Sunday, December 31, 2017

End of Year Run: Day One

December 27
Since my last sierra run just prior to Thanksgiving, I've been itching to come back and getting into some of those pseudo-steelhead.  After getting about two hours of sleep I woke up early to headed up my buddy's house for the long drive north
I've yet to find a truly decent breakfast in Bishop and after searching the internet for another option I did find a cafe that was worth looking into.  Pupfish Cafe is located with in the Spellbinder bookstore and is more a coffee shop than a cafe.  It serves sandwiches and waffles.  There is no kitchen just a prep area behind the counter.  Looking through the menu I decided to try the Norwegian, an avocado toast topped with smoked salmon and a cilantro pesto.  A decent light breakfast but a bit pricey for what it is.
Several trucks were already on water when we arrived and while we were preparing ourselves to to fish two other vehicles pulled up next to our parking spot.  Since they both were waderless the manage to hit the water before us and fish the hoes we had planned on starting.  The day went on such as this and we couldn't find a hole that wasn't already blown up.
I managed to hook three fish for the day none with any substantial size.  I lost two in the 12-13 inch range and the only fish I landed was a micro dink that would rival a San Gabriel fish.  After hours of agony it was time to head to the truck and make a sandwich from left over Christmas prime rib.  The afternoon fishing fared no more better.  Soon it was time to head into town and sleep in the ultimate roach motel.  To be continued...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Three Day East Side Run November 19-21

3:30 am my iphone alarm goes off.  Groggy and delirious, I'm upset that my phone has just woken me up until I realized I set it the night before so I could meet my buddy, The Shermanator, at his house for our three day eastside trip.  I've not fished with the Shermanator for over a decade; he was one of my first real reliable and dedicated fly fishing buddies.  Before that, title belong to my good friend Joel but once he started having kids, I didn't see or hear from him until a decade later.  And like Joel, once the Shermanator had kids, fishing with him became no more.

This trip is most likely Sherman's last fishing adventure in California before he escapes this state into the outdoor paradise of the Pacific Northwest.  I arrived at his place at the scheduled 4am and unloaded the contents of my Rover into his truck.  Within a few minutes we were off, northbound to the sierra.  After sevral hours on the road our first stop would be breakfast in Bishop before hitting the Upper.
Fishing wasn't great but I managed a couple of fish and lost a nice one about four pounds just at the net.  The migratory rainbow jumped three times, then caught the riffle and ran downstream.  Once subdued, it decided it did not want to be netted and it decided to surge once again.  After a few tugs I had it's head above water and Richard went in for the net once again but fish rotated to the other side and popped the hook.  A shame as that would have been the best fish of the trip.  Another shame was just before that hole, I found a dead brown.  Not sure if he was a victim of nature or a careless angler with poor handling skills.  I'll never know but I certainly hope it was the former rather than the later.  Continuing on, we moved upstream looking for some more willing toads but none would oblige.  I spooked a number of fish in 20 plus category but of course I always found myself on wrong side of the bank to make a proper cast to them.  With only about 45 minutes left of light we called it a day.
We decided to camp the first night.  Beat from the lack of sleep and the days efforts, we called it a night early and went to bed around 8pm.  I awoke around 3am and couldnt fall back asleep.  Once the sun rose we broke down camp and headed northward to our next destination.
Day Two
By 10am we were on the water.  Richard was on early.  I followed suit with many to follow.  Rich lost a 22+ brown that refused to budge until it finally spit the hook.  I managed a not as nice but nonetheless respectable brown.  While the length was not overly impressive, this fish was fat and football shaped.  A nice healthy specimen.  For the day I had at least 30 hook ups and I probably had 10 to hand.  One hole alone produced a minimum of 20 hook ups between the two of us and 8-10 to hand.
Day Three
We fished the same areas again from the previous day.  Didn't have as much success as the day prior which is understandable.  We fished together again switching off each hole.  If I fished a good hole the day before, Sherman would have the first crack this day and vice versa.  On my first hole, where I caught the nice brown, I managed a brown and a rainbow.   Neither spectacular but nice enough.  We did managed a double here as Richard fished the hole above me.  Soon it shut down for me until I noticed that my indicator slipped and I was only fishing the top column of the river.  After a quick fix it was no time my bobber was again dunking and yet still could not hook up.  Most of these indicator dunks were very fishlike and even felt as if a fish was on when I set the hook.  Rich was on fish it seemed everytime I turned my head and I wondered what he was doing I wasn't.  I soon realized one of my flies was without a hook.  After replacing the broken fly I managed two more fish later in the day at the "gloryhole."  Richard also had a number of fish at this hole as well.   By noon it was time to quit.  On drive home we were stopped on the 395 as a big rig slid off the road.  Looks like a few people won't be getting their Amazon shipments on time.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Memoriam

