Sunday, December 10, 2023


 September 22, 2023

Spoke with Justin about a section of a local I never fished.  I always bypass it.  He told me it fishes well so I decided to take a look.  I've never fished this low.  It's hard to move overhanging branches and blackberry line the banks.  Once in the water it is difficult to get off water.  Fish are definitely but it took about a half a mile hike to see them.  In one pool two fish charged my dry fly in different directions and ended up headbutting themselves.  Missed them both.  Fished to 11am before deciding to move out oft his area.  Movement is simply too slow and laborious.  So we hiked out of there and moved up river but at the new location the parking lot was at capacity.  So we moved down to amother section and hiked down the steep canyon.  A truck was already parked down there somehow.  Still hard to maneuver there.  Chul fished it earlier this year and said it wasn't this bad.  Caught fish but nothing special.  Ended the day around noon.

Saturday, December 9, 2023


 September 16, 2023

Mist filled the air on drive to the mountain.  We were hoping it would be that way when we reached the trailhead.  Weren't so lucky though as once we reached elevation it cleared and it was sunny at the parking lot.  For me the hike was a struggle.  Last year it would have not been a problem but this year I'm not in great shape due to family issues.  It was hot and I was over heating during hike.  Once we crested the mountain I needed to get near the water and start fishing.  At minimum dunk myself to cool off.    Over a month ago Chul fished the creek and it was coming back looking like it's former glory.  It was definitely on the up.  Now having returned the creek is unrecognizable from that day.  Changed completely.  The large fish that he was catching in what seemed like every hole are now gone.  Our only conclusion is the summer monsoon swept the fish downstream.  We'd fish upstream looking for any signs of those fish a month ago until I was walking along the banks the ground beneath me collapsed.  I fell about feet into a knee height pool with a bowling ball sized boulder coming along with me.  The boulder hit my shin.  Unluckily much of the impact was dispersed when it hit the water.  Nonetheless it hurt like hell.  I was still in somewhat of shock and couldn't compute the damage it may have caused.  After rolling the boulder off me I got up and stood in the cold water trying to process what just happened.  Did I just break my leg?  At this point I had no clue.  I just held my shin under the mini waterfall from the plunge pool.  After the initial shock wore off I hobbled off the creek and onto the bank.  I called and gestured to my buddy who was 100 or so yards away.  I limped over to a fallen log to assess the damage.   Swelling had already occurred and I probed the area to see if it might be broken.  When my buddy came over he asked if I broke my shin.  I didn't think so.  I sat there just trying to gather myself.  Got out my first aid kit from my backpack.  After testing the leg it seemed ok.  I bandage it up with a wrap took some 5 year old expired ibuprofen in the kit and continue hike and fish.  I wasn't about to be skunked for the day and got  up to hike the way up where we knew would hold fish.  While boulder hopping I fell again ripping my pants in the process.  When we reached our destination we were finally able to get onto some fish.  Afterwards seeing how dismal the place had become in such a short period we hiked out of there.  I didn't have any issues with the shin other than bruising and swelling. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


 September 13, 2023

On the water by 5:30am and its still dark.  It's windy and cool but water temps are 78°.  Cloudy.  Should be good for topwater.  Fished until 9:30.  Fish were in deeper steep edges.  Banks of the lake are lined with duckweed.  Most fish caught or blowups were in the duckweed.  I had over a dozen blow ups with only one to hand at least  three pounds.  Luc had even more blowups,  a few to hand and one at least three pounds.  Started with DBB crease fly and with no success switched to yellow popper.  Then started to have success.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Honoring a Friend

