Pulled the boat back over the hill for another day out fly fishing for Delta Stripers. Jeff joined me for the day and as usual, we had a great time. I think those short-sleeve fall days are finally behind us now. It wasn’t too cold, but the beanie and gloves did make their way out of the boat bag between spots for the first time this season.
The weather couldn’t have been any more “fishy” (overcast skies with little to no wind) and we had moving water for the majority of the day. What more could you ask for (other than a 30 pound moe). Those 20 & 30 pound delta stripers managed to elude us once again but we got into enough dinks and schooly sized striped bass to keep the laughs and Woo-Hoo’s flowing throughout the day.
One of the highlights of the day came as we were making a run between spots. The water surface was glass. As we were rounding the corner of a 30â€™ deep slough both Jeff & spotted a slashy splash. â€œThatâ€™s a striper!â€ I yelled over the motor back to Jeff as I dropped back on the throttle. It wasnâ€™t a big fish by any means but as we switched over to the electric motor to close the gap we saw a few others slash.
I frantically pulled the top-water rod out and began fanning casts with a small neutralizer Lee Haskin had given me. After a dozen casts or so weâ€™d accepted the fact that the stripers were gone. Just as we were getting ready to head out there was a splashy little surface slash about 200 feet over, next to some tules.
We hi-tailed it over there on the electric and I landed a cast right in the spot. Strip – strip â€“ stripâ€¦ nothing. â€œProbably put him down with the trolling motorâ€ I thought. I haphazardly slopped another cast into the vicinity near the tules. Strip â€“ strip â€“ strip. As the fly made its way from the tules into deeper water I took my eye off of it to see if I could spot where theyâ€™d gone. Sure enough, I heard the blow-up, Jeff shouted, â€œWhoa!â€ and I was tight to a top water delta striper!
I didn’t say it was an exceptionally large fish.
Lee Haskin Neuteralizer
As the sun began nearing Mt. Diablo we found ourselves in new water I don’t normally fish. We’d marked some fish on the finder that were most likely delta stripers and the hour was looking good for top-water.
The California Delta continues to amaze me. There is always something new to find and often it is right under your nose. You can run over the same piece of water 100 times or more, going from one spot to the next, without ever really noticing its potential. Then, for whatever reason, be it a noticeable surface blow-up, ducking out of the wind, or simply “finding” yourself there at the end of the day, the lines are drawn between the dots.
We were in such a spot as the day came to end. There were intersecting sloughs, a submerged levee, an extensive 3 – 8′ deep flat and a vast bordering weed bed. Could there be any better habitat to intercept delta stripers? I mean really, how could I have missed this all these years?
Jeff had not caught a delta striper on top yet so he took the honors of manning the top-water presentation while I continued fanning sub-surface.
Jeff had some heart-stopping blow-ups over the weed beds but nothing held on long enough for a picture. I got one fun decent sized fish on the edge of the channel and a few grabs.
As usual, the day was over earlier than I’d have liked. Delta Stripers always leave me wanting more. Can’t wait to get back out!