Zen Fly Fishing: Spring 2004 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 17, 2004, the tide had a low of 0.7-ft at 5:37 am and a high of 3.5-ft at 12:44 am with not much movement after that to a low of 3-ft at 4:14 pm. It was windy in Los Gatos and the changeable-traffic signs going over highway 17 to Santa Cruz warned of high winds but it was my day to fish. I drove to a few beaches to checkout structure at low tide and decided to return to the stretch that I have been fishing. It was windy on the cliffs overlooking the beaches. Wind usually was not a problem using leadcore. I was on the water by 6:30 am with some wind and high fog. There was structure but the water was thin. I could not find any signs of life as I worked south - not one hit for the 1st 20 minutes. I got to a hole similar to those that have held fish before. My first fish was a decent barred. Five minutes later, I landed my second fish also a decent barred surfperch. The next one was small and I wondered if that was it for big perch like my last trip. I did turn out to be a BIG FISH DAY as you can see on the left, my biggest fish today: 2 1/4-lbs, 13-inches (see close-up). It was a spawner almost ready to give birth. My second largest was also a spawner: 2-lbs, 13-inches (see close-up). I caught a couple other large females (nice one, another nice one). I caught a lot more that ranged from 1 1.4-lbs up. What a day! After the first big fish hole, the big fish action slowed. There are still a lot of small perch around. I found a big fish school again at a hole that was the furthest point south that I fished today. I caught the largest perch there just after I ran into Dave Coulson from Fort Collins, Colorado and a ZFF reader. His friend is in the background. He had a great day: 6 doubles, several larger barred surfperch, a huge walleye, an 18-inch jack smelt. Amazing that he hit it right - his one day to fish the beach and what a day he had. Overall, I got 56 surfperch - all barred except for one walleye. The bite slowed after 11:00 but I stayed around until 12:30 pm to see all of the water in that area at higher tide. I was using the Red-Eyed Miki exclusively today on point and dropper. It took consistent long casts to reach fish during the second big fish bite. A lot of the grabs happened 80-feet out with a lot of shooting line stretch involved in the set. The fish were very aggressive today - several inhaled the Miki.
On June 14, 2004, the tide had an early low of 0-ft at 3:48 am and a high of 3.3-ft at 10:19 am with not much movement after that to a low of 2.3-ft at 2:32 pm. The first hole I fished had so much seaweed and debris that it was not fishable. The tide had picked up debris from the beach in some areas. Further south the beach looked cleaner and the water was too. My first fish is shown on the left (almost 1-lb, 10-inches). My expectations were raised when I caught another slightly larger on in the same area. I thought I had found a big fish school but that was it. I worked likely and unlikely areas as I walked south picking up an occasional barred surfperch. I found a school of small barreds twice. I caught a total of 22 barred surfperch by 8:00 am all small except for my first two. The surf started mild with nice short period waves and the weather was clear with fog moving in and out throughout the morning. The action stopped after 8:00 am with more sun on the water and longer period wave action. I tried to enjoy each perch as if it were a trophy - I had fun.
On June 10, 2004, the tide had a high of 3.9-ft at 5:13 am with a low of 0.4-ft at 11:48 am. I overslept and got on the water late by 6:30 am and found long period swells. The swells were moderate and no good holding water existed today. Jim T walked down around 7:00 am. It has been a long time since I fished with him. We walked north fishing the best water and finally hung around the best area waiting for fish to come in. We got occasional surfperch all morning. My barred perch were a small. The walleye shown on the left is my largest fish today. Jim caught a few mid-sized barred surfperch from the best area. A small school was moving around and occasional we would find fish. I ended up with 13 small surfperch today. Conditions should improve fast with better a swell patterns. We had cloud cover for most of the day. Seaweed and winds were a nusiance today.