Frank vom Desert Dancer
Son of Auzie vom Grousehafen and Enck vom Orion
February 10, 2008- November 10, 2017
Goodbye Sweet Boy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Post Wedding Fish.

Fished Canyon with Luc on Sunday after only getting two hours of sleep the night before.  I was in LA for my cousin's wedding and didn't get home until close to midnight.  I set the alarm for 3:50am so I could met Luc at his house at 5.  He let me know the day prior the fishing had finally come back and he and John managed 20 or so all on top.  So I couldn't refuse.  Fishing was slow but early on I had a huge blowup on a new fly I was testing.  I think the fish missed my fly completely.  Luc managed a handful of dinks throughout the day.  Towards the end of the day I switched to a Iwai minnow and had a few dinks flow.  Manged to get on that was only twice the size of the fly.  Luc had me fish his rod for a spell and managed to get another only slightly bigger bass, probably in the pound or under range.  Luc confided in me and said he was kind of hoping I'd have texted him at midnight to tell him I was too wiped to make it.  Maybe that's what I should have done.

Monday, July 17, 2017

South Bay Weekend. Owen's Personal Best.

I went out Saturday once again in search of yellows.  This time there were no private or party boats there to keep the fish localized with bait.  Despite that there were several kayakers who were getting a few.  So the hope wasn't lost but made more difficult for a guy pitching flies.
I could not manage a yellow but did get into some nice bass up to two pounds.  Most were sandies but I did manage a handful of calicos as well.  I headed back to head my buddy install the fish finder and GPS to the zodiac.
After dinner I decided to stay the night and fish the following day.  I slept on his big boat which was more comfortable and spacious than I thought it would be.  When I awoke 7 in the morning, I decided to give the new finder a spin and stayed with in the marina fishing looking for a group of 40 bonito that tend to stay in a particular area.  I managed to hook up early and to my surprise I managed a 14 inch white seabass.  Unfortunately I did not get a pic of it as it popped off just as I grabbed it.  I haven't caught one of those in years and I definitely do not have one on digital film.
After an hour I docked the zodiac to wait of the ideal tide to start fishing the outside.  Joel having talked to his buddy who fished Saturday let us know we ought to fish sometime at mid incoming tide.  So I waited until 11am before heading out with Joel's son.  He would fish traditional gear and I would be on the fly.  I spoke with a couple kayakers how the morning was and he told me it was slow.  So it was a good plan to wait until later to come out.On the first cast I managed a respectable calico and then preceded to catch two more in the smaller range before Owen wanted to change lures.  I put him on a iron and it was not long before he got bite.  It was a long runner and Owen tried his best to get him in but it came loose before we could see what it was.  A yellow perhaps?  We'll never know.  We moved to another section that was metering a ton of fish.  I manged more compact sized fish.  Owen managed a hard fighting fish.  Beforehand he'd asked me if I'd help him reel it in if he got another one, normally I would have liked him to do it all himself but since he lost his last one I agreed.  He fought his fish for a while before he asked me to help.  I reeled it in and landed it for him.   After a few pictures he wanted to go back in and despite the fact it was primetime for a yellow bite we came in.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Opportunity For Yellowtail

Yellowtail has been sighted within the bay for the past weeks, so I took out the boat in search of them.  Most of the morning was spent inside and I could only caught dink bass.  No yellows or bonito.  I tried the just outside the mouth early in the morning, water was glass but no fish were caught.  After spending hours in inside, at around 11am boats outside were starting to hook up on bonito and yellowtail.  I took off to see if I could get in some of the action.  I only managed three bass one 2 pounds but no pelagic fish for me.  At around noon at peak tide I quit and came in so I make it home before LA traffic started to get ugly.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mostly Calicos and Lost Bonito

