Zen Fly Fishing: Summer 2004 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 September 20, 2004, the tide's early high was 3.5-ft at 4:26 am with a low of 2.9-ft at 8:18 am and an afternoon high of 5.6-ft. I was on the water at 6:30 am and fished until 10:00 am at the same beach as my last few trips. It was a clear day and swells were overhead today. I found a two near-shore holes and fished the side and far (sand bar) edges. I caught the barred surfperch shown after fishing for 20-minutes. My first hit and first fish, 1 1/2-lbs and 13 1/2-inches. There was very little holding water that was reachable with flies today. I continued to fly fish for 1-hour and caught a bullhead, a small redtail surfperch, a small silver surfperch and small barred. I quit fly fishing at 8:00 am and started grub fishing with spinning gear and picked up another 5 small barreds over the next hour. The swell pattern was surging today. Water looked good then a few minutes later it was too shallow. I quit fishing at 10:00 am with a total of 9 surfperch. My first fish made the day! I cast into flat water on the north edge of the best near-shore hole and it hit hard. I got it in quickly but it saw me and made a strong, 25-ft run away pulling line through my fingers. What a thrill! I fished with Zen Worms all morning.
Special Note: Well, I'm back on the beach again because of high winds over striper waters. From now on, I'll get out to the beach opportunistically or once every 2 to 3 weeks to keep current on surfperching conditions. At least one big fish was still around. Today was hard fly fishing because of big swells and surging swell patterns. With better swells, we should still have good fly fishing. Of course, it is year around fishery with grubbing gear. If you get out, please send reports. I will be working on new articles (based on this year's learnings) so stay tuned and check back once in a while for opportunistic surfperch fishing reports or new articles.
On September 13, 2004, the tide's low was 0.2-ft at 4:38 am with a high of 4.5-ft at 11:04 am. I was on the water at 6:00 am and fished until 11:00 am at the same beach as my last few trips. The tide and swells were strong today. The long foamy swells were spaced out evenly with long period at first light. The low tide holes were very shallow and only a few areas had some depth. The water looked reasonably good but I cast a lot into likely areas working south with no signs of life. Low tide structure looked better to the south. I didn't get my first fish until 6:30 am. I continued to find an occasional fish for the next hour including a few mid-sized barred perch, a snagged male stingray, and a monster sandcrab. I worked north with higher tide to the good spots of prior trips and finally found fish! I had a persistent bite for the next two hours in a foamy area. I got 3 doubles with the best shown at the left (close-up). My biggest was about 1 1/3-lbs, 12-inches (close-up). The surf was head high and the hydraulic forces were heavy in this area. There was a strong drift to the south. The swell patterns changed a lot today. The fish were there but it was hard to get a good retrieve and to stay with the school. I had a total of 26 barred surfperch by 9:30 am. I practiced casting with surging surf conditions and finally worked back to the car at 11:00 am. I caught my early fish on Red-Eyed Miki. I switched to Zen Worm in the foamy area and it caught most of the fish today. I have been experimenting with different shooting lines with low stretch. So far, I think that they provide a big advantage in heavy water. The hydraulic forces hide grabs and low stretch line transmit more of the fly dynamics. I'll give more details as I gain more experience.
On September 9, 2004, the tide's early low was 0.4-ft at 2:25 am and rose to 3.9-ft at 9:36 am and dropped to 3.2-ft at 1:46 pm. I fished the same waters as my last two trips with swells about the same and the tides having more movement. I started fishing at 6:00 am and saw Jim Lazarotti and Ed Hamada on the water already. It was overcast with winds to 15 mph in the afternoon. It took 15 minutes of search to find the first fish. Soon after, the second fish was bigger. I started to think that the day is going to pick up. As it turned out, I had steady, slow action almost all day with a lot of walking and casting. The early morning was best - I caught 14 by 8:00 am. I ended with a total of 31 (17 more from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. I worked hard searching all of the more likely water. I like fishing like this because you know that the hard work will have pay-off. I caught the two largest this way. They were 1 1/2-lbs, 13-inches shown at the left (close-up)and 1 1/2-lbs, 12 1/2-inches (close-up). Note that both of them had injuries on their tail bottom. The 12 1/2-incher was my last fish of the day at 1:05 pm. There were no persistent foamy flats again. I found fish in small troughs, big troughs, deeper areas (that maintained depth) closer to shore, and the areas the with a lot of small holes in the shallows. I caught a small calico surfperch today. I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). The Zen Worm (on dropper) did well too. It was hard to keep up with Jim this morning. Ed's morning was slower and he had some excitement when he snagged what looked like my male stingray from yesterday.
