Chum Dog

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Gobstopper, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Peter Pancho

    Peter Pancho Active Member

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    this can't be the only chum report?
     
  2. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    I snuck out for a bit on Saturday morning - basically cruised 101 from Potlatch to Triton Cove looking for the elusive combination of public access and visible fish. Fished a couple of likely looking spots and saw a stray fish or two but nothing in the way of passing schools.

    Time was running out so I stopped by Hoodsport and opted to fish on the beach for schools passing by the public access shoreline at the park down the street rather than rub-elbows in the semi-circular megacluster, had an awful lot of shots at passing fish and did my best to put the collective wisdom to use. Had a floating line, longish leader, and alternated between sparse charteuse patterns in sizes 4-6 and purple-pink-chartreuse turds with slow strips, strip-strip-pause, strip-strip-slooooow strip retrieves but unfortunately the only fish I brought in was foul hooked. Such a disappointment! Getting a legitimately hooked chum is becoming a white-whale sort of quest for me. I think I've probably logged about 60-80 hours of fishing time over the past few years and have yet to bring in a fish that didn't look like it had been flossed.

    The lack of any legitimately hooked fish was a serious bummer, but casting by myself to passing schools of 10+ salmon in a beautiful setting made for a super-relaxing couple of hours. The only stress of the day came from looking at my watch and realizing that the only way I'd make it home in time is if there was no traffic on I-5 between Olympia and Seattle (Ha!). Once I was actually on the road, I saw a few folks fishing the shore at Potlatch state park, and a handful of boats and anglers fishing *right* at the mouth of the hatchery outlet just south of the park. Didn't see anyone fly-fishing in that crew, but I have seen fellow fly-flingers waaaay inside the 100 yard perimeter on multiple occasions. Not sure if I'm reading the regs wrong, or folks aren't aware of the regs or just see the fish and can't help themselves?

    Anyhow - wish I had more free time to spend in the South Sound trying to crack the Chum-Code, but I'll be fortunate if I get another day out there before the run is over. Might have to do some exploring on the Green to see if there's anyplace that I can do some casting away from the crowds so that I can sneak in a 3-hour AM run instead of a 7 hour round-trip....
     
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  3. Pat Lat

    Pat Lat Mad Flyentist

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    I was noticing a lot of tailslaps on my trips this year, or at least what I thought looked like tailslaps when they happened close. A couple that resulted in tailhooked fish
     
  4. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Jay, I'm sorry you haven't been able to catch a fair hooked chum yet. I wish I could say you were doing some simple little thing wrong, and you could fix it and slay chum... but it sounds like you have done everything right! All I can say is that this year more than last has brought to my attention just how finicky these bastards can be! Last year I caught most of my fish on just a couple patterns. This year for each successful day I've had, a different fly has been the culprit. One day it was chartreuse/purple/pink turds. Another day was a purple bodied, chartreuse hackle, pink tailed bugger type of a fly. On another recent outing a fly with a purple flashy tail,chatreuse body, and purple hackle was king. I ran out of those and caught fish on a turd with a pink tail and all chatreuse body, but couldn't buy a strike on anything else. Another day I was fishing with a buddy who had never really chased chums. It was super slow with few fish around, and while waiting for high tide I gave him a size 8 all pink clouser so he could try to catch some flounder. Shortly after some fish moved in and he landed 4-5 nice fish on that tiny little clouser. Go figure.
    I'd say over all my best fly has been that turd, but really other than the one day when they just wanted that fly and nothing else, its only caught me a fish here and there... Nothing lights out at all. A couple weeks before chum fishing I sat down and tied up a bunch of chum flies, thinking that would pretty well cover me for the season. Yeah, right. Over the past few weeks I've spent many evenings at the vise, tying stuff I'd never dreamed of before. It's been fun, but frustrating. Sometimes I just wish I could stick with the same fly or two, but sometimes its fun to sit down the night before and come up with something that works for the next day.

    I guess the best I can tell you is to keep at it! My two best days this year have been during some pretty brutal weather. Two weeks ago we caught it right during 45 MPH winds. It was wicked fishing conditions, but the chum were huuunnngrrrry. Last week we caught it on a similar day, and had even more success. The chum were around in huge numbers on both days, and I think the miserable conditions made them feel safer. The chop made it harder to spot them, but when you got the right fly in front of them there was no hesitation. I went back the next day on both accounts, and had very little success. One thing I have convinced myself of this year is that bright and sunny=bad. If you have to bundle up and wear rain gear, then chances are you may have a good day of fishing.

    During the last horrible storm I fished in I found myself not even stripping my fly at all. I would cast ahead of a school, and just let it sit. I was watching the end of my line...Sometimes it would just tug straight out of my hand, and other times the end would just take off and I'd have a fish on. I don't think they are super picky when it comes to presentation. If you put the right colors in front of them at the right time, they'll grab it. But just like other staging fish I've fished for in the past, if its not exactly the right thing, then you're just about wasting your time.

