Beach Kings

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Stonefish, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. I've hooked a fair number of beach kings over the years, but have always done so while targeting coho.
    Not a bad bycatch...;)
    I've run into a few situations including one this weekend where I feel kings are present based on baitfish behavior but I failed to connect.
    I just curious what patterns and lines folks have used to successfully target kings off the beaches.
    I'd like to up my game a bit and would appreciate your input and suggestions.
  2. Yeah B , I'd also be interested in what patterns/lines folks have used for 'nookies.

    I'm gettin' ready for pink and silver action here on the KP but I wouldn't mind tying into a King!

    Thinkin' about hittin' PNP this week in order to see what's in the water! :)
  3. We were targeting Ling Cod off the jetty in Westport a few weeks ago and to our surprise hooked a nice sized fish of 8-9 lbs on a double bunny rabbit fur leech. Was pretty awesome to see the flash of silver and then to realize it was no Ling cod. I am a firm believer that if a salmon is present and hungry, they are opportunistic feeders. Check this video out of fish following a lure when trolled, one fish follow the lure for over 4 minutes. All it takes is that right moment with the speed of the retrieve and time and place when it all comes together.

    Some very interesting king behaviour I've seen are them rooting around the eel grass in search of sand lance. They are not moving quickly, but getting nosing into the ground as evidenced by scratches on their gill plates by the rocks, and bottom of the ocean floor. A big king can surprise many anglers in how shallow of water they will roam and if the time is right you could be in for a nice prize.

    Patrick Allen and Dehlan G like this.
  4. For feeding chinook maybe Surf Candy patterns and/or epoxy sandlance would do the trick. Sometimes when feeding on abundant bait near the beach they won't touch the usual Clousers, but need something more realistic. They like Shock & Awe patterns for sure, but you need a good current to fish this fly effectively from the beach. I certainly have not hooked enough chinook from the beach to be an expert.
    Stonefish likes this.
  5. stonefish, with your experience you've likely hooked more than any "experts" that would give you advice.

    honestly, they will likely to continue to be a nice bycatch for most people. even the books that write about catching feeding chinook, there is far more casting and retrieving than hooking fish by serious magnitudes... and that is fishing offshore waters on major feeding grounds far from puget sound.

    with the amount of people fly fishing puget sound over the past century if catching kings with regularity had been figured out... we'd likely know.

    i would follow the advice of shallow water moochers.... low light, good bait (more realistic flies), the right tide for the spot will increase your odds.... with low light being the biggest factor for shallow water.
    daveypetey and Stonefish like this.
  6. Do you think any of these would work

    Attached Files:

  7. Large herring pattern, splash down loudly when the kings have the herring pinned tight to the beach at last light, or later. I have little room for handing out advice to the likes of you or most here, but I have been savagely broken off by several that I'm sure were by catch kings. I have only brought one to the beach. I need to go with a bit heavier leader and tippet.
  8. Like others, I have caught blackmouth as a by catch while flyfishing for coho off the beach. I have also targeted them by picking beaches with good hard tides, deep drop offs nearby, bait and low light. They were on the popper. I found that when blackmouth come in close enough to eat they are incredibly aggressive as if they know they don't like the shallows and want to eat and get the hell out of there.

  9. There's a "terminal" run of kings in MA9 that I've looked at longingly from the road a couple of times when I've happened to be in the area, and during the last run I could swear I saw a fellow flycaster out in the salt in a pram with a hefty king on the end of his line.

    I even went so far as to buy one of the Grand-Slam bucktails in the hopes that I'd be able to find a way to get out there in my own pram, but with a newborn in the house last year it was just impossible. Having said that, if anyone with more experience than I have would care to take a look at the site below and tell me what they think about their suitability for targeting "staging" kings, I'd appreciate it.

    (I have zero affiliation with the company, it just looked like something a king might go after and that I couldn't easily replicate on my own).
  10. I have not caught a returning king on a fly rod from the beach, but I have seen and heard of about 1 king landed each day at popular beach fishing points along Whidbey. Lagoon, Bush, etc. Where the beach just drops off to the depths quick and bait is trapped by the point rip.

    All this typing and I know Stonefish knows this stuff as well as anyone.

