Trolling Bucktail style flies for Coho Salmon is an art that has come out of practice here off the Oregon coast since both wild and hatchery silver salmon runs tanked in the 1990s. Improved regulation of ocean fisheries and better survival conditions have resulted in some fairly robust runs of wild Silvers in most Oregon coastal rivers. Although the reasons for the improved runs and the health of the individual populations remain subject to debate, anglers in the ocean offshore Oregon now often find that regulations permit fishing for hatchery and/or wild Coho, albeit the regs sometimes only permit retaining fish on a few days per week and usually require use of de-barbed hooks.
I never experienced the glory days of Coho Bucktailing when the combined runs of hatchery and wild Coho were super abundant and fishing was considered easy. My recent ventures into the Pacific have been rewarding, though, and I have especially enjoyed Bucktailing Coho. For those of you who are wondering – grab a fly like this and strip out enough line that it trails just behind the boat (20 – 30 ft or so should be sufficient) and troll around current rips and temperature clines at somewhere between 2 and 5 knots.
Silver salmon will come up and chase these Bucktail flies, the trailer hook helps nab the short strikers and some anglers make a habit of clipping off the front fly, while others keep both hooks. Anglers in BC, Puget Sound, and SE Alaska know these techniques well. My best days on the ocean involve finding a school of silvers trolling Bucktails on the surface, then cutting the motor, drifting, and casting un-weighted flies and stripping the fly to entice a grab.
Coho Salmon Bucktail Trolling Fly:
Overall Length = 4”
Trailer Hook: Up-eye Gamakatsu #2/0 Barb smashed
Trailer Hook Harness: Senyo’s Intruder Wire Pink
Hook: #2/0 Gamakatsu Sl 12S – smashed Barb
Thread: Fine mono
Body: Pearl Diamond Flat Braid
Flash Under Wing: Cascade Crest Pink Pearlescent Mylar tubing unraveled
Under Wing: White SF Flash N Slinky
Mid Wing: Chartreuse Fishient Flash N Slinky
Over Wing: Hot Pink Fishient Mirror Image
Topping: Flashabou Blue Accent
Fish Mask: Size 7.5
Eyes: 5/16: Adhesive Holographic eyes Super Pearl
Cure Goo: Hydro and Tack Free