Zen Fly Fishing: Spring 2005 Gallery

The reports are in reverse chronological order with the last report on top. Click on the pictures to view a larger version. I usually publish reports (in my sleep deprived state) very late on the evening of my trip. I frequently make a few changes after sleep recovery.

On June 20, 2005, the tide's early low was -1.13-ft at 3:54 am and high tide was 3.67-ft at 11:01 am with a afternoon low of 2.93-ft at 3:16 pm. I started fishing at 6:00 am starting at the same beach as my last trip. I found that the recent big swells have reduced depth in the holes and flattened the beaches. Chopped up seaweed debris was moving through the water too. By-the-Wind Sailors (Velella velella) were washed up on the beach and starting to smell. These are the small bright blue jellyfish that float on the surface and sail with the winds. I caught two small barred surfperch in 2 hours while working 1-mile of water South then North. This low tide water here was not good so I drove 8-miles South to find nice water and more structure. This beach had the Velellas too. My first fish here was the Redtail Surfperch shown at the left. It was the biggest fish today. I caught 5 more surfperch here (1 Walleye Surfperch and the rest Barreds). I drove back to another beach I fished last Thursday. I worked 2-miles of beach to the South there as the tide came up. There were a few shallow holes between long stretches of flat beach. I managed to catch 6 more small BSP. I used my Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes)and my new shrimp pattern on dropper again. Overall, I caught 14 Surfperch - all small except the Redtail. It was another tough day with a lot of driving, walking and casting. It was clear, sunny and cool all day. The wind picked up mid-morning - casting was harder. I quit at 12 noon - happy that I found some action today. Summer Solstice is tomorrow! I wonder what that will bring...
On June 16, 2005, the tide's high tide was 2.93-ft at 6:11 am and low tide was 1.53-ft at 11:59 am. I started fishing at 6:00 am working the same area as last time. The tide did not move much this morning but there was some decent water. Swells were mild to almost non-existent all day. It didn't take me long to find fish here but they started small and continued mostly small all day. I had fun feeling hits and playing as if they were bigger and enjoying every wiggle on the way in. By 9 am, the biggest was a feisty 8-inches - the rest were smaller than 6-inches so I went hunting for larger fish. My next stop was a beach that I haven't fished much this year (4-miles South). It had a big wide long trough, no significant holes and the beach up to the trough was flat. Most of the water was too shallow. I did catch one mid-sized female Barred Surfperch on a long cast. She took just after the fly hit the water. On long casts, shooting line has so much stretch that there is a delay in feeling bigger fish. I had been anticipating a nice hit all morning. There were fish around but they were holding too far out. I moved on after an hour to another beach (2-miles further South). At my first stop, I got that SOLID GRAB that I had been waiting for all day! It was SOLID but HECK - it did not move - a snag in the middle of a sandy hole. Now, I remember having hung up there last year. I had to break something - my hook broke at the bend. Working South, there were a few nice holes but no fish. On the way back North, I started to find small perch. I started feeling slight bumps in the best looking hole around. I cast again then BANG! Something with some fighting spirit was on. It turned out to be the 1-lb, 9-oz ripe, spawning female Barred Surfperch shown on the left. It was ready to give birth and you can see her waters squirting in a close-up, and a baby emerging afterwards. They were all safely released. By the way, don't handle spawning females too long - they start to abort their babies - even if they are premature. My Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) caught the most fish. My new shrimp pattern on dropper caught about 1/3 of them. The Surf Miki caught the big barred. Overall, I caught 31 Barred Surfperch - most with imagined-size until I caught the ripe female. It was a marathon day! After fishing 3 beaches and working about 6 miles of beach, I quit at 1:30 pm, satisfied that I made the best of today's situation
On June 13, 2005, the tide's early high was 3.93-ft at 2:31 am. I started fishing at 6:30 am working the same area that I had been fishing but this time I started at the North-end and worked South (because it held bigger fish last time). The water level was already down to 2-ft. The best water was marginal because depth was varying too much with too little water in near-shore structure. It was clear and sunny all morning. The swells were small but choppy with some surging and the surf was hard to wade. I did find fish in the third area that I fished. My first fish was a nice mid-sized Barred Surfperch (close-up). It came out of a small hole that had a small school of larger fish. I got a big hit after casting out again - it felt like a big slab perch. It was my largest today 1-lb 14-oz, 15-inch spent female Barred Surfperch (BSP) shown (close-up). I caught a total of only 5 Barred Surfperch today - all but one from this area. There were no small fish today. All of the other water did not seem to hold fish. I fished through low tide, 0.25-ft at 9:44 am today. I used Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) and my new shrimp pattern on dropper. The Surf Miki caught the big barred as usual. The shrimp pattern caught half the fish. There was a lot of near-shore structure that was too shallow today. I think this beach will fish better with more than 2-ft of water and with incoming rather that outgoing tides. Overall, my first hour was decent the big female was a thrill. I had a nice walk for the rest of the day. I'm looking forward to more action next time with higher tides.