    Even with a boat I think targeting kings with a fly rod would require creativity and luck.

    Mutiny Bay does see a number of kings come in shallow water of about 30 feet, but this is still to far from shore to reach with a cast. Like Chris said spots where shallow water mooching is popular.

    Regarding the GSBucktail. I have caught fish with these trolling but they are very large for casting and would require a beads or a straw to serve as a junction tube. I think you can do better with local patterns found in Led Johnson's book.
  11. Not that I have any experience catching Kings from the beach, but I hit a certain MA9 beach that you suggested to me this AM at 4AM. I was sweeping that herring pattern I just posted in the fly salon around for another cast, and almost shit my pants as something very large followed my pattern and then quickly bolted with a large splash as the fly got within about 10 ft from me. Felt pretty kingy to me.

    This was before sunrise, at approx. 430AM.
  12. Cool - thanks for the feedback on the GS patterns.
  13. When fishing KP beaches, one must first leave a small cooler full of ice cold beers in the red Avalanche to appease the fishing gods.

    Only then will you catch kings from the beaches. Multiple offerings may be required.

  14. Brian,

    Mr.E was the one WFF member who seemed to consistently target adult chinook from the beach. He fished MA-13 beaches (estuaries) for Nisqually bound chinook. His posts from July - August 2008 in the Saltwater forum (page 84) are pretty helpful and entertaining:

    He mentions using a "very sparse flatwing sandlance pink over white with purple marabou collar". I think he also used a glow in the dark pink/white squid pattern to catch them (photo in 2nd thread). Fishing was done well before sunrise. I know that pink is not your favorite color in a fly, but sacrifices must be made.
    mtskibum16, Ed Call and Blake Harmon like this.
  15. The Surf Candy in the appropriate size is my favorite pattern for consistently taking kelp bed chinook with a small Deceiver as a back up. I have only targetted chinook from an anchored boat and never from shore but it is still shallow water. I think as important as the pattern is, it's also important to study the movement of the bait and use an appropriate retrieve of the right speed (little bait fish can't swim very fast).
    Richard Torres likes this.
  16. Most good Chinook beaches from MA5,6 and 9 that I have experience on (that is actually targeting and catching kings from the beach) are on private lands that I have been extremely fortunate over the many years (38) to have made good acquaintances of said owners. It's been weird luck, mostly a friend of a friend at some get together or another. Very similar to two motorcyclists meeting in a crowd (of non-motorcyclists) and becoming fast friends immediately. Well, perhaps you know what I mean. There are some public beaches but I'm not divulging, then again they might be there one day but you'll have to wait another year or so for them to show again. It's hard because I've found that you need to target a tight area over a span of about a week, fishing daily, very early morning and early to late evening (morning much better). What I have found that there are a few areas that produce well year to year within a plus/minus week to week schedule, however there have been some El Nino/Nina years that throw that schedule way off.

    What I've found to be most important is timing(time of year and time of day)..say early to mid August for the eastern part of 6 to northern part of 9. Secondly is tide and sunlight. Early morning ebb tide is best then ebb evening. Forget about any part of daylight. Thirdly is fly and sighting the fish (hard with little light). Keep the fly small, say Cali Neil (non-bead head with eyes) or there are some very productive BC origin estuary flies but as I have posted before my far above favorite is Blair's baiter: I have not had much success with shrimp or clouser patterns, which I still find hard to believe.

    Chinook move rapidly day to day shallow to deep. I've caught kings from the beach one day and for the next several days on the same beach, similar time and tides been skunked. Then to follow up in the same near-area to catch them in deeper water on the boat...with gear. It's much more fun on the fly from the beach! The exception to this is in the estuary where chinook are staging. You'll have more TIME to target the fish but they will be more FINICKY and very, very easily spooked in lower water. Unfortunately the numbers of kings and the health of the rivers that can support a return of kings is so ever dwindling that it's silly to me to spend the time to target staging kings when ... blah blah blah.
  17. Also please let me clarify that I'm not filling my catch card with chinook. My best year targeting kings from the beach was 14, a long, long time ago. I've been happy with 1-4 in the past 4 or so years. It's timing and a lot of luck which I hope goes your way.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.

Share This Page