Zen Fly Fishing: Spring 2003 Surf Gallery

The reports are in reverse chronological order with the last report on top. Click on the pictures to view a larger version.

On June 16, 2003, I was expecting a lot of action based on reports for yesterday but it was the slowest day in a long time. I did pick up stragglers, mostly small perch. My biggest is shown (1-lb, 10 1/2-inches). I lost 2 larger perch (around 1 1/2 lbs). I saw both of them. One was my first fish that I had almost in. Another rolled at the surface as soon as it grabbed. I got a total of only 6 today. I was on the water at 5:30 am. Low tide was -1.8 ft at 6:57 am. The holding water was really shallow and wave action was too small to concentrate fish. High tide was 4.4-ft at 2:06 pm. I ran into quite a few fly fishermen today: Tom, Joe and a friend of theirs; Jim L again; Greg V and his friend, Jim. If any of you eventually found fish, please send email. It is great to see so many fly fishemen out there. I worked south about a mile to the next parking and found deeper structures where I got my largest perch and dropped another larger one. I won't be fishing until next Monday so enjoy the beach if you get out.
On June 12, 2003, I was on the water at 6:00 am with the tide coming to a high of 3.9 ft at 10:23 am. Low tide was -1.0 ft at 3:44 am. The holding water was still shallow but my 2nd cast picked up a nice 10-inch barred perch. I got a 3 at the 1st stop, and 4 at the 2nd stop, but the bite stopped for an hour or so until I got the jack smelt shown (my 1st torpedo for the year). Finally, I got a hit on the inside edge of a near drop-off at around 8:00 am. I focused on that edge and started to pick-up nice barred perch. By 9:00 am, I had a total of 19 for the day - the largest was 11 1/2-inches, 1 1/3 lb. All of the later perch were bigger than 1/2 lb. Three were bigger than 1 -lbs. The swells and holding water were better today. Nice cuts were trying to form but we still are transitioning to summer swell patterns. I expect the summer patterns to set in soon. I'm still using the Surf Miki 3 exclusively.
On June 9, 2003, I'm on the water at 5:30 am with the tide almost all the way in (high was 3.6 ft at 6:34 am). Low tide was 0.8 ft at 12:40 pm. The swells had long period waves with lots of foam with 100-ft between waves. There was foam even with small swells. The structure is hard to see with the foam but there were flats with clearer water that looked deeper and held depth better with successive waves. My first barred perch was my biggest, shown on the left (1 1/2-lb, 11 1/2-inches). Another photo shows more of the water. By 9:00 am, I had 11, the total for the day. Three were near 1 1/2-lbs. Only 2 were small and the rest were 3/4-lb plus. I needed long casts to get to holding water today. Some of the holding water would not maintain depth, which is characteristic of long period swells. We had conditions like this early in the year - I'm still expecting swells to settle soon into the nice fly fishing of the late spring/summer swell patterns. I quit early because the bite slowed after a couple hours of outgoing tide. Overall, I enjoyed the day with its challenging conditions and bigger perch.
I didn't fish Monday again and finally got out on June 5, 2003 to an early minus tide (-0.6-ft at 9:10 am). I was on the water by 5:30 am and even all of structure was too shallow. On my first stop, I spooked a school of little fish in a shallow hole near water line. I couldn't discern what they were but I've never seen that behavior of splish/splashing on the surface before. The water was flat and calm. I fished from 5:30 am to 9:00 am (I caught 4 surfperch - most were small, the biggest was 1-lb, 10 1/2-inches shown) then scouted Moss Landing State Beach and Sunset since there wasn't enough water at tides below about 2 feet. I got back around 12:00 noon and fished until 3:00 pm (I caught 9 surfperch - most were small the biggest was 2 3/4-lbs, 14 1/2-in, 2 1/4-in wide sorry no pictures - I forgot to charge my camera batteries). The morning was really slow. The afternoon was a hot bite compared to the morning and the bite got better with time and tide. The beaches are fishing much better towards high tide now. The 2 3/4-lb barred perch was swollen and really to give birth. It saved the day with a solid grab and a nice fight. It just feels like today is the turning point and we may be into solid late spring action now. High tide was 4.0-ft at 4:40 pm but the water looked shallow even at 3:00 pm. I was fishing into the foamy water beyond the edges of slightly deeper areas. Moss Landing was dead. I didn't fish Sunset. I got a total of 13 surfperch today: the 2 larger barred perch, 4 walleyes and the rest were small barred perch.
I didn't fish Monday (I hear that I missed a good day) and finally got out on May 29, 2003 to a very slow bite. I was on the water at 6:30 am. Low tide was -0.3-ft at 4:44 am. High tide was 3.7-ft at 11:22 am. I did pick-up a walleye pretty quickly but besides a few small barreds that was it for the next 2 hours. The walleye had just given birth - note the afterbirth hanging. The sand bars are still blocking access even though the water looked decent. The surf was a mix of short period/long period and depth was not being maintained and good cuts were not forming and towards higher tides there was a lot of foamy water. I left to fish Moss Landing State Beach at the end of Jetty Road. The structure was decent but I fly fished for 1-hour and did not get one hit. I did see another seal that beached itself. This one was not a pup but it seemed very tired and weak. The folks at Marine Mammal Center came to check it out and decided to chase it back to sea and deal with it if it returned. It was not normal behavior. I switched to grubs and was happy to finally find fish, mostly walleyes. A few were on the inside edge of a near shore trough - most were on the outside edge. It is interesting that I found none with my fly rod (they were within reach). The largest is shown in the picture. The walleyes seem much stronger than the northerly ones. I got a total of 11 surfperch today: 7 walleyes and 4 small barreds. 6 walleyes were from Moss Landing.
May 22, 2003 was a very slow day although the water is starting to look good. At best, it was a straggler here and there. I got 12 total. The biggest was 11 1/2-inches and almost 1 1/2-lbs caught in some nice water. It was a bearing female that was swollen and ready to give birth. High tide was 4.4-ft at 3:44 am. Most of the perch were small today and a few were 8 to 10-inches. I was on the water at 5:45 am. Low tide was -0.3-ft at 11:00 am. I found a small barred right away and continued to occasionally find fish all day. I saw Jim Lazarotti and fished with him a while - he caught a couple smaller perch in shallows while we were talking. It was a typical scouting day. I did a lot of casting for the few grabs all day. I fished my recent favorite beach walking south to the next beach down. I lost a huge fish today. The grab was the most aggressive that I've had lately (the kind where the fish hit then drives hard - strong throbs...). It was on for a several seconds then poof! I also drove south to scout Sunset beach with is starting to get some good structure finally. I caught 5 of the 12 there (small perch). I caught all of them using Surf Miki 3.
