In the latest Alaska Fly Fishing Goods newsletter, Mark Hieronymus cracks open the mind of George Cook.
Well ok, here we go…I got a month and a river, and I’ll describe the scenario to you and you can fill in the blanks. Mid-July on the Kanektok river, bright kings are holding, you’ve got the perfect run, and you’ve got it all to yourself. What is your tackle set-up as far as rod, reel line, and three flies?
Three flies, the flies are easy. We’ll start that one in reverse…for kings, there’s a fly from Solitude Fly Co. called the Jumbo Critter which is an Intruder-style fly, and I think when you are in the tidewater regions of these rivers, you can’t go wrong with chartreuse, chartreuse and blue, or black and blue, so if you gave me a chartreuse Jumbo Critter Intruder-style fly, a chartreuse-blue , and a black-blue , I’m set. Gimme 6 of each and turn me loose for the week. In terms of a setup, I’d probably want two different spey rods, one kinda smaller one and one sort of big one. The smaller one would be a Sage 8129-4, a 12-foot, 9-inch 8-weight – don’t be fooled by the 8-weight designation, as it’s a really powerful 8-weight and it makes for a nice, comfortable rod to cast, and often times in the wind, the smaller rod is more effective. If we got some wide-open stuff that we really wanna bomb ’em out on, could be the Kanektok, could be a Nushagak-type situation, a 10150, a 15-foot 10-weight, both these rods set up with [Rio] Skagit lines, cheaters where appropriate, particularly on the 15-footer. Generally for kings you’re fishing t-14 or the new t-17 – these are sink-tips that sink at 9 and 10 inches per second [respectively]. You can custom-cut ’em, I suppose my favorite length for that setup is 13 feet, but you should certainly have yourself some 11-footers, and 15-footers, you’ll end up fishing them all, but if you had to just pick one, a 13-foot chunk of t-14 is gonna get down into the living room and get some work done, Mark.