On June 6, 2005, the tide's low was -1.07-ft at 5:08 am and high was 3.84-ft at 12:14 pm. I fished with friend that hasn't fished the surf for a few years, Bob Skurko. We were on the beach by 5:30 am (18-minutes before sunrise). It was cool, clear with a slight breeze. We had the low light, minus low tide conditions that sometimes produce some in close, almost still-water thrills. The first hole seemed to have decent holding water but produced nothing. Most of the second hole was the same until I got to the North edge and picked up smaller Barred Surfperch (BSP) (You an see the water behind the fish). The bite turned out to be decent on smaller mid-sized fish (this shows a double). I ended up with 12 BSP in this area before moving on. Bob had a low start getting back into the way of the surf. The bite improved as the tide came in over the morning and it wasn't long before the sunshine brought some warmth into Bob's morning (he ended up with 20 BSP). I caught a total of 35 Barred Surfperch today. The largest today was the 1-lb 9-oz, 13-inch female Barred Surfperch (BSP) shown (close-up). Here's another picture that Bob took. It shows the water behind me. This one came to a long cast into rougher, foamy water. It was a huge thrill after having worked though dinksville. We caught a lot of small fish today. The flats were loaded with small BSP on the way back. I used Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) and my new shrimp pattern on dropper. The Surf Miki caught the big barreds as usual. The shrimp pattern caught half the fish. Earlier in the day, I weighed and measured a huge female barred that one of the better bait fisherman had caught. It weighed 2 1/2-lbs (after the babies were squeezed out), 16-inches long. This came out of the same big fish school from which I caught a 12-in, 1-lb 6-oz female BSP (close-up). Here I was fishing the South edge of a hole that transitioned into deep flats to the left. I waded out and cast into the flats, started retrieving then got a solid take and the nice one was on. The bait fisherman the hole side of the edge to the flats and had caught a big one just before me and another after me. He also lost the biggest one (it could have been a striper). Well, this time the bait guys got more big ones - he was in better position. I was sorry to see so many large spawners caught and killed but I was happy to see a school of spawners. Hopefully, the fishery is robust enough to support this kind of harvesting.
On June 2, 2005, the tide's high was 3.47-ft at 8:14 am and low was 1.35-ft at 2:37 pm. I got a LATE start today - overslept - guess I needed the sleep. I was at the beach by 8:15 am (high tide) and scouted conditions where I have been fishing recently. It was sunny and the beach looked too flat and shallow to have good holding water so I headed South to find better conditions. The next beach (few miles South) had overcast skies with a light breeze and up to 2-foot overhead waves and lots of turbulent, foamy flats. I fished there starting at 9 am for an hour resulting in only one dink. Moving South again about 4 miles, holding water looked much better but it was still slow. I picked up an occasional fish. I covered about 1-mile of water here. There were long stretches of shallow, flat beach and some good holding water. A few of these produced multiple fish. The North edge of deeper areas produced the best. The largest was a nice male Barred Surfperch that was 14-ounces (close-up). I caught a total of 20 Barred Surfperch today. Half were from 7 inches to 9-inches. The Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) caught most of the fish. My new shrimp pattern on dropper caught a few too. I didn't catch any larger spawners but I lost a big one that certainly was one. The best water was occupied by bait fisherman. Fish were starting to get active there just before I left at 3 pm. I caught a few adjacent to the area they were fishing. I'm looking forward to another shot at them on my next trip.
