Living in the Seattle area is kind of like being in a Tim Burton movie, dark and depressing. From Mid-September to late-June the darkness consumes the PNW, I’ve even heard it referred to as flashlight weather. Dark when you get to work, dark when you leave. Not only are the days short but the weather is far from pleasant. Like clockwork, it tends to rain the heaviest on Thursday and Friday, just in time to blow the rivers out for the weekend. Making it a long winter of tracking river flow gauges and tying flies. Consuming enough vitamin D and hopefully a fish to hand after countless hours of swinging a fly, the clouds began to fade and the days growing longer. Summer has finally arrived in the PNW. When it’s nice, there is nowhere nicer, but the key word is nice. This highly anticipated return of the sun also brings high hopes for a good return of salmon back to the Puget Sound.
Salmon fishing can be as easy as grabbing a rod and heading to closest beach to find your limit. The reality is that beach fishing is just that simple but rarely happens in this manner. Fishing for salmon off the beaches with a fly rod is a tricky game. You can spend hours surveying different beaches, studying tides, and watching for favorable weather to formulate a game plan on how to find salmon in one spot. As for gear any old 6-8 weight rod will work but a longer rod will help keep your back cast from slapping the barnacle covered beach that will quickly destroy both flies and fly line. Typically, an assortment of pink, chartreuse, or olive bait fish patterns and a sink tip line will work in the widest range of conditions. Bootfoot waders are convenient for beach fishing and they make it more comfortable standing out in the sub-tropical temperature of the Puget Sound waters. Now over thinking what should be a simple endeavor, many days on the beach typically turn into hours casting into a sea of nothing. Until that one day when you’re about to call it quits, that’s when find them.
The more water you can cover from the beach the better. The high line speed taper of our new CRUX rod allows you to bomb out cast past your buddies. The 7100-4 gives you extra length to clear the beach on your back cast as you wade chest deep. As your wading chest deep the Palix Bootfoot Waders will keep your feet warm with its one piece design, are ideal for beach fish making them easy to put on and take off. Wade deeper, cast further, and stay out longer than your buddies.
The eclipse madness was in full effect down in Portland and KC and Kayla were looking to escape it. They headed north to come fish the local beaches with me and my girlfriend. The tides were right and local reports have been good, so we set off to one of my favorite spots. After spending almost two hours of casting into the abyss without a grab, our hopes of finding fish began to fade. slack tide was approaching fast and it seemed that we missed our window of opportunity for finding a fish. Then suddenly, the water in front of us began to boil because of bait. It wasn’t long after the bait pushed in that you could see the backs of salmon cutting the schools of bait in half.
The finicky game of beach fishing just became easy. See a salmon busting bait, cast in that direction, and start striping as soon as the fly hit the water. This resulted quickly in a grab, it was pure madness. It seemed that someone had one on or just missed a grab. Even at one point all four of us had a fish on. We hooked many juvenile Coho and blackmouths, but each of us were lucky enough to find a few “keeper” size Coho. Nicole landed about a seven-pound wild fish that pulled her into her backing. As fast as it turned on, it turned off.
The tide began to slack out and it was all over, the Sound became a barren waste land again. One of the last fish of the day was a hatchery Coho that Kayla landed and at twenty dollars a pound she bonked it. That night we had fresh grilled salmon for dinner. With the eclipse madness over and Labor Day Weekend a thing of the past, the end of salmon season approaches quickly along with the return of flashlight season. What’s left of salmon season, we’ll continue to over think this simple task in hopes to find at least one more fish.