Charles Carter on his first Zen Day

I finally had what I'd consider a Zen day on July 19, 2003 . Larry Cheng and I hit the beach at about 6:30 am after he picked me up at 5:30 am in Palo Alto. We saw a number of large good-looking cuts as we walked down the sandy stairs.

I really only fished about three holes all morning and caught at least 40 fish (conservative estimate) but it could have been 60. I was having too much fun to count. I even caught my first surf striper (the diaper variety). All of the holes were large and ran fairly parallel to the beach but diagonally seaward turning almost perpendicular through the big breakers. All had well-formed bars on the outside edge. I found that if I stayed on the hole and fished it from a variety of positions, I could stay with the fish and continue getting grabs for quite a while.

I fished my Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) 7-weight with 26' of lead core with a floating running line. Larry used lead core with old amnesia on his Winston 7. I started with Rusty Squirrel Clouser with a micro shrimp on a three-way swivel. I went back to my imitation Surf Miki / FC Sand Shrimp Jr after losing the micro shrimp and caught on that same fly for over three hours. We caught some nice Barred Surfperches (BSPs) earlier but most of the fish were 9" or smaller.

On the first cut, Larry immediately waded out to the end of the outside sandbar and caught a couple of nice 12-14" fish. I caught fish of the same size from the head (beach end) of the hole. I pretty much kept to the inside edge working back and forth and picking up fish in flurries as I'd get on the pod and loose it. Larry eventually left and headed south and a couple of other fly-flingers moved onto the bar. One guy caught another nice fish and then they both picked up a few small ones. I caught a bunch casting to the bar (almost to the feet of the other anglers) and retrieving back across the cut. The fish seemed to hit just as the fly dropped off the bar into the deeper water.

The other guys left then Dave Sellers and his brother-in-law, John, showed up. We talked and fished a bit with Dave giving me pointers on how fish moved around the hole on his previous outings. After repairing his amnesia running line Dave fished from the point of the bar and caught a couple. I got few more grabs from the inside. By now none of the fish were large.

When Dave left, I headed south where I found Larry fishing a very similar rip with similar results. We stayed there a while and caught a good number of fish including a small striper (I was fishing from the point of the bar at the time.) Another angler showed up and moved onto the bar while I fished the inside. We both caught many but nothing big. He was doing well without a stripping basket. Larry spent 15-minutes undoing an amnesia tangle.

We headed back to fish the starting hole and both had a couple of very good rallies and talked to another fisherman who caught four or five. It was his first surf outing.

We finally left at almost 1:00 pm. We saw a total of 6 other fly fishers (that made 8 on the beach including us - the most I've ever seen). Larry counted 35 fish. I honestly don't know how many I caught but it was clearly my best day ever. I probably caught 15 Walleyes, most 8-10", with about three times as many BSPs. We figure our grabs-to-landed-fish ratio was 3:1. It was a good day with the only problem being coming home 2.5 hrs later than we told our wives we would...

Published: August 1, 2003

Questions or Comments Contact: Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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