Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fishing Update

Well, we're about two months into the spring bass bite, and even though things like cold fronts, emerging plant growth, and fishing pressure require us to shift tactics, The bite is still hot.

Look for bass to become more and more skittish due to how close they are to actually spawning. The key to targeting these fish is to use lite line (6-8lb test) and throw small plastics like finesse worms, tubes, beavers, lizards and Senkos either weightless, near weightless, or on a drop shot rig.

Now is the time you need to stalk the bank (and beds) like a hunter keeping both your shadow aswell as your thud thud thud foot steps from the bass' awareness.

If that sounds like Fishing Ninja - Part 5: The Stalking or if you want to leave the fish alone when they are spawning, just remember that these fish spawn in waves based loosely around the full moons of march, april, and may. This time of the year offers you the choice of prespawn, spawn, and post spawn fishing

On another note the first waves of post spawn smallmouth bass are entering their regular summer feeding routines so they can be targeted at both Bon Tempe and lake Alpine using reaction baits like SpeedTraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, and topwater Hula Poppers or Chuggers

For those of you who are ready for a change of pace the striper bite is heating up like I have not seen in quite a while with baits like Rat-L-Traps, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, Swimbaits (new Storm Swimbaits have finally arrived!), and Hair Raisers (leadhead bucktail dressed jigs).

With willing stripers spread from Richardson Bay to Elephant rock, and more at Paradise Park, Mcnear's Pier China Camp and behind Home Depot just to name a few. You can even get some top water fishing on Zara Spooks and Pencil Poppers (if you have a healthy heart) at dusk and dawn in places like Corte Madera Creek and Mcnear's beach

Oh, and before I forget , yes they are getting limits of legal size halibut trolling San Pablo bay with traditional salmon trolling gear with a few small modifications ie speed, weight etc. It's just a quick bit of re-rigging, and we'd be happy to run you through it down at the shop.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Notes & Reminders

Happy Monday!
Just wanted to remind everyone that beginning today, Monday April 13th, both stores are now back on Summer Hours. We will be open 7 days a week - Monday - Thursday 10-6, Friday & Saturday 9-6 and Sundays 10-4!

Simms Waders & Boot Bargains
As mentioned earlier, we've begun receiving the new Simms waders and boots for 2009. This means we've got odds & ends of previous models available at a hot price - savings up to 50% off of the original retail price. These are strictly limited to stock on hand, so head down to the shops now for the best selection!

Ammunition Issues
By now, you may have noticed that most ammunition availability has been spotty at best. We've been warning folks that it has been increasingly difficult to obtain certain loads on a regular basis - we are having to commit to orders with estimated delivery 2-3 months out in some cases. Since we started doing this 4-5 months ago, we've been able to stay a bit ahead of the curve. However, the earlier lead times have been getting a bit longer in some cases. So, if there is a certain load you will be needing, our advice is not to wait until the last minute. If we do not have it in stock, we are taking contact info and can call when it arrives.

Sage Rods
We've begun receiving some of the newer Sage fly rod models - the phenomenal TCX and the more value-priced FLIGHT series (which updates the FLi series). The TCX replaced the powerful TCR series and honestly, it shows how far along Sage's design and materials use has come in the past six or so years. Where the TCR was a great casting rod for those with the specific techniques to use it, the Sage TCX brings that efficiency and power into a much more "fishable" rod.

More later this week - don't forget about taxes, then GO FISHING!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fly Fishing For Shad Clinic - May 9th

This clinic always fills fast, so don't delay!

On the Water Clinic - Shad Fishing
Saturday, May 9th 2009

The anadromous American Shad is a fly fisher's dream. When hooked, shad's aerial displays are reminiscent of a tarpon or steelhead's flight. The shad runs as powerfully as a salmon, and shows a tremendous amount of endurance. Shad hit flies with reckless abandon and attack with such shuddering strikes that you may find them arm-numbing. This day-long clinic will give you the tools you need to effectively pursue and catch this most challenging and exciting of gamefish on a fly rod.

What Is Covered in this Clinic:
Wading Techniques
Fly Selection
Reading the Water for Best Results
Casting & Fishing Shooting Heads
Presentation Techniques for Shad (which work well for steelhead too!)
*Plus - Russian River Hot Spots

General Information & Fees:
Clinic Meets at the Santa Rosa Western Sport Shop - 2790 Santa Rosa Ave.
Limited to 8 attendees.
Reservations required.