September 6, 2023
In July I lost a fishing buddy; his family tasked me with handling his fly fishing estate.  As compensation I could keep anything in his collection I wanted.  There were a few I items I wanted, such as his Helios ZG 9ft 4wt or his Sage TCX 6wt, but after Roy said he wanted the 4 and I knew a friend had lost his TCX in a boating incident, I decide those items should go to another home.  The last time I fished with Steve, we fished a local mountain and he brought his Superfine 150 Anniversary 7ft 4wt so I decided this would be the rod I'd keep.  An added bonus is the rod would most likely be used more than the other two options as small local mountain trout streams are within an hour or so from my house.
I wanted to honor my friend so I headed up the mountain to fish his rod and hand tied flies.  I debated where in the mountain I wanted to fish.  There was a section Justin likes to fish that I've never tried.  Generally I like to head further up.  After parking at the lot I noticed a rather dodgy character in his car so I decided to fish my usual jaunts and headed further up the mountain.  Mist and light rain filled the air but after I reached a certain altitude it was sunny and clear. 
When I reached the parking lot there was broken glass in my spot.  Not an encouraging sign.  California has become such a shithole you can't go anywhere without the threat of your vehicle being broken into.   People have told me that they keep their doors open, literally open, wide open, just to encourage would be thieves to not break their windows.  Of course car is left empty of anything worth stealing.  This strategy has one flaw, it makes it easier to actually steal the car not just the contents found within.  Personally I just don't leave anything within sight or leave anything that may appear valuable in the car.  Fishing alone and having all day to fish I began fishing immediately opting not to hike in as I usually do.  Armed with a small stimualtor I began probing the water but to no avail.  I then switched to a larger one so I could see it better but after a few casts it was failing to stay buoyant I switched again to a foam ant.   Again switching because I was having a hard time seeing it.  This time I changed to something I knew I could see, a size 10 Royal Wulff. 
Once I switched the fishing picked up.  Water was still fast but at the same time very skinny.  You had to pick your spots and most pools were gone.  I caught more fish than I could count.  Many of the fish actually took when the fly submerged.  The most memorable fish was the last.  Ended up being a tank of a fish, around 13 inches.  While I've caught larger fish in this watershed in the past, this is the largest I've caught in over a decade. 
After catching that fish, it was time for a stream side lunch.  Since Steve was Japanese that a pork katsu sando was appropriate for the occasion.  Once finished I thought I did enough and decided to head back home.  I think Steve would have been proud.
Daturi Wrightii. "Jimson Weed." Causes Hallucinations.

Romnea Coulteri.  "Fried Egg Poppy" or "Matilija Poppy."

Aguilegia Formosa. "Crimson Columbine" or "Western Columbine."

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Another Disappointment at Barrett

 August 26, 2023

Took off from my house at 9:30pm and arrived first at the gate at 11:30pm.  Last Sunday Tropical Storm Hillary closed down the lake.  The storm wasn't as bad as anticipated.  Wasn't sure how the storm would affect the the fishing.  When Barrett reopened on Wednesday the reports were not promising.  I woke up at 3am and couldn't get back to bed.  The lake staff were later this time opening the gate after 4am.  After unpacking we on the water by 4:30am.  We hit the first big cove and banks were lined with filmentous algae.  The entire cove proved fruitless.  Once out of the cove the light began to poke out of the mountains.  Chul was the first to get on a fish after switching to a smaller fly, a size 2 frog popper.  After a couple more strikes I downsized from a 2/0 to a size 2.  In addition I switched colors from pearl to silver.  It was only then did I get my first strike.  I ended up breaking off as the fish was dragged through some branches of a submerged tree.  Before it got away it felt heavy on my nine weight.  Chul managed few more bass and a few more bluegill. 
We leave this section to go deeper into Pine,  Sun is peaking and we move to every bit of shadow we can find.  I start getting fish.  One even chased my my fly striking it multiple times ultimately failing to connect.  Not sure if it were a bass or an aggressive bluegill.  I miscalculated the angle of the sun and we were out of shadows much quicker than I anticipated so I get us out the the cove and move toward Hauser.  There is some shadows here and there and we fish everyone.  I get the best bass of the day that I never even got to see the take as I was looking down when it hit so I could reposition the trolling motor.  Once we entered Hauser the entire lake was lit up and it was time to go subsurface.  Occasionally wolf packs would show themselves but as it was proven this year chasing them was of no use.  The simply were there and gone in an instance. 
By noon we've given up trying to get bass to eat and switched our focus on the panfish.  we took to the same nesting site as last time.  They were still there but in less number.  Good news was they were bigger this time.  I took out my three weight and starting catching some on a BH nymph.  Even a small juvenile bass took a liking to my offerings.  A helicopter flew low in the canyon creating a ruckus, ruining the tranquility of the canyon.  There were people on the banks so I'm not sure if they were Border Patrol looking for border crossers
It was brutally hot so we called it earlier than I expected.  On the way out we fished a cove or two but by this time the winds were simply making the situation unfishable.  On teh way out though I was able to try out Dagur's Sweet Alabama fly I tied just for this place.  It failed to produce but in all fairness so did all the other flies I tried on the way out.  We got to the truck and packed all the gear away.  It was so hot I had an ice cold liter of water I poured the entire contents over my head and proceeded to blast the AC full blast onto me.  It took more than an hour of driving before I finally felt like my body temp was going down.  Drive home was brutal.  I needed to take a pit stop at Carlsbad to take a 15 minute cat nap to rest before completing the drive home.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Nothing Spectacular

