Recent Posts

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Technique Spotlight: Stripping the Fly

Stripping the Fly for Sea Run Cutthroat, Trout or (even) Bonefish

Moving the fly actively has to be one of the most important techniques for our local fisheries, and for the traveling angler, the lessons learned on our local beaches have a surprising way of being relevant half-a-world away.
We love to fish with Seth’s Sand Eels, Rolled Muddlers, Shock-and-Awes, anything that looks like a scared baitfish to local sea-run cutts. Lucky for us, they’re not shy. Sea-run cutthroat, or SRC’s, attack with reckless abandon. The trick is getting their attention, and it’s not always done with a slow retrieve. Make that fly look scared, make it look like it’s out of its comfort zone. If our tiny fly the Seth’s Sand Eel doesn’t move really fast, it will perish! So make it move fast and erratically.
If you’ve never tried stripping flies, tuck the running line under a finger of the hand that holds the rod, typically the index or middle finger, and retrieve the line with your free hand. Use a fluid motion with the hand that retrieves the fly. Start slow, end fast. If you don’t have the magic formula, vary the amount of time between strips, letting the fly sink or jig. Vary the speed of the strip. For SRC’s, a fast strip that’s 6 inches to a foot or more typically puts your fly in the danger zone. Expect the take when the fly is still, and get your retrieve hand back to the rod hand and ready to strike!
Start playing with the retrieve, and you’ll find endless variation. Certain retrieves get the attention of SRCs focused on baitfish. Slower retrieves are often the trick for invertebrates like euphausids or copepods. Other retrieves can imitate a fleeing damsel fly in a lake, or draw the attention of a wary trout to a hopper imitation. And if you have the opportunity to chase species outside of Puget Sound, dialing in the retrieve can help you target the feeding behavior of striped bass, redfish, bonefish, tarpon or permit. It’s all in the wrist.

5 Great Flies for SRC's

Some favorite flies for Sea-Run Cutthroat

Sea-run cutthroat trout feed on a variety of food items in the Sound. Sand lance, herring, smelt, salmon smolt, sticklebacks, euphausids and copepods just to name a few. Luckily for Seattle-based anglers, Emerald-City SRCs don't tend to feed like they're in a spring creek - they're opportunistic and voracious. Here are a few patterns that consistently get grabs in the intertidal zone.

Seth's Marabou Sand Eel - Dark

This little puff of marabou with prominent eyes does more than its share on the beach. Perfect when you're looking for a small silhouette.

2. West's Imitator - Oil Slick

Chris West's pattern presents a larger profile that suggests a herring or smelt, and it consistently performs from springtime until the height of our beach fishing in the early fall. (Umpqua)

3. Foxy Shock and Awe - Brown and Olive

The Foxy Shock and Awe offers a jigging action that can often attract both SRC's, resident silvers, and some of the bigger salmon when they are present. It sinks readily and is a great choice when fishing a beach with a steep dropoff. Please note this is a tube fly and you'll need a hook to complete the pattern. (Solitude)

4. Rolled Muddler

Oh muddler minnow patterns, is there anything you can't do? Tie on a Steelhead muddler and get a grab on the Klickitat. Strip a standard muddler and Yakima trout go crazy. This particular species of muddler seems particularly well-suited to our local beaches. Give it a try.

5. Pinhead

The ol' Pinhead does a great imitation of a fleeing sand lance, and it slims down and has excellent motion in the water.

Want to learn more about fly fishing in Puget Sound? Check out our upcoming class.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rods that make us want to fish!

Fly Rods @ The Avid Angler

We demo rods in the back of the shop or we take our, two-handed, spey rods across the street to the lake.  Come on down and test a new rod with one of our instructors, and you just might get a free casting tip!

We also offer casting lessons on an hourly basis here at the fly shop.  We recommend two hours to start with a second followup session.  If you are heading to the tropics then you might want to brush up on your double haul or casting with wind!

Just a few of the rods we like, and stock!  

CF Burkheimer
Burkeimer 7127-4
A summer-run stun gun!  Very lightweight two-handed rod with a quick-er action, but still has lots of feel.  Grain Window 420-550

Burheimer 590-4 DAL
Deep Action Load trout rods from Burkheimer are easy to approach fish with accurate casts that help you hooking ratio.  This rod is a true five weight, and can cast a double taper as well as a weight forward.  Come demo this rod and you will feel the Burkie mojo that you love in his two-handed rods.

R.L. Winston Rod
Boron BIIx 7133-4 
One of the best all around two-handed rods.  Most that own this rod, will never need another steelhead rod.  It handles winter run flies, lines and fish.  But this is a fishing tool that can cast a longer belly line with ease and has a truly "buttery" feel.  Grain Window 480-540

Never cast a two-handed rod?  Come to one of our monthly Spey clinics!

Boron BIIIx 696-4
Truly a do it all rod.  This rod has power for pushing flies into the wind off the beach, and has a moderate mid section to deliver roll casts till the cows come home.  Great rod for throwing chironomids setups, or high sticking your favorite trout stream.

Zenith 8136-4
This rod with throw dirt!  If you can tie it, this rod will huck it.  The team at Hardy has created a rod that is extremely powerful and will handle our Skagit lines with ease.  This rod is definitely a departure from the traditional action two-handed rods.  Grain Window 600+
Zenith 590-4
The Hardy Zenith five weight trout rod, has consistently been rated as a top weapon of choice.  Top notch components, rod sock, tube, tube sock and ferrel plugs compliment this wicked fishing tool.

Echo3 5100-4
New for 2011, the Echo3 trout rods are quickly becoming the rod of choice for our local anglers.  At $349, this rod comes in below most of the other high end rods on the market.  The blank is a beautiful light green and the cork is high quality and "grippy."

Echo3 7130-4
Until now, the Echo TR 7130 was the go to seven weight spey rod from Echo.   That quickly changed in 2012 with the addition of switch and spey rods in the Echo3's.  This rod is a great summer run rod, but also has the ability to pick up sink tips.  Check out this video of a wild Skagit buck landed on an Echo3 7130.

We ship sameday on orders placed before 2pm!

Xi3 589-4
Added in 2011, Sage Rods produced this cutthroat rod for our local Puget Sound saltwater beach fishing.  This stick is super lightweight, and at 8'9" travels through the casting stroke quickly when chasing our sea-run quarry.

TCX 7126-4
Dubbed the "death star," this spey rod can truly be fished year-round.  We can't wait for more rods like this from Sage with the addition of the Sage One two-handers in 2012.   For now, come down and try out Sage's most sought after two-handed rod in years.

Give us a call, or email, with any questions.  Thanks!

206-362-4030 or

Wenatchee River steelhead on the 7127-4 Burkheimer.  What a sweetheart!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Welcome to the Avid Angler Blog

For those who take the time to peruse our fly bins, read our fishing reports on our Facebook page, and come into the shop to chat and swap stories, we wanted to start this blog with a heartfelt thanks.

If you can't make it in, please stop by our virtual storefront, here, at the Avid Angler blog. We'll be quickly filling these spaces with tips, tricks, product reviews, store events and happenings, conservation tips, and anything else we think you might find interesting.

Thanks again for all your support, and now, let's all get out on the water!


The Avid Angler Staff