On May 30, 2005, the tide's high was 4.24-ft at 4:07 am with a low of -0.29-ft at 11:01-am. I was on the water just after high tide at 5:15 am with clear skies and mild surf. The low tide structure did not show up much with higher water level and most of the beach was flat. I caught my first fish, a nice male Barred Surfperch at 5:30 am. I worked North about 3/4 mile fishing all of the slightly deeper areas. Most of the slightly deeper areas near shore held some fish. There was a lot of chopped up seaweed the water today. I didn't fish the worst areas - it could be avoided by moving up current. My biggest today was the 1-lb, 11-inch male Barred Surfperch (BSP) shown on the left (close-up). After the sun hit the water, I found the most fish on the deeper foamy flats. I had to cast 80 to 90-ft to reach holding water. I ended up with a total of 32 Surfperch ( a few Walleyes and the rest BSP). One-third were very small today and one-third were nice mid-sized or larger (close-up). The holiday fishermen started showing up around 7 am and by mid-morning most of the holes where staked out - I left by 11 am. Sand crabs were abundant over most of the beach again. My Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) caught most of the fish. My new shrimp pattern on dropper caught about 1/5 of the fish - it did well on the flats. I didn't catch any larger spawners but they are still around - I'll try again later this week.
On May 26, 2005, the tide's low was -1.76-ft at 7:16 am with a high of 3.94 -ft at 2:38-pm. I started fishing at 5:15 am with pleasant conditions: cool, light misty marine layer, easy wading with a gentle surf. I was fishing the last part of outgoing tide with many shallow holes to explore. The first hole looked like it should hold fish but not one hit in 45 minutes of searching. I caught my first, a small surfperch at 5:55 am at the second hole (the minus low-tide hole shown on the left). It turned out to be a 19-fish hole. My second fish was nice mid-sized male barred surfperch (close-up). After I got a few fish on the North edge of the hole, they left. The swell patterns were changeable so good conditions would shift within the hole so I had to shift with them. The bite slowed with lower water so I moved North.
Every hole had at least a few fish. Some had a lot of fish. The most memorable hole seemed to be teeming with fish as I approach and my first cast got a momentary heavy grab. I cast again to another grab and I had a heavy fish on and landed it (close-up).This happened again to get: a small scrappy striper that was tail hooked (close-up), the large spawning female Barred Surfperch (1 1/2-lbs) shown at the left (close-up) - it is really not the same fish, and the 2-lb 6-oz Striper shown BELOW (close-up) and a few other mid-sized BSPs. I got 10 fish from this hole before conditions changed. I fished until just past noon. For the last hour, a head wind came up that made casting harder but using a leadcore shooting head pays off again. The last area I fished required at least 80-ft casts to consistently find fish. It was an area here waves converged from two directions.
I was using 3 flies for most of the day. I do this when I want to test flies. I was using a Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) on point with an experimental shrimp pattern, and a Zen Worms in that order on droppers. The larger Striper took my experimental shrimp pattern. It also did well on walleye and Barreds today. The Zen Worm caught fish too. They are all great surf flies. I think the shrimp pattern is getting close - I'll call it the Zen Shrimp. Using three flies paid off. I did get a BSP triple. They look to be a matched triple. They had an interesting fight. They mostly swam together but at times they were all going in different directions. I also got some doubles. I was wading and casting almost continuously from 5:15 am to 12:15 pm. The cool mist kept my cool and invigorated. I cast well and maintained my focus all day. I ended up with a total of 63 fish (2 stripers, 6 Walleye Surfperch and the rest mostly mid-sized BSP to 1 1/2-lbs with few dinks). Yes, I had a great day!
On May 23, 2005, the tide's low was -1.28-ft at 04:55 am with a high of 3.79-ft at 11:53-am. I started fishing after 5:30 am with thin water in low tide holes, mild surf conditions and clear skies. I fished with Larry Cheng who I met via Wayman and Charles. I was skeptical but we were into fish almost immediately. Larry caught the first one. I caught one soon after. It was like fishing in small ponds. Every pond had a few. There was a mixed school of Walleye and Barred Surfperch moving around in the one hole. I got a Walleye/Barred double two casts in a row then lost the school. There were a few nice barreds (close-up) and Walleyes (close-up). My largest Barred Surfperch was 12-inches, 1-lb 5-oz shown to the left (close-up). All of the fish were within the deepest areas of the low tide holes. The good action was over by 8:00 am. The swell pattern changed as the tide came in and the swells started to surge. Good holding water disappeared. I caught a total of 13 Surfperch (4 were Walleye Surfperch). I used the Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) with experimental shrimp pattern on drop. The largest was caught on the Miki - the next largest on the shrimp pattern. The beach has reverted back to winter conditions. The deeper structure has filled in and much of the beach is flat now. I think this is a result on unseasonably large NW swells over the last several days. It was great to get into fish so early and to get some larger perch. Larry's catch was about the same. He was using his own flies including smaller patterns and was consistently getting more hits.