On May 19, 2003, low tide was going to be -1.6-ft at 8:05 am and I was on the water by 5:30 am but the cuts/holes were even too shallow 2 1/2 hours before low and the surf was not setting up good moving water. High was 4.2-ft at 3:19 am. I found no signs of life for the first 20 minutes but I finally picked a small barred within 10-ft in the shallows. I wasn't retrieving through that water effectively so I stepped back and with shorter casts started picking up perch. By 6:30 am, I had 6 surfperch (2 baby barreds, 1 10-inch barred, and 3 walleyes). I worked south to the next deeper area and got only 2 more by 7:00 am. After 7:00 am, the water was really shallow so I quit fishing - took a long break a drive south to scout a beach way south of my usual range (it was too shallow too but it looked to have good mid-tide structure). I returned the first beach at 10:30 am. Water had some depth now. I picked up 7 more for a total of 15. The last perch (shown on the left) saved the day! I caught it at 1:40 PM. It was the biggest (1 1/2 pounds, 11 1/2-inch). I caught all of them using Surf Miki 3. I saw a sea lion pup that was acting strange. It would get on the beach and back and get back in the water with every passing person or dog - over and over again. It turned out to be an orphaned pup. The folks at Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito rescued it. They picked up 2 today and 5 on Friday. Apparently, something is happening out there.
On May 15, 2003, I wasn't expecting much with the early minus low tide and bite turning off early on recent trips. I went to see whether 1st light brings fish into shallow waters even with a -1.2 ft low tide. Low was at 4.44 am and I was on the water by 5:30 am. High was 4.3 at 11:16 am. The usual cuts and holes were almost dry and I couldn't find any fish working the north side. I worked south and picked up a walleye (still carrying juvenilles). I worked that area hard but it seemed to be a loner. I was using leadcore with Surf Miki 3 on point and a Blind Miki on the dropper. I might have done better with HiD line but I was after big barred perch anyway. I worked south fishing water that I normally skip (flat area in between holes) then a heavy grab and I landed the 2-lb, 14-inch barred perch shown. On the next cast, I got another big grab. It was as large but I dropped it and that was it.
As it turned out, I never found big concentrations of fish but there were small schools of large barreds moving through and feeding as I worked all of of the likely spots south. Sandcrabs were fairly abundant under the last breakers and many were carrying orange roe. Overall I got 19 surfperch. Five were over 2 lbs. The largest is shown on the left (2 1/2-lbs, 15-inches). One was part of a double. It got windy around 9:00 am and the last big perch was caught with a left hand cast. It was hard to keep the line in the shooting basket. One quarter of the fish were baby perch today and the rest were mid-sized. Decent holding water was easier to find today. Sometimes short period waves would dominate and cause nice moving water. Other times long period waves would disrupt the nice action. The beach seems to be evolving towards the nice late spring/early summer conditions: persistent cuts with nice holding water with an abundance of sandcrabs.
On May 12, 2003, I'm looking for big barred perch again. High tide was 4.1 at 8:02 am, and low tide was 0.4 at 2:14 pm. I was on the water with flood tide at 5:15 am. The surf was small and had moderate period. The beach was flat and good holding water was hard to find again. The big perch cut was barely flowing. I cast to the usual holding spots - no fish for the first 30 minutes. It was still dark. I had no visual cues to cast so had to depend on tactile cues to control casting. Working back, I picked up a walleye at the inside edge (just beyond the drop off) then got a few more. I started to pick up mid-sized barred perch after it got lighter. The bite continued until 7:00 am. I caught 29 surfperch for the day: 6 walleyes, 1 double, 6 barred perch from 1/2 to 3/4 lbs. The largest was 3/4-lb and 10-inches today. All but one was caught at the inside edge. A walleye took the Surf Miki 3 on a long cast as soon as it hit the water. I caught most of the perch on it. I had my Blind Miki on the dropper and caught several perch on that. The small perch seemed plentiful. They had not been around during the large perch bites of the last few trips. I caught a few after 7:00 am but there were very few hits. There were almost no swells for much of the rest of the morning.
On May 8, 2003, I'm looking for big barred perch again. High tide was 4.3-ft at 3:02 am, and low tide was -0.2-ft at 10:38 am. I was on the water during ebb tide at 5:30 am. The surf was small with long period waves, the beach was flat and good holding water was hard to find again. I checked the big perch cut and cast to the usual holding spots and found no fish on the first pass. Working back, I picked up a small barred at the inside edge (just beyond the nearshore drop off) and a walleye then BANG the nice 1 1/2-lb, 12 1/2-inch barred perch. I got 3 more nice barreds between 1 and 1 1/2-lbs at the same place. The grab was 20-ft from me. The swell pattern changed and the bite stopped.
I worked south and the usual cuts were not there. After an hour covering about 1 mile, I found a nice cut. Again, no fish in the usual places, and I finally found fish on the inside edge again. The bite kept going for an hour - all on the inside edge. I got a 15 here: the large barred perch shown (over 2-lbs, 14-inch), the baby striper shown (my first this year), the large walleye (over 1-lb and 11-inches) giving birth and 3 doubles. They were mostly barreds. The inside edge usually produces occasional fish working the edge. Today, there was a large mixed school there.
By 8:45 am, it was all over. All the structure was too shallow to hold fish. All fish were caught on a Surf Miki 3. It was a great morning bite: in close, big fish; 1st striper this year; my personal best walleye; and, I got a total of 21 fish in a few hours. I spent the rest of the morning scouting the beach by walking south 2 miles at low tide. In general, the beach is not fishing well at tides lower than 2-ft. There is great structure but almost all of it was too shallow.

