many of you have seen sean's post about fishing poppers for papio (trevally). if you haven't yet you can check it out at
just so happens i have been doing a little popper fishing myself since moving. i have reconnected with a friend and former casting student steve up here in washington. i taught steve how to cast back in 2007. steve was one of my best students and he has not lost his passion for fly casting nor his pursuit of the "perfect" cast. steve left hawaii and moved to houston. years later, as fate would have it, we both ended up in the northwest.
the popper fishing we have been doing has been for sea run cutthroat trout in the puget sound. now i am by no means an expert at this stuff having only done it a handful of times. i am still a wide eyed, excited, newb, so i won't go into "how to" details as i am still learning it myself. there are a bunch of websites and a few books that can explain the fish and the fishery far better than i can if you are so inclined.
i can tell you that fishing for sea run cutthroats in the sound is much like bombing for bones. pretty much covering fishy water which, as those who know me know, is right up my alley.
the differences are that we are "bombing" poppers and streamers with five and six weight single hand rods or five weight or less switch rods. so far, being the gear junkie that i am, i have fished my g loomis glx classic 5wt., g loomis nrx 5wt., sage 590-4 method, and beulah classic 4/5 wt. switch rod and have a bunch of other "favorites" in the queue waiting for their shot.
the tides rise and fall in the range between a minus 3 low to a twelve foot high, quite a bit more fluctuation than our two foot tides in hawaii (and you know how much of a difference that can make). the winds in the sound are generally not quite as strong as typical hawaiian trades but they do get pretty close up there. they are also a bit trickier than the winds in hawaii as you can't always just position yourself to have the wind in your favor. my experiences so far have been a lot of casting quartering into the wind or directly into the wind, often with the wind coming from the non rod side. fortunately i have fished those types of winds for years, on purpose, in hawaii so it is not a big deal to me.
the flies are mainly baitfish patterns similar to those used for peacock bass on lake wilson (also right up my alley). the sea run cutts will go after some pretty big baitfish which was a bit of a surprise to me. they will often come flying out of the water to hit the popper. how exciting! that is the reason steve and i (and apparently many others around here) love to fish the popper despite a poor hook up ratio compared to streamers. such is the case in most popper vs. streamer situations. barbless hooks are required by regulation and that also gives these energy charged zippers an opportunity to escape the photo shoot during any given encounter.
the miyawaki popper a popular puget sound sea run cutthroat fly
sea run seaducer
these fish are not super strong but they are erratic and extremely energetic. very zippy! one morning steve jabbed his rod into the stony bottom and broke his rod trying to land one of these feisty creatures... i guess the src got the last laugh of that encounter. sometimes like that.
what did not surprise me about the sea run cutthroat trout in puget sound is how tough they can be to find by a guy just beginning his quest to catch them. steve has been chasing them hard for two years now. the knowledge he has gained has helped a ton, but he too is also still in the early stages of his journey. to us that is the game. it is a big part of what makes fly fishing fun and a lifetime addiction.
the pay off. this is my first puget sound sea run cutt ever. not a big guy but forever a special one in my book.
washington has a multitude of different fly fishing and conventional fishing opportunities. i am just enjoying the newness of it all and the being (once again) at the beginning of another journey of excitement, learning, discovery, successes, failures, ideas, and experiences. in the coming weeks, months, years, and (hopefully) decades, i intend to learn about and experience as much of it as my girlfriend, two doggies, aging bones, and time here on earth will allow.
to save on drive time and distance, my sea run quests begin with a ferry ride across the sound...
waiting for the ferry. sometimes you wonder if you should have stayed in bed, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
up until now i have not had much experience riding ferries and am amazed that they can carry a shit ton of vehicles!
the "beaches" of puget sound have many different looks...
on some days the beaches look dreary, harsh, and uninviting.
other days it looks just like being in hawaii. just much much colder! doesn't this look just like k bay?
more shots of my new "home" waters...
being forty five years old now (holy crap!), i will never be able to spend as much time in these beautiful new waters as i have spent growing up and living in hawaiian waters. i will also never be as intimately familiar with these waters as i am with hawaiian waters. so the warm tropical waters of hawaii will always be "home" to me. if you think about it though, it is the same water... i'll just be fishing it from the other side.
in the world of fly fishing, some fly fishers target big fish and others look for lots of fish. some seek "strong" fish, while others just want to catch fish. i have always simply loved solitude on the water and in nature. these days that often means locations and times when there are fewer fish... but that is just fine with me.
as long as there could be a fish or two around, i will do my best to find them...
and absolutely love every moment of it. good times indeed!
brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816