Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Late October 2010 Images

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Late October 2010  Images

It’s October, and we have us some Chinook salmon flies.  Yes we do.


Pasture the Jet sled.  Unleash the Pram.


No fly rod?  No problem.  All one  needs is a fly reel and a little cork to bite-down on.


What discovery will this new day reveal?


Hot.  Thirsty.  No fish.  No grabs.  Focus.


A fancy fly reel left in the grass was still there next morning.


Sea Run Cutthroat – the fish we couldn’t catch when we were trying.


Often, only our shadow is there to share our thoughts.


We do have our favorite flies to fish.


Chum salmon: beautiful ssurprise.


One last cast, maybe.

JN

CF Burkheimer Salmon Fly Rod: 995-4 Single-hand Fly Rod

CF Burkheimer Salmon Fly Rod:  995-4 Single-hand Fly Rod

Kerry Burkheimer builds outstanding Spey fly rods.  But you should know that’s not the full menu  of magic Kerry wields in his modest Fly Rod Shop in Camas.  Kerry just happens to be a master designer and builder of the single-hand fly rod too.  In fact, Kerry was building what he refers to as “superb” one-hand fly rods long before he developed his first signature Spey fly rod with John Hazel’s coaching.

My friendship with Kerry Burkheimer has grown throughout the year and has included the technical aspects involved with fishing his two-hand rods and experiencing the Burkheimer “feel” that took me several steps up from my actual Spey casting ability level.  No kidding.

Kerry Burkheimer tried to educate me about the technical aspects of “lay-ups” in rod building.  Nice try, Kerry.

My closest friends know that I am a salmon nut, purely stated, and so it was natural for me to ask Kerry to build me a single hand salmon rod.  We talked options, rod weights, rod actions, lengths, and so on, and then decided that a 9′ 5″ Deep Loading Action rod would most likely be right for my Chinook fly fishing needs.

Little did I realize just how right this rod would be.

I ordered the Burkheimer 995-4 as much out of friendship, Burkheimer loyalty, and curiosity, as anything else.  I have been fishing several “brands” of the major single-hand fly rods for King salmon in recent years.  Honestly, I liked them all and every fly rod performed well for me.  We are blessed these days with the availability of very good nine and ten weight fly rods in both modest and high-end price range.  I fished Echo, Sage, Winston, Loomis, Thomas & Thomas, and Scott fly rods and had fun with all of them.

But I wanted a Burkie to fish king salmon this fall. Had to have it.  Ordered it.  Waited.  Watched the rod making process, several days running, chatting with Kerry and his rod-crafting artisans.

Mandrills. I saw the mandrills that would form the core of my new salmon rod.

Corks, courtesy of the “cork mafia” in Portugal.

Tattoos.  Lots of tattoos.

Work stations with designs taped to the wall.

Glued handles ready to shape.

Finally, I had my 995-4 in the boat, ready to fish. I cast the rod.  I was surprised at how well I (the rod) cast.  I was on the Alsea with my friend Rob.  He asked if he could give my new Burkie a go, and naturally, I handed him the rod.  Rob didn’t exactly giggle, but he made some sort of unclassifiable sound when he made his first cast.  Then another and another.   He shook his head and went into a rant about Kerry Burkheimer the master rod builder and how he was instantly impressed and would need to order one of these rods for himself, and maybe, just maybe, he would order an 11 or 12 weight rod with a fighting grip half way up the butt section.

Two days later Rob e-mailed to continue his complimentary Burkheimer fly rod rant.  All this made me feel really good, because Rob is head-and-shoulders a better caster than I, and his reaction made me feel like it wasn’t simply my friendship with Kerry that was influencing my evaluation of the rod.

So I fished, and fished, and fished, with the grab here, the pull there, the head-shake before low slack, and the “nuthin’ goin’ on here” days ticking by.  Finally, I hooked a nice Chinook on  Tillamook Bay on a Dry Line in about five feet of water.  Finally!  The trollers stared and wondered what the hey we were doing fly fishing for trout in T-Bay and how odd it was for us to have hooked a King on a fly, and naturally the fish came un-pinned before we could officially release it.  But – – – wow, that was fun.