On May 5, 2003, I fished the same beach looking for big barred perch again. Low tide was -0.3 at 7:57 am, and high was 3.5 at 3:23 pm. The surf was not large but the swells had long period, the beach was flat and good holding water was hard to find. I fished hard in only the promising areas from 5:45 am to 7:30 am. I caught a total of 4 barred perch - all large. The two shown were the smaller - 1 1/2 lbs to 1 3/4 lbs and 12 to 12 1/2 inches. The other two were 2-lbs and 13-inches. I started at the big perch cut (see the last report), which was shallow and ill defined today. Water was calm and shallow and I had to walk out on sand bars to work the deeper edges of the cut. With the calm, long period waves it was almost like landing fish in a river. The fight was dominated by perch antics rather than the surging surf. Depth was maintained consistently early in the morning. I was in 2 to 3 feet of water playing perch in the 1 1/2 to 2-lb class - lot of fun!
I used my Loomis GL3 5-weight with 24-ft of leadcore (LC-13) for the first time in the surf. I was also using a new reel, an Orvis Clearwater Classic IV. This system cast really well - 90 to 100-ft was easy. I needed it today! Earlier, I didn't get hits any until I got my casts to 90 to 100-ft and found the right drift. It worked on 2 different cuts. I got 2 perch from each cut. I like the GL3/Orvis Clearwater! I'll use it as my primary gear for a while. All the perch took a Surf Miki 3. It might be a big perch fly. After low tide, the good holding water disappeared. I had a lot of fun anyway!

