Stuart Foxall is a regular at Alaska West during our King Salmon run. Not only is Stuart a world-renowned fly tier but also an expert with a two-handed fly rod. His obsession with chasing steelhead and salmon started at a young age and has given him experience in a range of fishing techniques worldwide. When someone with a resume like Stuart Foxall speaks, we all wisely choose to listen. Stuart was nice enough to take some time out of his schedule to share with us his thoughts on the benefits that come with chasing King Salmon as a team. Take it away, Stuart!
“At Alaska West, it is fair to say that there are more than enough salmon in the river to experiment and investigate. You will find that the quickest way of finding out what is working a particular day or even a particular bar is to work as a ‘Team.’
We know that we are sharing a boat with another angler, so it’s really easy to try different things and give each other feedback as to what’s working…..and sometimes even more important what isn’t working.
So here are a few things you can try to make sure the ‘Team Wins’ during your day on the river.
- The first guy down the run doesn’t wade deep and fishes a shorter line to make sure he covers the near-running fish. The guy following can wade a little deeper and throw longer casts.
- The first guy down can try a lighter tip on a floating Skagit head, while the guy behind fishes a longer or heavier tip and perhaps an intermediate type head to slow that swing down.
- The first guy down could try a large bright fly for those ultra-aggressive fish, while the guy behind could try a smaller and flashier fly….this can make a big difference on sunny days.
- Was there a particular place in the bar where you both caught fish but nothing for the rest of the run?….there’s probably a bucket or a pinch point that fish are taking a breather at, so squeeze together while fishing and make the most of it while there is a push of fish. It will also help your guide net fish if you are close together……remember, your guide is part of the team as well.
- If you’re the first guy down and get a few fish before your boat pal even gets a pull, reel up and let your buddy jump in and get a fish or two. No one wants to be the guy who catches all the fish while his mate struggles. Nothing is better than when everyone is catching fish…. ask your guide!
- Share your experiences and form a plan on what is working. So if it is a smaller, dark, flashy fly that’s working, why don’t you both fish one? If the floating Skagit head with a faster swing is working, why don’t you both fish one? If it’s 12 feet of T14, that’s working best why don’t you both fish one?
By both anglers trying different stuff and sharing what works and what doesn’t, you will soon start to find the winning method for the day. Working together with your guide when doing this will certainly help him figure out what is happening and help him keep you on fish for most of the day!!!!”
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