This Burkheimer 995-4 is responsive, has a deep loading action, which I like and which could probably be described as medium fast; it casts shooting heads and integrated head fly lines like the proverbial rocket.

Might add this: my other 9-wt. fly rods stumble over shooting heads above about 350 gr, but the Burkie makes the cast for me with a modified 250 gr head as easily as with a 400-plus gr head.  This single-hand Burkheimer 995-4 makes the close cast and the long cast.  Now that, I think, is what Kerry means by a “superb” fly rod.

Thanks Kerry.

PS:  This Burkheimer fly rod has brought several  Chinook salmon to hand for release this season.  Oh-my-gosh.  Two hundred yards into the backing.  Good thing I had a friend to free the loop of mono running line from the middle finger of my right hand, or I could have been cut to the bone.

JN

Post Script: Expect me to review my experience fly fishing for Chinook with a Burkheimer 7115-4 two-hand fly rod.  I fish this two-hander casting overhead  in tidewater with shooting heads and integrated-head fly lines.  This 7115-4 fly rod is a beauty and has seen some great days  wrangling flies and Chinook salmon on the water this year.

Fly Fishing Technique: Deschutes Summer Steelhead

Quote.  My method for fishing for steelhead (which cannot be discounted, for I have caught eleven so far this year) is to cast straight out, let the line and fly be carried by the current, activating it in rhythmical jerks, even continuing after the line and fly have straightened out.

By starting with a short cast and gradually lengthening each cast to the extremity, all water is covered.  Then I move downstream four steps and repeat the process.  There are lots of little tricks, such and mending one’s line, and little dipsidoodles that will get your fly down.

While my technique doesn’t yield the number of strikes (as some other methods), it does have two advantages: first is the exciting, powerful dynamic strike,  which 90% of the time happens at the 5 o’clock position, as the fly swings around, just prior to straightening out.  The second is a corollary of the first, for the steelhead strikes on a relatively taught line and (if it doesn’t break you), firmly hooks himself.  End quote.

Mr Thomas Burgess Malarkey.

Deschutes River Journal, June 20, 1959 – March 1, 1981

October 1972

May we remember the men and women who have preceded us wherever we wade or stand on a riverbank to fish for salmon and steelhead here in Oregon.

JN

While We Were Fishing for Chinook – – –

While we were fishing for Chinook – – –

Someone who lives on the lonely road between Hebo and Valley Junction keeps a tally of our service men and women who have died far from home, in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I don’t know the person who keeps this tally of lives shattered, don’t know the sign keeper’s story, but I suspect that their life has been deeply touched by this war.  I imagine that the sign-keeper maintains this count with love and sorrow; perhaps anger too.  I just don’t know.

I have driven past this sign in sun, rain, and storm for years now, on my way to and from the coast.  I don’t remember the number from each passage, but I know the number continues to grow.

I remember my father, an amateur radio operator (W7CYF, I think), devoting countless hours (days, weeks, months, years) making radio connections between gravely wounded soldiers on hospital ships off the coast of Vietnam with family members stateside.

A veteran of WW II and Korea, my father was deeply disturbed by the Vietnam “conflict.”  He obsessed over these broken and maimed lives in an undeclared war he saw as — – – – – – .

I don’t really have a clear and complete picture of what he thought, because we never really had a complete, sober conversation about Korea, or Vietnam. I do know that he saw a difference between WW II and Vietnam.  I can only imagine how he viewed these “wars” by piecing together many small pieces of his tearful stories like a quilt

Most probably, the number on this sign will be higher when I next trek off in pursuit of salmon.

This sign reminds me that men, women, and children of many nations, many faiths, are dying each day, in declared and un-declared wars around the world, while I work, or spend time with my family, or just go fishing..

