Resident Coho: First One of the Year

It had been a while since I’ve been fishing and I knew it was time to get out. Yesterday’s afternoon ebb seemed like the perfect opportunity so off to the Narrows Park I went.

I chose to leave my waders home as I was really looking to see how the Clousers I recently tied would work; a few I had tied and cast several years ago fell apart on the first cast or two. But I had put a lot more emphasis on technique this time and I was hopeful they would work as well as commercial flies – if not as elegantly tied.

It was a nice day on the beach with high clouds, some sun, and relatively warm temperatures. And there were only a few dog walkers and one solitary fly fisher walking opposite to the direction I was heading.

I watched as a couple of harbor porpoises worked their way up the Narrows, surprisingly close I thought. They were only a couple of hundred feet from the beach – something I had never seen.

I made a number of casts with both flies and except for some worn-off eyes as they bounced through the shallows, they were in excellent condition.

As I was casting I noticed a number of resident Coho jumping well away from the beach; even wading they would have been too far.

But I thought I might still attract one as several were moving in.

Tug. I had one.

I thought it might be a searun cutthroat trout given the easy take But as I reeled in the line the fight increased and I saw the bright shape of the body and knew I had a resident Coho and a good sized one at that.

Bringing it to the beach I estimated it to be a 14-incher; that’s the largest one I’ve caught! Removing the hook, I cupped it gently in my hand until it regained its strength and then shot back out into the Sound.

That capped the day and I decided that one today was enough.

Tacoma Narrows Morning

I went to the Narrows park this morning. Got there just after a high tide and no one was there.

Gearing up I put a chum baby on my leader and walked down to the beach. Moving to the right I started seeing fish jumping to the near left. It also appeared to me as if they were moving with each subsequent jump downstream. Quickly I moved in that direction and starting quartering my casts. I started to think maybe the chum baby wasn’t the best for the conditions as I could see nothing in the water, I switched to a pink Puget Sound Slider.

The second cast with the slider (about a 35-foot cast), I got a big tug.

This fish fought, keeping up a constant pull, and putting a good bend in my Sage One six-weight. I stripped the line in to land in the fish in shallow water, but even then it fought and would not settle down. I did get a good look and it was a very nice 13-inch resident Coho. It jumped off the fly before I could get a picture. It then rested for a moment on its own than swam away. It was the first Coho I caught and that first tug was like nothing I experienced before with a sea trout.

And it was significant for another reason: this was the first fish I’ve caught at the Narrows Park – I’d been skunked every time I’d been there in the past. I kept casting and got only one more hit. I left after that.

Sometimes all it takes is the one fish to make a perfect day.