Zen Fly Fishing: Spring 2006 Gallery

The reports are in reverse chronological order with the latest report on top. Click on the pictures to view a larger version and on links to see more. 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. If it is not obvious, I am almost 100% catch, snap and release with Barred Surfperch. I take self-portraits because that shows scale and I usually include a close-up that shows the targeted water in the background.

On June 14, 2006, I started fishing at 7:30 am with clear blue skies. The sun was on the water already. It was bright with clear skies. I fished the beach just to the South of my last trip just to fish a different stretch. The tide was -1.5-ft at 7:17 am going to 4.06-ft by 2:36 pm. There was a lot of minus low tide shallow structure today. There were big sand bars beyond all the holes. The water could have held fish but I didn't have one hit for 30 minutes then caught a small Barred Surfperch. From this point working North over 1.5-miles, I found schools of small surfperch at the edges of the deeper areas and started to consistently catch small surfperch. I worked on subtle bite detection and had fun focusing on improving my sensitivity. Late in the morning (on the way back at 11:15 am), I returned to the best hole I fished earlier. The water was deeper, the surf was larger and there were small rips. I cast to the edge of the rip and felt a strong pull. Yeah! I was finally into a larger fish. The best Barred Surfperch (BSP) today was the 12-inches (only 1-lb 2-oz) male shown at the left (close-up). I caught another male that was as large (close-up). These males pulled really hard - I thought they were bigger BSP or stripers. I hooked a third one but it shook off after 30 seconds. I was in a school of big ones but they moved after I lost the third one. I caught a total of 33 Surfperch mostly BSP except for 5 Walleye Surfperch (close-up). The BSP were smaller than 6-inches except for the two 12-inch BSP. I caught most of the fish on a Surf Miki 3 on point. The Zen Shrimp on dropper caught a few. By noon, the swell pattern changed to long period waves and the bite stopped. Overall, it was a decent day for action. The sand and structure is building again and I'm looking forward to more big fish.
On June 6, 2006, I was anxious to fish since it had been 3 weeks since my last trip. You can see the happiness on my face even with small fish. I started at the same beach as my last trip - just because. The tide was not good (only 1-ft change from 6 am to 12 noon) high tide was 2.89-ft at 7:39 am with low of 1.81-ft at 1:02 pm. My first Barred Surfperch (BSP) was after 15 minutes of fishing after which I occasionally caught fish as I worked over 2-miles of beach. Recent storms have moved a lot of sand off of the beaches. (You can see the steep, high-tide ridge in the picture.) The sand is being moved back now. The structure and swell pattern today made accessible water marginal. There was no good holding water. Sand crabs were abundant though. The marine layer lasted until 12 noon. I caught a total of 20 Surfperch all BSP except for one Walleye. The Walleye Surfperch is shown at the left. All were smaller that 8 inches. I caught most of the fish on a Surf Miki 3 on point. The Zen Worm on dropper caught a few. It was an invigorating, fun day in spite of small fish. I was imagining even the smallest as being strong fighters. It made catching small fish more fun. I'll try to get out more consistently from now on.
On May 15, 2006, I got a late start and headed further South on a scouting trip and started fishing at 7:30 am. The tide minus low was -1.22-ft at 6:44 am going to a high of of 3.62-ft at 2:05 pm. It was almost clear and sunny to start and the low tide structure looked like it could have held schools. It was moderately windy all day (with winds from left to right most of the time). At times, it was not possible to cast. I worked North for 20 minutes before I caught my first one, a small Barred Surfperch (BSP). Note the blue sky and bright sun. Later, the marine layer moved in with the wind for the rest of the day. I continued to work North with no action at all. I could cast far enough to reach fish. After an hour, I decided to return to the beach of my last trip, hoping that condition were better. It was windy but not as bad and I started catching fish immediately. There were not a lot of fish. The 12-inch female Barred Surfperch was one of my first there (close-up). I put it on the reel because it was so windy that I couldn't keep shooting line into the stripping basket. She put up a nice fight - violent at times - pulled some line. It was a thrill after a slow windy morning. I worked the beach South about 1-mile. I was intending to catch a striper today - had striper on my mind as I cast. I momentarily thought I had one when my retrieves came to a hard stop - it was a hard snag. I got free as my dropper hook straighten 45 degrees. I continued to catch occasional smaller perch for most of the morning. There were birds working bait most of the time. At times, they came within the breakers. I continued to have stripers on my mind all morning. A spin fisherman casting a crocodile spoon caught a 5-lb striper next to me. He caught another smaller one as he worked past me. They were definitely around so I fished harder than I have in a long time. It was fun even though I never connected. I caught a total of 17 Surfperch all BSP except for one Walleye. All were smaller that 7 inches except the big female. I caught most of the fish on a Surf Miki 3 on point. The Zen Worm on dropper caught several. It was an invigorating fun day in spite of small fish and uncooperative stripers. Well, my time will come! I won't be fishing again until after May 23rd so if you get out, let me know how you are doing.
