Zen Fly Fishing Striper Gallery

This page will give reports of Local SF Bay Area Striped Bass fishing and show photos that highlight trips. Photos might include occasional Large Mouth Bass. I don't usually target them but I do occasionally pick them up fishing striper water.

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

On September 27, 2005, I fished with Jim T around Marin Islands and the San Quentin flats from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Winds were low (1 to 4 mph). Water clarity was good. It was sunny most of the day. The tides were good for these areas. Jim started catching occasional Stripers at the first stop and throughout the day with some slow periods. I didn't have one hit (for what seems like a couple hours). The bite got better towards high tide for both of us. The fat 5-lb Striped Bass shown was one of my last fish today. It hit and immediately surfaced after a long cast. I thought it was smaller so I was aggressively hand lining as it as it resisted on the surface. As it approached the boat, it made a strong deep run as I feathered line with my fingers. It pulled out all the slack and put itself on the reel. It put up a a nice fight after all ending in being bogaed at the boat. Earlier, my biggest was a 3-lb fat, scrappy Striper. I ended up with 11 fish - all of Stripers were scrappy even the smaller ones pulled some line. One of the fish was a Jack Smelt that took a Striper fly. Jim saw one earlier following his fly. We had a nice day again on beautiful waters, one of my favorite places to fish!
On September 14, 2005, I had my first day out for Stripers on San Pablo Bay this season. I fished with Jim T around Marin Island and the San Quentin flats. We fished from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm with 3 to 5 mph winds and some chop on the water. The water had great clarity today. It was sunny most of the day. The tides were a little low in most areas early in the morning. I did pick up one small striper at the islands but that was it for a long time. Fishing improved with higher water as we approach the San Quentin flats. The bite got pretty good near high tide but many of them were short hits. We caught a lot of smaller fat, scrappy Stripers from 1 to 4-lbs. All of them were scrappy - the larger smaller fish were even pulling line. After all the smaller fish, I wasn't expecting MEGA-tug at all. I made a long cast then WAUMP went my rod. I was on to a nice fish. It fought well - some on the surface. I didn't get a good look at it until my leadcore was on the reel. After a lot of give and take, I landed the 8 1/2-lb Striped Bass shown at the left. I was using new gear today for the first time: an 8-wt Sage RPLXi and an Old Florida 5SA reel, 26.5-ft of LC-13. I was happy to break them in on a nice fish. The fly of the day was small 3-inch, Pink/White Clousers. It still seems a little early for bigger fish - I was happy to catch one and I ended up with 8 or 9 for the day. I felt like I fished better this time. I think that my attention to line control and bite detection on the beach helped a lot. This seems so much easier afloat in the bay. Still we wonder why we dropped so many today...
On December 16, 2004, I fished with Jim T on his boat again at Frank's Tract and adjacent sloughs and rivers. We fished from 9:15 am to 5:00 pm. We had light fog to start but the weather was mild with light winds at most. The tides had small movement. The picture on the left shows a nice 6 1/4-lb (24-inch) striper caught at 4:50 pm. It was my last cast at the last stop of the day! It was by far to strongest fish today with several strong (short) runs. My other nicer fish were: a 20-inch striper caught at 11 am, a 4-lb striper caught at 12:30 pm, and a fat 6 1/2-lb striper caught at 2:24 pm We fished rock walls, weed lines off of tules and flats near breaks into the tract. I use a 8-weight Sage VPS, Tioga fly reel and LC-13 leadcore shooting head. I used a 3 1/3-in 1/0 pink/white flash-tail Whistler most of the day. I also caught fish on a 4 1/2-inch 2/0 chartreuse/white flash-tail clouser. I lost count but ended up with about 12 stripers. We did had long hitless periods but the nicer fish made for a really fun day!
On December 1, 2004, I fished with Jim T on his boat in Frank's Tract and adjacent sloughs and rivers. We started fishing around 8:30 am and fished past sunset. We had light winds early but a moderate breeze picked up in the afternoon and died down towards sunset. The tides had small movement while we were fishing. My first hit pulled hard and resulted in a long distance release as I was fumbling to get it on the reel. I caught a few stragglers during the day - Jim caught a lot more. The highlight of the day was the evening bite in open water that started 30 minutes before sunset. It was the only stop where we had a persistent bite and they were nice fish! The 8-lb striped bass shown on the left was the largest of the day. You can see how dark it was - caught it at 4:45 pm. By the way, that is self-portrait - I'm straining and stretching to take the picture. It was really nice to get into fish that pulled back. My best fight was with a fat 6 1/2-lbs fresh-run striper (another picture) that was caught at 3:00 pm. I didn't put it on the reel and the give and take by hand lining was challenging. I use a 8-weight Sage VPS, Tioga fly reel and LC-13 leadcore shooting head for stripers. I mostly used chartreuse/white flash-tail clousers from 3 to 5-inches. I ended up with only six stripers but they were the largest this year for me.