On May 17, 2005, the tide's high tide was 3.39-ft at 5:31 am with a low of 0.69-ft at 12:23 pm. I started fishing after 6:30 am with mild surf conditions and clear skies. I caught a Walleye Surfperch double on my 3rd cast on the edge of the largest hole in the area. It wasn't long until I caught the 9-inch Barred Surfperch shown - one of the largest today. I caught 9 surfperch in the first 45 minutes but the swell pattern changed to a surging one that did not maintain depth as well and the bite slowed. I caught a total of 17 Surfperch by 9:30 am (1/3 were Walleye Surfperch). The Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) caught almost all of the fish. I caught 1/3 on an experimental shrimp pattern on drop. The beach has changed a lot since my last trip. The sand bars have built up and the near-shore holes are not as deep now. The surf was too small to create moving water today. Most of the fish were at the inside edges of the slightly deeper areas. I drove 9-miles South to find bigger surf and structure and fished for an hour with no signs of life. Surf was bigger as well as structure but swell pattern was surging there too. I fished with Jim T at the first beach today. He had decent action but it was a slow day by his standards while I was there. After I left, the holding water improved significantly during the incoming tide, the bite picked up and he ended up having a great day on smaller surfperch to 10-inches. As I left him, I said I know a big school will come in...
On May 6, 2005, the tide's low was -0.18 -ft at 4:01 am with a high of 4.06-ft at 10:17 pm. I woke-up late and started fishing at 7:00 am and fished only 4-hours today. I had a lot of action today on smaller Barred Surfperch, 5 Walleye Surfperch and 2 Jack Smelt (close-up). I had a school of Jack Smelt in-close for several minutes. I hooked another but it got off. The nice 12-inch, 1-lb 5 oz female Barred Surfperch (BSP) (close-up) shown on the left was my big thrill today. I caught it late morning (11:15 am) under sunny conditions from a foamy flat. One-third of the BSP were 6 to 9-inches - the rest smaller. I caught a total of 51 fish today. The Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) caught almost all of the fish. I caught a few on an experimental shrimp pattern on drop. The morning was windy with high clouds - it almost looked like a storm was blowing in but it cleared by 8:30 am. The surf was mild with a nice swell pattern early in the day. There was a lot of good in-close holding water. Swells started surging later and the fish moved out. I found fish at almost every edge. The lower tides are fishing best now. It had been windy - the Velella Velella were everywhere. I caught a lot of small BSP in the midst of them. I had to avoid seaweed all day by selective casting and moving by heavy areas. Overall, I had a very nice day. I was happy with my casting. The action was great and required sustained focus to hook fish and I ended by catching the nice 12-inch female BSP. Great day!
On April 25, 2005, the tide's low was -0.87-ft at 5:54 am with a high of 3.88-ft at 12:39 pm. I started fishing later than usual at 6:20 am and fished only 3-hours today. My big thrill today (at 7:52 am) is shown at the left, a 17-inch, 2 1/2-lb Striped Bass. It was my first cast into unlikely water. The Striper was there right away with a solid take and strong throbs of its broad tail. It didn't feel like a perch and didn't look like one as I brought it in to the second breaker out - I SAW STRIPES! It was almost a keeper! I did fan cast over the area looking for more (someday a school will be there). This area seemed unlikely because it did not have much moving water. It had the shape of a large cut and under other tidal conditions, it could have good current back to deep water. As it turned out, there were nice fish hanging out here. I caught most of my fish here including two nice male Barred Surfperch (BSP): a 11-oz BSP at 8:00 am (close-up) and a 15-oz BSP at 8:22 am (close-up). I did catch my first today at 6:32 am. This was the smallest dink all day - I did catch several small perch. I caught a total of 14 fish today: the Striper, Walleye Surfperch and the rest Barred Surfperch. I left my grub gear in the car today and fly fished all morning. The Surf Miki 3 (with red prism tape eyes) was the hot fly - all of the larger fish took it aggressively. After 9:30 am, the bite stopped (sun, swells stayed small but holding water disappeared, and water became off-colored). There were several holes over the 3/4-mile that I walked. At low tide, these were mostly deep calm troughs/holes with no moving water with wide sand bars blocking swells/access to deep water. It has been relatively calm for over a week. It seems like fishing should improve soon.