On May 12, 2006, I was on the Northern end of the beaches that I worked last trip at 6:00 am and worked South. The tide low was -0.54-ft at 4:50 am going to a high of 3.61-ft at 11:34 am. I fished with Lee Rice. There was nice structure where we entered the beach. Lee's first cast resulted in his first fish. It is really nice when that happens but next fish took a while coming in. My first came 15 minutes later. There were not a lot of fish and they were not concentrated but the bite was steady and occasionally we would get more than one fish in a spot. I got 3 doubles - the best one is shown on the left - two Barred Surfperch (BSP) (close-up). The marine layer hung in during all of incoming tide. The best swell patterns were early (click to see the typical water). Later the swell pattern degraded into a surging pattern that varied inshore depth too much so the fish moved out. Lee had a decent first trip. See him with BSP in hand and in Zen state fishing a small trough. I ended up with 28 Surfperch: all Barred except for a spawning Walleye Surfperch (close-up). The biggest BSP were 9-inches . A third were from 7-inches to 9-inches and a third were dinks. I caught most of the fish again on a Surf Miki 3 on point. The Zen Worm on dropper caught several. I'm going to be scouting different water next week so stay tuned.
On May 4, 2006, I started fishing at 6:15 am at the same beach of my last trip. I fished the last half of outgoing tide which went from 2.5-ft (at 6:30 am) to 0.08-ft at 10:52 am. The tide was still less than 1-ft when I quit. I had to work hard today to find fish. I worked the beach 2-miles to the North. The first mile was too shallow. The outgoing swells were very small and the kind that seem to hesitate coming in. The water seemed to be washing back over the washboard areas more than coming in. There was so much washboard that I could not wade in to reach the inside of the deeper areas. I caught three in marginal areas as I worked this area. My very first fish was the nice 11-inch male Barred Surfperch shown at the left (close-up). This came after 40-minutes of without a hit. Ahhhh --- it felt good! The next mile was very different. I ended up working 2-miles of beach to the North. There was interesting structure (1, 2, 3, and 4) and deeper flats there. The bite got good today as the incoming tide started moving. I ended up with 30 Surfperch: all Barred except for one Walleye. I caught a couple of Barreds that were 10-inches. Most of them were from 7-inches to 9-inches. Only 6 were dinks. The swell patterns were very changeable today. I would see an area that looked good and catch one to a few fish then conditions would degrade. I found only one area where I picked up several fish and I got one double there. On the way back, it looked like all of the washboard had filled in. I saw a lot of sandcrabs this trip. The marine layer is here. It started out with a moderate breeze and it was cool all day. The swell patterns and the fishing were better during the incoming tide was way better than outgoing. I caught most of the fish today on a Surf Miki 3 on point. The Zen Worm on dropper caught several.
On April 26, 2006, I started fishing at 6:45 am at a beach further South than my last trip. I fished the last half of incoming tide which went from 1.75-ft (6:45 am) to 4.42-ft at 10:22 am. I found fish after the first few casts. My first was a very small Barred Surfperch (BSP) then I caught a nice male weighing 1-lb. The beach was generally flat with subtle shallow structure. The area I fished was immediately opposite the path down to the beach. It was a little deeper than the adjacent areas and it probably had a washboard bottom. There was a good population of mid-sized BSP roaming that area. It was great to feel tugs and the strong shaking after the small fish of the last trip. My biggest was the 12-inch, 1 1/2-lb BSP shown at the left (close-up). (I forgot my Olympus Digital Camera at home so I just used my cell phone camera.) The fish were skinny for their length. They will soon start gorging themselves as sandcrabs become plentiful. Click to see another nice BSP (close-up). This one was 12 1/2-inch (longer but lighter). It was a good morning! I ended up with 14 BSP before 9:00 am - 9 were between 1-lb and 1 1/2 -lbs. The bite stopped as the tide moved closer to high. The swells got sloppy too. I left to checkout the beach of my last trip. Conditions were drastically different. It had huge holes and the swells were too large at times making it impossible to reach holding water. There were spots near the edges where you could reach holding fish. Most of the fish were small BSP to 8-inches. Only 2 Walleye Surfperch and 1 Silver Surfperch. I caught most of the fish today on a Red-Bead Eye Surf Miki. I had been using it to fish higher in the water column for Walleyes but I will switch back to my regular weighted red-eyed, Surf Miki 3 now that bigger BSP are around. The bite was great whenever I was able to reach holding water. I caught 16 Surfperch here for a total of 30 Surfperch for the day. Spring is here so I'll be back again next week!
I finally got out on April 19, 2006. The tide is good for my first trip - with a lot of movement going down to -0.46-ft by 9:37 am. I'll get a good look at low tide structure. Swells were forecast to be small (preceded by moderate Pacific Northwest swells before and after). I need to at least walk the beach. I fished from 8:30 AM until 12:30 PM starting at the North and working South about 1 3/4 miles. This whole stretch was really slow. It started to feel like a skunk day after an hour of search and heavy casting without a single hit. I reframed my thinking and the next moment I caught a small Barred Surfperch (BSP). I was so happy with anything that I took a picture of the tiny BSP. Soon after I caught a Walleye and thought them might be a school so worked that area complete without anymore. At the Southern end of my walk, there were some big holes. Fishing there started slow but as the outgoing tide started to move and the waves got bigger then the bite started. I ended up with 20 perch (3/4 Walleye with the rest really small BSP). I caught 17 of them in the hole where the bite started - it was really good for about 1 hour. The biggest Walleye Surfperch is shown on the left (close-up). The waves were really too small today. Most of the water looked too shallow around low tide. There were areas where debris collected. It was usually easy to avoid these area but a fly retrieved though such areas would snag small pieces of drift wood. I'm happy that I got into great action about 1 hour. It got windy so I started to work back. I didn't fish much on the way back. I'll try again next week - fishing should be better. It feels like spring is finally here!

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Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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