Friday, May 28, 2010

Used Book Sale Starts NOW!

For our San Rafael store customers, this weekend is the kickoff of the Big Summer Reading Used Book Sale! All used books in stock are now 20% off the marked price. This is a great opportunity to pick up a good chunk of fly tying reference books, fishing "how-to's" or great stories afield.

Come on down now for the best selection!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hand & Sun Protection

Buff has made some excellent protective headgear for a few years now. We brought it in a go0d assortment last year, and it more than took off in popularity with anglers who spend a fair amount of time out in the sun.

The basic Buff Headwear is a simple tube, which can be worn in about a dozen ways without even thinking about it. We stock two models in a couple dozen patterns and styles - the "UV Buff" which is made with Coolmax Exteme fabric - a four-channel fiber forms a transport system that pulls moisture away from the skin to outer layers of the fabric, and it dries faster than any other fabric, thermoregulating the body - which blocks somewhere around 95% of the UV rays.

This is important for someone who spends any time around the water - where sunblock gets washed off pretty easily. With the Buff, it's easy and comfortable to wear it loosely around the neck at the start of the day, then pull it up to cover your ears or even the crown of your head as the sun rises. Easy and comfortable means you are likely to use it.

Of course, the sharp-eyed among you realize the above photo shows a pair of gloves - specifically the Buff Fighting Work Gloves. These were announced last fall, and we've been excited to get our shipment -

(excuse the press release, but they say it better than I could)

Buff Fighting Work Gloves

The Buff® Pro-Series Fighting Work Gloves...the best all purpose fishing glove! It will provide you multipurpose fish handling, light wiring and leadering, grabbing large catches or bills, as well as removing hooks. Pole grip palm makes it ideal for poling and paddling

Features & Benefits:

  1. UPF 50+. Breathable, moisture wicking, 2-way Comfort Stretch for lateral movement.
  2. Anatomical Thumb and wipe patch.
  3. Adjustable hook and loop closure.
  4. Full finger for protection.
  5. Fingertip pulls.
  6. 3 fingertip cut for dexterity.
  7. Ergonomically stitched palm and fingers for natural, curved hand position which then reduces fatigue.
  8. Durable Japanese aquatic synthetic suede. Will hold up to wet conditions and dries quickly.
  9. Reinforced palm overlay and unique design which reduces bunching.
  10. Flex Tech adjustable cuff for mobility.

Now, we've also received the Buff Angler Gloves, which are a little lighter weight -

(more press release to follow...)

Buff Angler Glove

Buff Angler Gloves Pro-Series Angler Gloves, you'll never fish without them again. Every detail thoughtfully engineered for dexterity, comfort and the ultimate in Ultra Violet protection.

Ultraviolet Protection Factor(UPF):

Features & Benefits:

  1. UPF 50+. Breathable, moisture wicking, 2-way Comfort Stretch for lateral movement.
  2. Anatomical Thumb.
  3. Extended cuff for UV Protection of wrist area.
  4. Finger tip pulls makes it easier to pull off after use.
  5. Fingertip cut for dexterity
  6. Stripping guard-stitched with Dupont® for added strength.
  7. Accordion Finger Grip-Provides better grip and less hand fatigue which means better performance
  8. Diamond Grip™ Palm by Clarino™-Each individual diamond cut provides suction power and extra grip for wet and dry conditions.
  9. Ergonomically shaped palm/fingers-Designed and engineered for natural hand curve position which reduces bunching.
  10. Durable Japanese aquatic synthetic suede-Will hold up to wet conditions better and dries quickly.

Both of these gloves provide 50+ UPF protection, are comfortable to wear all day and most importantly, give some protection to the easily sun-scorched hands - check them out in both stores this weekend!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Austin's Nice Bass

San Rafael Customer Austin checks in with a fine looking bass he caught in a Marin lake - as he puts it, "Looking forward to more this weekend..."

So, what are you doing reading this on a Saturday? Get out and get fishing!

Goofy Weather, and What To Do About It

Well it's May already, but if you put a blind fold on me, spun me around and then took it off, I would have no idea what time of year it was. Is this spring? Is it winter? How about summer?
And if you think we're confused I can assure the fish are too.

It seems like every week we get good weather with any kind of regularity, Boom! we get a cold front. I mean it's just about the middle of May, and the bass spawn isn't even half over in most places, and Clear Lake hasn't even really started at all. In fact if this keeps up I think we will see a lot of females that look like they might explode if they don't drop those growing eggs soon.

The last time this happened was in 2006 and the result was several fish over 20lbs including a foul hooked toad caught at Dixon Lake weighing in at a jaw dropping 25.11lbs.

Right now, the Marin lakes have both pre-spawn, spawning, and spawned out fish so everyone can fish to their strengths and do equally well.

When weather is unsettled, and the fish are following such a wide variety of behaviors, the best strategy is to start your fishing session by searching out shallow water spawning areas and beds that hold fish. Then, try to get them to bite with baits like white jigs with no trailer, white tubes, white lizards, white beavers and white craws. These baits can be either texas rigged with oversized hooks, or fished on a Shakey Head.