On June 7, 2004, the tide had an early high of 5.7-ft at 1:33 am with a morning low of -1.2-ft at 9:11 am and an afternoon high of 4.1-ft at 4:27 pm. I was on the water by 5:30 am with the tide already quite low (around 1-ft). The low water and long period swells did not provide any good holding water. I worked south in search of fish anywhere. After 1/2 hour, I found a small perch in the deepest area of one of the few holes around. The hole held other small ones. I caught most of my fish here over the next hour. The largest is shown at the left, a 10-inch, 1-lb barred surfperch. Under bad conditions, I try to learn something new so I continued to fish and picked up a few more. Conditions got really bad at low tide so I took a nap hoping that fish would move with the incoming tide but I fished until noon and the fish never came in. The swell pattern was the surging type. Depth was not maintained anywhere. The water would recede so far that to cast you would move 20-feet in then would flood with the next surge of waves. I ended up with a total of 11 surfperch. I only fished with flies today and caught most of the perch on Surf Miki 3. I caught a few on a Red-Eyed Miki on dropper. Today, I tried to enjoy each fish as well as each cast and retrieve. I had fun in spite of the bad conditions. By the way on June 2nd, I got a call from Jim Lazarotti who said he caught a 12-lb striper on a Surf Miki 3. He came upon a small rip, he cast expecting nothing, saw a swirl, he set up and it took him deep into backing on his 5-weight with a 6-lbs test leader before he got it in. Way to go Jim! He said that he has done well on the Miki this year.

On June 3, 2004, the tide is -1.8-ft at 5:40 am (a really low tide) with a high of 3.8-ft at 12:30 pm. Water was really thin as I got to the first hole at 5:40 am. I was not sure what I would find. I searched the edges of the deepest area but found nothing. I worked north to fish the shallow flats (that did not look like good holding water) and landed my first barred surfperch. I had found a school of larger barreds in unlikely water and got into a continuous bite for the next hour. The largest is shown on the left (2-lbs, 13-inches) - with young growing nicely. See a close-up. Yeah!!! Big fish again! I ended up with 17 on my first stop. The swell pattern changed as the tide came in and the fish moved out. I worked south but only picked up an occasional fish. I found a school of small barreds and got several. I found a small pod of larger barred surfperch a couple times. I ended up with a total of 45 surfperch on flies. I tryed to enjoy each fish as if it was the only one I caught all day. The early action was fantastic! The fish were in unusual places - it was challenging to find them. I caught most on the Red-Eyed Miki. The Zen Worm was on dropper. I did end up with 6 doubles (see the best double). I caught an unusual BARLESS barred surfperch (close up). It could be another species. I caught some other nice barred perch too (close up). I only caught a few walleye surfperch - one was still spawning. The beach is still very flat. The beach had high fog and mild winds today. Sand crabs are ubiquitous now. I'm looking forward to the big spawning barred surfperch now.

On May 23, 2004, I had to go to Half Moon Bay so I took the opportunity to scout Francis Beach (Kelly Ave.) , Venice Beach and Dunes Beach. I started fly fishing at 7:30 am (down to and up around low tide) and fished 3 beaches until noon. Francis Beach had a nice hole and most of the beach had a steep near-shore drop-off. Almost all areas were too shallow near low tide. I was thrilled to catch the 1-lb, 10-inch barred surfperch shown. It was my only hit for the day. The day reminded me of a lady who once gave me a hard time about catching so many fish and calling it a zen day. She said that zen is more like catching one fish really well. So, I had a different kind of zen day. I enjoyed seeing a large brown pelican resting on the beach. They were feeding on bait fish just beyond the breakers. I'm going to take a fishing break this week - I'll get back to Monterey Bay beaches starting May 31, 2004.

On May 20, 2004, it is a minus low tide beginning. Today's tides drop to a low of -0.6-ft by 6:27 am, high was 3.4-ft at 1:30 pm. It was cloudy for most of the morning with light wind. The minus low tide reveals the trough structure that hold perch at high tide. I started fly fishing the good holes of the last trip. At first light, the first hole I fished today was shallow and produced only 3 surfperch. The second hole was better but reaching the perch today took long casts. I caught 14 on flies (using a Red-Eyed Miki and a Zen Worm). Grub fishing was easier today and I ended with a total of 47 surfperch (flies and grubs). The largest was 11-inches and 1 1/3 lbs (shown on the left). There are still a lot of small barred perch around but nice walleyes and barreds are mixed in. The surf was mild in the morning but it got rougher as the tide rose. The were a few times that I found perch with grubs and switched to flies with out success. One time I did connect with flies but it was obvious that heavy hydraulics made it difficult to feel hits. It was caused by shooting line stretch and higher water drag forces. Large male was among the mating barred surfperch caught today. A few of the 1 to 1 1/4-lb female barred surfperch were showing mating colors. A passing woman's reaction to seeing me with a perch provoked laughter on the beach. She got so excited! Walleyes are still spawning. It seems like the walleye spawn is long this year and the large barred spawn is late. It was easier to enjoy each and every perch caught on flies today: the grab, the fight and the release. There was more time to appreciate each one.

