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Outdoors Pick of the Week: Whidbey Island Beach Steelhead

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Steelheaders are hardy folk, but fighting floating ice on area rivers is asking too much. A better bet might be to dress really warmly and then hit one of the westside Whidbey Island beaches for a little steelhead surf casting. This is prime time for Lagoon Point, Bush Point (perhaps the best of the three), and Fort Casey beaches, and Anthon Steen at Holiday Sports in Burlington (360-757-4361) said there are a few fish being taken at all three spots. It's never a hot fishery, but if the wind isn't blowing too hard, it can make for a pleasant morning.
The standard rig -- the Whidbey island Steelhead Special -- is a Spin N Glo (or prism-wing Cheater) with a hoochie trailer, in pink, orange or green, double hook, sometimes with the hoochie skirt trimmed shorter, on 3 or 4 feet of 12-pound test leader. Scent such as shrimp oil is always a good idea. Surgical tubing and 3 or 4 inches of quarter-inch pencil lead should give you enough weight to cast the 40 or 50 feet which is all that's necessary, since steelhead are migrating reasonably close to the beach. And also because of that, don't stand in the water -- a fish will often follow your lure right to your feet before deciding to nail it.
Toss the rig out there, let it sink to bottom, lift it off with a few quick turns of the reel handle, then bring it slowly all the way to shore, trying to keep it about a foot off bottom.
Some anglers like the incoming tide, but that often means weed and other junk to foul your gear. The ebb is cleaner, and fish are taken on both sides of the tide.
Story tags » FishingHunting

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