On September 6, 2004, the tide's was really lazy with high of 3.4-ft at 6:52 am changing only 0.2-ft to 3.2-ft at 9:48 am with a slow rise to 4.8-ft at 4:28 pm. I fishing the same waters as my last trip but with a really different tides and swells were milder. There were no persistent foamy flats today. I started fishing at 6:00 am. It was a clear morning and clear and sunny day. I met Phillip Kim and Jim Lazarotti in the parking area. We walked down to the beach and the first stop was good for a few hours with a steady off and on bite. The 11-inch barred surfperch shown as my first fish got on my 3rd cast. Jim's first fish was a huge 15 to 16-inch barred - he got a (film) picture. He had a really good morning and left after the sun hit the water. Phillip had a great day - rivaling his best numbers day ever and he caught his biggest barred surfperch ever, 2 1/4-lbs, 13 3/4-inches. Fishing was great for me while sun was off of the water. Phillip continued to find more fish than me at the edges of shallow holes and the inside and outside edges of a big, long trough. Many of the grabs occurred just after casting. Hits were hard to detect and it was hard to get the fish on. We had a lot of dropped fish today. I ended up with 33 barred surfperch with only a few small perch. We estimate that Phillip had 50 plus or minus - he lost count. We were thrilled to do so well with lazy tides and small surf on a sunny day! We fished until 11:00 am. The Red-Eyed Miki was the hot fly today. I witnessed a strange event: it must have been sting rays mating.
On September 2, 2004, the tide's: low was 1.1-ft at 7:09 am rising to a high of 5.2-ft at 1:32 pm. I fished the same waters as my last trip with a similar incoming tide. I started fishing at 6:00 am with Richard Hector and we fished until 12:00 noon. It was overcast all morning and the swell patterns were decent with moderate size. The low tide holes had 1.6-ft more water than last time. I started further South. My first cast snagged a bullhead, I caught a small barred then a bullhead ate my fly. It was some action anyway. The next hole northward got me into a continuous bite of nice mid-sized barreds and by 7:20 am I had 19 total to 3/4-lb, 11-inches. The fish were still there but we moved North to find bigger fish. A bigger hole with beautiful water was still in the same place as last time. I brought my total to 38 barreds by 9:30 am here. Richard caught a nice 1 1/2-lb, 12-inch barred surfperch (a hot feisty, male) here. The tide had risen to 3-ft and only the foamy flats seemed to hold fish. It took a lot of casting but the fish were there. Today I caught a dozen barreds that were nice-sized. My biggest (1 1/3-lbs, 11 1/2-inches) is shown on the left (close-up). Richard won the jackpot with his biggest, 2 1/2-lbs, 14 1/2-inches (close-up). I ended with a total of 50 barred surfperch today. The beautiful water didn't hold large concentrations of fish. Richard used the Red-Eyed Miki (His variation). I used the Red-Eyed Miki and switched to the Zen Worm for flats fishing.
On August 30, 2004, the tide's: low was -0.5-ft at 5:27 am rising to a high of 4.8-ft at 11:52 am dropping to 1.7-ft by 5:27 pm. I started fishing with Dennis Tunstall at 5:45 am and fished until 2:00 pm. It was overcast all day and seaweed was on the beach and in the water so we had to work around it all morning (it was drifting South). It got worse as the higher water picked up seaweed from the beach. We found some nice low tide holes that held a few fish. I had 5 perch in the first hour. The action picked up as the tide started moving. As the tide came in the only water that held fish was the foamy flats (see behind the perch). The fish were not really concentrated but you could find small schools by working the flats systematically. The fish there were hot, spunky fish. The grabs were violent. The moment they made eye-contact they would make a strong run. The beat-up female shown (2-lbs, 14-inches) (close-up) was part of a double. It had gill plate and tail injuries. I'm seeing a few injured perch on every trip. I had 36 barreds and as the tide approached mid-tide (with surging swell pattern), the flats had marginal depth and the bite stopped. Dennis had a slow day that was saved by some mid-morning action on feisty mid-sized barreds (here's one and here's another). He left at 11:00 am and I worked north 1 1/2 miles to find cleaner water and I finally found schools of nice mid-sized barred working foamy flats. I ended with 56 surfperch. The last cast and last fish of the day was a strong male barred surfperch (close-up). He made several strong runs before I got him in. It must be the excitement of mating. I left feeding fish at 2:00 pm. The Red-Eyed Miki took most of the fish in the early morning. I switched to Zen Worms on point and dropper while fishing the flats. The barreds took both of them aggressively! Most of the beach was very flat now.
On August 26, 2004, the tide's: early low was -0.5-ft at 2:33 am rising to a high of 3.9-ft at 9:32 am dropping to only 3.0-ft by 1:32 pm. I started fishing with Lee Rice at 5:45 am and fished until 12:30 pm. We had clear skies and mostly long period swells. We couldn't see any good holding water. Lee Rice landed a nice barred surfperch on his 3rd cast and continued to pick up occasional perch. He was at 4 before I caught my first one - a small perch. I also caught a small calico surfperch. I haven't seen one for a while. The only water that held some fish were the foamy flats. Small schools were working the flats. We would catch a few and lose them and eventually find a few again. We had to deal with heavy seaweed and debris in some areas and worked South 3-miles and eventually found cleaner and deeper water (still foamy flats). At 8:15 am (after 2 1/2 hours of slow fishing), I felt a solid grab and strong throbs. It was the huge, wide 2 1/2-lb, 15-inch barred surfperch shown (close-up). My biggest barred this year! It made my day! It was wearing mating colors and will spawn in January. Lee caught only 8 today about 1/2 mid-size and larger (here's one). I was using Zen Worms on point and dropper for most of the day. They seem to be more effective than other flies on foamy flats this time of year. Lee switched to similar worm pattern and started to pick up fish immediately. I ended with 21 surfperch today with 1/2 mid-sized or larger. It seems like the fly fishing season for surfperch is winding down now. With better swell patterns, we should continue to have good days but most of the beaches are flat now.