On May 17, 2004, mild surf conditions were forecast again. It was cloudy for most of the morning with light wind. Today's tides started low with -0.1-ft at 4:38 am, high was 3.6-ft at 10:58 am and an afternoon high of 1.9-ft at 3:41 pm. Since there were only a few holes that fished well with low water on my last trip, my plan was to started fly fishing in the good holes and move to other areas as the tide came up. I fished with Dennis Tunstall starting at 5:30 am. The first and second holes were so good that I caught most of my fish with 40 to 60-foot casts. I had 49 surfperch by 7:30 am. The rest of the day was slow but we managed to occasionally find a school and we left feeding fish at 12:30 pm. I caught a total of 66 surfperch today - the largest barred surfperch is shown (1 1/2-lbs 13-inches). The wind came up suddenly at 11:00 am and blew incessantly. Wind waves resulted and it seemed to stimulate feeding again. I caught 57 on flies. The hot fly was the Red-Eyed Miki which was on point. For pattern notes, see the Surf Miki 3 pattern. The Zen Worm did well on my dropper today. It has been very effective late last year and in the early season so far. Checkout the picture below!

This shows an unusually large silver surfperch (close-up). The California DFG identification notes indicate that 10.5-inches is the largest recorded. I recall it was 12-inches and 1 1/4-lb. A few more noteworthy events of the day: I caught a nice redtail surfperch (close-up). I'm catching a lot of walleye surfperch that are still spawning. The barred surfperch were mostly juveniles but there were a lot of larger ones throughout the day: 6:08 am, 6:19 am, 7:17 am, and 9:19 am. Dennis' largest barred surfperch was 1 1/2-lbs. Dennis also caught some huge walleyes. I also caught a few barreds that had open wounds. This is the first time I've observed so many perch with injuries:1, 2, and 3. I don't know what caused them.

On May 13, 2004, I was looking forward to good fly fishing with mild surf conditions. I fished up over high tide and most of ebb tide today: high was 4.1-ft at 6:52 am, low was -0.2-ft at 1:25 pm. I decided to work the beach from north to south this time. I started fly fishing at 6:00 am using Red-Eyed Mikis. My first two casts connected. Here's the second fish, a nice barred surfperch. I got a total of 10 barred surfperch from my first stop. The fish were not in the bigger holes. They were in the slightly deeper areas near shore (really small near-shore troughs). I got 25 surfperch (barred and walleye) at my second stop. The action slowed after that but I continued to pick up surfperch including the nice 1 1/2-lb, 13-inch barred surfperch shown. Its solid grab felt great! I haven't caught a larger perch on flies for a long time. At 9:00 am, I had 50 surfperch but action slowed way down. The the water level was too low over most of the beach as I worked south. I finally got to a large hole that looked really good but I was not finding any fish with flies. I switched to grubs and caught 10 perch - mostly walleyes. Once I knew where they were, I switched to flies again and picked up another 10 on flies. A cut was starting at this hole with really nice water movement. There were swarms of sand crabs in the adjacent flats. I ended with total of 60 surfperch on flies and 20 on grubs (half walleyes and half barred surfperch). I got 6 doubles. The walleye surfperch are still spawning. Where are the big barred surfperch spawners? I expect them soon. The Red-Eyed Miki has been very effective in this part of the season. For pattern notes, see the Surf Miki 3 pattern. The Red-eyes are not weighted and will fish higher in the water column than the Surf Miki 3 (SM3). I'll check out SM3 again after the big barreds show up.