August 16, 2023

As with the last outing it was raining when I woke up so I brought my rain gear this time.  It wasn't needed though as it stopped by the time I arrived at Luc's.  We started on the west side again this time.  The bass definitely wanted the long pause ad a quick few twitches this outing. Early I lost a hog after coming off just after I felt it's heft.  After that most fish were juveniles or dinks.  Had at least a dozen blowups but only one to hand and it was small.  Luc had at least 18 blow ups with few lost.  He came home with a handful landed but nothing impressive.  We were done by 9am.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Monsoonal Rain

August 10, 2023

Arrived at Luc's at 5am and waited in the truck for the 5:15am start time.  It was raining on the drive there and I didn't look at the forecast so I didn't bring any rain gear with me.  By the time we were on the water there was already an angler launched.  Luc knew who it was, a very good angler who likes to jig fish deep water, so we were no threat to each other as we are always fishing shallow on topwater. Starting from the west side Luc had several blowups but we moved east when we noticed that the angler was also on our side.  From there rain picked up more but we'd get more bites.  I managed one after crossing the lake.
I was using a silver mylar popper size 2.  The fly would continue to produce reactions throughout the morning but I wouldn't be able to connect on any until the end of the day when I lost the fly on a fish.
Wind was starting to become a problem on the east bank but we'd continue to fish there until it became too much of a problem and we moved to the west bank.  There Luc would land a 4lber, while Luc had seen bigger, this was the biggest I'd seen since spring.  Eventually we'd run into the angler and he showed us his 7lb 9oz bass he caught in 4 feet of water.  Impressive for sure.  He kept in the livewell just so he could show it to Luc the released it back.  Once the sun began to break through the haze we jumped back to the other side chasing shadows hunting the last remaining fish from the shadows willing to take a popper.  While we both love the topwater bite I did go subsurface briefly only to test the Dagur's Sweet Alabama Rig fly I had tied a few days earlier.  I didn't get any reaction from it and switched to a popper after realizing I'd rather fish on top.  I must have had at least a dozen blowups this day.  Luc many more than that but the number I don't recall.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Engine Problems at Barrett