On August 19, 2004, the tide's: early high was 5.0-ft at 12:37 am dropping to a low of 0.7-ft at 7:15 am with a high of 4.8-ft at 1:46 pm dropping to 2.5-ft by 5:16 pm. I started fishing at 5:55 am at the same beach as the recent trips. I was planning to fish the low tide holes and foamy flats looking for the big fish. The surf was bigger today. The first stop proved unproductive with no hits at all. None of the areas looked really good but at 6:05 am, I got a solid grab from a big female barred surfperch (my 1st fish!), 1 1/2-lbs, 13-inches (close-up) at the next stop. The early morning bite continued steadily on bigger perch. I had to work for each one. They were not schooled but were working within flats and near shore troughs. The other large fish were: 6:46 am - female (close-up), 6:52 am - the 13 3/4-inches and 2-lbs female barred surfperch shown at the left (close-up), 7:10 am - another huge (13-inch, 1 1/2-lb) male barred surfperch (close-up). No real holes were visible. I fished deeper areas of flats (the holes I guess). The best big fish bite was in a small near-shore trough. The character of the surf/swell pattern was different today. It was hard to find likely water after the early morning bite. On the way back to the car, the beach and swells looked flat. Everywhere looked almost the same. I used the Red-Eyed Miki on point today (which took most of the fish) and Zen Worm on dropper. Just before leaving I fished north of the path to the beach, I found a small school of dinks using Zen Worms on point and dropper. I ended with 25 surfperch (all barred except for one walleye) today. The big perch made it all worth it today! I fished with Phillip Kim today - he did well on barred surfperch (here's one) and caught 2 stripers (here's one). It was nice sharing water with Jim Lazarotti too. I won't be fishing until Thursday, August 26, 2004 so stay tuned.
On August 16, 2004, we had a big spring tide: the minus low was -0.2-ft at 5:50 am with a high of 4.2-ft at 12:26 pm dropping to 2.5-ft by 5:16 pm. I started fishing at 5:55 am with Dennis Tunstall and saw Jim Lazarotti and Jim T later. It was foggy and the surf was calm but the swells were frequent enough to keep water in the deeper areas. We found small minus low tide holes in which bigger surfperch were working. Within 10 minutes, I had a nice 1 1/2-lb, 13-inch male barred surfperch (close-up). I've caught several large males this month. They are usually hotter fighters that females. They make strong runs pulling line through your fingers when they see you. I caught the large female shown (2-lbs, 14-inches) 10 minutes later (close-up). This female was unusually hot. I thought it was a small Striper it pulled so hard. We found no big concentrations but found a steady bite of mostly large barred surfperch and I have 21 by 7:45 am. The fish were working the shallow holes and their edges. The other noteworthy fish were: another large female at 6:30 am (close-up), another nice male barred surfperch at 8:00 am (close-up), a nice 9:00 am male (close-up), a nice male caught at 11:08 am (close-up). The surf got calmer after 8:00 am and we started catch more smaller fish. I had 48 by 10 am. It is the first time recently that we caught larger perch late in the morning. We fished deeper at the inside edge of a large cut with steep drop-off. I ended up with 71 barred surfperch today. I used the Red-Eyed Miki on point today (which took most of the fish) and Zen Worm on dropper. They are both very effective flies. Dennis had a great morning (mostly larger fish) but had a really slow late morning. Overall, he did well finishing with around 48 barreds. Jim Lazarotti was bent a lot while fishing the early morning and did well on larger barreds (one of them). Jim T gave us lessons in humility as usual - he had a fantastic day!