I fished Friday the 23rd at King Harbor with the niece and we managed five dink calicos before calling it quits after less than hour on the water.  Having not checked the weather forecast beforehand, it was simply too cold for her and we came unprepared for such weather.
I returned Sunday with a fishing buddy and fished a few hours, we caught numerous calicos most in the dink range but had a few respectable models.  We managed to chase a bonito blitz and had one on and had it to the boat before it popped off at the boat after I was dicking around with the GoPro.   It was larger than the bonito I caught the last trip.
In addition I managed a salema, a rather underwhelming fish, other than it is said have LSD-esque hallucinating effects when eaten.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Looks Like Bad Luck Passed On To Luc

On Saturday June 24th I fished with Luc at Canyon once again.  I've been pretty poor at my hook rate lately there.  Not sure what it is but I've been getting fish to rise but I simply couldn't seem to get them stick.  It wasn't until the last trip with Koji was I finally able to get a fish to hand.  I seemed to do better this go around although I had a lot less fish come up.
I managed two out of three fish this go around and surprisingly Luc went zero for eight. Looks like my bad luck passed onto Luc.  My first fish was pretty early in the day and was probably a pound and a quarter.  I switched to a chartreuse UMF fly after I realized white version I tied the night before simply wasn't creating a loud enough pop for my liking.  I used a foam from a different brand and it seemed less rigid.  So I switched colors as I didn't have any white left.
I missed one mid trip but managed this nice three pounder towards the end of the day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


The other day I was looking at the Iwai Minnow I tied for Luc prior to going out to Canyon and thought to myself this mylar tubing looks alot like the rapalas I used to fish with in my youth.  I thought how can I take advantage of this.  I think I've come up with a way.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fit For A King

Friday June 16
Now that I have access to a boat(s) at King Harbor, I took my niece out for a boat ride in the hopes of getting her a fish or two.

Unlike my outing with Koji, I was able to chose the tide I wanted to fish.  I arrived a little later than I wanted to, just before 11:30am.
Since the zodiac was unavailable, I used another boat, a catamaran, this outing.  This worked out much better since it was outfitted with a fish finder which kept my niece easily entertained.  It also helped since I am too familiar with this harbor as I am with others further south.

We were metering most fish at around 20 -30 ft.  It took a few drifts but I did manage our first fish by a drop off near the shoal.  It was a dinky spotted bay bass.

It was less than a pound but it didn't matter to her as it was the first fish of the day.  It proved to be the only spottie we managed for the trip but it was the first step toward the salt water bass slam.
After fishing near the drop off we decided to take a look at the sea-lion platform which was quite a thrill for her since she never seen one in the wild.
We metered a large clump of fish and tried our luck.  We managed a rather heavy fish I initially thought was a a larger bass as it was running toward the boat so I had a hard time determining what it was.
I had my niece fight the fish with me but after a blistering run she told me to take the reigns.  I realized then it was no bass.  It took some time to finally get the fish to the boat and in typical bonito fashion it had no quit.   After landing it I bogaed the fish at 2 pounds.
We tried again to find these fish but we could not relocate them.  So I asked what we should do.  Since she heard that the last time I caught a barracuda, she wanted us to try and get one this time.  So after a few unpromising drifts, I asked if we should keep trying or go after bass.  She suggested bass.
It was a wise choice as every few casts produced a fish albeit mostly dinks.  But we did manage a few moderately respectable models.  We also managed to complete the saltwater bass slam adding all three species, spotted bay bass, sand, and calicos, to the list.
It nice to see her get so excited about the outdoors.  Whenever someone passed and asked us how the fishing was, she proudly told them "We caught 11!"  This was the most fish she's ever seen on a fishing trip and clearly she wanted people to know.
On the boat she asked if we could have The Habit for lunch when we were done.  I told her of course we can.
A burger, fries and a strawberry shake later we had to muscle through LA rush hour traffic to get home but was well worth it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Koji's Layover Trip Part II: Canyon Lake and King's Harbor