If the beds are empty or the fish are not "locked" on their beds I try to tempt the big females with threatening baits that are a size too big for a small male to attack. Baits like Castaic Platinum Bluegill swim baits, giant sized tora tubes, big bulky jig 'n pig combos, and wake baits like the 6" floating BBZ1's from SPRO.

After targeting these shallowest waters. Begin to work your way out to deeper waters starting with the first drop off away from the spawning flats. These areas can hold both pre-spawn females that are staging to spawn and post spawn females trying to recuperate from the spawn before heading out to deep summer time feeding areas.

In these "transition" areas there are very few tactics that will come anywhere near the effectiveness of a 5" or 6" Yamamoto Senko Worm "dead-sticked" through these areas. If brush or grass lines exist in these transition areas then try a Zoom Super Fluke rigged weightless and twitched tight against the brush or grass.

As you continue to work your way out from shore, start looking for structure elements instead of cover -- pay extra attention to rocks, boulders, break lines and main lake points. Target these areas by fan casting with baits like deep diving crank baits, big c-rigged worms and lizards, football head jigs, and the always-effective drop shot.

These tactics should help you to stick fish no matter where they are in the spawn, and no matter what the weather. That said, this type of transitional pattern will also set you up for the beginning of the summer feeding patterns so you can hit the ground running when summer does arrive.

Good Luck!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Bunch of New Berkley Baits

05-13-10_1316.jpg, originally uploaded by Western Sport Shop.

Spring fishing means trout. Between local lakes like Bon Tempe in the Marin Watershed, Spring Lake and Howard Lake in Santa Rosa, or San Pablo Reservoir in the East Bay, the spring is a great time to get out and enjoy things. The hills are green, the water is high and the trout are abundant.

One of the not-so-secret methods for success is using one of the Berkley Power Baits or Nuggets - these come in a variety of scents and colors. It would have been easy for Berkley to rest on its laurels and just keep making the basics, but this spring, they have been on a tear for new flavors and styles.

Over the winter, a number of steelheaders caught onto the fact that the small Power Worms worked very well - they were almost impossible to keep in stock. These 2.5" floating worms were made with the Gulp! scent and came in three good colors.

This week, Berkley shipped us their new colors - natural, fluorescent orange and the one pictured above; a watermelon with red flakes. These look like winners!

Also just-off-the-truck are several new flavors of Power Bait in the jar - many with the newest strain of attractant: a salmon egg scent that early testing indicates is going to be a winner!

So, come down and get set up. Then, head for the lakes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

2010 Hunting Licenses Are IN STOCK!

We have received our initial shipment of 2010/2011 California Hunting Licenses. This includes resident and non-resident Hunting licenses, First and Second Deer applications and basic tags. (Hang in there Waterfowl enthusiasts - that stuff will arrive closer to fall).

Remember - Big Game Drawing Applications are due June 2nd!

More information and instructions can be found in the new California Hunting Digest magazine, which can be downloaded here -

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Destination: South

Last month, we headed down to Florida. It was our first stay in Destin, Florida, which is about forty miles south of Pensecola. Destin is a resort town, known for good fishing.

My wife LYnn and I are on a quest to catch a fish in every stte. We had already caught fish in Florida, but we decided to use Destin as our home base, and then fish in Alambama, Mississippi and Lousiana. While we were in Destin, we met a mutual friend of Russ Chatham, and he invided us out on his boat for Cobia.

We had a great time out with flat, calm seas off the shores of Destin. We hooked and landed 9 out of 10 cobia. The largest was almost fifty five pounds.
Carlo and a 54 Pound Cobia

The next day, we headed to Alabama, in a locationi called Josephine. We caught sea trout, croakers, pinfish and saltwater catfish. (Sorry - no photos)

The following day, we went back to Florida, to the Apalachacola National Forest to engage in some field herping (ed. note - for those of you who only chase fish, we're talking herpetology - with an emphasis on snakes.) - looking for Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes.

(ed. note - ok - this is where I get to say "Folks, don't try this at home! Carlo has chased snakes for most of his life, and knows what he's doing.")

We did find a beautiful cornsnake and a great looking Florida Cottonmouth. However, the Diamondback eluded us. But, I will be back for my Diamondback!

Florida Cottonmouth

Later in the week, we headed for New Orleans, Louisiana to fish for Redfish. A strong storm blew us off the water, although we did manage to land a few redfish and a nice black drum. Sadly, this whole area is affected by the huge offshore oil spill. Our plan was to fish Mississippi on the last day, but he storm created very dangerous tornadoes and we ended up driving back to Florida.

Nonetheless - a great trip with 7 different species of fish caught, and two more states knocked off the list!

Mike S. Checks In

Weekend Santa Rosa Fly Department staffer Mike S. checked in via email -

"A good trip to BC fishing for steelhead - hooked 7 and landed 4. A bonus is that I also caught a 35-40 lb Chinook.

Mike "

Yes.... That is a pretty darned good "bonus", Mike. Thanks for making us all jealous!