On August 12, 2004, the tide's early low was 0.0-ft at 3:43 am with a high of 3.8-ft at 10:46 am dropping only to 3.1-ft by 2:38 pm. I started fishing at 5:30 am with Lee Rice and Dennis Tunstall. It was to dark to read the water well. It was foggy. The flat between the waves was longer today and the beach seemed flat in general. Every new day brings a new problem to solve. You have some recent reports (the bite on mid-sized to larger fish has been excellent) but 50 minutes have passed and there have been only a few hits and 2 baby perch landed. We got to a foamy flats area with more light on the water and I finally caught a larger barred and the bite continued with a steady action on occasional nice barred perch. The largest is shown: 1 3/4-lbs, 12 1/2-inches male (close-up). Its grab was solid and it fought like a much larger fish pulling line through my fingers a few times before I got her in. It remained slow for Lee and by 8:45 am, he had only 5 smaller barred perch. Dennis did better and started picking up some nice barreds. I had 13 barreds (mostly larger than 10-inches) by 7:00 am. We finally got to a large cut. I got there first and pick my favorite spot. I picked up 2 baby barred. Lee moved way down to the tail area and soon was in a steady bite and ended up with 16 mostly mid-sized or larger perch. The largest was 1 1/3-lb, 11 1/2-inches. He was definitely in the zone! and I enjoyed watching him. At one point, he had 4 fish for 4 casts. By high tide (10:46 am), the surf calmed down and the action almost slowed. We worked north back to the car and caught only a few fish. I ended with 34 barred surfperch. Lee with 23. Dennis with 24. Dennis' largest barred perch was 1 1/2-lb, 12-inches. He lost a much larger one at his feet. Today I had Surf Miki on point (caught most of the fish on it) and Zen Worm on dropper. Lee used his tie of the Surf Miki, his worm pattern and a Psycho Puff. Dennis used Zen Worms and grubs today. By the way, Ernie's Casting Pond has a small stock of the Zen Worm and both the Surf Miki and the Red-Eyed Miki.
On August 9, 2004, the tide's early low was 0.9-ft at 1:21 am with a high of 3.3-ft at 8:23 am dropping only to 3.0-ft by 11:41 am. The afternoon high was 5.2-ft at 6:24 pm. I started fishing at 5:45 am. It was foggy until late morning. The tides were really lazy and the swells were small but were frequent enough to keep water pushed up on the beach. I didn't get any hits in the first hole that produced so well on the last trip. I finally got my first at the next hole down and continued with a slow, steady bite on mid-sized barred surfperch over the next hour. I had 12 nice barred surfperch (to 1 1/4-lbs, 11-inches) by 6:45 am - fishing foamy flats and edges of holes. The bite really picked up in the next hour - I got the total to 39 (almost all mid-sized to 12-inches) by 8:00 am. The largest was the hot male shown (close-up). I also got another large male (close-up) - the largest was 1 1/3-lbs, 12-inches. These males made the most dazzling runs ever (pulling line though my fingers) as I got them in close. Click to see a sampling of other fish I caught (2nd fish, mid-sized spent female (close-up), small silver surfperch, mid-sized spawner (close-up) and largest in the late morning. Jim Lazarotti walked up at 8:22 am and had caught 28 by then (almost all larger barreds to 2-lbs) in water that we fished earlier. He caught them on his tie of the Surf Miki 3. I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). I used two Zen Worms on dropper ( a total of 3 flies). I caught 6 doubles - no triples (the best one). I ended the day with a total of 65 barred surfperch. Jim T and Sam T (both bent in the pictures) fished from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm and caught a large number of perch with some larger ones mixed in. Dennis Tunstall used the same gear with flies as last time but had a much slower day. The success of the fly rod seem to be better in summer waters in foamy flats. He was using the same flies over the same water as I was but only caught 15 by 8:00 am. He ended up saving the day towards late morning where he found a school and caught 10 barreds. Dennis ended up with 29 barred perch (click to see his largest). He caught his first double today! He was happy about that but wants to start fly fishing. The bite really slowed mid and late morning except for a few areas where Jim, Dennis and Sam got into decent schools. The in-shore waters were clear in the morning. Towards mid-morning a mild red tide (with an amber shade) moved in from the north.
On August 5, 2004, the tide's early high was 4.6-ft at 2:07 am with low of 0.8-ft at 8:36 am rising to a high of 5.0-ft at 3:17 pm. I started fishing at 5:30 am. I always wonder what the day will be like as I walk down to the beach. The surf was calm but large enough to expect fish to be there. It was overcast. The beach had decent structure near low tide. Three casts found nothing. On my fourth cast, I caught my first fish. I soon caught one a little bigger. As it turned out, the first hole just to the South was loaded with fish - mainly mid-sized fish to 11 1/2-inches. There was some wave action with moving water - almost a classic cut. It provided a continuous bite until 7:15 am - I caught 34 barred surfperch there. The largest is shown - 11 1/2-inches, 1 1/4-lbs (a nice male). My smile shows how happy I was! I caught 11 more the second hole by 8:15 am and 18 more in other holes by 10:00 am (still with a good number of mid-sized barreds). The action slowed because it got calmer with lower tides. The rest of the day was mostly smaller perch with a few mid-sized - I got 19 more by 12:00 noon. The sun broke through around 11:00 am and the fish were in the foamy flats. I ended up with a total of 82 barred perch. I had 6 doubles. Today, found fish in classic cuts, edges of small holes, edges of really deep areas and foamy flats. I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). I used the Zen Worm on dropper. I fished with Dennis Tunstall again and he had a great day today. He used his stiffer rod with 14# test fireline and Zen Worms that he tied himself. He is hooked on flies now! I think the dynamics of the fly rod are still better in the foamy flats for some reason. He ended up with 52 barred perch (click to see his largest). He was really happy too! So this turned out to be one of my best days this year! On the way home, I scouted beaches for red tide. Manresa and the beaches south were clear and the water at New Brighton State Beach had a brown cast.