JN

Post Script: As I trudge home after another Chinook fishing adventure, daydreaming about flies, hooks, lines, salmon, friends, and my family, I see that the number has indeed marched ahead.

Lost Recently at the Pacific City Boat Ramp – – –

Lost Recently at the Pacific City Boat Ramp – – –

One Muck boot, perfect condition, men’s size 13, on October 5, 2010, on the asphalt boat ramp at the Nestucca River, in Pacific City, Oregon.

Finder of said boot (left foot) may contact me and I will send right-foot boot, so that the pair may be re-united.

JN

Koffler 16′ Jet Sled – – – Fly Fisher’s Design

Here is a quick report on my home-equity loan, ummmm, I mean my Koffler Jet Sled.

Same thing, really, but hey, it’s only money, right?  And who knows how many seasons any of us have left under our belts.

Here are the specs, in shorthand. Length: 16′.  Width: 60″.  Flat bottom.  very stable fly fishing platform.  Power plant is a Yamaha 40 hp jet pump (60 hp motor rated as 40 hp at the pump).  Tiller with power tilt/trim, electric start.  Bilge pump and water wash-down hose.  Self draining fish box under front deck.  Battery and water wash-down hose under front deck.  Three portable 3 gal. gas tanks under front deck.  Anchor locker at bow.  Dirks anchor release at bow and starboard stern corner.  Tackle trays along both sides accommodate 10 ft fly rods.  Snap-in carpet in tackle trays.  Fuel filter enclosed under outboard.  Lowrance fish finder/sounder installed in covered panel on Port side under tackle tray.  Sand-blasted diamond plate deck.  Two removable seat/gear boxes.  Two oarlock positions; one allows rowing from seated position on front deck, the other allows oarsman to stand and row just forward of tiller.  Oars stow under starboard side tackle trays.  Koffler galvanized heavy-duty trailer.

Performance specs. A wonderful fly fishing platform for our Oregon bays.  The front deck and main deck are clean and open, if we simply don’t junk it up with too much stuff.  This sled navigates modest rivers easily.  It is NOT a Lower Deschutes river sled.  Perfect for my planned expeditions.  Will be a great lake fishing boat if I ever make time for that.  The Yamaha is quiet and idles down to a very low speed.  No need for a second trolling motor.  The boat goes on plane in the bay and zips plenty fast for my comfort with three guys in the boat and three full gas tanks.

Cost? More than I had hoped to spend.  No discounts for me.  Someone called Bruce Koffler and speculated that they were paying me a lot of cash to promote their sleds and tidewater prams.  No so.  I have not received a single buck or discount in this deal.  Period.

Worth it? Absolutely.  This boat gets me to more places and into more chances to have fun trying to catch a Chinook than I ever could before.  Have I sold my Koffler driftboat or 11′ pram?  Nope.  To each fishing condition and place, there is a perfect boat.  I need them all, I tell my family.  They just laugh and smile.  They know me.  Chris, do you stock pontoon rafts?  I just might need one of those things too.

Bow anchor & rope locker.


Box under Port-side Tackle tray for power controls (running lights, anchor light, bilge pump, water wash-down,  fish finder).

Bow anchor release.


Under Deck gear or fish box (lifejacket locker too).


Oar Storage under Starboard tackle tray.


Starboard quarter anchor release.


Under deck Bilge Pump.

Tackle tray with snap-in/out carpet.


Battery storage & Water wash down hose under bow deck.

Sweet.

JN

Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal – October 5, 2010

Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal – October 5, 2010

Our days started early, but we were always late to the game.

Coffee started the days, tackle trays got messy.

Three bucks a day is a bargain for a boat launch, a garbage can, and a clean outhouse.

All critters try to get a meal.

Foiled double-hauls aside, we had great companionship.

We soaked a lot of flies.

Usually, we were fishless, last boat to take out in the evening.

Now and then, though,  – – – – –

I love every minute of every day fly fishing for salmon here in Oregon.

Almost.

JN


Interview with the Alien: Fly Fishing for Chinook salmon, October 2, 2010.

