Ten, eleven and surprisingly twelve weight rods, with stiff butts , are required to fight King Salmon, the largest of the Pacific Salmon. Graphite models are the best choice, due to their lightness, strength and casting ability. Length of rod should be 9 feet. The very best of fly rod manufacturers build 3 and 4 piece fly rods that don’t appreciably sacrifice much in the way of action, when compared to a 2-piece model. Companies that offer quality rods, suitable for Chinooks, include Winston, Sage, Loomis and Scott.
G. Loomis GLX 9’ / 4-piece 10 weight
Fly reels should be of first rate quality and capable of holding at least 200 yards of 30 pound Micron backing. Saltwater models are the best choice, as they are built tough and have smooth, usable drag systems. Outside palming rims are nice when a fish is in close. Quality reel makers include Abel, Tibor, Billy Pate, Bauer and Loomis Syncotech.
Tibor “Riptide” w/30# backing.
The majority of the time you will find Kings in fast, deep water. This type of water calls for fast sinking lines that get down in a HURRY! A good assortment of 30’ shooting heads are a must and should include sink rates I – IV. For running/shooting lines, either amnesia or level floating lines work the best behind shooting heads and should be no lighter than 25# in strength. Teeny Nymph lines or Cortland’s Quick Descent work very well and can be easier to cast and manage, compared to standard shooting heads with running lines, Two hundred to 400 grain are the densities to consider. It is also a good idea to carry a standard weight forward floating line.
Floating Weight Forward Scientifc Angler or Cortland
24 foot Sinking Tip Fly Line. Jim Teeny Line in 300 grain or Cortland Quick Descent 325.
With Kings hanging so close to the bottom, you want to keep your leaders short, 3 to 5 feet in length. Straight mono leaders are fin, special “kink salmon” leaders are available. Heavy tippet material, 12 to 20 pound is the norm. tie your knots carefully and check all leader and tippet connections constantly.
Flies used are standard steelhead attractor patterns tied on stout hooks 4 to 2/0 in size. Your flies should vary from heavily weighted to non-weighted. Colors range from black to orange, pink, purple, flame, red, chartreuse or any combination thereof. Large, weighted black streamer can be deadly. A great low water fly is a “Black Attack” , tied on a #4 or 6 hook (tied like a Comet, using black, webby hackle, black wool yarn for body, and black squirrel for tail, optional silver bead slid on front of fly for head). Comets with bead-chain eyes are also highly effective. Large egg-patterns like large glow-bugs, Mega Eggs, and Egg/Sperm flies and the egg-sucking leech (black/purple, or olive rabbit) tied on a long shank, stout hook.