On August 2, 2004, the tide's low was -1.0-ft at 6:38 am rising to a high of 4.6-ft at 1:16 pm. I was on the water with Dennis Tunstall at 5:45 am. It was overcast with calm surf. There were numerous small low tide holes that had enough depth to hold fish but the surf was not large enough to bring in many fish. The first hole produced no hits at all. At 6:15 am, I got my first fish at the next hole, a small barred. The bite during all of the last part of ebb tide and low tides was slow. I caught my biggest barred surfperch at 6:36 am, the 11-inch barred surfperch shown (close-up). The bite picked up as flood tide got going. Every likely area produced one or several barred surfperch. There was some nice water (see it behind the typical smaller mid-size perch - no signs of red tide today). I ended up with 43 perch by working the beach 1-mile to the south and then back. One-fourth were the mid-sized perch. Checkout the aggressive baby barred that I caught. Dennis had a slow day today but he caught the biggest barred surfperch of the day. Interesting day! Great learning opportunity! We finally figured that his rod's action was so slow that he was not feeling the majority of the hits and missing most of those that he did feel. The bite slowed toward mid-morning as we worked back to the car. After lunch, I fished the first part of ebb tide alone for a couple hours. I worked the beach 1/3-mile to the north this time. A moderate head wind came up and brought wind swells. Thanks to leadcore - I was still able to fish with 75-ft casts. I found some nice high tide water in which small schools were roaming. I caught 15 more (mostly small but active with a couple mid-sized). I caught a total of 58 today. All of the fish felt scrappy in today's water. I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). The Zen Worm (on dropper) did well too. Overall, I had to work really hard for my fish today: lots of long casts and retrieving and working areas thoroughly but it was very satisfying.
On July 29, 2004, the tide early low was -1.1-ft at 3:40 am rising to a high of 3.8-ft at 10:33 am dropping by only 1.0-ft to 2.8-ft by 2:27 pm. I met Dennis Tunstall and we were on the water by 5:45. My first light, first cast caught my first barred perch. Yeah, small but it is nice when that happens. Within the next 15 minutes, I caught some nice mid-sized perch (first, second). In the next Zen moment, I experienced the heaviest (perch) grab ever followed by huge bends in my 6-wt IM-7 rod. I had to hold on to my shooting line tightly with give and take to get her in. The result was my biggest barred surfperch for the day (shown at the left): 13 3/4-inches, 2-lbs (close-up). The rest of the morning followed suit - I was in a steady bite as we worked the beach about 1/4 mile. It seemed that every likely spot held one or several fish. The fish were close in primarily the flats and edges of slightly deeper areas. Two-thirds of the fish for the first 2 hours were mid-sized to large. I caught a total of 49 at this beach.
This shows a huge male barred surfperch (11 1/2-inches and 1 1/2-lbs) that I caught today (close-up). This is bigger than they reported get.
It started really slow for Dennis using grubs. I usually have to work hard to keep up with him. I gave him a Zen Worm and he started catching fish right away and he made a great recovery ending with 34 barreds for the day. So at least this time, flies out produced grubs. He caught one nice one. Other noteworthy fish I caught were: spawning female (close-up), another injured barred, and another large male (close-up). It was overcast almost all day and the swells were small but high frequency. The water was a little dirty and by late morning it has a amber shade and the swell patterns changed. It was really slow on the way back to the car. I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). The Zen Worm (on dropper) did well too.
We did scout a couple more beaches and I picked up another 9 smaller barreds and ended with a total for the day of 58. There is still some red tide at some of the more northerly beaches. The bite seems to slow or stop after the tide/currents brings the red tide bloom in. Moss Landing State Beach was crystal clear (no red tide) but had a lot of seaweed and feathers. It was refreshing to be washed in clear waters.
It was great to have a big fish early morning - I could get used to this!
It was nice to fish with Jim Lazarotti again. I enjoyed talking with him and watching him cast and work the surf. He joined us for a couple hours after fishing another beach.