Interview with the Alien: Fly Fishing for Chinook salmon.

I’m a student of salmon. Nuts about salmon.  As a “salmon scientist”,  I have dedicated my career to studying Pacific salmon and trying to translate an understanding about the fish into management actions that would help save what we can of these magnificent fish for future generations.

I love to fish for salmon too. As much as I have learned, I realize each time I am on the water that I will never understand these fish, and the ways they react to our best fly presentations, never do more than barely scratch the surface of possibilities.

There are so many places to fish, so many tides, and seasons, and so much equipment, interacting with fish in such a ways as to complicate and turn everything we thought we knew yesterday into a new discovery today.

Get to the point,  Jay.

I met this guy on the river recently. At least I think he was a guy.  Not sure though.  We were both on the Alsea River, near Kozy Kove, fly fishing for Chinook.  We were both dedicated and focused.  We were both the recipient of numerous lectures and jokes regarding just how pointless it was  to be fly fishing for king salmon.  Silvers and jacks – maybe – but not Chinook.  Our tackle was inadequate.  Kings don’t take flies.  We were offered bobbers and eggs, sometimes free and sometimes for a price.  Our would-be mentors and detractors were relentless.  We eventually retreated to an isolated reach of tidewater where we could escape the onslaught of their ongoing dialogue, well intentioned or otherwise.

This creature seemed a kindred spirit, and we enjoyed our conversation immensely.  Clearly, this being was an accomplished salmon fly fisher, relating many colorful stories of both fishing success and failure on rivers I was completely unfamiliar with.

I enquired if an interview would be welcome, if I could present a series of questions that would delve into this creature’s experience chasing Chinook with a fly rod.

The answer was:  yes. We had only a short time before nightfall so I kept my questions to the basics.  Here is the gist of the interview, reported after the fact, as best as I can remember.  I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Q/A with the Alien: Fly Fishing for Chinook salmon in Oregon.

Q:  Is there an ideal time or tide to be on the water when fly fishing for Chinook?

A: Yes. Whenever you can be on the water with fly rod in hand.  Go early in the day.  Go at last light.  Go at noon.  Go fishing.  Get your butt out of the chair in front of the computer and go fishing.  Put on your waders, string a fly rod, tie on a fly, and go fishing.  Just go.  Don’t fret about the best time or tide to be on the water.  The best time and tide is all day, every day, as many days a year as you can go.

Some rivers fish best on the incoming, some on the outgoing.  Some fish best, or seem to fish best, on large tide exchanges, but some seem to fish best on small tide exchanges.  As soon as you believe that low slack tide is the hot bite time, you will find high slack the best.  The salmon must be in front of you, and they must be willing to grab your fly.  This condition is the most elemental, and it virtually beyond generalization.  So, just go fishing.

Seventy days on the water fishing will tell you a lot more about Chinook and flies and casting and all the related fishing weirdness than seven days will.  This should go without saying, but seven days in a row will teach you a lot more than 7 disassociated days.

If you happen to fish during the seven best fishing days of the season you will have learned almost nothing compared to fishing on the thirty worst salmon days.  The least informative days are the days when the fish are everywhere and very grabby.  These days teach you little, because they taunt you with the notion that salmon fishing is easy, which it normally is not.

The most informative days are the ones when fishing is in the tank, when you have to really hunt and scratch for a grab.  It is a blessing when we can observe other fly fishers who are connecting on days when you are not.  We all benefit by wearing the student’s shoes as often as we may.  The big-number fish-days teach us that these fish can be so easy that anyone can catch them by just slopping a fly fifteen feet out into the river.

Q:  What type of water is best to fly fish for Chinook: estuaries, river tail-outs, deep pools, boulder pockets, swift current, slow flows?

A:  Any water that happens to have a Chinook in it is the best place to fish at any given time, including Class IV rapids and 3’ deep flats between pools.

Q:  do I need a boat to fly fish for Chinook in Oregon?