August 5, 2023

With high expectations, we returned to Barrett Lake for another session.  We were second in line at the gate and the second boat on the water.  On our way to our fishing location just as we were coming up to the Hauser arm the motor died.  It happened when I let off the throttle.  After several attempts to restart it we realized it was not going to operate.   My new 55lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor paired with my new lithium battery were going to be put to the test early on this trip.  I started to make our way back to the marina for a new boat.  We fought the wind the whole time.  It costs us at least 40 minutes to get new boat and re-organize our gear.  By this time the sun was starting to appear and my original plans to fish topwater deep into the arms now destroyed I changed the plan.  As I reached our fishing spot I began letting off the throttle and it died again!  With no time left to get a new boat it was time to fish powered only by trolling motor.  Early light produce at least nine blowups for me.  I managed at least three to hand here.
With the sun now hitting the side we were fishing, it was time to move across the lake where there was still shade.  Without the main motor this would take some time.  I was still worried how long the new battery would last.  Without the outboard, the Minn Kota would be stressed to the limit.  We managed to get to the other side but by this time the whole area had already been picked through by at least one angler.  Fishing would get tough.  As the sun began hitting all areas of the lake I did manage one more topwater bass just behind a submerged tree with just enough shadow to get a bass to look up. 
With the sun now out completely and the section of lake busy we'd have to find some water with some willing fish.  As we moved up the arm boils from wolfpacks started to appear in the middle of the channel.  I'd troll over away from where we initially saw them in the hopes the school would start to make their way to us.  This never happened though and after several minutes I'd move us back into a cove loaded with bluegill. 
I'd move  us along the contours of the lake into the other arm along the way we'd see hundreds of bluegill and everywhere we went one inch fry would be everywhere.  By this time it was coming close to noon and the wind had now picked up.  Casts were next to impossible.  Even more difficult was positioning the boat for an presentable cast.  With all this going against us I decided to try and head back.  Hopefully we could find someone to tow us back as I wasn't too sure I would have enough battery left to get us there. 
While drifting at the opening of arm we hailed a boat heading back.  Thankfully they were willing to tow us back.  They too were fly fishing and they said they had a tough go.  They had some success early on topwater with gurglers but most fish were caught on extremely small flies once they noticed the fry.  Once at the dock the staff asked if we wanted a new boat or if she wanted to see if she could start this one.  She ripped the cord once and had the motor fired back up making us look like assholes.  She said we had the choke out.  While this was true when we arrived again at the dock but this was only because we were trying every combination to try and get the motor started again.  It was left open when we gave up.  We didn't have the choke open on each boat.  Also when we arrived the first boat was still docked this time it was yellow flagged as she couldn't get that one started again.  In addition later we would experience another problem and for sure the choke was in that time.
Now noon we decided to head out again this time with a working motor.  We'd had to deal with the peak winds though,  To try and escape it we'd head deep into Hauser.  Bass simply weren't responding to our subsurface flies.  I managed only one strike from a bass I saw come our of the weeds and gently swallow my fly.  I saw him take and struck only to pull the fly our of its mouth.  We went deep into the arm into the shallows where hundreds of bluegill were guarding nests.  For the next couple hours we would be fishing our lightest rods catching some very nice specimens. 
By 2 or 3pm we decided to head back.  We'd fish along the way without much success.  After a an hour or so we gave up on the idea and put the outboard at full throttle back to the marina.  Maybe 1000 yards away from the docks the motor began to sputter and eventually died.  I used the trolling motor the rest of the way back.  An absolutely disappointing and frustrating day. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

