attracts them TO the boat. They look up and see a foaming, moving mass of bubbles on the surface. They think it is a school of baitfish being attacked and they come up to investigate. The fly is a straggler and BLAMMO! Game on. I use the exact same technique, albeit with even bigger flies, when I move from spot to spot chasing mahimahi and other gamefish in the tropics. It always makes me scratch my head when flyfishermen pull in their lines when they move from spot to spot looking for baitballs, birds and surface crashers. Just keep your line in the water and drag that fly. The surprise hits can rip your arms from their sockets.

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