On July 26, 2004, the morning's tide was a lazy today with a early low of 0.8-ft at 12:52 am rising to a high of 3.1-ft at 7:05 am dropping by only 0.7-ft to 2.4-ft by 11:14 am. The afternoon tide goes way up to 5.9-ft at 6:11 pm. Because of lazy tides and smaller surf forecasts, I went to the beach with more structure. The foamy flats need bigger surf to bring bigger fish in. I was on the water by 5:20 am - it was overcast and dark. Richard Hector met me on the water before I found anything. It was a slow start with no signs of life. I finally caught a small barred surfperch. I started thinking that it was going to be a small fish, slow day then all of a sudden I felt heavy throbs I haven't felt for a long time (5:45 am). What a thrill! It turned out to be the 14 1/2-inch, 2 1/4-lb female barred surfperch shown at the left (close-up). It was long and wide. Note that it was already spent. It wasn't long before Richard caught a nice one too (also spent). We continued to work likely areas finding mostly larger barred surfperch.. Here's another of Richard's nice barred surfperch - this one was injured. The fat barreds (that have not spawned yet) were smaller today: one (close-up), two - I was charged with adrenalin! (close-up), three (close-up). I caught a couple nice male barred surfperch today: one (close-up), two (close-up) and one big fish double. Here's nice barred that I released in the water, and another injured barred. (The results of a sea lion attack?).. I caught a total of 36 barred surfperch (2/3ths were larger). Richard has a great morning too! I caught most of my fish on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point). The Zen Worm (on dropper) caught a few too. Richard used a Orange-eyed Miki. I worked the water hard for a couple hours then the swell pattern changed, the tide dropped and the bite slowed and stopped. We drove north to another beach. We found Jim T there - he had done well there earlier but the bite had slowed there too. I picked up another 9 smaller barreds and ended with a total for the day of 45. I'm really happy to finally have a big fish, high adrenaline day!!!
On July 22, 2004, the tide's early high was 4.7-ft at 1:28 am. Low was 0.4-ft at 8:32 am and it rose to 4.5-ft by 3:28 pm so I had decent changes before and after low tide. I decided to fish two beaches today: one that had good structure and holding water at and around low tide and another that fished better at higher tides on foamy flats and rough water. It was overcast all day and the surf started calm and stayed calm all day. I was on the water by 5:30 am on the first beach. Within 15 minutes, I caught a nice spawning barred surfperch (close-up). I worked south for about 1 mile and found fish in all likely water. The fish were not concentrated (3 was the most I caught in any given area). I caught a total of 39 fish at the first beach (1 jack smelt and the rest barred surfperch). Ten of the barreds were larger than 8-inches including the 11-inch, 1 1/3-lb barred shown on the left (close-up) and this nice spawner (close-up). The spawners are smaller now which suggests that most of the big spawners are done now. The fish were at the edges of holes, and in areas where swells converged from 2 directions. Today I had Surf Miki on point (caught most of the fish on it) and Zen Worm on dropper. I left for the second beach at 10:30 am and was on the water there at 11:00 am and fished until 1:00 pm. It was actually too calm. Some of the slightly deeper areas and their edges had large schools of small barred surfperch working. The bigger fish would have moved in with larger surf. I got 36 more for a total of 75 fish for the day. I used the Zen Worm on point here and it was the hot fly. The Red-Eyed Miki was on my drop. I did get 5 doubles. The perch were small but seemed to be on steroids with the calm surf! By the way, I have been using my 6-wt Shakespeare IM-7 with 24-ft of LC-13 leadcore head with 20# Iron Silk shooting line exclusively and they have been working well on casts to 80-ft plus.
On July 19, 2004, the tide's low was -0.4-ft at 6:56 am and it rose to 3.9-ft by 1:54 pm. I wasn't sure where I wanted to fish. I stopped at the first beach. I couldn't see the water because of fog but the surf sounded OK (bigger waves and higher frequency). I was on the water by 5:30 am. I got my first with in 15-minutes but it was slow. The swells were good but the water was generally shallow all over with few good holding areas. After 2 perch over the next hour, I decided to drive South. The next beach looked good. The structure was good at lower tides. I had a steady bite in all of the likely areas from 7:00 to 8:30 am and I caught another 17 perch for a total of 19 on the Red-Eyed Miki (on point), and Zen Worm (on dropper). Some of the structure looked nice. A cast into the sweet spot here resulted in a solid grab and the 1 1/2-lb, 12 1/2-inch fat barred surfperch shown (close-up). I caught other nice ones too. I returned to the first beach looking for Jim T who I haven't fished with for a long time. I saw him from a bluff and figured that he must be into fish since he had stayed at the same place so long. The surf had come up and the fish were holding in rough, foamy water. I decided to grub fish (because my left hand did too much retrieving today). I caught 16 more by 2:00 pm for total of 35 barred surfperch,. Jim T did really well with higher tides and rougher surf on the Zen Worm. He uses it exclusively on point and dropper. It is nice that the red tide has cleared up on beaches from Manresa to Palm Beach. There were no signs of the off-shore red tide layers today. The perch are coming in again including some big ones and I expect fishing will get better. It was great to finally fish with Jim again!
On July 15, 2004, the tide's low was 0.6-ft at 4:45 am and it went up to 3.6-ft by 11:50 am with only 0.5-ft drop to 3.1-ft by 3:25 pm. I was on the water by 5:30 am and fished almost all of flood tide. Dennis Tunstall met me shortly after. We had clear skies and the water seemed clear of red tide but the water was really low with very shallow holes. The small barred surfperch picture on the left says it all. It started slow and ended slow but I did manage to get constant slow action throughout the day. I ended up with 14 small barred surfperch fishing two beaches. Towards high tide, red tide moved into the south end of Palm Beach and by the time we walked back much of it had dirty water. I could still see red tide off shore. I checked Manresa/La Selva on the way home and it still had dirty water. Water temperature must be high - I measured 59 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit. A large pod of porpoise put on quite a show today. I had a fun challenging day that was more relaxing than usual.