On May 10, 2004, I fished the lower tides today: early high was 5.2-ft at 2:50 am, low was -0.8 at 10:40 am with an afternoon high of 4.0-ft at 6:08 pm. I started fly fishing at 5:45 am and caught only one small barred. The first hole was the only hole with any depth. I switched to grubs and found 12 surfperch (mostly walleyes). It started a little windy and the wind got so bad that it was hard to grub cast. I walked north hole-by-hole to find really slow fishing - no water maintained depth - it was too shallow. I did find a few small schools along the way. It was not until the tide turned (11:00 am) at my last stop northward that the bite got hot. I quit early and had to leave feeding fish at just after 12:00 noon. The beach between my 1st stop and last was too shallow with tides 2-ft or less. I ended with total of 49 surfperch today (half walleyes and half smaller barred surfperch - many were 4 to 5-inches): the largest walleye surfperch is shown on the left. Here's my largest barred surfperch, and a strange mis-shaped walleye. I may wait until next Monday to try again...

On May 4, 2004, I fished the incoming and the first of outgoing tide: low was -0.7 at 5:01 am with a morning high of 4.0-ft at 11:22 am and afternoon low of 1.6-ft at 4:28 pm. I started fly fishing at 6:00 am. The water near low tide was shallow but the perch (mostly walleyes) were there and feeding: the largest walleye surfperch is shown on the left, another large walleye, a nice walleye double, largest barred on flies. I caught a total of 14 surfperch on flies. The swell pattern was good for the first hour - fly fishing was fun. The pattern changed back to long period surging surf (and it got quite rough towards high tide). I switched to grubs for most of the day and worked north hole by hole. Most edges of the deeper areas had a few fish. It was hard to stay with the schools. I did find sustained bites in a few areas and ended with total of 52 surfperch today (walleyes except for a dozen barred). My largest barred surfperch was 11-inches, 1 1/3-lbs. The hot fly today was Richard Hector's tie of the Surf Miki 3, the Red-Eyed Miki. I met Edward Mitsui on the beach today. He holds the California record for Redtail Surfperch (2 lb 15 oz landed at Klamath Beach on June 29, 2003). I won't get out again until next week.

On April 29, 2004, high tide was 4.1-ft at 6:27 am and low tide was 0.2-ft at 1:33 pm. I fished all of incoming today. The surf has been heavier again with long period foamy swells that have filled in structure again. Most areas were surging up and down and unfishable. Only the biggest holes could be fished. I started fly fishing with leadcore and Surf Miki 3s and got 2 barred perch (largest) right away. It slowed down so I switched to grubs/ultralight and started getting walleyes. I got 19 total (3 on flies) from the first hole before the swell pattern degraded. I walked north over the area that I usually fish. The next 2 hours had NO fishable water. I took a lunch break and took only my 8 1/2-ft grub gear for the rest of the day. It continued to be slow but as the tide got lower the holding water improved and walleyes moved into the holes. I learned to fish higher in the water column using my heavier gear and ended up catching 31 more for a total of 50 surfperch: mostly walleye, a dozen barreds (a lot of 4 to 5-inch babies), and 5 silvers. The silver surfperch shown is the largest I've ever seen and it is also ready to give birth. The silvers seem to loiter along the inside edge of drop-offs. I also caught several large walleyes that were ready to give birth.

On April 26, 2004, swell patterns were decent and the fish were everywhere! The surf did not surge as it had been recently and holding water was much better. Structure is starting to rebuild again. The tides were real lazy today (slow, small movements). High tide was 4.4-ft at 2:35 am. I started fishing at 5:45 am (tide was about 2.5-ft) and I fished through low tide (0.2-ft at 11:04 am) until 2:00 pm. I started fly fishing and caught 5 barred surfperch at my first stop. The largest at 1st light was 3/4-lb. I switched to ultra-light spinning gear and fished the same hole with grubs and started picking up walleye surfperch. I moved every time it slowed down and worked north. Walleye were everywhere. I had a sustained bite on fly gear later in the day while fishing with Dennis Tunstall. We fished together from 7:00 to 10:30 am. Dennis' largest was 3/4-lb. I had around 50 perch by that time and was going to leave soon but every new area held fish and the bite continued through low tide and the first part of incoming. The barred surfperch shown is the largest of the afternoon bite. Here are other noteworthy photos: Nice walleye double on flies, Large walleye (close up) a fat silver surfperch (ready to give birth) (close up), walleye ready to give birth, and Large (~3-inch long) sand crab like creature (profile view). I caught a total of 112 surfperch (mostly walleye surfperch, 12 barred surfperch, 3 silver surfperch)). I caught 30 on flies today. Fly fishing still requires long casts. I was consistently casting 80-ft. I could have fly fished more but I got involved in fishing ultra-light. I used Surf Miki 3s at 1st light for the barred perch and Zen Worm (the new entry in ZFF Flies) on point and Blind Miki on dropper for the afternoon walleye bite.