    Of course this is obvious, but you also can't catch what isn't there. I have hooked exactly 1 fish this year when I wasn't actively casting at schools. That day there was no schools around, and I was just making some casts killing time, and randomly hooked up. There were some jumpers around, so it wasn't like the area was barren, but if the schools don't show up in big numbers I generally don't waste much time at that location. Often I will head home, and come back later on at at different point in the tide and see if they have showed.

    Anyway, best of luck in your quest! Chum are an awesome fish, and while frustrating as hell sometimes, can be quite exciting when it all comes together.



     
  5. yellowlab03

    yellowlab03 Active Member

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    I fished the Hoodsport hatchery on Friday, Sunday and Monday... Man that was crazy. Friday I was in a boat so it was pretty uneventfull as far as people go. Sunday, there were huge schools moving around and for every fish I could catch in the mouth I caught 15 in the back. I was doing the slow strip, pause, slow strip. Fish weren't really having it. Monday I was casting about 15 feet in front of scools and letting my fly sink slowly to the bottom and then get it back to the surface and let it sink again. Most of the fish were taking it on the slow fall and I would just apply a little pressure and set the hook. Oh I was using a white over bright green clouser with a ton of crystal flash on it and a medium weighted head sz 1 gami hook.

    Fish the incoming tide and be aware of the crowds, they aren't afraid to walk 15 feet behind you and stand there and then yell at you when you smack one with your line or your fly. Also, be aware that when the tide comes up you are going to either have to climb, get wet or risk going on private property and getting a ticket. Awesome fishing this past weekend though, there were THOUSANDS of fish!
     
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  6. Carpmaster2

    Carpmaster2 New Member

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    Is it totally unrealistic to chase down chum outside the estruary/river mouth? Or do they simply run too deep to reach with the fly.
     
  7. Gobstopper

    Gobstopper New Member

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    Not unrealistic at all.
     
  8. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    Hey Nick:

    Thanks for the tech-advice and the stoke!

    The funny thing is that the longer this eternal skunking goes the more obsessed I've become, and the more excited I am when I actually get a chance to head out and cast for those suckers!
     
  9. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Glad to help in any way I can, Jay. If you ever make it to the Kitsap area shoot me a pm. Id be glad to go harass some chum with ya.
     
  10. ptphisher

    ptphisher Member

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    how many more weeks realistically do we have to expect to cast st chum in the general region?
     
  11. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    I don't count myself as an authority by any means, but from what I've seen the saltwater game seems like it's all but over by Thanksgiving in the Greater Kitsap area (partly because some rivers/creeks have met their escapement run and it looks like the commercial/tribal fishermen are engaged in a "clean-up" harvest), but I think I can recall people saying that the run into the Nisqually goes on a bit later. I'd venture a guess that you can probably target them in rivers where it's allowed through mid-December.

    As a side note - does anyone know the status of the chum runs in the Snohomish and Stillaguamish systems? Any signs that the runs are bouncing back or are they still struggling just as badly as they have been for the past several years.
     
  12. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Had a small window to fish this morning. Ended up 4-7

    All fish landed on this fly I stumbled on in the gallery last night and tied up.

    20131113_081122.jpg 20131113_073750.jpg 20131113_073728.jpg 20131112_192003.jpg
     
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  13. Carpmaster2

    Carpmaster2 New Member

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    Good looking fly, Nick. These reports are motivating (and much appreciated). I'll admit, I usually largely cash it in for the Puget Sound by this time of year and start thinking of elsewhere (steelhead, tropics) rather than chum. Which is probably dumb because practically every stream and drainage ditch in my south Sound neighborhood gets infiltrated with fish. I'd really enjoy poking the brighter fish outside the immediate stream head but was under the impression (apparently false) that these fish typcially held deeper out in the salt. You guys have me pumped to get the boat in and go cruise some beaches/points the next few weeks. Plus, I feel a bit shafted on getting out this summer/fall due to travel, bad timing, October monsoon. Maybe I'll be able to get some fix late in the year.
     
  14. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Go get em, Carp!

    I found that fly in the gallery last night. It was from a chum swap back in like 2003 or something. I thought it looked simple and effective so I tied some up in various color combos. I think I'd like to add a bit of weight to the next ones I tie up and see how those fish.

    Just another example of what a tremendous resource this forum is.
     
  15. Tony

    Tony Left handed Gemini.

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    Chico was pretty good today hooked 8 fairly and a few others foul huge schools started moving in after noon I caught them on 2 different colors basicly the same fly pictured in this post green wing red body was the best but a pink wing purple body caught fish also,size 4 hook cast and small strip retrieve seemed to work best