Some things to consider when fishing for coho
With the coming of the rain, freshwater coho are in high gear. Get soaked for terrific fishing. Fish the deepest part of the soft water, particularly in the shade. Keep your eye out for porpoising fish, or ones that roll. I was fishing pinks once when, after three hours, a single coho rolled about 15 metres down from where I stood. I put on a spinner, shuffle-stepped down and landed a seven-kilogrammer on the third cast.
Then landed another 10 as the day wore on, none of which had rolled. It was change in the spinner/spoon colour and the angle of the cast/retrieve scenario. And always remember where you catch a coho as they will be in the same place again. I have some spots where more than a decade later fish still stop in the same shady section most people walk by — most don’t like fishing in the shade as it is cold. Wrong.
Blue Fox, Luhr Jensen and Mepps have multiple colours that work. Pink, chartreuse, blue, orange and now, some glow versions that are better in higher, cloudier water. Gold and larger Gibbs spoons work well in rain-darkened water, and the heavier weight makes them sink further. Purple is good for tea-stained water and the Cowichan.
Cut the treble hook off the lure as they are illegal in B.C., then replace with a black hook. You may have to add a black split ring or two, then the hook. The fish bites on the flash and that means the hook is already in its mouth. You can use saltwater quick changers if your hooks are short, such as many steelhead hooks, Eagle Claw. Gamakatsu Magic Eye swivels are black, too.
Black Siwash hooks, if you can find them, are good as they have a long point that makes insertion in the fish easier, but introduce a kirb across from the point to the shank with pliers. Many of Mustad’s new saltwater black Siwash hooks come with a kirb and hardened points so less sharpening is needed. As they have crimp-close eyes, you don’t need a split ring, which are fiddly anyway.
Treat yourself to a quality baitcaster — Okuma, Shimano, Penn — loaded with 35-pound braided line. It is thinner and casts farther, but in an overrun, take time to work out the loops as this line is expensive.
With Figure 8 loops add five metres of 20-pound test mono like Perfexion as it has some give, unlike the braid. With a Palomar knot, don’t pull the loop’s tag end through as typically the expensive spinner falls into the water.
Remember you need to bump up the drag’s tension considerably. Coho are the most active salmon and violently head shake, roll and change direction the fastest. And do the fundamentals right, as in, rod tip in the water on the very slow retrieve — feel the blade-blip on your rod tip — then set high and high rod tip for the fight. No pulling the rod to your side as river anglers do, at least not until the coho has used up its hardest runs.
Get yourself a lightweight, graphite, triggerfinger 9.5 rod intended for 2.5 to 4-kilogram steelhead. You will lose some coho but enjoy the fight so much more with a rod technically out of its range for fish that can exceed 10 kilograms.