May 17

Home Waters – Bay Area Style

It wasn’t too long ago I was lamenting the fact there were no fish in the SF Bay Area to throw a fly at. That “fact” turned out to be pretty much wrong. See… there ARE fish to cast a fly at in the Bay (as some of you rightly pointed out).

Stripers are my new trout. The SF Bay is becoming my new Upper Sacramento River. This is my new home water.

I looked on the tide chart and then I came up with a bit of brilliance. I PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR. You know… the Google Calendar that runs my (and maybe your?) life.

At the appointed time I found myself free to leave the house, with my fishing gear, and headed out to fish.

I’m going to have to do that again.

This Bay striper fishing is not full of crashing bait and running down.. well… stripers. You go out and you put in your casts, at the appropriate tide, and you see what happens. It is a little like swinging for steelhead (in this case, most like swinging for half-pounders).

I’m loving having a bit of water that I’m getting to know… a bit of home water. It isn’t full of bonefish and tarpon, but it’s not empty either.

Thanks stripers.

Thanks for playing.

Oct 16

Striper Real Estate

There are times you are out there, going through the motions and you just can tell it isn’t happening. There is no encouragement. There are no signs things are going to pick up. It feels a little like maybe an academic exercise, but, ya know… you stay out there. Maybe an hour passes. Maybe more, and nothing is going on.

So, you focus on your casting, on the mechanics of it all. When do you put the haul in? Where are your hands? What is the angle of the rod? Maybe let’s vary the strip a bit and see if we are picking up weeds.

And then… then something pulls back. It stays on. It shakes its head and bends your rod and your perspective and all of a sudden… you start to think… “Maybe there are some more out here.”

All of a sudden, the possibilities are endless and the water is probably full of fish.

We are a funny lot. Both half full and half empty.



Aug 16

Gut Feeling

I went out for stripers again on Sunday, fishing pretty much the same tide as I did on Saturday. This is a game I am still trying to figure out. I have a hunch about ideal tides and a notion about what role the wind might play, but these are guessed at things.

july 31 striper

The fishing was slower. I caught less than half as many fish, not including a snagged ray that I thought was a monster striper for a few minutes. I don’t know why it was slower, although I do have half a guess.

At one point, I had a gut feeling that the fishing was done and that there would be no more fish caught. I knew it, but had no reason for knowing. The water here is opaque. You can’t see the fish and they don’t give themselves away. It isn’t like bonefishing where you can damn well see the fish are gone and it isn’t like what I imagine striper fishing to be on the East Coast when you might actually see feeding fish. This SF Bay striper fishing for me at this point is just all gut feelings, limited personal history and vague ideas.

I kept fishing though. I wanted to see if my gut feeling would be proven true. I wanted to test it a bit. I put another 100 casts in and had not one fish, not one grab. I fished it the same way I had fished it for the previous hour and a half with opposite results.

Sometimes, you just know.

I remember other days like that on other bits of water. I had one day on the Upper Sacramento when I had all day to fish, but 30 minutes on the water and I knew I wouldn’t catch a fish that day and I didn’t. This is water I normally do very, very well on, but there was a gut feeling I had that the fish weren’t going to eat.

I don’t know how that sort of information gets transmitted or by what, but it does get received and understood by the angler.

Sometimes the water talks to us and sometimes we understand.

Jul 16

The sweet, sweet sensation of the tug

Until Saturday I had not caught a striper on a fly in 2016. I had caught a few with hardware, even one on a plug, but they just hadn’t turned on for the fly for me.

Now, I’ve reestablished the striper connection and it felt fantastic.

The water is a bit murky, so this is blind casting. There are no boils, no bait to follow, no birds crashing bait balls. This is just walking out there with a plan and a bit of faith and flinging a fly out there to see what happens.

It would be just as easy to do this without a fly on and you could have the same results if the fish aren’t in, which is to say nothing.

Saturday though… Saturday it worked. Casting out the clear int. sink with a lead eye synthetic clouser and just stripping it in when there was a big pull and a schoolie striper came to hand. That is just fun.

A little schoolie striper..

A little schoolie striper..

It reminds me of fishing for steelhead half-pounders. There certainly are bigger fish out there, but a half-pounder pulls hard and there are more of them around than the big fish. That’s how this striper fishing is too. The fish aren’t huge, but the are fun and the pull harder than their size would dictate.

I fished for about 2.5 hours and managed just over a dozen schoolie stripers. This is about a 5 minute drive from my house.


Feeling very fortunate.

Nov 15


I’ve had a revelation in fish form.

Stripers, fly caught, in my home town.

See… a couple weekends ago we were doing a family photo shoot at a local park. It went well, as you can see from the nice photo below.

The Fam

The Fam

As we were leaving I saw a guy with a fly rod. I asked him what in the name of all that was holy and good he was fishing for. He said he was catching stripers right there. Like… right there. just a hundred feet or so away. He gave me the skinny and I thanked him.

I’ve been thinking of that nearly non-stop ever since and today, when my wife got home a little early, she said she thought I should go fishing.

I agreed.

And then this happened.

striper one 12311433_10154484612391808_320635074_o

Stripers. On the fly. Many of them. Without a boat. Minutes from home.

And in an instant, my fly fishing life just changed. I realized my son may have his first fly caught fish be a striper, not a trout. How wild is that?

As I was leaving that spot tonight I saw that same fisherman and I thanked him again for changing my whole perception of the Bay… for changing my life, in fact.

Pretty awesome.

Jun 13

Something new

Today I’m going fishing, both literally and figuratively. I’m going to try and find stripers inside the SF Bay. I’ve never done this before and I don’t know the water, or the fish. We’ll see how it goes.

Going to take out the new Vapen from Redington. I’ll be casting a T-400, so it might not be the most pure of casting experiences, but I’m looking forward to getting this bit of newness out on the water.

If I can find them (doubtful) this should work, right?

If I can find them (doubtful) this should work, right?

Apr 10

I always confuse striper with stripper…

This sort of confusion is bad when writing to my wife about my fishing, although it has never been a problem until today, when I caught my first striper, even though I was fishing for Surf Perch.

Went out with Derek to try Surf Perch for the first time and we managed just one fish… my striper.  This was not a “big” fish… this was what I think they call a schoolie, but still, it is my first striper.

Turns out fly fishing in the surf near Santa Cruz is kind of crazy… just one big set of waves after another all starting out higher than your head.  There is a small window between sets for things like casting/fishing before the next wall of water comes and tries to slap you in the nads.

This is not the quiet solitude of the flats or the rugged wilderness of my trout streams.  One must be aware of joggers, dogs and beach strollers who want to do nothing more than stop and watch you cast… stand right behind you while you throw a T-300 with a couple of weighted flies.  I guess you don’t really understand the danger unless you’ve had a few weighted flies bounced off your cranium (or stick in it).

Derek, trying not to die.

My first striper and my first surf fly fishing catch.

(the fish buried its tail in sand, by the way)

I’ll be back and I’ll be reading up because it is clear I have A LOT left to learn.