The swells were from the New Zealand area (from the southern hemisphere). The predictions indicate that the swell period should decrease over the next few days - Thursday may be much better. I hope it is...
On May 1, 2003, I planned to get on the water well before 1st light at Palm Beach. Low tide was -0.1-ft at 5:36 am, and high was 3.9-ft at 12:03 pm. I checked 3 cuts - even the largest cut was shallow and sandbars restricted access to deeper water (indicated by waves breaking over them). Fish could be present in this case but you rarely find them in this situation. I got no hits after covering the likely holding areas. I left after 1 hour to fish my recent favorite beach.
By the time I started fishing again, it was 7:30 am and the flood tide was well on its way. My favorite cut was flowing nicely - the best that I've seen. You can see the cut flowing left behind me. I worked the cut south and was surprised that I got no hits. I worked back north and worked deeper casting further and angled northward more and I finally got a nice perch. The next one was nicer (1 1/4 - lb, 12-inches) and the next one was 1 1/2-lbs and 12 1/2-inches. I had found a school of large barred perch and the bite continued for more then an hour. The largest female barred perch shown is the last one. I was using leadcore and Surf Miki 3. The bite stopped so I moved on to search other places that have held fish.
I found a few barred perch in a shallow near shore trough but could not find any really good holding water. The swells have changed the beach structure and after searching for a couple hours, I returned to the area that I found the big perch. It still had the potential of concentrating fish. It looked good again. It was near high tide now and a few barred perch were still active. The first hit hard at the inside edge - a nice 1-lber, then I caught a small perch and another 1-lber. I was tired - my arm was aching but I made one last cast and the fat mother shown hit. It was a solid take at the same place as the others (inside edge). It turned out to be fowl hooked. It wasn't long (only 15-inches) but you can see from the picture how fat it is (3-inches wide), and it weighted 3 1/4 - lbs. It was in the surf to give birth - the first of the large females. My feeling is that if you are after the largest barred perch, you should be fishing hard now. The bigger ones spawn first. I had been using HiD line and Blind Mikis and going for walleyes but got barred instead. I got a total of 23 surfperch (only one walleye). Jim T got only walleyes the day before (22 of them) using leadcore and his FC Sand Shrimp Jr. This game keeps you guessing...
On April 28, 2003, I wasn't expecting much action because the perch were not within fly casting range yesterday (according to reports) and the swells were long period and foamy. I checked the surf from the bluffs and it looked like it was better today. I was on the beach by 6:00 am flood tide was well on its way (low was 0.9-ft at 3:56 am and high was 4.1-ft at 9:46 am). I started with leadcore and Surf Miki 3s and picked up a walleye at the first cut that I fished. I switched to HiD and Blind Mikis (since walleyes were around) and picked up another then the nice double shown. The large female walleye was ready to pop. I looked at the big bump and could see the juvenile's eyes looking at me - funny! The swell pattern changed after the double and the walleyes moved out. I decided to scout more southerly beaches since the swells should be smaller this time of year.

Sunset's swells were very similar to more northerly beaches. The beach still looked flat, long and generally featureless. Palm Beach looked better so I decided to scout south of the Palm Beach entrance all the way to the mouth of the Pajaro River.