On November 9, 2004, I'm with Jim T on his boat in Frank's Tract and adjacent sloughs and rivers. We fished from sunrise to sunset. We had no wind or mild winds all day with high overcast. The first few stops were not productive but we were soon into consistent action on baby stripers with a few larger ones to 6.5-lbs mixed in. Even the small ones were scrappy fish - we were usually surprised how small they were after getting them in. My largest striper was 18-inches. It felt like the stripers were teasing us. There were a lot of grabs using 3-inch white/chartreuse clousers. The stripers were following and many times you would get a few hits on the same retrieve. On a broad flat area at a break into Frank's Tract, a few stripers started rolling on the surface occasionally. We would try to move towards them but after moving, they would show up where we were. Jim got his largest in this area - a nice fat 6.5-lbs striper. We caught a lot of smaller large mouth bass throughout the day too. My largest LMB was 2-lbs. The LMB were quite active and usually jumped upon getting hooked. The picture on the left is a 6-lb Sacramento Squawfish (a very large fish in the minnow family) caught on a fly while drifting a rock bank area. It felt funny after hooking - I didn't know what it was. It looked even funnier as I saw it in the water - it swam like a shark and had coloration like a LMB. After getting it in, Jim identified it having caught them in the Sacramento River while shad fishing. I ended with more than 30 fish (mostly stripers, 1 squawfish, 6 LMB). It was really nice to get out after a long break.
On October 7, 2004, I'm out again on San Pablo Bay with Jim T on his boat. We were on the water by fishing by 7:00 am. The bay was choppy already with a little wind. It didn't take long to find the first Striper (a scrappy small one) at the first stop but that was it. The second stop was about the same. The third stop got us into a steady bite working flats near a rock lined point. My largest is shown a 4-pound Striped Bass. I ended up with 10 Stripers having lost 2 more at the boat by 9:30 am. I was using a sparse 1/0 pink/white/grizzly hackle flash-tail Clouser tied to match the colors of Jim's 1/0 Whistler that has been working so well. It's interesting that Jim continued to catch an occasional fish with slack conditions through outgoing. He ended with 14. We fished until 12:00 noon with choppy/windy conditions. It was a great early morning and a puzzling late morning. By the way, I used the 6-weight fly gear that I use for surf fishing - it worked well - the 4-pounder was a blast with it!
On October 4, 2004, I finally got out to San Pablo Bay with Jim T on his boat. It was a nice day with mild breeze. I caught the first two Stripers both small but Jim T caught the next 3 and started catching more than 3 times as many as I was including a few around 5 lbs and one 9-lbs. I couldn't solve the mystery but it was fun trying. I ended up with 9 Stripers a few just under 18-inches the rest smaller. They were strong for their size. The best bite for Jim T was at a slack mid-level low tide on the flats. Grabs were mostly on the pause in retreiving. They were hard to hook today. We fished several areas from 7 am to 1:30 pm. It was a great first 2004 trip out for me. It was nice to witness so much action even though it was slower for me.
On December 8, 2003, I was at Frank's Tract again with Jim T on his boat. It was exceptionally clear and dry with some wind for most of the day. Stripers were hard to find again and I picked up an occasional juvenile throughout the day. It was generally very slow. I only got one decent fish that weighed 7-1/2 lbs. It was not long but it was fat. We noticed gulls working mid-day but it turned out to be over a seal feeding. We finally found a school of juveniles along a rock wall in Sand Mound Slough during the late afternoon bite. I ended up with 12 for the day. It was fun to get out and of course the 7-1/2 lb striper was the highlight. As we left the tract, we enjoyed a surreal sunset.
