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Thread: Fly Rod Fun!

  1. #1

    Default Fly Rod Fun!

    We're fine tuning our offshore fly fishing for king salmon these days. Tough conditions with the bright sun and no chop, which drives the kings deep. We only found them up within fly rod range once today, but my wife did the deed. That's a heavy fly rod (10-weight) and the king is only 21 pounds. But it could pull!




  2. #2
    Member greg01alaska's Avatar
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    Looks like great fun with a nice fish for dinner. Beautiful day on the water.
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away."

  3. #3
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Jan is one tuff woman. Hoodie, pants and x-tra tufs??? I can't take this heat, I'm burnt to a crisp red and sweating.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
    Kodiak, AK
    www.alaska-fish.com
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    Jan is one tuff woman. Hoodie, pants and x-tra tufs???
    You got that right!

    Actually those are cutoff Xtra Tuffs, old ones converted to boat shoes, and her socks are pulled up over her jean cuffs from when she had on waders while launching the boat. The hoody went on for shade because she was baking in the sun!

    Interesting enough that fish was a feeder rather than a return to the Olds/American. We had been seeing very few feeders lately, but slamming the hatchery fish at a fast pace for the last 10 days or so before the sun got bright, turning back everything but bleeders. You can spot the Olds/American alongside the boat before you ever land them. They have a coppery or tan tinge to their backs rather than the bluegreen of a feeder. The copper is not so obvious on deck, but real clear in the water.

    The sun really blew our shallow fishing the last couple of days, forcing us to drop down to 20'-30' below the surface regardless of water depth. Company coming and we wanted a fresh fish for a feed, so we went out to fish any way that was needed. We simply made a quick pass in the shallows before putting on conventional gear and going deeper. The fly was about 2' under the surface in 11' of water where it drops of to 25'. The king came completely clear of the water on the strike. Looked like a white shark hitting a seal! I'm betting it was laying over that deep edge, charging up at full speed to slash anything that appeared over the lip above it.

  5. #5

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    Thought I'd toss this in for anyone who wants to try flies. Note- The unweighted versions are WICKED behind a flasher on conventional trolling gear!

    We're using Clousers (and helmet heads) for casting. All grabs on casts come as the fly sinks nose-down between strips, so it's weighted flies all the way for casting, even with sinking lines for count-downs, rather than just with floating lines when the kings are on top on a bird wreck.

    The flies we're trolling are right at 4" overall and have tandem hooks. They're coming off the vise in two basic patterns- a black over silver when herring are about and an olive over silver when needlefish are on the menu. Call it "sub-categories," but there are two versions of each of those. For flat trolling they're unweighted, but with glued on eyes. In our own "twist" on trolling, I tie the same patterns with helmet heads for weight, then we hand-hold the rods and "pump" them- slowly forward, then back quick to pause the fly briefly and allow that head to dive a little. That's been the hottest variation, but only at low speeds on the order of 1.0- 1.5mph. Once you get past 2.0mph, it's hard to get enough of a pause for the heads to dip.

    Side note- Don't be tempted to give your flies a "high" profile, making them flat like a real herring. They want to flip over on their sides at trolling speed. Better to make them more slender than the real thing so they'll track true. I've experimented with a "keel hook" version tied upside down with weight on the shank, and that does track true at higher speeds. Brain storm right now, but coming into life next time I sit down at the tying vise, is one with lots more weight in the shank to get that diving action I described with the helmet heads. Might be the best of all, but theory at the moment.

    I haven't had time to set up the camera and lights, so no pics yet. I'll post them whenever that happens.

  6. #6
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Man, when you're killing me. This full time job is getting in the way of my experimenting time on the water, and can't really do that with paying clients on baord either. 6 more years...6 more years.....
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
    Kodiak, AK
    www.alaska-fish.com
    https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

  7. #7

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    We feel we have an important job.

    Setting a good example for the retirees coming up behind us!

  8. #8
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    We feel we have an important job.