First cut, first cast produced a nice double on walleyes. I continued to pick up 4 more (3 walleyes and 1 small barred). I was using leadcore and Surf Miki 3s because it was windy. Deja vu... ...before my eyes, the swell pattern changed that the perch moved out. That was it, a total of 9 surfperch for the day (8 walleyes and 1 barred) by 8:00 am. I did walk to Pajaro River and cast in a few spots. There were several nice small cuts and one large cut that had a long nearshore trough flowing southward. There were also some interesting flats adjacent to the Pajaro mouth. None of these areas held fish now because the swell pattern caused water to surge deep then drain.
On April 24, 2003, my mission was to get more experience comparing leadcore and high density (hiD) shooting heads against barred/walleyes catches. I started after 1st light - ebb tide was barely underway (high was 4.4 at 5:28 am and low was -0.1 at 12:45 pm). It was my first fishing on the beach in the rain (a steady rain that lasted 2 hours). I really enjoyed the experience. I got a small barred on my first cast using LC-13 (Cortland leadcore)/SM3 (Surf Miki 3) and continued to pick up a few more. With that I switched to hiD (high density)/BM (Blind Miki) and started getting walleye in the same water - I caught several before switching back to LC-13/SM3. As soon as I switched, I started getting barreds - I got around 5 including the nice 1 1/2-pound, 12.5-inch female. (In person, it looked to be a late mating female - its stomach area had a sandy gray color.)
After it slowed, I switched to hiD/BM (blind miki) and immediately caught the walleye shown (click to see a prone view), my largest so far at 10-inch, 3/4-lb and continued to pick up a few more. The bite slowed. I switched again and picked up a few barred. Overall, I caught 19 surfperch (half barred, half walleye) from 6:30 am to 9:00 am. I got results today that were consistent with the results on April 17, 2003. The bite was slower but nevertheless the results show that walleyes feed higher in the water column and you can select your gear to give you significantly better results if you are targeting one or the other. Walleye are fun! Large barreds are awesome! I decided that I would continue to fish with 2 fly rods until the walleye bite is over.
On April 21, 2003, the highlight was rainbow shown. Note that the water looks good at this point. I wanted Rob Ketley to catch a perch under the rainbow, so his mind is poised on perch. Low tide was at 9:23 am (-0.9 ft) and high was at 2:01 am (+5.5) and 4:42 pm (+3.9 ft). I was filled with anticipation because of reports of non-stop walleye bites and lots of medium-sized barreds from the day before. I started just after 1st light at 6:15 am. The early walleye bite was great in very shallow water. Leadcore and heavy flies seems to get walleye when they are in close. I picked up a few with in 30-ft. I switched to HiDensity and Blind Mikis and the bite improved for me and I got several more. The bite only lasted for around 1 hour so I moved and worked all of the usual holding areas and ended with a total of 15 surfperch by 8:30 am. I got 50/50 walleyes/barreds today. The barreds were smaller today. The wind picked up towards the last part - thank goodness for leadcore - I could still cast! By 11:00 am we had very bad conditions (long period waves, foam all over the place and lots of hydraulics.
On April 18, 2003, I fished a short day. Low tide was at 6:34 am (-1.2 ft) and high was at 1:08 pm (+4.5 ft). Yesterday at 1st light was slow so I started fishing around 8:00 am after meeting Jim T. The tides were really still very low as shown from the view to the south and the view to the north. Swells were a little larger and the cuts were not flowing a nicely. This is the first day I noticed sandcrab vees as water receded from the beach. It was loaded with very small (less then 3/8-inch) sandcrabs. My mission was to find a walleye school again and to experiment with gear to find a way that I can consistently get walleyes with my leadcore (LC-13) setup. The day started slowly but I picked up a few here and there all day. I didn't cast a lot since I had fished so hard yesterday. I watched other fly fishermen; today there were 4 others on the beach. I ended the day with 13 small surfperch (11 barreds and 2 walleyes). The great walleye bite was later in the tide cycle today. I got to the hole just as the bite cooled. Dave Sellers and Steve Cali were there and it was obvious that they had been into a great bite. I had the right idea but my timing was off. Jim T worked hard at the more shallow flat holes and the regular holding areas to find a few here and there and finished with 34 surfperch (mainly barreds with a few walleyes). Jim uses leadcore exclusively for the surf. His largest today was 2 1/2 lbs (14-iches). As I left him (before he caught it), he said you are leaving some big fish! But, I had a mission...
On April 17, 2003, swells were smaller as predicted. Low tide was at 5:45 am (-0.8 ft) and high was at 12:08 pm (+4.7 ft). The day started slow towards low tide because the large holes/cuts were too shallow to hold concentrations of surfperch but I did catch a few nice barred near 1st light including this nice 1 1/4 pounder. Towards midtide around 8:30 am, the cuts started to flow really well and brought in large concentrations of fish. Rob Ketley and Dave Sellers got into a sustained walleye bite. I fished on either side, in between, with Dave's rod, with Rob's rod and could not participate at all. I was using a leadcore head on my rod and I finally picked up a few nice barred perch including a 1 1/2 pounder. After Rob and Dave left, I switched gear and got into a sustained walleyes bite, finally!!! I picked up several nice fat walleyes. While the sustained walleye bite (using HiDensity and Blind Miki) was on, I switched to leadcore and the heavier Surf Miki 3 and I landed several nice barred perch (no walleyes). The 2 1/2-lbs, 14-inch barred surfperch shown at the left was one of them that came in on the Surf Miki 3. (Click to see another shot and note the wonderful cut flowing to the left behind me!) This is one of my largest barred surfperch on flies this year. Dave Sellers had quit fishing to run his rottweiler, Annie, on the beach and he ran south during my walleye bite and returned in time to snap the camera. Thanks Dave! The results were pretty compelling that walleye feed higher in the water column as Rob Ketley's marine biology intuition told him. I'll be posting a more detail report within a few days. Dave had a great day today too ( See photos of Dave, some of his nice surfperch and Annie in the Reader Gallery.) He also provided compelling evidence that walleyes are not leader shy; he used 20-lb test leaders and caught a lot of them. I lost count but I caught between 35 to 40 surfperch. The barred perch came in on Surf Miki 3 with leadcore and the walleyes came a Blind Miki (no eyes to make it lighter) and an old HiDensity head. It was quite a day!