A:  No.  But yes. Opportunities to fly fish for Chinook from the riverbank or beach are indeed limited.  A tidewater pram or jet sled will certainly increase the number of days you can access salmon each season.

Q:  What size fly should I fish for Chinook salmon in Oregon?

A:  I recommend that you fish a fly somewhere between a sparsely dressed #12 soft hackle and a 10” Intruder.  There is no clean formula to dictate fly size based on water clarity or temperature.

Q:  What are the best colors for Chinook flies?

A:  Hot orange. Or chartreuse.   Unless purple is the color of the day.  But sometimes blue is hot, hot, hot.  When Chinook want blue, nothing else will turn their head.  Or blue with black, purple with black, purple with red, red and black, orange and red, fluorescent orange, pink, or, a smallish grey scud.  Now and then, though, a Royal Coachman Bucktail could be the best fly in your box.

Comets? Yes.  Boss flies?  Yes.  Bunny leeches?  Yep.  Scuds?  Now and then.  Clouser deep minnows?  Don’t bother wasting your time fishing the darn things.

Q:  What leader should I fish for Chinook salmon?

A:  Six to twenty lb. leaders are about right, tapered or level, depending on circumstances and personal preferences, at lengths of about three to twelve feet.

Q:   What are the most effective fly lines for Chinook fly fishing in Oregon?

A:  If you are really dedicated, you will consider carrying a full range of thirty-foot shooting heads by Airflo, Rio, and SA in floating, intermediate, 3 ips (inches-per-second sink-rate), 4 ips, 5 ips, 6 ips. 7 ips, and 9 ips.  I also recommend integrated shooting head fly lines like the Airflo 40+, Rio Outbound, and SA Streamer Express.  These integrated shooting head fly lines should also be spooled up and ready to fish in floating, intermediate, 3 ips, 5 ips, 6 ips and 9 ips.  The Airflo Sixth Sense fly line in floating, mini clear tip, and sinking versions are excellent, but you should consider cutting off the first 12’ or so of these lines to make them more suitable for salmon fishing.  Spey fishing for Chinook generally calls for Skagit Compact fly lines and sink tips of 10’ to 15’ in type 3 to Type 6  (3 ips to 6 ips).

Q:  Your favorite fly reels for Chinook salmon?

A:  Size and basic functionality are most important in a fly reel one will fish for king salmon in tidewater, I think.  In the early days, I insisted on the finest fly reels, mondo drag systems, and so on.  I washed these reels at the end of each day, stripped line into the shower, inspected each line, and re-spooled it in preparation for the next day.  This is all good, but my attention to fly reel maintenance has evolved somewhat.

As the years have accumulated, this has all been abandoned for a much more utilitarian approach to rod and reel selection and maintenance.  When I fish, standing, from dawn to dark each day, making gosh who knows how many casts, there just isn’t much left over at day’s end.  I fish a variety of fly reels, new and old, by Nautilus, Ross, Abel, Tibor, Bauer, and Sage.  All my fly reels, shiny or grungy, will be grungy by the end of the week.  They will stay grungy and become more and more scuffed up as the days go by during the season.  Some fly reels expel a grinding, gritty sound when a king makes a run; at which point  I grimace and loosen the drag, letting my fumbling fingers do the job that a sand-filled reel might shy away from.

Crucial point about fly reels? Wipe the egg cure off your reels.  Really.  Please.  If you can.

Point about fly reels? Get one.  Get several.  Load ’em up with your lines and go fishing.  Fish good fly reels if you can, otherwise, just dump your backing and fly line in a trash can in the bottom of the boat and do without.   Think of the trash can as a giant stripping basket.  Use a 55 gal oil barrel if you don’t have a spare trash can.  Concentrate on hooking a salmon and then figure out what you really (haha) want to fish in the way of a fly reel.

I recommend that you carry spare fly lines. You never know when you will loose the perfect fly line of the day when a fish wraps you around a log or when you suck it into your jet impeller, cut it with your cleats, or have a harbor seal take it for a cruise.

