I asked Jay Nicholas to introduce a series of videos we shot recently about flies for Sea Run Cutthroat here in Oregon. Blueback are in already, and they will keep trickling into our coastal rivers throughout the fall. Enjoy. Remember too, that I will schedule a class for folks who want to learn more from Jay about Sea Run Cutthroat, the flies, the techniques, and the waters to fish.
Jay Nicholas dishes on Sea Run Cutthroat fly patterns:
My favorite Sea Run cutthroat fly styles are the traditional (named) Sea Run flies; baitfish imitations; slim bodied wet flies; dubbed body wet flies; fore-and-aft hackled wet flies; deer wing wet flies; and October caddis & Muddlers. Egg patterns are reputed to catch old mangy cutthroat feeding behind spawning chinook. Not likely.
Favorite Sea Run cutthroat fly sizes: Personal choice is size #8, second choice is #6, but be sure to carry some #10s because the smaller sizes will sometimes be taken more readily than the large flies. Please stay away from #4s, because if taken deeply, these big hooks cause a lot of death and destruction on relatively little (12”- 14”) but proud fish.
Favorite hooks for Sea Run cutthroat flies: I recommend TMC 3761, TMC 5263, Daiichi D1760, D1720, and D1560. These are all very excellent, sharp, small barbed hooks that can be easily de-barbed; they are also heavy enough to let our flies sink properly and swim true.
Favorite colors for Sea Run flies: yellow, orange, and red have to be in the top tier of color choices. Pink. Pink is a dependable color. Mid-tier of color choices would include olive, black, purple. Lower tier would be chartreuse, brown, and lavender. This is all accurate information except on days when the bottom tier of colors happens to be the preferred set of colors, so carry the whole palate, OK? Also, consider bright colors in dim light, and subtle colors in sun. Any color that imitates a Rooster Tail Spinner will catch Sea Run Cutthroat.
Favorite hackles for Sea Run cutthroat flies: First choice: American Saddle Clumps, available in every color but pink. Second Choice and still most excellent: strung Rooster Schlappen feathers, strung Rooster Saddles, and strung Grizzly Variant Saddles (natural is close to a Badger and Hareline will be dying Hot Pink in these saddles, just for us! Third choice, depending on the individual saddle patch: webby portion of feathers at the bottom of dyed Grizzly Saddle patch, webby portion of Euro Saddles (in certain colors).
Favorite Wing Materials: Arctic Fox Tail. Tops. Get a whole white tail. It will last and last and you will find it really easy to tie with. Arctic Fox tails make great wings for steelhead flies also. Don’t try to use small packs of Arctic Fox body fur as a substitute for Arctic Fox Tail hair, because you will be sorely disappointed with the results. Next favorite is the good dependable Bucktail. This wing material is essential, in my opinion, for tying baitfish patterns, Clousers, and the like. Use white for the under-wing, use various dyed color for over-wings. Great stuff. Also gotta have some natural deer hair and white deer belly hair, although the latter is difficult to access at times. Squirrel, pheasant tail feather fibers, and Peacock herl also work well for dark wings.
How to fish Sea Run flies. Action. Action. Action. Cast ‘em out near a log, a riverside bush, a rock, or a drop-off. Let ‘em set for a second or two. Give ‘em a twitch, pull, jiggle, yank or strip. Repeat. Don’t try for a gentle, light as a feather touchdown. Slap your fly n the water. Attract some attention. Make one cast to an area and move on. The only exception to this is if you are fishing in an area when schools of cutthroat might be moving into range. Otherwise, keep prospecting. If you raise one fish, work the area, as there are likely to be more around.
Note: all of the information provided above is true, or virtually accurate, or something approaching interpretation of rumor, unless it isn’t.