Clinic Fees: $125/person

Please note: This clinic requires wading to be most effective. Attendees should have mastered basic casting techniques & be familiar with basic fly fishing equipment. For more information, please contact Carlo Bongio at the Santa Rosa store (707) 542-4432

For more information a flyer for this clinic is avalable here -

Alan Tani Reel Repair Seminar - Saturday April 11th

When do you want to service your fishing reel? Well, before it starts growing green fur like this one did...

We were extremely lucky to have fishing reel tuning & repair expert Alan Tani in our San Rafael store for another of his free "Hands-On Reel Repair Clinics".

This is for all the anglers who want to learn some basic maintanence techniques and don't mind getting down dirty.

All you need some reels in need of cleaning (Conventional only - sorry - spinning reels are not invited!) and a willingness to learn.

Alan will be on hand to walk you through the steps of breaking down your reel, analyzing the things which need to be fixed, and getting everything back together (hopefully with no parts left over!) and running smoother than you can remember!

Please note - this class is limited in size, and attendees may be asked to limit the number of reels they work on to allow others the opportunity to learn. So, mark your calender for Saturday, April 11th at the San Rafael store - work starts at 10 am and we'll kick you all out at 4:00 sharp!

Wading Shoe Tech

If you've come into either store this week, you probably saw something that might have been confusing - wading boots and sandals without felt soles. You saw correctly - we have started receiving the new models of Simms boots and sandals which use their new Vibram soles which have been developed to the unique needs of anglers.

Simms teamed with Vibram to create clean, great-gripping rubber compound treads on our wading boots and river footwear. The Simms StreamTread sole will do more to keep you upright in wet, mossy wading environments.

Why Vibram? If you have been following the issues of invasive species for the past few years, you will know that nasty little critters can take up residence in the pores of traditional felt sole designs. The New Zealand Mud Snail introduction into the Putah Creek system is just one example of how quickly and easily these things can spread. Now we are getting reports that felt soled (or similar) boots are not being allowed into certain watersheds.

Since Vibram doesn't allow these beasts and seeds to be transported, it's the logical choice. Of course, some of you might remember the old days when rubber-soled wading boots meant a lot of slipping, sliding and sitting in the river. You need to put that image out of your mind. The StreamTread (which we've demo'd before believing it ourselves!) provides a grip that reminded one of our staff of climbing shoes. Plus, these shoes are compatible with the massive Simms "Hardbite" carbide studs, if you are in wide, smooth rock conditions where nothing else will work.

The days of felt-soles are numbered. We're stocking less options and there will be progressively fewer rivers that allow them. Check out the Simms StreamTread Vibram now.

Shifting Tactics for Better Bass Bishing

The last two weeks have been incredible. (And if you haven't been out there yet, why not?) Kent Lake alone kicked out 16 fish over 5 lbs -- and those are just the ones that were reported. (Believe it or not, people don't tell us everything - you have to assume that at least as many have been caught but not reported). Top baits continued to be 3/8 and 1/2 oz flipping jigs in darker colors like green pumpkin/watermelon, pbj, and lava craw along with 5-6" Senkos in watermelon/black flake, green pumpkin/black flake, and baby bass. There have also been some smaller-than-huge swimbaits like the Castaic slow-sinking bluegill and the Maverick Minnow accounting for some big fish.

That said, anglers are begining to notice a change in the bite. When viewed from above (on a hill or up a tree) the number of fish cruising the shallows and loitering in certain small areas has increased dramaticly, along with the skittishness of these fish while in the shallows. It has also been increasingly challenging to "sight" fish for them. This tends to indicate that the first wave of spawners are getting ready to get down to business.

This means you need to stay well off the bank, keep your shadow off the bank and execute every cast and each presentation as cleanly and efficiently as possible. I'm assuming you are using polarized sunglasses (even/especially in low light conditions) and some fluorocarbon line. (Flourocarbon line has the same reflective coefficient as water, so it literally disappears when immersed. Like all fishing line, it does not biodegrade, so you need to pack out so we can all continue to enjoy these areas.) For details on the baits and srategy ascociated with sight fishing try reading the article I wrote called "How to Blink Bedding Bass" in the archives of

The next Marin County Bass Club meeting will be Wednesday, April 8th. Our guest speaker will be Noah Stevens of the Sonoma County Belly Boat Bass Club. He will be doing a clinic on getting into bass fishing from a float tube for fun or for tournament competition (which, I'll point out, can be more fun). As usual, the meeting is open to the public and free of charge as it is sponsored by Western Sport Shop,, and Noah Stevens will be donating his time to drive down and share his knowledge and experience free of charge. So feel free to stop by and take a look as any one with enthusiasm regardless of skill level is always welcome.