On April 18, 2005, the tide's high was 3.85-ft at 6:20 am with a low of 0.47-ft at 1:32 pm. I started at 5:30 am during the last of the outgoing tide. I expected mild swells and an opportunity for some spring fishing. First light was surreal with the foamy white swash moving inshore and out. The swells were not large but there was no good holding water within casting range. There were some areas that looked good but the swell pattern would shift and change conditions. I fished until 10:00 am without a hit (fly and grub gear - mostly grubs). I decided to head 8-miles South by car to a beach with better definition. On the way out, I saw one of the regular bait fishermen. He had just caught 3 Barred Surfperch (to 11-inches). So I got excited and started working the area hard. He caught 12-inch Barred while I was there. By 11:30 am, I conceded that there are days when real food is better than artificials. By 12:00 noon, I was fishing at the Southerly beach. The swell patterns were similar but they had less impact on good holding water because the holes were much deeper. I had decent action over the next 1 1/2-hours. My first fish was a nice male Barred Surfperch (close-up) caught in the South edge of a hole. That was such a great feeling after over 6-hours without a hit. I caught the rest of the fish on the inside edge of large troughs/holes. This edge was just beyond the closest breaker. If you pause momentarily as you retrieve over the edge the grub (or fly) hangs over the drop-off in the back wash. I caught a small Silver Surfperch and Barred there. The highlight was catching two Redtail Surfperch in rapid succession on the inside edge. The first Redtail was 10-ounces (close-up). It felt like a fish was nibbling then BAMM! The grab was no more than 15-feet away. The second Redtail Surfperch (13-oz 10 3/4-inches) is shown on the left (close-up). I ended up with a total of 5 Surfperch (all with my grub gear).
On April 14, 2005, the tide's early high was 4.92-ft at 1:55 am with a low of 0.03-ft at 9:31 am. I fished with Perry Wong who was on spring break from high school. We were on the water by 5:45 am with clear skys and a calm shoulder-high surf. The beach was flat with some large scale shallow holes. There was not much good moving water. The outside edge was out of range of fly casting. After a slow start, I found my first Barred Surfperch (3/4-lb) shown at 7:23 am (close-up). He took a Surf Miki 3. In the meantime, Perry had 5 barreds to his credit: one nice one at 6:45 am on his new orange antron/cone-head, deer-hair, rubber tail sand crab pattern and 4 smaller perch on his red/brown tiny-shrimp pattern. He caught another nice barred at 7:30 am(close-up). The water got too thin towards low tide and the fished move out. I switched to grub gear to search the outside edge of the holes (where waves breaking on the sand bar dumps into the deeper water. I was able to consistently find fish there. I got 3 nice Walleye Surfperch (close-up), a smaller walleye and Barred Surfperch from 6-inches to 3/4-lb (close-up). I ended up with a total of 13 Surfperch (only 1 on flies today).
On April 7, 2005, the tide's early low was 0.69-ft at 4:09 am with a high of 4.92-ft at 10:10 am. Afternoon low was 0.27-ft at 4:16 pm. I'm back in the area where I found very good holding water last Friday. I was on the water by 5:30 am and walking in the dark to be in the best area by first light with incoming 1-ft tide. The water was really different today - the cut was there but water wasn't moving well. I finally caught the first one, a nice Barred Surfperch (BSP) by 6:30 am (close-up). It was just a straggler that I picked up on a Surf Miki 3. I caught a second for a total of 2 BSP on the Miki. I had my grub gear with me as back up today so I switched to grubs because of rising tide and increase swell size. I continued to pick up an occasional fish (2 Walleye Surfperch and 2 BSP) until 8:30 am. By 8:30 am, the fish were gone. I decided to take a long break and hang around - waiting for lower tides (since 3 to 1-ft on the outgoing was good last time). The bite died over the higher tides. I finally started catching fish again at 12:45 pm. I caught 6 Surfperch (2 Walleye and the rest Barred) by 2:30 pm. One of the biggest Barred Surfperch (11-oz, 10-inch) is shown (close-up). They were all hot fish. I thought all of them were bigger as I reeled them in. They were all in one area although I had work the area to find them. The Walleye were carrying babies (close-up). I caught a total of 12 Surfperch today (about half were 10-inches long).