I fished San Luis, O'Neil Forebay on December 4, 2003 and experienced an endurance float tube tour of Check 12 and the area on the far shore with out catching any fish or having any hits. The highlights were the beautiful cloud patterns shown, marking a lot of fish in the moving water area near the pumping station outlet and a striper exploding at the surface near by on the way back. I fully expected a hit on my cast but the marks must have been baitfish only and the exploding striper was moving too fast. Water was very low in the forebay but I was expecting to find a few fish regardless but it will take more time on the water to get up to speed.
I finally made it to Frank's Tract on November 23, 2003 with Jim T on his boat. It was a bracing but beautiful day: sunny and mild breezes at worst. Stripers were hard to find. I got a couple stragglers in the morning. We finally found one area that had a school that we got multiple fish from around 3:00 pm. Overall, I caught 5 Stripers to around 4-lbs. Jim got 3 Largemouth Bass and 6 Stripers to around 6-lbs. We didn't see evidence of a lot of baitfish around and it felt like there were not a lot of fish around the area. It may just have been the high traffic on Sunday. It was great to get out anyway and as we left the tract, we enjoyed the sunset shown.
I finally made it to San Luis Reservoir, O'Neil Forebay on November 3, 2003. It was real slow for me. It has been so long since I tubed that I forgot how it was. You have to shift gears (consciousness) and slow way down or it gets frustrating. Moving is so slow. You have to enjoy bobbing out there. After you make the shift then it is great! I got there around 5:45 am and it was too windy at the tower island so went to Check 12 - windy there too. I could have gone out but I didn't want to fight the wind on my first trip. I just watched for about hour. I didn't see any signs of life at either place. No bait fish - no Stripers showing. I drove over to the day use launch ramp area and it was more sheltered from the wind. There were threadfin shad all over dock area and I saw one Striper roll so I put in there. I got two there one dink and one keeper (shown). The Stripers looked beautiful and they were strong. I didn't find any schools there. It slowed down so I moved to Check 12 and launched there - the winds died down - conditions got nice, but no more fish for the day. It was a fun day anyway!
I got out on SF Bay again on October 16, 2003. With neap tides, it was essentially a null tide all morning. I caught a 10-lbs Striper pretty early in the trip - raised my hopes for another banner day, but we didn't find any schools this time. We had to work for our fish but there were a decent number of larger Stripers in the area and it turned out to be a great day anyway. Overall, I caught 4: the largest was 11-lbs the other two were small. (Sorry I reused the October 6th picture; it at least shows an 11-lb Striper. I was more inclined to get my fly back in the water today.) We had an exciting moment after I hooked my 11-lber, Jim T had a large fish on too - it turned out to be a nice 18-lbs Striper! They seemed to come from a school but we could find again. Jim T got a total of 5, mostly larger. Here's a bad picture of my 10-lbs Striper coming to the boat. It shows why Boga Grips work so well on larger Stripers upon landing. They hang there with open mouth - I'm impressed with how easy and how effective it is in landing and releasing large fish with minimal stress. I used a chartreuse and white flash-tail clouser exclusively.
On October 6, 2003, I finally had a chance to go Striped Bass fishing on SF Bay flats - my favorite because Stripers are so aggressive and strong there. Jim T did an amazing job calling the shots and finding fish. The Striper shown first is now my personal best at 16 1/2-lbs which is 10-lbs more than my previous best (6 1/2-lbs caught at O'Neil Forebay, San Luis Reservoir while float tubing in fall of 2002). The day started slow because there was not enough water on the flats. It picked up with higher tides then got fantastic on the outgoing. We sight fished during the best parts of the day.
This picture doesn't show the action well but Striper and birds were in a small feeding frenzy. You can see the dark backs of Stripers near the surface as well as bait crashing on the surface. We ran into schools a few times. The best was on our way home after a good day - we ran right into the largest most persistent school of the day. It stayed in front of us for at least 1 hour. Besides the 16 1/2-lb Striper, my Stripers weighed 15-lbs, 11-lbs (shown in the second picture), a few 9 to 8-lbs, several around 7-lbs and a few smaller to 3-lbs. I caught 16 or more, all on a chartreuse and white flash-tail clouser.
The smallest Stripers caught are getting bigger. We only saw one baby Striper on our December 8, 2002 trip to Frank's Tract. We didn't get any hits at most of the places we stopped at but found fish at two places. I got a total of 11 with 2 doubles. The largest was 4.5-lbs. We found most of the fish at the last stop of the day along a weed edge.

