Today's Gig

Wikipedia couldn’t have described our day fishing Area 11 in Puget Sound near Gig Harbor any better: A gig economy is a labor market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors/freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees. Gig workers gain “flexibility and independence but little or no job security.” The morning after a big rain storm ushered in a beautiful, partly cloudy day but the constantly changing winds had us moving around seeking a windshadow on the edge of the various islands. First-world problems, I know.

Armed with 6wts rods, Intermediate Sinking lines, and a Whaler full of fishful hopes and dreams, we set out on our way shortly after sunrise. Confidence on the ocean, like anything else, is something we're not necessarily born with but rather something that is learned and developed over time. But building confidence is not always easy, especially when we're in a challenging environment that may be working against us. Dialing in a fairly new, large fishery is one thing, but learning all the nautical processes of becoming a sea-worthy First Mate is another; fortunately, Joel is always patient and enthusiastic in helping me, and I’m feeling good about the progress I’m making with my mariner skills. After two years of hard work, I can finally say I’m able to double haul with both hands with the same amount of proficiency that brings my carpal tunnel wrist back to a happy place. With the changing winds on this day, there was far more casting than catching! 

The morning was slow; air temps were brisk, but as always, the Puget Sound was brimming with abundant wildlife. Mama Dear and her fawn perused the shoreline, nibbling on down trees while looking for goodies. A big river otter seemed to enjoy spying on us as much as we did on him; a single porpoise breached while the two adult Bald Eagles and their three young offspring entertained us with amazing aerial acrobatics. to further our amusement, dozens of Black Guillemots successfully evaded my camera lens. The males of these somewhat duck-like all-black birds with a single white wing patch and a high-pitched whistle just delight me with their little red legs. 

No trip to this area is complete without stopping to see our friends at the Gig Harbor Fly Shop. We’re happy to learn from local knowledge and pick up a little takeout box of the current hot flies. Small bait fish patterns were the pick of the litter this week, as it was a pink year in 2023. Flashy/sparkly materials are the name of the game in sizes 6 to 8. Sea-run Cutthroat is our target this week, and we were advised that there are always some “rezzies” (resident coho) around… but after this morning, the only commonly seen residents we regularly noted were harbor seals.

After coming in for a pizza lunch from The Tides Tavern, an hour-long nap quickly ensued. I woke up to the front door of our Airbnb yacht being rattled loudly by the change of wind direction; I knew this afternoon might hold new angling opportunities. We geared up and headed out to a nearby hotspot from trips past. Since the water hadn’t warmed up yet, we didn’t have to fight off access seagrass lining the service of the water, which made for easy pick pick-ups and lay downs of our fly lines to the beach. Cast far, strip fast is the name of the game…& a super way to get into casting practice for our upcoming saltwater trips to Mexico and XFlats just around the corner in early May. 

The incoming tides this afternoon still made for its set of challenges, but we managed to bring a few nice Searun Cutthroat to hand. I’m always amazed how even average sized Searun Trout can fight so hard! Bringing each one to the net surrounded by clear, emerald waters is a picturesque experience not to be missed by anyone who loves to angle in the PNW. 

If you're interested in trying your hand at chasing Searuns in Puget Sound, stop in! The Fly Czar has stocked the magic flies, and we have a few places marked on our charts you might want to check out the next time you head north. 

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