Sky is the limit on furry pinks! August 19 2013, 1 Comment
The first proper field test for Twigg & Barry outfits was conducted in July near Squamish, British Columbia. By way of introduction, every second year for the majority of coastal rivers in BC, pink salmon return to their local rivers to spawn. They come in their millions, and can be an incredible way for people to get into fly fishing. Or so they say. Just like any fish, they can be temperamental. There one day, gone the next. Wanting a particular fly one day, then another (or none at all) the next. Sometimes they just don't want to play and you can froth the water all day without so much as a nudge of the fly. You see, they're no longer feeding when they start to stack up in the saltwater before heading into their chosen river system, so techniques revolve around an instinctual bite, or to simply p*ss them off enough to take your fly.
Back to our field testing... We headed to an undisclosed location, not so secret, but due to already excessive popularity we'll keep it somewhat cryptic. Dawn on a dropping tide saw us arrive at the beach with T&B Sky High 6wt 9ft rods matched with T&B HVC reels, spooled with plenty of backing, a floating line, a tapered leader going to some fluorocarbon tippet. I prefer fishing relatively light, even if not necessarily required, so opted for 6lb. I was excited and nervous at the same time to see whether they'd stand up to salmon in the salt.
The first couple of hours saw very little action, with only one fish coming to the beach. It gave us time to get used to the rods, though only about one cast was required for that. The last time I was out, I was fishing an 8wt St Croix Avid, and already I was caster further with less effort with these new sticks. The new gear is amazingly light, and hrs of distance casting weren't a problem.
As is often the case with beach salmon fishing, when the fish decide to turn on, they can really turn on. The next hour and a half saw us land well over 20 pinks up to about 8lb, averaging over 5lbs. Big this year... Many more were hooked and lost, and many bites missed. Remarkably, there wasn't a single break off all morning. We had found a nice little channel where a cast of no more than 25ft with a small dumbbell hairwing fly, allowed to sink for a few seconds and then twitched back slowly, rarely came back untouched. The fish were hot, and the norm was to go straight into the backing on the first run.
And just like that, it was over. The pinks had turned off again, the sun was blaring, and somewhere a cold beer was beckoning.
As I write this, many of the beaching are still teaming with pink salmon and will continue to be for the next few weeks. And if pinks aren't your thing in the salt, well, the coho are stacking up too. But that's another story... For the time being, I'm still remembering the countless screaming runs on what was one of the most fun days of fly fishing I've had!