Often times we as anglers get too comfortable chasing our favorite species and put blinders on to everything else that we have not tried. This was exactly my mentality the other day. I got a call from my friend Joel to go and spend the morning fishing. Awesome! Like most conversations we asked each other what we were thinking of doing. I wanted to go back to the trout river I was at a few days ago and explore more...boring and typical. He had a suggestion that I had never done before. Sea run cutthroat in the Puget Sound. I figured that it was too close to the city to be good, so I hesitated then said, Yes. Joel gave me a rundown of the gear I should be packing; a 5-6wt fast action rod, like the Ross RX series, a sinking line of some sort, I opted for my Scientific Anglers Streamer Express Clear Intermediate (the Scientific Anglers Wet tip clear would have worked as well), a spool of 3x, stripping basket, and handful of small baitfish flies in olive and silver colors.
The objective, cast as far as you possibly can then start racing your flies in as fast as possible. It's a true workout between all the casting and stripping, but the fishing is a blast! These saltwater trout often tapped and chased the fly for up to 20 feet before fully committing to the fly. At times you could watch them chasing the fly at your feet.
The ability to feel when the trout is nipping and when it takes is of the utmost importance. Its easy to get anxious and set too early instead of continuing to strip in line and make them eat. Having a fly line that maximizes the contact with your flies and fast action rod will give you the most sensitivity for situations like this. The use of a sinking line often times is not about getting flies deep, it can be more about cutting under the waves to stay tight with your flies. Subtle waves and bends in a floating line is the difference between catching fish and feeling takes. Once the line got "heavy" give a solid strip set and hold on because these sea run cutthroats pull!
A few things I learned on my first day out in the Sound. One, that sea run cutthroats are a wonderful species to target with a fly. Since they are not a salmon and prefer different beaches than their bigger cousins, you typically have the beach to yourself. Two, Joel opened my eyes to a fishery that is within city limits and thriving! Three, that having a low stretch line ensure the best hook-set and maximum sensitivity. This is the difference between an outstanding day and an average one. Four, Joel had some killer sea run cutthroat patters that I am going to start tying variations of to mix into my box. Four, casing 60-80 feet and fighting fish all day is exhausting!
So, the next time your fishing buddy wants to show you a new stretch, target a new species of fish, or try a new technique. Go with the flow and open up your mind to new experiences on the water. It is always worth saying yes.