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September Island Fisherman Magazine - Beach Fishing with Long Rods
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September Island Fisherman Magazine - Beach Fishing with Long Rods
Beach fishing using fly and gear has seen a booming growth in the last ten years; however the use of long rods has grown in popularity.
Beach fishing is dependent on sight fishing, before you start take a moment to take a good look at the water, there will be times when salmon cannot easily be seen. You then need to identify the signs of movement, the water is moving differently, a possible exposed fin, bait is jumping or you can see salmon or bait swimming through high waves. If you see no activities try another location, but when you do see active salmon you are ready to start to fish.

Beach fishing is dependent on sight fishing, before you start take a moment to take a good look at the water, there will be times when salmon cannot easily be seen. You then need to identify the signs of movement, the water is moving differently, a possible exposed fin, bait is jumping or you can see salmon or bait swimming through high waves. If you see no activities try another location, but when you do see active salmon you are ready to start to fish.

The goal is to be able to throw your lure or fly over the school and bring it through the fish; another effective technique is to cast over and ahead of the school and reel or strip the fly across their swimming path. Either technique works, as you want the salmon to be attracted to your lure or fly. When you hook up, try to maneuver the salmon away from the school, where they are holding. You want the least amount of disturbance to the school, so that it doesn’t affect further opportunities.  I try not to beach my salmon if I am going to release them; I quickly release them or tail them in shallow water to be released, with barbless hooks this makes it easy to do.

Anglers have many opportunities to catch salmon off the shores of east Vancouver Island, as they will stage near their natal rivers and streams for a period of time, some popular beaches are of the Cluxewe River, Salmon Point, Saratoga Beach, Miracle Beach, Black Creek, Deep Bay, Nile Creek, Big Qualicum and the Small Qualicum Rivers.

With fly-fishing it’s the two-handed switch rod and with the gear fishing it’s the spinning ultra lite long rod. All the major manufactures are now producing the Switch rods. Both rods can vary to length from 12 to 15-feet.  The benefit of the longer rod is the ability to cover longer distances to the schools that are often out of the reach using a shorter rod.

With the larger  fly rod comes also a heavier grain fly line .   For the salmon 6wt. 350 to 425 grains, 7wt. 400 to 500 friars, and 8wt 450 to 550 grains. Popular brands Rio, Skagit,  and the Airflo. The key is to balance the line to the action  and the line weight of the rod. Some of the popular flies are the California Neil, the Handle bar, the Optic. Don't stay  just with pink as the season moves on they they will react to other colour   like purple, blue and chartreuse green bodies . Be creative tie them spars or medium heavy with marabou. Add weighted heads. There are no boundaries to the imagination.

The newest market, which is gaining popularity quickly, is the Ultra lite long spinning rod. Initially they were called the noodle rod and were developed in the Eastern Canada for center pinning and spin casting for the steelhead and salmon in the great lake streams. In the last three years a few harden fishermen on our beaches have been fishing with these rods with huge catch rates.

Attachment:
Two large Coho fall for the Brass hammered spoon w/ orange stripe

I have been using Raven Rod Im9, three piece, medium action 13.5 foot, lure weight ¼ to 3/8 oz. line weight 4 to 10 lbs.  It has lots of backbone, perfect for the beaches and our rivers. Unfortunately Raven decided to stop producing this rod, as they favour a softer rod for the eastern market.

River Creek Rods Inc. has recognized this opportunity. They specialize in the newest and lightest complete carbon fibre rods with lifetime warranty but not limiting themselves from the traditional cork handle rods. With a partnership of Pacific Net and Twine in Parksville, a prototype 13-foot long ultra lite rod is being developed this fall. The mainline varies from 6-pounds up to 12-pound main line. The rod will be balanced with an ultra lite spinning reel, weighing 9 to 10 ounces and a good gear ratio is 6 to 1 with well-made bearings. With light line you can cover over 200 to 250-feet and reach most holding or roaming salmon. Often the ultra lite gear long rods will overcome obstacles that deter most fishermen like; wind, waves, debris tide lines and high surf.

I often use 6-pound for my main line with 3 to 4 feet of 12-pound fluorocarbon as my leader. I prefer to use full fluorocarbon line vs. coated fluorocarbon line. If I find myself breaking off fish, I will change to 8-pound test and my increase my fluorocarbon to 15-pound. I do keep a large selection of lures with me, as the fish eventually will get “lock jaw” from having the same hardware thrown at them and with a change of lure you can save the day. The most common lures are the gold hammered croc spoon  with an orange strip, large bell spinners with silver or brass blades and orange or chartreuse green bodies, buzz bombs, and zingers.

Make the change to a long rod and reap the rewards.

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