Welcome to episode #8 of the Deadly White Jig Fishing Challenge. In this round, I’m back on Kodiak Island, Alaska, fishing the Deadly White Jig on one of my favorite fish, the chum salmon. Over the years I’ve gained great appreciation for chums and I always look forward to going after them with my fly rod. Whether it’s their prehistoric-looking, dinosaur-like skin and coloration, their enormous teeth, or the fact that they fight like a fat Missouri catfish when hooked, there’s just something that fires me up about the notion of pursuing these big, freaky looking salmon. In fact, I like them so much that I even make awesome necklaces from their huge teeth!
Chum salmon are also known as dog salmon, as they’ve traditionally been used to feed sled dogs for many generations. Chums are widely distributed throughout Alaska, and like the other species of Pacific salmon, they spend most of their life out in the ocean and return to freshwater rivers to spawn and then die. While generally not the most sought-after fish for human consumption, in the interior and northern regions of Alaska, they’re harvested more than any other species of salmon and they’re highly sought after as a traditional source of dried winter food.
For the commercial fishery, chum salmon are commonly marketed and sold as canned or smoked products and exported to Asia and Europe. Their roe/eggs are especially prized as they’re the largest of all the Pacific salmon species and they make fantastic salmon roe caviar, which is also a topic I’ve made a past video about.
In the world of recreational fishing, much like the pink salmon (which I’ve also made other videos about) the chum salmon typically gets no respect! This is, in part, due to the fact that they begin to deteriorate quite rapidly and become half-dead, zombie fish after they’re in fresh water for a few weeks. However, when chums are fresh in from the ocean, they’re exciting to pursue and catch, as they can reach enormous proportions, and they fight hard…making long, deep, powerful runs. All of which makes them great fun to pursue with the Deadly White Jig.
Since these fish are so big and powerful, I’m going after them with an 8 wt fly rod, 12 lb fluorocarbon tippet, and my salmon version of the Deadly White Jig, which is tied on a much stronger hook that my standard sized version. As if often the case, I’m also using a strike indicator to control the exact depth of my presentation, which is key to getting the fly right smack dab in front of their nose to elicit a strike. So without further ado, let’s get to fly fishing for some big gnarly chum salmon with the Deadly White Jig! Check out the video below to see ll the action…