Well, fishing is still slow but the weather was bracing/invigorating/beautiful. Three small weather fronts swept by bringing heavy intermittent rain. The sun came out briefly in between. By mid-afternoon, we had high winds with wind-driven surf.
On April 4, 2005, the tide's high was 4.92-ft at 7:05 am and low was -0.47-ft at 2:06 pm. The surf was overhead, the swells pattern was surging and there were strong side currents over holding water. I fly fished from first light at 5:55 am (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) until 8:00 am - over 2 hours without a hit. I went back to get my grub gear and then we worked North. I got only 2 hits over the next couple hours. So that was 4+ hours - with almost no action. I wondered how I would feel about skunking since I haven't for a long time. What a SLOOWWW day! Meanwhile, Dennis Tunstall had caught 3 fish (2 8-in Barred Surfperch and his first Striper ever). (Small but a thrill nevertheless!) I finally caught a fish at 10 am (a barred) and it revived me! I started casting like a machine again. We came upon some very good holding water on the outgoing from 3-ft to 1-ft tide stage. The swell pattern improved (much less surging and side current). I caught a total of 13 Barred Surfperch over the next two hours. The Barred Surfperch shown was one of the largest (11-inches, 13-oz) (close-up). Here is another 11-incher (close-up). It was amazing how dramatically fishing changed given the right structure, right swell patterns and right tide stage. I worked back to the car and continued to catch a few more and ended with a total of 19 Barred Surfperch (2 dinks but the rest from 7-inches to 11-inches) using my grub gear. Grub fishing was great fun today but I'm anxious to get back to good fly fishing.
On March 31, 2005, the tide's early high was 5.14-ft at 1:13 am. I started fishing at 5:30 with a 2-ft tide that was dropping to a low of -0.32-ft at 8:38 am. The afternoon high was 3.31-ft at 4:13 pm. It was cold and clear. The morning swells were easy to wade. The surf was up to head high but the sand bars dissipated much of their energy before they got to shore. It looked like there should be a lot of fish around (very similar to Thursday - two weeks ago - my best day so far this year). But, there were no signs of life for a while. I caught my first at around 6 am. It flipped into my stripping basket and made a mess. Much of the water was too thin already. There were many deeper areas that should have held fish. Over the first 2 hours, I caught 6 Surfperch (2 walleyes and the others Barred Surfperch). They were all stragglers - I found no schools in the morning. The biggest Walleye Surfperch was the thrill of the morning. It hit as soon as a long cast hit the water - a hard grab! I almost put it on the reel but it came in easily. As low tide approached, there was no good water and the swell pattern started surging so I decided to scout another beach. I drove South and found some nice looking structure. The beach is a lot steeper and one hole is huge with a steep drop-off about 30 feet out. I couldn't figure out how to fish the big hole but found 7 more fish about the same size in a smaller structure further North ( a small school finally!). One was the baby striper shown (close-up). Yeah, really small but he was a scrappy one! I ended up with 13 fish (2 walleyes, the baby striper and the rest BSP). The BSP were big enough to be scrappy. I caught fish on the Surf Miki 3s (with red prism tape eyes) and Zen Worms on dropper. The wind picked up again into the afternoon so it was time to quit. It seemed like there should be more fish around today.