On July 13, 2004, the tide's early low was 0-ft at 3:30 am and it went up to 3.4-ft by 10:29 am with only 0.5-ft drop to 2.89-ft by 1:59 pm. I fished with Lee Rice today. We were on the water by 5:30 am. It was overcast with mist falling for most of the day and the surf was mild but had nice short period waves. The first hole showed no signs of life. I got a couple at the second hole. After fishing all likely areas over 90 minutes, I had only 6 barred surfperch a hand-sized biggest. There was a nice looking hole that we did not get one hit within - interesting. A curious sea lion pup came around and almost jumped out of the water to grab Lee's rod. I had to chase it away for fear he would do the same to me. The swells calmed to almost nothing and we drove way south to find larger swells and better holding water. We found both. My largest barred surfperch (12-inches, 1 1/3-lbs - a large male) is shown at the left (close-up). The structure was better, and we found occasional fish in likely areas (edges to deeper areas and foamy flats). We finally came upon a rough foamy flat area that held a decent school and some nice perch ( Lee's, mine). I caught a total of 28 barred surfperch (5 from 8 to 12-inches). I used Red-Eyed Mikis today. Ernie's Casting Pond has them (as well as Surf Mikis) for sale. Jim T warned me of a red tide bloom from the north end of Sunset to Manresa (based on his trip on Sunday). The waters that we fished in early morning were clean during incoming tide. From high tide on, all of Zmudowski, Palm Beach, Manresa and Seascape were really dirty. I caught my last two perch in dirty water (one was nice) but other than that the bite was off. We fished until around 11 am and walked a long way back to the cars. It was a decent day!
On July 8, 2004, the tide's early high was 4.2-ft at 3:30 am and it went down to 0.6-ft by 10:08 am up to 5-ft at 5:07 pm. I fished with Jim Lazarotti today. We were on the water by 5:45 am. It was overcast with mist falling and the surf was mild but tended towards long period. Water was thin but looked like it should hold fish. I got my first one within 15 minutes. We found a few fish in almost every hole. I was anticipating an epic day for big barred perch based on reports but it never happened. Jim caught more larger barreds - here's a nice one. I didn't get a picture of his largest around 2-lbs. My largest is shown on the left, a 1 1/3-lbs 11 1/2-inch barred surfperch. I caught 12 barreds there. Towards low tide, it got windy, swells changes, the bite stopped and Jim left so I headed for another beach around 10 am. The water looked much better at my next stop. Only one hole held fish and I caught 6 more by noon for a total of 18 (2/3rds were smaller barreds). A few of the bigger perch grabs were strong! It was a slow and challenging but enjoyable day. Red-Eyed Mikis took fish today.

I won't be fishing next Monday because I'm helping my wife, Cathryn, over the weekend at her Ceramic Arts Show (Her work). This San Jose Mercury News link is temporary but check it out here before July 15, 2004. I planning to fish again on Tuesday, July 13.
On July 5, 2004, the tide was -1.2-ft at 7:52 am going to 4.3-ft at 2:48 pm. In the morning, I fished the same beaches of my last trip but in reverse order. I was on the water with Dennis Tunstall by 5:00 am. I wanted to walk in the dark and be on the best water at first light. The day started slowly - I didn't get my first fish for 35 minutes. Richard Hector met us on the beach later. At best, we found a few surfperch in most areas we cast and by 9:30 am I had only 10 surfperch (half were the mid-sized perch - the biggest today is shown). We moved to a beach to the North and fishing was spotty there too and I ended there with 5 more. Dennis and Richard did better and called it a day there. Both beaches had a lot of bathers, surfers and fishermen. I moved to a beach between the first two, found relative solitude and got into a continuous bite from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm and ended the day with a total of 43 surfperch. The beach had a few shallow holes but the foamy flats over sand crab beds held a lot of surfperch over wide areas. These flats maintained depth over successive wave sets. Most were smaller but they included a few nice barreds. The day was overcast for most of the day with mild surf. The day was challenging but with a great final bite! The Red-Eyed Miki, Surf Miki and Zen Worm took fish today.
On July 1, 2004, the tide was -1.6-ft at 4:40 am going to 3.8-ft at 11:32 am. I fished with Lee Rice today and we were on the water by 5:20 am. We met last year on a trip with Richard Hector. It is great to fish with someone who enjoys surf perching so much. The minus low tide did not provide much fishable water but Lee found a nice barred surfperch right away in the first hole we fished. Fifteen minutes later, I got a nice barred. As it turned out, there were only a few fish in each area - mostly small and mainly in the deepest areas. The shallows were too thin under minus tide conditions. I ended up with around 20 surfperch by 7:30 am. I wanted to fish the beautiful hole on my last trip, so we drove South and walked South fishing interesting areas. The bite was similar but the fish were larger. My largest is shown on the left ( 11 1/2-inches, 1 1/3-lbs) and Lee's was even bigger (close-up). There were troughs near low tide with small rips and also foamy flats over sand crab beds that held a few fish. We worked South about 1 mile really fast to fish the beautiful hole. It seemed to have filled in a little and under mild surf conditions water was not moving well. We got a few fish there too there seemed to be a small school holding tight to the edge. It was hard to get the right drift. I got a total of 41 surfperch (about 1/3 larger to 1 1/3-lbs, 6 walleye and the rest small barreds). Lee didn't count but he did really well, caught the biggest fish and at times was doing all the catching. The Surf Miki 3 (on drop) caught my biggest barred. Red-Eyed Miki also did well on point. By the way, Ernie's Casting Pond has a small supply of my ties of both flies so you can buy them there. Lee was using his tie of the Surf Miki and Jay M's Surf Grub Pattern.