Just a note, that Jim T caught a 10.5-inch calico surfperch yesterday! (See pictures of the earlier ones by clicking (first, second and third). That is the 4th one that we've seen between us in the last couple years. They have a very small mouth and may be very difficult to hook. It might be that they are more abundant than it appears because it is difficult to catch them. If you catch any, I'd like to see pictures to post with any details of where and how large they were. A ZFF reader, Craig Scovill (who has been scoring surfperch on his Surf Miki ties) just reported that he caught a Calico Surfperch on April 6, 2003 so that makes it a total of 5 reported. Craig has been grub and switching very effectively.
On April 14, 2003, I started fly fishing at the same beach (as the last 3 reports) at first light. The large swells over the weekend made big changes to the beach. Swells were different today. They were not that large but they had long period that caused the beach to get flat and long and there was so much foam that it was hard to find holding water. There were few fish with no real concentrations. I didn't catch any fish but had fun anyway: good company, a challenge and I met Greg Vitale (a ZFF reader) who said that ZFF was a big help in getting him started in the surf. Also, he got 6 hits and 3 small perch on a tough day to catch fish and had some very good days already. I fished with Jim Basye who works at Upstream in Los Gatos. He is an experience fly fisher (steelhead, trout and LMB) who is getting started fly fishing for perch. It was a tough first day for him. You can get a sense of that from Jim B facing the surf.

I didn't have much patience today and after fly fishing for an hour with really bad conditions (photo at left), I walked back to the car to get my spinning gear. The spinning gear and grubs didn't help. Jim T showed up later using fly rod but fishing from 8:30 am until 12:30 he picked up 11, mostly small but 3 bigger ones. Click to see Jim T really putting his whole body into a cast into heavy surf.

I walked and grubbed a long stretch of beach. I was casting 2 to 3 times as far covering a lot of water. Funny, I did get some hits (one good one) not many and landed none. I suspect it was just not my day and that the perch were mainly smaller and not concentrated at all. I'll try again on Thursday and hope the surf will be smaller.
On April 10, 2003, I went back to the same beach as the previous two reports and started fly fishing: first light, first food, first cast... ...the first bites (were the double shown - a nice 1 1/2-lb, 12-inch barred and a large walleye)! It doesn't happen very often but it is a great way to start a day. The bite continued even after I took time to take pictures and I picked up several more nice surfperch from the same cut. I cast into the foamy water drifting onto the edge of water moving to deeper water. The tide started high today and dropped all morning (4.4-ft at 4:47 am and 0.2-ft at 12:28 pm). I got 25 surfperch overall: mostly barred, 5 walleye, 1/3 baby perch and the rest from hand-sized to the largest shown at 1st light. I caught this large walleye after having caught several baby perch so it was enough to get my adrenalin going again. It came out of this really nice water.