On March 28, 2005, the tide's low tide was -0.01-ft at 5:54 am and high tide was 3.88-ft at 12:21 pm. I started at 5:30 am, fished the low and all of the incoming tide. The surf had been calm for a few days but predicted to go overhead today. Rain started late yesterday. It was raining lightly off and on early in the day. The surf was short period (not surging) and less then 6-ft. There was a lot of water that looked like it should hold fish. I fished for almost 1-hour with no action. I walked up to a near-shore trough with swells converging from two directions. I cast beyond the deep water. Somehow, I knew that fish would be there. Immediately, I had strong grab and a nice fish on. I landed the feisty 12-inch, 13-oz male Barred Surfperch shown (close-up) - my only fish on flies today. He took the Zen Worm on dropper. I saw no sand crabs moving today. It was so slow and cold that I took a nap on the beach (in the sunlight) waiting for higher tides. As I started fishing again (at 8:30 am), the winds picked up and made casting difficult. During gusts, it was difficult to put shooting line into my stripping basket and keep it there so I quit. I drove North to the South Santa Cruz beach of my recent trips to checkout conditions there. The water looked much better but it was still windy. I fished with grubs for a couple hours and caught 5 Barred Surfperch (6 to 8-inches). They were all in one area. It was nice to find a school! I caught a total of 6 Barred Surfperch today.
On March 24, 2005, the tide's high was 4.74-ft at 9:14 am and low was 0.44-ft at 3:40 pm. We started fishing at 5:30 am with a 2.5-ft tide. The water looked great off in the distance so we hurried North. My first cast got a nice mid-sized female Barred Surfperch(BSP) (close-up). I caught another nice mid-sized about 15 minutes later and the action died. The swells were small and the swell pattern was regular (not surging). There was plenty of decent looking water that could have held schools but did not. I caught a small BSP working back to the car to drive South on a scouting excursion. Moss Landing had interesting structure with a steeper beach but wading was dangerous even with small swells because breakers were exploding on the big near-shore drop-offs. Water had a light brown cast. No hits at Moss. Palm Beach and Sunset were dirty too, so we returned to the first beach to fish the outgoing tide. It was still dead but we got some action as the tide got lower. I picked up a couple small BSP but my big thrill was fishing the shallow flat in front of a big hole before leaving around 1:00 pm. It got windy. Casting was hard but I got a good cast out. At the end of the retrieve, starting to roll cast - bang! A possible grab in 2-ft deep water, 20-ft out! I backed out of the water and cast again - I got two hits on that retrieve! The hits were hard but not sticking. Another cast into the same area connected! I caught the nice 11-inch (3/4-lb) male Barred Surfperch shown (close-up). I thought I had a school but it was gone. Nevertheless, it was an exciting end to a tough day! I used a Surf Miki 3s (with red prism tape eyes) and Zen Worms on dropper. I caught a total of 6 Barred Surfperch today (half were nice mid-sized BSP). I'm looking forward to better fishing soon...
Happy Spring! On March 21, 2005, the tide's high was 4.58-ft at 6:58 am and low was 0.21-ft at 2:09 pm. I started fishing at 5:45 am during the last of the incoming tide. Winter swells are back - what a difference a storm makes! It is ironic that I had spring conditions on my last winter trip and winter conditions on my first spring trip. The swells were large over the weekend with tough fishing. It was 2.5x overhead yesterday that dropped down to 1.5x to 1x overhead today. The surf was still mostly foam with surging conditions. The only fishable water was within a large hole (near shore). I caught my first Barred Surfperch after 25 minutes of casting and my largest Barred Surfperch (15-oz, 12-inches) shown 12 minutes later (close-up). I did hook another nice mid-sized perch but it tumbled off as a breaker hit it. The bite slowed down so I worked North one-half mile and found nothing. The surging swell conditions got worse and none of the nice structure that I fished last Thursday was visible. I caught the two on Surf Miki 3s (with red prism tape eyes). It didn't look like conditions would get better so I drove North to the South Santa Cruz beach of my recent trips. Conditions were surging there too but better. My first was a thrill because I had not caught anything in a long time. It is always amazes me that these little guys can be so aggressive. My others were a little bigger. I caught the perch here with Zen Worms on dropper - all 3. I quit at 11:30 am and ended with a total of 5 Barred Surfperch today.
I had fun working this challenging water today and at least my first hour had some action. The surf was dangerous today. The periodic surges seemed slow but packed a lot of energy and would hit you hard. A full speed retreat back was required to stay safe. Line control was tough. For the rest of the week, it looks like swells will continue to mellow. Spring conditions and fishing may return too.

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Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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