    Setting a good example for the retirees coming up behind us!
    Shouldn't you be out fishing right now?? i mean, the rest of us have an excuse...but you don't
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
    Kodiak, AK
    www.alaska-fish.com
    https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

  9. #9

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    Folks might might be wondering about the rod and reel my wife is using. If you're inclined to offshore saltwater salmon fishing, that is.

    Here are the details:

    The rod is the "Baby" version of the TFO Lefty Kreh Bluewater Series sporting a 400 grain Rio Leviathan 26' sink tip on a TFO Large Arbor TFR 425 reel. The Blue Water is the only 10-WT I've found with a fore grip, and my wife wouldn't trade it for any rod in the world. Its "spine" is just right for absorbing smashing strikes while trolling, too. It's our standard outfit for plumbing deep water offshore, but has proven itself outstanding for trolling and for casting where a count-down is needed to reach fish under bird wrecks.

    When casting into the shallows near shore (or from shore) or to bird wrecks with the kings up on top, I much prefer casting a 10-weight Lefty Kreh TiCr X Series, same reel, and floating 10WT (425 grain) Rio Cold Water Outbound. The full length Outbound rather than the Short, cuzz the Short just makes me goofy.

    Those large arbor reels are just about mandatory for regaining line to restore tension when a king finishes a loooong run, then races right back at you. Small arbor reels are best left at home.

  10. #10
    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Warms my heart to see a fly fishing thread in the saltwater forum. Great read. I've got a few of those Leviathans and they're great lines. I've started using shooting heads because I can fine tune the head length or rate to get where I need to get. Though I do prefer the short.

    If you're out, and see a guy in a bay boat with dual Power Poles, that's me. Stop by and say hello. I'll be somewhere between Chiniak and North of Spruce.

  11. #11
    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Hank, here's my boat. The Power Poles stick out, even from a ways off, so I'm easy to spot.

  12. #12

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    Not what I was picturing at all, but even better! Looks excellent for the kind of fishing we're doing. You have to get close to cover for best results with kings, and no way to do that sitting in a cabin boat. Stand up, watch closely, and be ready for radical evasive maneuvers! Submariners in movies holler "Crash Dive!", but my wife is hollering Crash Turn!

    The trolling motor in the bow is high on my list. Perfect for working along the edges of cover with two fly casters, rather than one person on the console and the other casting.

    Hope you can connect on the lings. I've never had much luck on directed casting, mostly because they're scattered and I haven't stuck with it.

    But!!!!

    We get them pretty reliably by having a fly rod ready when someone hooks a ling on a jig. Often as not, the one on the jig comes up to the surface with another swimming alongside. If you have the fly rod in hand with some line already out, a quick cast almost always produces a wild take from the second ling. We've done it with halibut too, when we're on them in the shallows.

  13. #13
    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Yep, love the trolling motor. Everyone said it wouldn't work here, but I use that thing in open ocean to run the boat. It'll hold position, navigate a pre-laid course, hold speed, hold direction, cant the boat on a drift. And believe it or not, the Power Poles come in useful all the time.

    No luck this past weekend. Had some follows from kings, but ended up with a Pollack and a bunch of flat fish.

  14. #14
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    Don't start poking too much fun yet, still trying to figure things out. Do you think it would work to attach your fly line to a downrigger and fish with a flasher? I was thinking about trying to set my flasher off the downrigger ball and have the fly line attached by the clip so when a fish hits I would only be fighting the fish with the fly rod. I am thinking of targeting silvers that way. Any thoughts?

  15. #15

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    No sweat. Guys do it all the time with conventional gear when they don't like fighting fish with flashers in the line. Basically, put your flasher on a separate line back from the ball, then put a release a few feet up the wire and clip your line to that. The first illustration in this booklet shows what it looks like.

    We're fishing so shallow I don't even bother with the downrigger when I want a flasher back there with the flies. I just put a 6 oz banana weight on a conventional rod with the flasher about 3' behind that. Drop the line down the middle of your wake and set it back about where you think the flies are streaming down either side from the fly rods. (Fly rods 90 degrees to the boat for lots of spread).