The bigger barred perch went for my Surf Miki 3. I was using a Surfpercher Red on dropper and most of the walleyes and smaller perch took that. There was some very nice structure early today and I found 3 schools today. I got good experience with variations of drifts over holding water. You can reach difference parts of holding water by pausing, varying retrieve speed, giving slack line to let current move your head and fly, changing your position and changing the angle of the cast. You have to be very aware of what the current is doing to your line, head and fly. I have been noticing that you can fish good looking moving water in the wrong way and think there are no fish but after finding the right drift you get bit every cast. I think that I should be catching more walleyes based on reports from Dave S. and Rob K. Rob K. believes that walleyes hold higher in the water column and that my leadcore head and heavier flies work the holding areas too deep. I'll check it out in future trips.
On April 7, 2003, I went back to the same beach as the previous report and started fly fishing at first light. The tide was low all morning (low 0.3-ft at 8:14 am and high 3.3-ft at 3:41 am). I fished shallows all morning - the tide wasn't moving much at all and the surf was too calm much of the time (it was like a lake with some choppy water). The bite was decent on hand-sized perch just after first light in shallow holes. I caught the large male on the left at around 12 noon and another one that was a little bigger (11-in, 1-lb+). I walked out on a near-shore sandbar and cast into the white water letting the fly drift into the hole to the right in the nice area shown. The result was really strong grabs and the nice males. The near-shore troughs are chest deep in some areas. The structures are developing well.

I was expecting a hot bite on walleyes today based on reports yesterday but I only caught two walleyes. They were holding at the edge of the cut through a sandbar that you can see in the walleye photo. Overall, I caught 29 surfperch on my Surf Miki 3. About 1/4 were babies, 6 were larger to 1-lb plus and 12-in plus and the rest were from 6 to 8 inches. There was some very nice structure today and some good looking holding water but I did not find big concentrations of perch today. I got good experience fly fishing shallows today.

This is the first day that I saw birds (terns, pelicans and gulls) feeding on baitfish. I think I saw some feeding fish under the gulls beyond the breakers so there may be some stripers in the area.
Jim T's unusual surfperch gets center stage today (April 3, 2003). I believe it is a very fat Calico Surfperch (Amphistichus koelzi). I thought that this is the first one that we have seen but later I noticed that my first surfperch on flyrod in the Winter 2002/2003 Gallery was a Calico Surfperch too.

I fly fished at two beaches today. The first was at low tide and I fished very shallow water from first light until sun got on the water. It was slow. I caught one sanddab. I did hook a large perch (1 1/2 lbs plus) that was on for 30 seconds.

I met Jim T at the second beach. It started out very slow. I had fun fishing water that I normally do not fish with fly rod. I got much better with line control fishing in heavy hydraulics surf. I caught 17 surfperch on my Surf Miki 3. They were almost all babies (this was the smallest). Jim ended up more than 45 surfperch on grubs today.

By-the-Wind Sailors (Velella velella) sailed by as waded the surf today. These are the small bright blue jellyfish that float on the surface and sail with the winds.
My first spring trip was on March 31, 2003. I fished two beaches. I started out fly fishing at 6:30 am even though we had moderate, long wave-length waves. I found an active bite at the first hole that I fished. A school of walleye surfperch were in close at the edge of a shallow hole. I caught 10 nice walleyes and got a total of 19 on flies before 8:00 am. Most of the walleyes were nice size (8 to 10 inches) - larger than the picture of March 20, 2003. I got 3 walleye doubles - they must have been thick. Walleyes had been eluding me on prior trips here but today I was using a 12-pound test leader (instead of 14) so it may have helped. The walleyes have such big eyes. It was a persistent bite although I would lose the school and have to work left and right to locate them again. The picture shows the largest I caught on flies (a nice fat 12-inch barred surfperch). All perch were caught on my Surf Miki 3. The surf came up with the tide (low was at 3:49 am, 0.5 ft and high at 9:37 am, 4.8 ft). I switched to grubs and caught 6 more for a total of 25 at the first beach. This barred surfperch was the largest on grubs.

I left to scout the beach that I fished with great results on March 13, 2003. The water looked much the same and I fished very similar water that produced on that trip but the big fish were not there. I did pick up 5 baby barred perch. I got the feeling that large fish may feed in shallows only with low light - it was bright and sunny today. Total for the day was 30 surfperch.

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Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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Last Revised: June 30, 2003

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