Monday, August 22, 2011

Salmon. Ocean. Now. GO!

Just because I got a couple emails asking for proof of fish from Saturday's trip... Here are 2 of the three we caught.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday Salmon and a Note on Gear Care

Along with a number of other folks who have heard that ocean salmon fishing is hot right now, a few of us ran out Saturday morning to see if we could put some fish in the box. It was one of those glorious mornings in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a couple gaps in the fog to remind us what a great place this is.

Weather conditions were a bit odd - there was a building swell from the south/southwest. It's much more common to find swells from the northwest which usually does two things if you are running out through the Golden Gate - 1st, because of the curves and points of the coastline north of the San Francisco Bay, there natural lees from the wind if you tuck in behind Point Reyes or Duxbury buoy. While you don't necessarily avoid the wind, you can usually find calmer water while catching salmon. 2nd, the winds "push you home" so you don't really fight water conditions on the return trip.

But with the swells from the unprotected south, there was nothing to do and nowhere to hide. So, we rocked and rolled a bit, but landed three fine fish on the day (unfortunately "long-line released " a couple as well - a pitching boat and moving fish can make things tricky.)

I would have liked to get footage of our intrepid staff members landing the fish, but I had one hand on the rail and the other on the net during the fights. Large fish on the day was ~18 pounds.

Things were a bit unsettled around Pt. Bonita, but a careful hand on the throttle and eye on the waves tucked us back under the bridge.

We took a couple of passes through California City, though the conditions were much more pleasant, we definitely were on the wrong part of the tide, so we decided to pick up and head home.

Gear Care:
Now that the ocean salmon is going good, it's been scary to see some of the reels and rods that have been sitting in garages, trunks or the hold of a boat for the last two or three years.

Before you go -
First off, replace your line! Don't waste your time and money to get your boat in the water or schedule a party boat trip without replacing old mono or spectra line. Monofilament will degrade when exposed to heat or UV. There's nothing quite like the sinking feeling of seeing line snap "for no reason" when you hook a nice fish. Also, if the leader on your lures or bait rigs have been abraded or seemed kinked or dry, get some leader material (or new lures with sharp hooks!) and spend an hour re-rigging things. Sharpen or replace hooks that don't easily dig into your fingernail.

On your rods, check first for broken or missing guides, then take a q-tip or cotton ball and drag it around the inside of the guide ring. Does it pull off fibers? If it's a nickeled or stainless guide (i.e. - no insert), then you should find some ultra-fine steel wool or emery paper to see if you can buff things smooth. Otherwise, every time you let line out or reel in the guides will be abrading your line.

Also, take a look at the side plates or reinforcing rings on your guides. Quite a few times, we've had to break the bad news to anglers that their old Penn Senator had cracked or split (often after wiping the sludge off of the reels!)

After you go -
As soon as you can after hitting the dock, rinse your gear down with a fresh water wash. Then back the drag off and let it air dry. Using Salt-X or a similar salt removal rinse is a great idea as well. Keep it out of the sun and store in a cool place. Then, when you are ready to go the next time, your rig will be too!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Carlo's Kids Casting Weekend Photos

Sorry for the delay - but here are a good portion of images from the Youth Flyfishing Weekend event last month - it was great to see so many young anglers so excited about fly fishing. 15 new anglers learned fly fishing from the ground up, with expert assistance from the Redwood Chapter of Trout Unlimited and our own fly fishing department manager Carlo Bongio.

Day one was spent up at Galvan Pond going over knots and gear, the mechanics of casting, and handling the equipment. Day two put the young anglers onto a hungry group of fish at a private pond, where everyone seemed to catch more than their share. Things wrapped up with a certificate of completion and it seemed like everyone was ready to hit the stream!

Hook Up!

Always great to see a rod bent double on a hard-running tuna!
Here's an image taken on the current Shogun multi-day trip! As you may not know, our 5 day trip in September was rescheduled to a 7 day trip leaving October 13th, and there are still a few open spots - if you want to enjoy this wide-open fishing, visit the Shogun site or speak with Richard B. on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays at the shop.