Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Squidro

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to have 4 days to swing flies on the Olympic Peninsula. During those four days, I only hooked one fish. I fought the fish for a few minutes when it started to head for a log jam down river. I applied as much pressure as I thought possible without breaking my 12 lb. Maxima. Just as  I told my buddy, "Hey, how about grabbing that net," my line went slack.  I retrieved my black and blue Squidro only to find a straightened Gamakatsu Octopus hook.  

My Squidro uses a Scott Howell Steelie Shank and dyed "Steelie Coon," both from

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Tandem Tube

I've been tying flies for steelhead quite a lot over the last year. Mike Sturza of Lost Creek Fly Shop showed me the Tandem Tube, but it was designed by Brian Silvey in Oregon.
If I had one fly to fish for steelhead, the Tandem Tube would be it. The hatchery fish below took a fleshy-pink and orange Tandem Tube like the one in the middle above.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Puget Sound Silver Salmon

This year I learned about the magic of fishing for coho salmon in Puget Sound. The action started for me just after September 1st when my buddy, Mark, and I fished this point near the mouth of Hood Canal. I managed two good days of coho fishing this year in Hood Canal.
I used white, pink, and chartreuse clouser minnows tied on hook shanks with trailing hooks.  I tied a bunch of coho flies on tubes, but I'll have to wait until next year to see if they will really work. I also fished some top water sand lance tube flies and got some impressive boils, but no hookups.

Next year I plan to be fishing the salt by the end of July. Should be a great year for pinks and coho.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Columbia Basin Bass and Carp, June 2012

This June my good buddy Scott and I headed to the Columbia River Basin and camped at Potholes State Park. We were off to a great start when I landed this largemouth along the reeds in one of the lakes just off an irrigation canal.

I was especially pleased to find success with my weedless jig-fly I had tied just for this lake. This fly uses black and purple rubber legs, flashabou, and marabou. I've been amazed at how effective it can be. I can pull it through all sorts of cover, but when I set the hook, it connects. It's very cool to see your line move to the side when a bass picks up this fly.

Next, we were off to Moses Lake to chase carp and smallmouth. We were sight fishing to cruisers in relatively deep water. The fish would rise almost to the surface and then go back into the depths. Our expectations were low. I tried various flies until I finely settled on Mr. P's Carp Carrot.  I put the fly somewhere out in front of this fish, and then fly and fish disappeared into the dark waters.

A while later, I lifted my rod to cast at a random moment and it was fish on, and fair hooked! I struggled to lift this fish out of the net, but I finally just cradled her like a monster baby. My net was bent, my hoodie had slime all over it, but I was thrilled.
My version of Mr. P's Carp Carrot.

Later that day we tossed Murdich Minnows for smallmouth along the rock piles. We picked up a few smaller fish like the above, but I lost the big one, a smallie that must have gone at least 4 lbs. Note to self: big smallmouth like to take the fly on the drop; be prepared.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

April on the Olympic Peninsula

Forgive me for the long silence.
My new plan is to post more often, but to write less in each post.
It won't take long to tell about all the fish I have caught this year because I spent most of my days fishing for steelhead.

I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula in mid-April for 5 days of fishing during spring break. I met some amazing characters who were crazy enough to camp out there with me in the wet cold.
I fished for four days without touching a fish. On the fifth day, I was ready to call it quits, but I had made a commitment to fish with my buddy, Ryan, a guy I met on the river a few days prior.

We hit a popular run outside Forks, and I was into a fish immediately. This fish was a bit dark, maybe post-spawn, but I was elated, nevertheless. I got it on a sherbert colored tandem tube, a Brian Silvey pattern I learned about from Mike Sturza at the Lost Creek Fly Shop. This fly gives me confidence, and the tandem tube is a breeze to tie.

Thirty minutes later I was into a smaller, brighter fish. I felt a bump as I mended my line and then it just went tight as this fish peeled off drag.

At this point, I was ready to head home, but I continued fishing out of courtesy to Ryan, my new fishing buddy.  I didn't want to drag him back to camp when he hadn't gotten any of the action.

Soon Ryan was into his own fish! We exchanged high fives and it was time to say goodbye to the Hoh.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My lucky fishing beard

A couple of weeks ago, I was snowed in with the kids. No school for me means no school for them. With all that free time, I decided to grow a beard. I told my wife that maybe I wouldn't shave until I caught a steelhead on my new two-handed rod, but then I realized that I might end up looking like Santa Claus before it was all over.

But then I caught a steelhead--on the Skagit River of all places.  Indeed, until I got a good look at my fish, I thought it was a dolly varden.

Now I'll never shave my lucky steelhead beard.

I caught my hatchery steelhead while I was swinging a purple egg sucking moal leech on my 13' 8 weight. The fish was 25" long and it fed about 6 people.

Now I want to catch a native steelhead on my new rod. Can't shave until then!

Let's have just one more look:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We call it riding the gravy train

Northwest psychedelic band Pink Salmon is wrapping up its biennial Pacific tour this year in the Puget Sound area. You must catch this show before the end of this tour as Pink Salmon will not return until 2013. While rival band, Pink Floyd, only has three surviving original members, Pink Salmon has 7 million members who are all intent on running up the local rivers only to commit mass suicide in an effort to procreate.

When it comes to Pink Floyd, I've often asked myself, "By the way, which one's Pink?" Meanwhile, every member of Pink Salmon is called Pink!

There is no doubt that Pink Floyd's music is superior. But the advantage with Pink Salmon is that after you enjoy the show, you can take them home and throw them on the grill.

I caught up with Pink near Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

 Pink Salmon fan, Scotty, poses with Pink down near Redondo Beach: 
In order to have the ultimate Pink Salmon experience, I suggest the following: 
1. When you get Pink in the boat, tell it, "The band is just fantastic. That is really what I think. I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."  
2. Dispatch of  Pink as humanely as possible and then cut its gills to let it bleed.  Watch out for greedy seals.  
3. Put Pink on ice immediately and fillet it later. 

Here's a marinade that works for me: 2 teaspoons butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil, one table spoon soy sauce, plus ginger or garlic.  
Place the fillet, skin down, on tin foil. Throw it on the grill covered. Cook until done.