On June 24, 2004, the tide was almost at the lower high as I got on the water at 5:30 am. The early low was 0.4-ft at 2:11 am with a high of 3.2-ft at 8:20 am with almost no change to 2.0-ft at 12:51 pm. I was into small perch in a few casts and into a nice barred surfperch soon after. I got a few surfperch from the first hole then moved on a better looking area and got into a sustained bite. I had 16 surfperch by 7:00 am with the largest 1 1/4-lbs that I brought in as part of a heavy double. As it got to high tide, the swell pattern changed and the bite stopped so I decided to do a major scouting expedition again. I returned to the car and drove South. I walked South over a lot of unlikely water (with a lot of seaweed) with few signs of life. I did get one hit per mile. I finally got to a beautiful hole. Seaweeds were moderate but my first cast connected with the 14-inch, 1 1/2-lb Striper shown (close-up)! It was my 3rd striper this year and my 1st on flies. It took a Red-Eyed Miki.
I continued to get a few surfperch from the same hole but the tide was dropping and the swell action on the hole was changing. The bite stopped so I continued my scouting to the South. All of the water was unlikely water. The best water was near shore troughs. I cast into one and was surprised by an aggressive grab and I had a bigger fish on! It turned out to be the 1 1/2-lb, 12 1/2-inch barred surfperch shown (close-up.) It seemed deformed in its dorsal fin area - may be a result of an injury that healed. It was foggy all day - the kind that is wet. I expected to have more problems with seaweed but I avoided the larger clumps most of the time and it was not a problem. It turned out to be a good day even though I caught only a total of 22 fish: great bite at my first two stops; the heavy double; my 1st striper on flies this year; the big perch surprise grab; and, scouting over a lot of beach covering some areas that I've never fished.
On June 24, 2004, the early high was 4.3-ft at 12:36 am. The tide was similar to my last trip 2 days ago but I had a little more water and I started at the best low tide holes that I found on my last trip. Low was -0.3-ft at 8:41 am and the afternoon high was 4.3-ft at 5:16 pm. My second cast got a small barred perch and several other followed. My 7th today was my largest barred surfperch shown to the left (1-lb, 10-1/2-inches). I caught most of my fish in the best water. The surf was small most of the morning. I caught a total of 52 surfperch: only 6 larger perch to 1-lb; 6 walleyes; and, the rest all small barred surfperch. The morning action in that one hole was great (having caught 37 by 7:30 am) but with lower tide and sun on the water the bite stopped so I decided to scout afoot to the South. I ended up going 5-miles. It was useful to see all of that water on the same day. There were only a few good holes and I picked up few small perch in the better areas. I didn't fish much on the way back until I got back to the best area and finished the day with a nice small perch bite. I had to work at getting the right drift to reach the school. Check out my barred surfperch/hermit crab double. Where are the large spawners? By the way, with all the small perch action it is a great time to learn Zen fly fishing.
On June 22, 2004, the early high was 5-ft at 12:53 am. The tide was already quite low at 5:40 am as I approached the first hole. Low was -0.3-ft at 8:41 am and the afternoon high was 3.8-ft at 4:10 pm. My first cast got a nice barred surfperch - nice way to start the day! The water was thin all over but I found a few surfperch in most of the slightly deeper areas. I worked south puddle by puddle. I had a steady bite all the way south (about 3 miles). I only found concentrations of fish twice. The first was the last hole south that I fished. The fish were holding at the outside edge of a tough. I would cast sideways into the flats above the trough and fish would hit as my flies (Red-Eyed Mikis) drifted into the trough. I got my largest today here shown (1 1/4-lb, 11 1/2-inches). The bite died after 11:00 am because the swell pattern changed. It was slow working north until I found small barreds in the flats. My second sustained bite was on small perch in a jacuzzi foamy flat area. They were small barreds. They provided great experience in line control and bite detection. I was waiting for larger perch to show here but they never did. I ended with a total of 77 surfperch. Most were small. I caught 12 between 3/4 and 1 1/4-lb. 6 were walleyes (including this large one. The spawners eluded me today. I'll fish again on Thursday. By the way, a bait fisherman said that he caught a 36-inch striper (probably more than 20-lbs) last Thursday on sand crabs. Its stomach was filled with only sand crabs.

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Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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