Summer of Bass Continues

July 31, 2023

On Sunday I tentatively planned to fish a local for some easy trout but when forecast called for 100°F my fishing partner backed out.  No worries as I was fishing with Luc the following day.  Forecasts were much better as much of the morning would be overcast.  So we had high hopes for a good day.  After launching we drifted the east side this time and within the first 1000 yards I put my fly, into the tules.  Since it was only only attached to one reed I figured it should have slid off easily but instead my leader broke.  I was fairly pissed as this was the fly I tied the night prior and was all out.  I switched to another popper slightly smaller but the action simply wasn't the same although it was the same design.  It just wouldn't give me an aggressive pop.  So I switched to another same size and body shape but this one was more to my likening.  The wind picked up early and so Luc decided to move us across the lake to the west side to protect us from it.
This seemed to help and Luc would hook into several fish before I managed to get my first.  It must have been the laziest take I've ever witnessed.  It porpoised it in what seemed like slow motion.  I set the hook and it gave a half-hearted fight up until it realized it wanted to play.  Not a big fish at all but healthy.  Every fish has been so this year.  Even the juveniles are fat and muscular.  Luc would end the day with at least 15 blowups half or so landed.   I had 8-10 blowups with 4 to hand.  The last fish form e had some sort of wort on it's tail.  Never seen that but Luc has a few times.  Jet skiers were out in force today with at least 6 boats making their run with more launching when we were leaving. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

In Your Face

July 24, 2023

Another outing with Luc.  This time a bit longer than expected as skiers and wakeboarders didn't show up this time.  Perhaps still dealing with the after effects of the weekend hangover.  The day prior was cool and overcast all day.  It would have been the perfect time to fish.  Sadly none of that weather stayed when we arrived.  Fished from 5am to 9:20am.  Luc was getting bit early but most fish failed to stay on.  We had an angler launch right after us so we didn't have the water all to ourselves.  This would make things a bit difficult as fishing options will now be limited.  It took some time but I finally had my first bite after Luc's half dozen or so.  I would end with 3 or 4 to hand out of half a dozen or so bites.  No fish were terribly remarkable with the biggest of the day maybe a pound and a half.  Most notable fish was the one I managed to launch into the air with my ten weight that hit me in the face.  I think all the big fish have moved out of the shallows and into the depths and since we only fish topwater  they'll most likely be out of our reach for the rest of the summer.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Short Session

 July 12, 2023

It's been a few weeks since I've fished with Luc and since then the heat has arrived.  From now on it's only getting hotter.  June gloom is gone as well so morning cloud cover is almost nonexistent.  That means topwater action will be very limited from now on.  Once that sun peaks over and hits the water our fishing is for the most part finished.  In addition with school out and summer now in full swing skiers and wakeboarders are out in force.  With that in mind quick sessions of only a few hours are now in the cards.  Got a text from Luc if I wanted to join him on Wednesday.  Of course I responded yes.  We fished from 5am-8:30am.  He had fished the day prior and fishing was great up until the sun came out.  Once that happened it was game over.  While launching the boat Luc asked where I wanted to fish.  Refish the area he fished yesterday or go bypass the area and fish further down.  I elected the later for  a couple reasons.  One:  It unfished waters.  Two:  That area was where Justin nabbed three 5lbers.  It took twenty minutes to get there so in retrospect it may have not been the greatest idea as that costs us twenty minutes of precious limited time.  It wouldn't be long before we'd have some strikes and the then some hook ups.  Any fished that did get hooked spit the hook out after the first jump.  I ended up with only one.  A small one.  Missing or losing six.  Luc surprisingly went zero for eight.  Not sure why the poor hook up rate.  Wakeboarders were already out by 6:50am.  Skiers showed up not long afterwards.  Fishing days will Luc will now be very short ones from now on.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Local Mountain Recon