Checkout the bugs on my hat. They were swarming all over my light grey jacket and I finally figured that they are attracted to light surfaces. After I shed my jacket, they were more manageable.
This a 4-pound Large Mouth Bass caught on a 1/0 yellow/white Clouser at Frank's Tract on October 21, 2002. It is a personal best for me so that is why the big smile! It was caught in open water fishing a weed line in Striper water. I knew it was a Largemouth as soon as it hit and just went airborne immediately after I set the hook. That was my most exciting LMB experience ever.

The fall Striper season is late this year. There are a lot of very small Stripers down to 8 inches. We got into an exciting sustained feeding frenzy of mixed sized fish to 3 lbs in one of the sloughs adjacent to Frank's Tract. The Stripers seemed to move around within a 200-foot area probably chasing a small school of threadfin shad for a couple hours. You could see Shad jumping and creating wakes in the water. Seagulls where working above them too. We were using small flies (1/0 Whistlers, Sar-Mul-Macs and Clousers from 1/0 to 2 in Chartreuse/White, Red/White and Yellow/White). Overall we had a decent day's fishing with fish to 3 pounds. We caught several doubles. One of my doubles was a 3-lb/2-lb combination. That double was swimming synchronized so I thought it was a big Striper. I should have taken pictures but was so excited I didn't but next time I will.

Dan Blanton's article on California's Backcountry Stripers gives an excellent introduction to fishing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for Stripers.
This Striper was brought to the boat quickly by my friend and his 6-weight Temple Fork rod. It has plenty of power (Later in the season, he landed a 17-lbs Striper using it). I thought it was small after it showed on the surface. But it was an 11-lb beauty.There are still a lot of baby Stripers but bigger fish are mixed it. We got several that were in the 3 to 4 pound range. As my friend was landing a 3-pounder, I saw a 8-plus pounder swimming with it so the bigger fish are finally around now. We are also starting to see Stripers at weed lines in the tract.

My largest Striper for the day was 4-pounds. I also caught a 3 1/2 pound Largemouth Bass. Overall, it was on the slow side but we had consistent action with a few fish at most of the spots that we checked.
This picture is from the 2002 Perch Gallery. I didn't take the time to take striper pictures during our first striper trip to Frank's Tract above. I caught my first Striped Bass on flies at from the surf on July 10 2002. : A fat, powerful 16-inch striper. I have a total of two this year the other was a 14-inch Striper. These were taken on perch flies. I'm waiting for a big one in the surf. Hopefully next year I will do better on stripers on the beach.

Questions or Comments Contact:
Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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