A blue ocean scene of distant islands in the background and waves in the foreground.

Water Reportage


Species: Coho
Date: September 2022
Location: Salish Sea, WA

Various seabirds play, hunt and squawk. Seals make their rounds at certain tides. Barely visible porpoises’ porpoise. Baitfish pass in the shallows. Everything feels right so often. High tides lazily rearrange the sea and the swells provide a soundtrack. A dead grizzly bear washed up here last spring.

I rarely see anyone else fishing aside from a buddy or two. I mostly fish alone. Casually. Thirty or 40-minute spells of blind casting into the ocean is all I can take, then breaks for 10 or 20. Repeat until it’s time to pack up and pick blackberries, take the long way home. Fishing hard gets old.

An angler makes a backcast while flyfishing in the Puget Sound.






















Above Joey Mara directs the airborne backcast like an orchestral conductor.

On the warmest days my goal is just to collect vitamin D. I might not even make a cast. A beach blanket, cold ocean dips, a nudist colony of one. It’s a top spot a short drive from home, so I sneak out often when the fishing season is open. The view of the islands is so comforting, so serene and symmetrical.

I could drive two or three times as far to rub shoulders on crowded beaches in more productive water, but I like it here most. I don’t catch a coho. Days before the season closes the most action comes on my last day. A fish clears water 20 feet away. I cast toward where I think she’s headed, senses and optimism high, but there is no response.

A sunset scene of water, sky, land and a shipping dock in the background.

Above Sunset on the beach, a pretty nice place to spend a few hours draped in color.

If you know where to look and if you see the right things, all of the blues are visible at one time or another. Stay until the sun goes, and every shade of yellows, reds, oranges and purples is too. Maybe next year I’ll catch a fish.


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