Typically, I will go into a day of fishing for Chinook with ten pre-loaded reels/spools up and carry at least twenty spare lines, not including spare running lines.

Q:  Your favorite fly rods for Chinook salmon?

A:  Easy. A high quality 9’, 9 wt fly rod is adaptable to most of the Chinook fly fishing conditions you will encounter in Oregon. Eight weight fly rods are a little on the light side, but can work in a pinch.  Ten weight fly rods are better suited if you encounter salmon in the 30#+ class.  In my opinion, 11 and 12 wt rods are a bit much for Oregon Chinook.  They have some advantages when handling large salmon, but they take a toll on your hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders when you have to make a thousand casts to hook a king salmon.  Spey fly rods in the 7 and 8 weight class are suitable for both overhead and Spey casting, but long rods can provide challenges if you are fishing by yourself from a small boat.

Q:  Should I buy a fish finder for my boat?

A:  Yes. Absolutely.  Get the best fish finder money can buy.  Spend at least a thousand bucks on your fish finder.  Get a color monitor.  Get a big screen.  Get a fish finder that “beeps” when it marks a fish.  The purchase of a fish finder will accomplish two important things.  First, it will provide entertainment when you are fishing for days on end and catching no salmon whatsoever.  Second, and perhaps more important, it will help the global economy.

Q:  What is the single best thing I can do to become more accomplished as a Chinook salmon fly fisher?

A:  Immerse your self, totally, in fly fishing for salmon. Eat it. Drink it.  Poop it.  If you tie your own flies, and you certainly should, do the same in this endeavor.

Wallow in your efforts to catch a Chinook until you stink of salmon fly fishing and fly tying.  Dunk yourself in it until you think you’re going to suffocate.  If you have a regular job, well, you’ll have to do the balancing act.  If you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, parents, friends, associates, acquaintances, or any living creature that might expect something from you – test their tolerance for your obsessive fly fishing absences to the utter limit of civility.

And – please – don’t blog about your fishing. Anyone who does much blog writing or blog reading should confine such nefarious activity to the hours between 10 PM and 3 AM lest ye miss precious that could be more productively dedicated to fly fishing for salmon.

I thanked my alien fishing buddy as we parted, reflecting on his good humor, generosity, and wisdom.  He vanished in a flash of light near dark, while I pulled anchor and headed for the boat ramp, fishless, again.

JN

Overheard Recently on Tillamook Bay – – –

Overheard Recently, While Fly Fishing – – –

As fly fishers, we often find ourselves the “odd bird” in the flock, so to speak.

My personal philosophy is to fit in around the traditional salmon angler’s customary fishing methods, within reason and standards for civil behavior.  So if I try to fish in an area where there are several (38 last week) boats trolling, I anchor off from the main trolling route and chuck my fly in the openings between Guide-boats as they pass by in font of me.

Last week, seeing a boat trolling on the inside of the channel, I called out to let the gentlemen know that it was fine for them to troll right through, and that I would retrieve my cast to give them a clear route.

Apparently, my communication was mis-translated.

The reply came pretty much as follows.

“It’s OK, you were here first.”

“No, wait a minute, we were here first, so F*#@! you.”

This was one guy out of 38 boats we counted.  When I asked other boat captains if we were sufficiently out of the channel, I received thumbs up and smiles.  Some folks asked if we ever caught salmon fly fishing in the bay, and many wished us luck and cheered us on, with good-natured condolences as to the unlikelihood of ever catching a King salmon in all this water.

Re-thinking how I should have handled the encounter later that day, my wise friend Jim listened patiently and counseled.

“Let it go, Jay.”

As usual, he’s right.

Gone.

Mostly.

Just be prepared for one person out of 160 to be mean-spirited.

JN

 

Three Surprising Fly Lines for Application to Fly Fishing for Chinook Salmon In Oregon

Three Surprising Fly Lines for Application to  fly Fishing for Chinook Salmon – – – in Oregon?