As I mentioned in my previous post, I called Luc and asked him if he'd be willing to take my buddy Koji out at Canyon Lake.  I had told him I didn't need to fish and I would simply record the whole outing. He was going to have none of that and told me he was going to guide us.  I fished with Luc on two previous weekends.  Both times it was tough.  Luc managed a few but I came home with the skunk both times.  I had my opportunities including one that was in the four pound range, but missed it.  I let Koji know you'll get your opportunities but you better make the most of them as the window of good fishing is short.
We woke up early around 3am to make sure I could get Koji something to eat ad coffee before we met Luc at 4:45am.  We arrived early and waited for Luc to come out of his house.  We them made our way to the east end dock.  I had told Koji to rig up the night before as we wouldn't have time to do it on the boat as once we were on the water we'd be fishing.  Also since the window for good fishing is short, we did not want to waste any time.  When we reached the water we could tell that the fly Koji picked was too wind resistant to his rig.  He swapped out the fly for a Iwai Minnow fly and he was casting like a pro.  It was not long before he got his his largemouth of the day.  Luc was ecstatic. I've seen it before when he knows its going to be tough and he managed to get you a fish he gets jacked.  He gets more excited than the fisherman.  Luc had texted the night before he fished with John and while they manged five fish to hand and multiple blow ups, once the wind picked up the fishing shut down completely.  Forecasts were windy all day on Sunday.  He wasn't expecting much.  I warned Koji don't expect much.
It was not long when Koji hooked up on another.  I had already missed two which seemed to continue my theme of sucking lately at Canyon.  So when Koji got his next Luc's exact words were "We've already had more than I was expecting."
At around 6:45am the wind was starting to make Luc concerned and we moved to some protected coves.  Koji managed another. 
Time passed and Koji managed another one.  Luc moved the boat to one of his honey holes.  I role casted my fly into the direction of where we going to fish and waited for a casting lane to open for me.  After about 30 seconds a five pounder blow up on my fly.  Of course I wasn't ready, in fact was wasn't even fishing at the time so I couldn't hook him.  Seemed the perfect metaphor for my Canyon trips lately.   Fishing slowed significantly by now.  Koji had broke his leader and started to rerig.  Luc decided to take the helm for the time being until Koji was ready once again.  Luc managed a swirl but no hook up.
We would try one last cove before Luc was going to call it a day.  One the last spot I finally managed to get my bass.  After three trips multiple misses I finally got one hand.  The curse now lifted.  With that it was the end of Koji's topwater freshwater bass trip.
Koji was using the Iwai Minnow, also known as the Magic Minnow.  It's a Japanese variation of a Jack Gartside fly.  I've used it with great success particularly at Barrett with a sinking line.  Luc was quite impressed with it and asked if he could have Koji's.  Without hesitation, Koji obliged. 
This fly is made from a tubular foam used for insulation in Japanese construction.  I asked Koji on my time to Japan if there was a place we could stop to pick some up on the way to our fishing grounds in Yamanashi.  Unfortunately there was none on the way so I just forgot about it.  Koji brought me some.
I let Luc know that Koji brought me enough material to last a lifetime and that I could tie him a bunch of these Iwai Minnows.  We drove back to my place to shower and take a nap before heading out once again for some more bay fishing at King's Harbor.
I didn't get a chance to nap as I was trying to offload my videos on my Gopro to my laptop but since my computer was giving me the fits, I had to fix it.  By the time I had it dialed in and the data offloaded Koji had already woken up.  So we headed for lunch and then to the bay.
Again the tides were less than ideal but we had to make the best of it.  Wind was blowing quite hard all day.  Controlling the boat was quite the pain.  Koji had a 9:48 flight to catch which meant we needed to stop fishing around 6pm or so, so I could get him on his flight. 
Fishing was tougher this day but Koji still a managed a few bass both sand and calico along with a halibut.  By 6pm brought the boat back to the dock, I told Koji to take a shower at the restroom while hosed down the boat.  I managed to get him to LAX on time and since I didn't hear from him I assume he made his flight to Panama.  All in all not bad couple days of fishing.