We’ve looked at George Cook’s go-to king rig for fishing at Alaska West on the Kanektok, and we’ve seen what George’s quiver looks like when he’s chasing Kanektok kings. We’ll end our George Cook series with some of his thoughts on a variety of topics related to swinging flies for kings.
On Leader Length
“I like to fish a leader with a total length of 40 to 54″ in general. The only reason to fish a leader as short as 36″ is if you’re fishing an unweighted fly. With weighted flies I like a longer leader. The weighted fly is going to sink rather quickly by itself – particularly the thinner tied or waterlogged style intruder. The longer mono doesn’t hinder the sink rate of the weighted fly as much, and it might provide some degree of stealth.”
On Backing Capacity
“Backing capacity is a much-overthought subject. History has always said you should have 200 yards on an anadromous rig. I’ve never seen a king salmon take more than 125 yards if it wasn’t snagged. I consider 125 yards to be the minimum, but I’m fine fishing 125. 150 to 175 yards is ideal.”
On Leader Knots
“I am still really old school when it comes to tying knots. I still tie blood knots any time that the diameter change will let me. I just prefer the cleanliness of them.”
On Tip Length
“When I’m making T-14 tips for kings, I make a 9′, an 11′, a 13′ and a 15′. It’s not a bad policy to have a couple 13’s and a couple 15’s. 13′ is the magic number, not just for the king gig but for worldwide anadromous anything. It’s where sink rate and castability meet on the curve.”
On Fly Color
“Chartreuse/Blue and Chartreuse are the colors for fish that are less than 4 miles from the salt.”
“I also like Pink/Orange in a Jumbo Critter type fly, but once the chums are in the river, fish pink at your own peril [our chums love eating pink].”
“Once you’re more than 4 miles from salt, other colors start to have more success like Black/Blue and Black/Red.”
“Black/Fuschia/Kingfisher Blue is a big choice outside of tidal influence. This is a color pattern that was given to me independently by Mike McCune and Bob Clay.”
I have two (TFO) switch rods a #6 and 8. I plan to use the Rio Short heads with the M.O.W. tips. What weight heads would you recommend for the above switch rods?
We’ll pass your question on to George. Are your switch rods from the Deer Creek series?