July 5, 2023

All year I've been waiting patiently to fish for some wild trout.  All rivers have been blown out from the fallout of our incredible winter.  With most if not all the snow finally off our local mountains it was time to take a look on how they've been doing.  Water levels still high but manageable but I'd recommend only confident and strong waders go out now.  I'd say in about a month it should be accessible to all abilities.  All water crossings have been roped so at least you have  a guideline to aid you if you need it.  Ed and I didn't really need them.  
I haven't fished with Ed in years.  I don't even recall when the last time was but when he told me he was free this week I told him let's head out.  Having wanted to check out our locals I suggested one with rather easy access.  The plan was to meet at 8:15am at a nearby shopping center and caravan up the mountain.  I wanted to stay out all day and go in as deep as possible but that plan changed when I was told I'd need to be with my father at 3:30.  So I needed to scratch that plan.  We decided to meet an hour earlier so we could get just that much more fishing in.  I thought given it was the day after Independence Day it would have been relatively quiet.  Boy was I wrong.  The road into the mountain was a shitshow.  Holiday campers were still there.  With their mess.  By the time we reached the trailhead parking lot it was 3/4ths full.  While at the parking lot putting on my wading boots, Ed tells me he might start off with nymphs and I just stared at him at shook my head in disgust.  Then he pulls out a tenkara rod and places it in his backpack.  Then I shook my head and put my head down in shame.  Ed's lucky he can easily kick my ass otherwise he wouldn't have heard the end of it.  At least he had the good sense while we were fishing together to only fish dry flies.  When we got split up then he switched up to less "desirable" methods of fishing.  It was a hot one and it was good to finally feel the cold water on my legs.  I love this time of year.  Wet wading casting dries is probably my favorite way to fish.  Water is still fast and glacial looking with a turquoise hue.  Fish are there and I must have had at least 40 rises with maybe 10 of those that came to hand.  None were local trophies unfortunately but the fish that were caught were all fat bellied and healthy.  So they are on their way to becoming future local "lunkers." 
We started our way back around noon fishing on our way out.  When we reached the parking lot a high school kid comes up to Ed and asks for help.  He and his buddies left their key in their car and asked when we come off the mountain if we could call AAA for them.  We offered to take them into town but they thought that this was the best plan so we obliged.  While we were packing up he came back to our car and told us not to bother as they didn't want to wait anymore and decided to break open a window with a stick or rock.  I told him I had a better tool to do that.  I keep a Resqme tool in all my vehicles for emergency situations where I may get stuck in my car such as flipping my truck.  After a tutorial  he started making his way back to his car.  Half way there I shout to him to hold on.  I wanted to see this tool in action.  I've never had a chance to use it so I wanted to see if it really does what it claims.  So after deciding which window to break he put the device on the glass and pressed it, shattering the glass safely.  From there they got into their car to get their keys. 

Friday, June 30, 2023

Barret Lake Rented Out All For Ourselves- A Bit Diappointing

 June 23, 2023

Barrett Lake is typically only open Wednesday (not all Wednesdays though) and weekends from May through September.  On Wednesday June 21st I see a Facebook post from a friend if anyone wants to fish Barrett Lake on Friday.  His casting club had rented the lake out and now it's open to nonmembers.  I hadn't fished this lake since Sept of 2014, quitting after that because of a multiple reasons: drought, low number counts, fish die offs, and the complexity of getting to fish here.  Given my nearly decade long absence and with the all the water we received this winter I was intrigued to see how the old place was fishing.  So I called my fishing partner to see if he might be interested but stated I only will go if we can find a battery for my trolling motor.  Mine has been sitting idle for the past nine years and likely dead; I was not about to spend money to buy a new one.  After a few calls he said his friend had one we could use.  So we were in and place our reservation online for $100 for the boat and an additional $45/angler.  