I finally got out on April 22, 2004. With flat beaches and a low tide of -0.2-ft at 7:24 am, I wasn't expecting much. High tide was 3.3-ft at 2:16 pm. I was on the water by 5:45 am and started fly fishing. I got a small perch right away but that was it. All of the water was too thin for the lower tides. Water did not maintain depth. It surged so much that fish could not hold there. Water looked thin up and down the beach so I drove southward and northward to scout other beaches from Moss Landing to New Brighton. I didn't see any good water. I fished some and didn't find any fish so with higher tides I returned to first area at 10 am. Good water was still hard to find even within grub casting range. The beaches have gotten very flat and most of the structure has filled in. I found a few areas that held fish, predominantly large walleye surfperch (to 1-lb plus) (a few were larger than the one shown). The biggest ones are spawning now - I saw one giving birth. I ended up with a total 18 surfperch. I got one barred surfperch (1-lb, 10 1/2-in). You can see the best of today's water in the background of this close-up shot. I caught most of the perch from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Most came from one hole and a few from adjacent holes. I like to think that if you drive/walk/cast with enough determination, you will eventually find fish. I was happy that it happened today!

April 21, 2004: Sorry, I didn't get out on Monday. Perry Wong fished all last week at the beach and had a slow week with bad swell and beach conditions. He was rewarded with a really nice large barred surfperch. He estimates 2 1/2-lbs - his largest so far. He caught it Friday on grubs. Saturday through Monday had decent conditions and I received reports of decent fly fishing with counts from a dozen to 45. A few baby stripers seem to be around. It seems like longer casts (70 to 80-ft plus) are required. Large swells are forecast again through Thursday. Conditions might be decent again by the weekend but swells from large SW storms look to be starting Sunday and here through most of next week. I just added a HOT new fly pattern, the Zen Worm. Check it out!

On April 13, 2004, high tide was 4.9-ft at 5:49 am and a low tide of -0.5-ft at 1:19 pm. I fished all of ebb tide with Perry Wong. He is spending spring break at the beach with his family. We met at 5:30 am. 1st light was really windy and the surf was rough there. The beach was flat near high tide. I got 1 small walleye on grubs. We decided to drive north to my recent fishing grounds - we got there around 7:30 am. As we worked north, Perry fished with determination! He fly fished most of the day under bad surf conditions. He fished with my grub gear a litlle. There was no good holding water except one hole but a bait fisherman was there with two rods in key spots. We couldn't work it completely but I managed to pick up two nice BSP there with grubs: a 12-in, 1 1/2-lb female barred surfperch (shown) and a 11-in, 1 1/4-lb male barred surfperch. That was it for the day - the bait fisherman left but the water was too shallow by then. Perry still had none. On the way back to the car, we fished a little in the best spots. None looked good at all. Perry finally got a small walleye; then a bigger one; and another one still larger. Finally, he got a 3/4-lb barred (sorry, it wiggled loose before we got a picture). This was all in a period of 30-minutes at a small rip area. I was fishing on both sides of him and got none. I was using a floating fly trying to prove that walleyes suspend. Perry was using a small red/brown shrimp pattern that he came up with for this trip. Anyway, the day ended great for him. We quit fishing at around noon. I ended up with 3 and Perry with 4 (on his new fly). It was fun fishing with him! All the rest of the time, there were no signs of life near shore. No small fish. No hits. I did see sand crabs with orange roe sacks so fish may be keying on orange now. The swells caused cyclical surging so water levels were not maintained in most water. The wind died down while we fished the last beach but it started blowing badly again as I drove by on the way home - the swells/weather may be unsettled for a few days. I'm going to take a short break from fishing and will get back to on Monday, April 19, 2004. Send reports if you get out!

