Fish Washington's Olympic Peninsula
Centerpin Float Fishing - Steelhead & Salmon
Fishing Technique Overview
Centerpin fishing is gaining quite a bit of attention from anglers in the Pacific Northwest to the upper reaches of New York State. The reason for this is that using a centerpin rod and reel is the most effective technique for float fishing. As a result, this provides you with a drag-free drift of your float and line; therefore, enticing fish to strike your presentation naturally floating downriver. Centerpinning is not in any way something new and has been around for quite some time.
The centerpin reel dated back to the early 1800s and was more of an adaptation of early fly reels. They were called “Nottingham Winches” made from rosewood used by Scottish anglers. If you’re not familiar with a Centerpin Reel, imagine a fly reel that is not as wide as the traditional style and about the same size as the largest Spey Reels. The unweighted line used on a centerpin reel is your choice of monofilament or braid. In other words, weight is not integrated into the mainline; therefore, it does not assist with your cast as the fly fishing line does. 40-pound Power Pro braid or various types of monofilament work well for the mainline. Seaguar Fluorocarbon ranging from 6 – 25 pounds is an excellent leader material depending on the time of year or species targeted.
To begin fishing, you need a float, an inline float weight, or a few split shots attached to your mainline. First, you must learn two critical casts, the B.C. Swing or Wallis cast. A vital step to take note of is that you must have pressure from your thumb or small finger on the spool at the beginning of all centerpin casting. When released, this enables a slow spin, which gradually increases rotation in the spool. As a result, this performs a proper centerpin cast. Above all, remember this; if performed incorrectly, your reel will under or over-rotate, causing the line to tangle around the spool. If the kinked line cannot be untangled, you may have to remove a fair amount from your reel. In some cases, this incident can end your day of fishing if it requires you to re-spool.
Centerpin Setup Equipment Choices & Presentation
Choosing the presentation to fish is your choice of what provides you the confidence to get takedowns of your float. Beads, small spoons, and roe filled spawn sacs under a float are some of the best choices when centerpin fishing on the Olympic Peninsula. In addition to these presentation choices, it is essential to have an almost neutrally buoyant float. There are several reels to choose from, but in our opinion, Islander Reels produced Vancouver Island, British Columbia is #1. The Islander Steeelheader stands out above others due to the precise machining, performance, and overall cost.
When it comes to rods, the G-Loomis GLX is our favorite due to its strength and smooth parabolic flexing graphite. Without a doubt, it was one of the critical components that assisted our guide Lael Johnson in landing the Alaskan Chinook pictured above. The fish is estimated to be between 43 and 45 pounds and was brought to hand using the 13′ 8-12lb GLX. The length of the 13′ GLX is best-utilized fishing from the bank specifically for targeting large wild fish, and the shorter 11′ 3″ 6-10lb version is a great drift boat rod for Steelhead, Salmon & Trout.
After years of instructing the proper techniques using a centerpin rod and reel, Fly Gyde is continuing to offer centerpin trips. These will be in addition to our fly fishing techniques on a few select rivers using the tackle mentioned.
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Season: June - April 15th
Location: Washington's Olympic Peninsula River