By Thursday I get a text stating he can't get the battery in time as his buddy is in Lancaster all day and will not be home until late.  So I go through the Rolodex to see who I could possibly ask.  Then I see Roy's number. He's got to have one if not we could pull it from his boat.  I call him and he says his boats are docked in Cerritos but he's got a spare in the garage.  He puts it in the charger and tells to come over and pick it up whenever.  I run some errands and go to his house a couple hours later to pick it up.  Go home put it in my charger and prep for the next day.  I soon realize that Barrett is barbless only and they are militant about it.  I had already placed a bunch of boxes in my tackle bag so I go through them to see how many have been debarbed.  Maybe 50/50.  I decided to start taking flies I know I want to fish out and putting them into a separate box.  I know while fishing I'll forget to check and end up fishing a barbed hook.  Last thing I need is a $500 fine.  In addition most of my bass flies are tied on Gamakatsu B10S hooks and they don't debarb by crimping.  The barb breaks and leaves a burr so they must be filed.  I spent the next hour or so dremeling all the flies I planned on fishing.  After dinner I look on the battery to see how its charging, I notice that it is missing a wingnut on the positive terminal. I remove the wingnut on my old battery and see if it fits.  It does not.  So I remove the remaining wingnut on Roy's battery and go to Home Depot.  I'm home in about half an hour and test the fitting.  It doesn't fit.  WHAT?!  I test both wingnuts, new and old.  Neither fit but both fit in the negative terminal.  The positive is larger.  I'm pissed.  Not wanting to go back to HD I start calling neighbors to see if they have a spare but none do.  After several calls I give up and head back to the store battery in hand this time.  I didn't want to do this as it costs me about of half an hour of charge time on a battery that needs very bit of time on the charger.  I get the right size rush home put the battery back on the charger.  I prep my lunch for the next day and finishing loading the truck.  I head to bed at midnight with the expectation Chul will be arriving at my house at 3:15am.

At 3am I get a text saying he's running late.  This irritates me somewhat as Barret has specific entry requirements as the road goes through private property.  Lake staff open the gate at specific times and escort you into the lake.  If you miss the specific train in you must wait until the next one usually an hour later.  Not sure if this is still the case but it used to be this way and since I've not been here in so long I have no clue.  I just wanted to make sure we aren't waiting around an hour just because we were five minutes late.  I planned some wiggle room in our time frame for such issues but not much.  The other issue is I've completely forgotten how to get there, I checked my iphone and it gave me an alternative route than I used to take, supposedly shorter and quicker.  I know from reading past threads that certain gps will lead you astray.  I didn't save the thread so I don't recall which ones do that or if that bug was resolved.  This was another reason why I gave ourselves more latitude in time in case we got lost.  These concerns though proved unwarranted as we make the gate in time.  Much of the club were already lined up waiting.  I checked in with the club lead and then spoke with Steve.  The club had rented the place from 6am-3pm.  Start time is an hour later than on normal working hours.  Which meant the very little topwater time will be even less.  Forecast called for a sunny day so we maybe only had at best an hour of popper fishing.
Luckily the staff let us in at around 5:30am.  I parked the truck and began offloading.  Chul was ready and I told him to start loading the boat but make sure to pick a boat that starts up easily since we basically have the pick of the litter.  Only three or four other anglers rented boats.  The rest were on float tubes or kayaks.  Only 14 anglers showed up for the day.  The marina staff let him know that any boat with a Yamaha motor is good and will start up fine.  Recently I purchased a mobile fish finder and the suction wouldn't stay on.  One trick I learned from my old man back in the day is to put Vasoline over the suction.  It prevents air and water from breaking the suction.  Problem is I totally forgot it on my desk.  I was pissed.  The suction simply wouldn't hold.  I decided to deal with it later and it was time to get going.  So I ripped the cord on the motor and buckled over in pain.  For the past year I've had a shoulder injury (on both shoulders).  For a long time I wasn't able to lift my should past a certain height.  Up until this week it started to feel a lot better.  Good enough to start a very light weight lifting regime.  Now I just reaggravated it.  I was in so much pain I jumped out of the boat onto the dock and leaned over the storage box that contains the life jackets. I told Chul he'd need to start the motors now.  I was worried that I couldn't cast for the day.  I began messaging my shoulder and the pain slowly dissipated.   I got on the motor and went to my usual starting spot for poppers.  By this time it was about 6am, not much time left before the sun will be shining on most if not all of the lake. 
We fished for just under an hour and I managed my first fish on a popper.  I was using a SW crystal popper 2/0 body on a 3/0 hook.  It's been my go to this year.   Finally I was able to get my first fish on my new set up- TFO BC Big Game 10 weight rod and TFO NTR reel.  When the sun was cresting above the mountains I manage another one much smaller that came loose.   Once we made our way into the Hauser arm I switched to my nine weight and an intermediate line and a spinnerbait fly but with no success.  Eventually I moved to my Scott seven weight paired with a full fast full sink line and a Iwai Minnow.  With this set up I felt a bump and set the hook.  It was a bluegill that I hooked in the head.  By this time Chul switched flies to imitate a bluegill.  Few moments later he was on a nice bass that he lost at the boat.  I then switched back to my 10 weight and changed out the reel to my other NTR lined with a sinking line.  With that set up I tied an EP bluegill fly.  It wouldn't be long before I would be on my next bass.  By around 10 am the winds began to be problematic.  By this time the trolling motor died. 
I would end up with around 10 fish for the day.  My shoulder would act up throughout the day and around midday because he hadn't landed a fish yet I spent most the next few hours trying to get him his first landed fish.  I would have to maneuver the boat with the main motor now the trolling motor was useless. By around noon in a protected cove bass began exploding on damselflies.  Of course neither of us had any damsel dries with us anyways.   So we tied on some unweighted wooly buggers to see if we could entice them.  It didn't work.  All my old spots were not producing. The lake is at 90% capacity last I checked.  I've fished it this full in the past at this capacity and still had memorable days.  This time it was much harder.  Chul would eventually get his landed fish around 2pm.  He went one for three or four for the day.  We'd quit just before three and headed home.  Around the lake fried egg poppies were in full bloom which was quite pretty to see.  On our way home we'd stop at Dana Point at Jon's Fish Market for fish "n" chips and clam chowder.  I haven't been here in ages while still good it wasn't as good a s I remember it.  It was a long day and I'd be home around 7pm where I'd shower and hit the pillow for the night.  Given we essentially had the lake all to ourselves I was extremely disappointed how poorly it fished.  Not sure why.  It's making me want revenge on the place but I doubt that will happen this year.  The hassle of the reservation system and the long hot days in the coming months will likely prevent a return but we'll see.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Was It A Fluke?