    Most of the time up shallow however, the flasher is just in the way. Haven't tried it real deep, so I'm looking forward to any of your reports!

  16. #16
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    Not sure how deep other guys are fishing for silvers but I have had good luck around 60 to 80 feet in the last few years fishing conventional gear out of Seward whether it was mooching or with a downrigger. I pulled in quite a few lunkers at that depth. Last week in Seward they were probably less than 15 feet. I think I will start this Wednesday with the fly rod. I'll use my go to hoochie to start with and I hope to bring back a good report.

  17. #17
    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Silvers are my favorite. I do silvers fly casting from the surface down to 40' in open water and it's fun fishing because you aren't spending all your time sinking and rigging. Cast, let it sink a bit, strip, fish on. Don't even have to troll for them.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Folks might might be wondering about the rod and reel my wife is using. If you're inclined to offshore saltwater salmon fishing, that is.

    Here are the details:

    The rod is the "Baby" version of the TFO Lefty Kreh Bluewater Series sporting a 400 grain Rio Leviathan 26' sink tip on a TFO Large Arbor TFR 425 reel. The Blue Water is the only 10-WT I've found with a fore grip, and my wife wouldn't trade it for any rod in the world. Its "spine" is just right for absorbing smashing strikes while trolling, too. It's our standard outfit for plumbing deep water offshore, but has proven itself outstanding for trolling and for casting where a count-down is needed to reach fish under bird wrecks.

    When casting into the shallows near shore (or from shore) or to bird wrecks with the kings up on top, I much prefer casting a 10-weight Lefty Kreh TiCr X Series, same reel, and floating 10WT (425 grain) Rio Cold Water Outbound. The full length Outbound rather than the Short, cuzz the Short just makes me goofy.

    Those large arbor reels are just about mandatory for regaining line to restore tension when a king finishes a loooong run, then races right back at you. Small arbor reels are best left at home.
    BrownBear your king on the fly/king in shallow water posts are amazing!

    Around the inside waters northern southeast AK it seems the kings are caught trolling or casting from the beach at terminal harvest areas when they are coming back to spawn. On the outside coast anytime we get close to the beach, or rocks or in shallow the brown bombers and other rockfish are so thick they immediately pick up anything with a hook in it.

    How do you stay away from rockfish with the flyrods? Or are they much of a problem around Kodaik?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoonahtic View Post
    BrownBear your king on the fly/king in shallow water posts are amazing!

    Around the inside waters northern southeast AK it seems the kings are caught trolling or casting from the beach at terminal harvest areas when they are coming back to spawn. On the outside coast anytime we get close to the beach, or rocks or in shallow the brown bombers and other rockfish are so thick they immediately pick up anything with a hook in it.

    How do you stay away from rockfish with the flyrods? Or are they much of a problem around Kodaik?
    You're right- there are spots you just can't get away from the wrong species. Our best stunt is to get on the kings earlier in the season before the rockfish come up shallow, but we've also found lots of places along the shoreline that hold kings when conditions are right, so we can avoid the offshore concentrations of rockfish. Our biggest challenge most of the time is pollack. That's usually on bird wrecks offshore, but along about now they come in pretty close to shore, too. Kings are eating the smaller pollack, but the bigger ones are eating the same thing the kings are after, so they seem to hang together at times. We were only out briefly yesterday, but got a pollack in 11' of water! Same for juvenile black cod. They were hanging out in 30-40' of water until a couple of weeks ago, and now they're in 10. We just pick up and move when we get too much of the wrong stuff. Fortunately we've invested 40 years in getting intimately acquainted with about 10 miles of coast line, so we have lots of spots to fall back on as conditions change.

    Pink salmon are next up on the nuisance schedule.....

  20. #20
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Yup, that's the nice thing about early season beach hunting, if you're not catching kiings, you're not catching anything. No PITA fish like pinks and P-cod in 10fow usually.
    Life's to short for an ugly boat

    Blaze N Abel Charters
    Kodiak, AK
    www.alaska-fish.com
    https://www.facebook.com/BlazeNAbelCharters/?fref=ts

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