People who fly fish for Chinook often obsess over fly lines.  in addition to the three Airflo fly lines listed in this article,  the following fly lines are usually loaded on spare reels or spools in my boat:  SA Shooting tapers in sink rates I, II, III, IV, and VI; Rio shooting heads in floating, I, III, and VI; Airflo shooting heads in sink rates from I to VII; SA Streamer Express; and SA Wet Tip Clear.

Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Line. Yeah.  This is a Spey rod shooting head fly line that is rated by approximate rod designation (6 wt, 7 wt, 8 wt, and so on), instead of by grain wt.  This is a compromise Spey fly line somewhere between  Skagit and a Scandi Compact heads.  This fly line comes with a floating tip for dry line Spey fishing and you can loop on a relatively light sinking leader (Rio Versileader or Airflo Polyleader) for fishing wet flies.

I have been counseled lately, by my friends, that a floating fly line just might be spot-on for presenting flies to Chinook salmon, given the right places and tides.  On a whim, I looped a Tactical Steelhead Spey shooting head fly line on my Airflo floating ridged running line and gave it a go.

This fly line cast beautifully on my Burkheimer 995-4 fly rod.   I fished the 6 wt Tactical Steelhead line, head only, and think it weighed-in at a little over 400 gr.  The head is heavy by standards for a 9 wt fly rod, but the Burkheimer is more than up to the challenge, throws this line into a firm breeze, and turns over a level leader and #2 Comet.  The Tactical steelhead shooting head is a salmon pleasing pale green color right out of the box.

Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey head fly line (6 wt head) teamed up with Burkheimer 995-4 fly rod on Tillamook Bay.

Airflo Speydicator fly line. Another surprise.  This Spey fly line is perfect for use with two-handers, it is heavier than the Tactical Steelhead line, and it has superior line mending capabilities, as it was designed for looooong mends while indicator fishing in rivers.  The Speydicator is a full Spey fly line that floats like a cork and is well suited to cross-tide presentations where more mending is required to slow the fly’s traverse and give Mr. Chinook time to consider grabbing the fly.  The Speydicator fly line will chuck the biggest salmon fly you will ever want to fish here in Oregon, and probably anywhere.  The Speydicator is designed to toss big strike indicators and weighted flies so it will more than do the job with any of the estuary salmon flies we tend to fish around our homewaters.  Final note on the Speydicator as a salmon line:  I fish one Speydicator fly line in its glorious pale-orange natural state, and fish one Speydicator that I have used Rit dye to create a nice camo-brown color.  Silly, but salmon fishers do obsess over fly line colors.

Airflo Sixth Sense Slow Glass fly line. A real find, I think.  This is a weird fly line, not normally considered a salmon line, but I really like the way it fishes.  My friends at Airflo told me that the Sixth Sense fly line was not really suitable for casting some of the flies I fish, because it has a fairly long front taper and is better suited to smaller flies.

Maybe so, I said, and proceeded to cut-off the front twelve feet (I think it was about two arm spans, but jeepers, I’m not sure) of the line, add a 35#  braided loop, and go fishing.

My reasoning, imperfect as it might be, is that sacrificing roughly two-thirds of the front taper would leave me with more weight concentrated in the forward 30’ or so of line after modification.  By eliminating the slim, light-weight portion of the fly line’s front end, the remaining line should be able to turn over my Comets.

This modified fly line casts very well on my Burkheimer.  Maybe that is a testimony to the versatility of the rod, since the front 30 feet of this modified sixth Sense fly line (originally the 8/9 weight designation) is under 300 gr.

Anyway, here’s what I most like about this modified Sixth Sense fly line:  it casts well (given its light weight), turns my fly over, and sinks slowly – really slowly.  Enough said about slow sinking fly lines.  The “slow glass” Sixth Sense fly line is a translucent olive color, and my confidence putting this fly line in the water with salmon has been rewarded by the Salmon Spirits.

There ya go. More fly lines to consider.  You’re welcome.  Very much.  Thank you too.

JN