 June 12, 2023

After my last trip Luc went out again with Justin and had him fish the fly I gave Luc.  The night before I looked through my inventory and I told Luc I only had two of those popper bodies left.  I get a text that afternoon and Luc tells me if I ever want to fish with him again I'll need to bring at least half a dozen of those with me.  Justin apparently managed 3 five pounders with that fly that day.  Marriott's didn't have any of those foam bodies in stock but did have the hard body versions.  I picked those up but also placed an order online for some soft bodies as well.
I tied the last soft bodies I had and a couple of the new hard foam ones as well.  I ran out of mylar tubing so I'd have to wait until my order came to tie anymore but I had enough for the day.  The morning started out with a bang.  I already had four blowups within the first 10 minutes.  Missed the first three but connected with fourth with a four pounder.  Four minutes later I had another blowup.  After that Luc started to get in the actions. 
Early in the outing Luc commented that he liked these flies since the seem to rarely go unbuttoned.  I tended to agree as on the last outing I had a hard time removing the flies from the bass.  On several occasions I had to use pliers to get it out.  Not sure if Luc's comment put the jinx on me as several good fish of mine would become unglued after he mentioned that.  Not sure if it was the jinx or if it was because I had dremeled the barb off the hook this time to aid in a quicker and safer releases.  After the first two hours the fishing slowed down a bit but we'd get fish here and there.  I rewatched the GoPro footage I shot for the day and I counted 19 blowups before my batteries died and that was before we crossed the lake to fish the other side while making our way back to the launch ramp.
Between the two of us we'd get another half dozen or so and that was with Luc sitting most of that fishing session out to rest some nagging injuries.  It was one of the best outings we'd had in a long time.  Fish were upwards of four pounds.  All quality.  All hard fighting.  On the way home took to a new burger joint to try it out.  Wasn't bad.