After manipulating some 14 miles of Situk gravel bars and Log Jams we were looking for a change of pace. The previous morning’s snowfall had changed to a steady rain by mid afternoon and the downpour ensued all evening and well into the morning. We awoke Wednesday to a partially flooded parking lot down at the bay and a stern reminder that after all we were indeed in North America’s largest temperate rain forest.
There was no argument that it would certainly have a positive impact on the river. Most definitely the flow would increase and as a result tempt pushes of fresh chrome in from the salt with the evening tide. It would also shake things up within the system and move fish around . On the other hand was the fact that the forecast remained in excess of 50mm or 2” per day for the remainder of our trip which had us all a little concerned.
The game plan was simple. We would hike the river looking for pods of fish and with any luck the bridge hole would be unoccupied upon our arrival and we could start our morning there. This run is very deep and from all my research consistently holds fish.
The day of our arrival Red managed to convince 4 fish in the the limited time we spent on the river so I was confident the fish were stacked up in there.
Red opted for the boat ramp side where he had experienced his luck a few days prior and I dropped down on the East side while Scotty re-rigged his Bait-caster back at the Van. The rain continued to fall steady but the anticipation of the mornings first fish made it almost non apparent.
I had tied up a bunch of sexy Marabou Jigs on 2x strong Mustad hooks and decided now was as good a time as any to validate my efforts.
I tied these jigs extra-large and long knowing these fish from the Salt are aggressive. I like to pre-wet my jigs prior to any drifts to saturate the feathers and ensure that the marabou comes alive on the first drift. After doing so I made the throw slightly upstream and tight to the abutment.
This cast allowed my offering to follow that center line perfectly through the run and down into the tail out water. Once it hit the marginally slower section my float dropped and I set up hard. Instantly a giant chrome slab appeared deep in the dark abyss as if suspended in time. This was followed by three slow motion head shakes just prior to all hell breaking loose.
It was my first of the morning and put my tired body to the test. I was certainly glad I had decided to run a 12lb mainline and the 8lb flouro leads. These fish do not appear to be line shy and the shear size and power of the Saltwater Steelies is unrivaled by any great lakes chromers.
The East side of the bridge doesn’t afford a lot of real estate to land these fish. There was only a small 2’x 2’ cove that actually allowed me any chance of swinging a fish onto the bank. With a 10-11’ lead below the float and the 13' GLX it was not going to be an easy task.
Every other option was negated by giant rocks or overhanging spruce. Without a net I certainly had my work cut out for me. Nonetheless patience prevailed and after a multitude of attempts I managed to corral the giant hen into the cove and tail her. She was a magnificent fish. A prime Situk specimen and my first taken on a hand tied jig of my own creation. It was another great moment and certainly a highlight of this trip for me.
And yet the rains continued to fall...