George Cook invented swinging for kings.
Well, maybe not, but George Cook has spent more time than anybody swinging for kings on the most productive river on the planet for kings on swung flies.
George has a long and storied career in the world of Northwest fly fishing. From guiding in Alaska to his current role representing Sage, Simms, Rio, Smith, Solitude, Tibor and more to dealers in the Northwest, let’s just say George has been around. He started fishing the Kanektok in 1990 (that’s 18 years ago) and caught his first chromer king on the K-tok in 1995. He delivered our first ‘spey week’ at Alaska West 6 years ago and continues to be a mainstay of our current program.
There’s a lot to learn from George about rigging for kings so we’ve got several posts in the hopper. We’ll start with his current go-to rig for kings on the Kanektok.
Chrome fish. Swung flies. Two handed rods. Listen up.
- Sage 9140-4 TCX
- Rio Skagit 650 body, 5 foot cheater
- Tibor Riptide
- Initial section of 50 yards of 30 pound dacron, tied to the spool with an arbor knot and two granny knots. “We trust we won’t be here. I’ve never gotten to the arbor. As long as you don’t run out of bar, arbor should never occur. It never hurts to scout your surroundings before the first cast into the bucket is made.”
- 100 yards of 50 pound PowerPro, double-uni knotted to the rear section of backing.
- 50 more yards of 30 pound dacron, double-uni knotted to the PowerPro.
- “This backing rig allows for more backing capacity pursuant to the size of reel that you’re fishing. The first section on the reel gives padding against the arbor – PowerPro can slip if it’s not really packed in tight. Both sections of 30 serve as a warning track – you know where you are in your backing at all times. There are people who begin to cringe at this many knots in the backing system, but the double-uni, tied properly, is a super strong knot.”
- Skagit body nail-knotted to the front section of 30 pound dacron. “I’m still tying nail knots. I realize that this isn’t typical for a big-game rig. I’m one of these people who won’t put a bunch of heat onto a fish that’s into the backing. I’ll always have fly line on the reel before I put a bunch of heat into the fight.”
- 5 foot cheater looped to the Skagit body
- 13′ of T-14, looped to the cheater with the braided mono loop provided in the T-14 pack
- Butt section of 20″ of 30 pound Maxima Ultragreen, tied to the T-14 with a nail knot
- Tip section of 20″ of 20 pound Maxima Ultragreen, tied to the butt section with a blood knot
- Jumbo Critter in chartreuse and blue, tied on with a uni knot