It doesn’t get much more American, than fishing for trophy fish. Bigger, stronger, faster! If you would like to make me happy tell me when you get on the boat that you want to chase the biggest beast in the water, not the most fish, or a fish, but the biggest fish. These are 5 ways to catch bigger Sea Run Cutthroat in Puget Sound and Hood Canal!
- Cast better! The biggest limiting factor I see when taking anglers fishing is that they need to be able to cast further, lay the line out straighter, and do it all quicker! Let’s be honest with ourselves here. This would help all of us no matter how good at casting you are. If you could reach a target quicker, further away, and more efficiently we would all catch more fish, bigger fish, and better fish. Go take a lesson, practice in your lawn, and become a better caster! I don’t mind spending an hour or more on the water giving casting lessons, as a matter a fact, I love knowing you will be a better angler because you fished with me. I will be honest with you though, that’s an hour or more that we are not targeting the larger fish in the water and we are probably spooking some fish and missing part of the tide. I give lessons to anyone who schedules for $40 an hour. We can take care of this before any trip you have.
- Fish deeper water! When my buddy Johnny and I first started fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat we scoured the earth for any information we could find on how to catch them. Everything we read stated to “fish parallel to the shore” which we did, and we caught some fish. However it was a rare day that we caught a Sea Run much larger than 12”. Years later and we are consistently fishing for bigger trout, and we are targeting 10’-30’ of water and fishing off of the steepest drop offs and current seems. Moving water is still our number one target, however number two is quick access to deep water. We are already fishing the right bait fish patterns, we just need to put it in the right place now!
- Sinking lines. While floating lines are a ton of fun to fish with, and we love surface attacks, and intermediate lines are still pretty effective and easy to keep from snagging bottom with, TYPE III sinking lines seem to be just what the doctor ordered for finding the biggest fish in the water! Type III sinks at about 3” per second, keeping your fly down just a bit more while stripping your line in. This also allows you to get the fly down to the structure much quicker and in the zone of those big lurkers hanging off the drop offs! This may require that you work a little to keep the fly from catching bottom, however I assure you that it will catch you some bigger fish! My personal favorite line for this job is the Rio Outbound Short, this is in the freshwater series for tossing streamers in lakes and rivers. This line give flight to the hidden tungsten beads in my baitfish flies, and gets down to the nastiest of Sea Run Cutthroat in the Puget Sound or Hood Canal.
- Cast Up Current! Big Cutthroat do not want to work hard for their food, they didn’t get fat swimming on a treadmill! The fish are targeting bait that is confused by current or is weak and being swept down current, so lets swim those flies just like they want it! Stripping down current also means you need to strip a little quicker to keep tight with your fly, particularly on a good tidal flow! This is another big bonus of a sinking line to keep your fly pulled down in the water column while stripping fast down stream.
- Stay Tight! Keep that line tight to the fly! I can not tell you how many times I see clients miss fish with their rod tip up. Their fly line never comes tight, and they don’t even know their fly was eaten until their rod tip gets tugged and the fish is gone. “Rod tip down!” “Strip a little quicker.” “Keep up with that fly!” However what I really mean is, “G@$D!%m it that fish was huge and I just watched it pick up your fly, pick its teeth with the hook point, and even admired the tasteful use of the Fish Mask, all before you even knew anything happened!” Stay tight to the fly at all times! Staying tight to the fly will assure your fly is always moving away from the fish, playing cat and mouse and triggering a chase instinct, and it will make sure you feel everything the fly does. If the fly is plucked at, picks up weeds, or if it is eaten, you will feel it and can act accordingly.
These tips will ensure a much better catch rate and also a much larger fish in your net! I hope this was helpful in putting the puzzle together!