On April 8, 2004, low tide was -0.7-ft at 7:44 am and a high tide of 3.6-ft at 2:20 pm. I fished from 6:15 pm to 2:00 pm. Fishing 1st light was fun! I got a walleye double on my second cast at the first hole. Conditions were not good but the fish would be there when the swells increased water level in the hole. I caught 9 walleyes from that hole - some very large ones. They all were within 20 to 60-feet. By 7:00 am, the water dropped too much and the walleyes left so I worked north, hole by hole. Most of the holes were shallow and small and in most holes there was one to a few left behind walleyes. On my pass north, I ended up with 16 perch on flies (all walleyes except for 1 baby barred). I worked north almost 3 miles. The swells have moved more sand onto the beach. Some areas have become flatter and longer again. There are still holes there but at minus low tide almost all are too shallow and the sand bars block access to deeper water. On the way back, I didn't cast much because the water looked so bad. The WNW storm swells finally hit and I couldn't find any good holding water. I did cast a few times at the better areas and it was dead all the way back. On the way back, I saw a bait fisherman with a 7-lb striper (24-inch). It was heavy for its length so feed must be plentiful out there. He caught it using sand crabs. I fished that area hard with grubs and started to pick up mostly walleyes again. I ended up with 16 from that area so ended with a total of 32 (50/50 flies/grubs). They were almost all walleyes (2 silvers and 1 redtail (close-up) and 1 baby barred). It was a decent day. It started great then I had a long relaxing walk and it ended great. Fly fishing was a lot of fun and productive today!

On April 5, 2004, low tide was 0.4-ft at 5:11 am and a high tide of 4.7-ft at 11:17 pm. Dennis Tunstall and I fished from 6:15 to 2:30 pm. We worked north during incoming about a 1 mile and then back. With low water, we got a few perch at almost every hole but it was slow. The best areas were the few last holes north that we fished. It was towards high tide when we got there. The bite stopped at high then started again after ebb tide got started. We caught a lot of walleyes. I got a total of 44 (1/2 walleyes). Dennis got 43 - mostly walleyes including some really large walleyes. His biggest barred perch were around 1-lb. I started fly fishing at 1st light and caught two then went to grubs. I fly fished at the holes to the north and picked up 4 more (a walleye, a mixed mid-sized barred/walleye double, a 1-lb barred). Fly fishing was too much work today. There was not much reachable water that would maintain depth. My biggest on grubs today was 13-inches, and 1 1/2 lb (shown) and a few around 1-lb. The sand bars were built up again and were still showing at high tide.

On April 1, 2004, the high tide was 4.8-ft at 7:04 am with a low of 0.1-ft at 2:09 pm. I fished from 5:30 am to about 12 noon. I started at the north end of the range that I had been fishing recently and got a couple perch. There were not many fish. It was slow almost all day but I did catch occasional perch. The best bite was at a holes that have been good recently. Today it turned on at the higher side of mid-tide (from 9:00 to 10:00 am). I got most of the fish there. After the bite slowed I worked north again all the way to where I started. It was dead with lower tides all the way back. It got really windy around noon. I got 3 there after the wind started. I ended up with 21 perch (all on grubs): the biggest was 1 1/4-lb, a few 1 lb (one shown to the left), a couple large walleye and the rest mid-sized. The sandbars are back. More sand has been move onto the beach. All of the holes got shallower. The surf did not create good holding water today. There were few places that held depth. Even the good area changed as different sets of waves came in. It was harder to fish today. I didn't fly fish very much because of the few areas that held depth over successive waves. The one school I hit made it all worth the effort. It was a nice day: sunny but cool.

On March 29, 2004, the early high tide was 4.3-ft at 3:49 am with a low of 0.3-ft at 12:06 pm and an afternoon high of 3.5-ft at 7:53 pm. The tide would drop to 2-ft by around 8:00 am so I started fishing early. Last time out, I had very thin water with no good holding water with lower low tides. I was on the water by 5:00 am with Dennis Tunstall. The surf was finally calm today (the storm swells subsided). The morning started a little rougher with moderate period waves with foam. We walked directly to what I thought was the best area. I started with fly gear and got a few smaller perch. Early morning had decent action. It was slow for the rest of the morning but we had occasional surfperch and found small schools at a few locations. It got calmer later and stayed calm until the wind picked up in the afternoon. Late afternoon was the best during incoming from about 12:30 pm. The best bite was from about 2:00 to 3:00 at the hole where we started in the morning. We had long slow day that was sparked by some great bites - I got a total of 46 surfperch: 1/3 walleye with a few large ones, a silver surfperch (close up), a few baby perch, three 1 1/3 lb (11 inch), the biggest was 1 3/4-lb (12.5-inches) shown , most were between 6-inches and 10-inches. I caught 1/3 of the perch with flies but the bigger perch were caught with grubs. We started at 5:00 am and fished until 4:00 pm. 11 hours on the water! We scouted and fished a good 3 miles of beach to the north. The last storms put a lot of sand on to the beach. The berm extends towards sea much further now. (The berm is the highest area of sand against the cliffs.) The holes to the north look much better now but large populations of fish haven't found them yet. The surf forecasts show bigger surf coming again to keep us guessing. Dennis did really well. He got 47 - his biggest were around 1-lb.

On March 25, 2004, I wanted to fly fish from 1st light again. What a difference a storm makes! The swells went back to winter patterns for the last couple days and I saw moderate period waves and foam everywhere. The early high tide was 4.7-ft at 12:53 am with a low of 0.6-ft at 7:39 am and an afternoon high of 3.2-ft at 2:17 pm. I was on the water by 5:30 am. I had my 1st barred surfperch by 5:30 am, another soon after as well as a walleye double. An area would look like great holding water then the swells would change (directions and height). It seemed like the fish moved out so I switched to grubs and worked north. I fished all of the most likely areas but there was NO good water to fish near low tide. The storm swells had rebuilt the offshore sand bars. All structure was too shallow and areas where depth was maintained was hard to find. It took a couple hours to cover 2+ miles with NO signs of life except a sea otter and surf scoters. I finally came upon a decent low tide cut that maintained depth and saw a grub fisherman land a perch. I had one on right away but dropped it. I moved on to the next cut north and ended up with 8 barred surfperch (including the 1-lb, 11-inch mating female shown at the left). Conditions changed there and the good water disappeared. I picked up a few working south again. I got to a favorite area of the last few trips at 11:30 am and got into fish right away. With higher tide, it was the best water all day but it was crazy water was chaotic and changed a lot. It held a mixed school of walleyes and barreds. I switched to fly gear and continued to catch feisty barreds and large walleyes. I caught most of the fly gear perch on Surf Miki 3 on point. A few took a grubfly that was on my dropper. Fly fishing seemed to be more effective (than grubs) in this crazy water. I ended with 37 total: about 1/3 walleyes and 50/50 grubs/flies. All swell sources should be winding down by Sunday (according to surfline.com) so we should be back to spring conditions after stabilization...

On March 22, 2004, low tide was 0.7-ft at 5:18 am and high tide was 4.4-ft at 11:20 am. Conditions seemed good for fly fishing. I had a feeling that I could find perch in close at low tide under low light conditions. I was on the water by 5:10 am. My 1st light perch is shown on the left - caught at 5:20 am. By 7:30 am, I had 21 mid-sized barred surfperch to about 1-lb. Dennis Tunstall came strolling up the beach just as I was landing one of them. Many of them came out of this nice water. After it got light, fishing slowed considerably but there was some action throughout the morning and by noon I had 38 surfperch. I caught most of them on Surf Miki 3. Seven hours of fly casting was enough so I took a break and grub fished for the rest of the day. Jim T. showed up from another beach and was picking up an occasional perch on flies. Grubs were really slow for the next hour. I was working north with Jim T. I finally got to an area that has held a lot of fish given the right conditions. Conditions were perfect this afternoon and we were into a long persistent bite of mid-sized perch to 1 1/2-lb. I ended up with 34 more perch (a total of 72). Dennis stayed on the south end and said that the bite turned on at about the same time there too. He was really happy. Jim T. fly fished all day and did really well. Spring is here!

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Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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