Bay Area Slam

It appeared that our long awaited nice weather had finally arrived for good. The sun was out and the temperatures were in the 80’s. The stripers were chasing bait in the big lake, the carp were rooting in the shallow ponds, and Monterey Bay’s surf perch were feeding in the salty wash. It looked as if the Golden State’s winter of record rainfall was officially behind us and the door was wide open for some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best fly fishing.

Over the past few weeks I had been strategically filling my brother’s inbox with recent pictures of big fish and great fishing reports in an attempt to lure him down for a few days. It wasn’t long before the temptation got the best of him and he picked up a last minute ticket to fly down.

I figure it must have been the clicking of his mouse as he selected the “confirm purchase” button that awoke the complacent high pressure system that had been comfortably parked over the west coast for all this time.

Brandon arrived on Saturday, as did the low pressure system with its overcast skies. We began fly fishing at the carp ponds but were unable to spot many fish under the gray ceiling and were about ready to leave when Brandon caught a glimpse of a tail across the pond. Fly fishing for carp is tough enough when the visibility is good, but when the water has less than a foot of visibility, there’s cloud cover, and the sun is setting, it’s next to impossible. Carp tails protruding the water’s surface on the other hand… It turned out there were probably a dozen fish rooting through the muck and we had some good action the rest of the day.

On the way home we grabbed a couple of the fattest rib eye steaks you can imagine and invited Dave over for some barbecue. I’ve used hibachi grills to cook some pretty hefty slabs of meat in the past but these steaks were on the verge of ridiculous! The little hibachi did OK though and we were soon rubbing our bellies and making plans for the morning.

Morning came and we made are way South of San Francisco to the beach to look for Surf Perch in the pouring rain. We didn’t find many, and some were smaller than others, but it was a good time regardless. The new breakfast stop Lee had turned me on to made for the perfect stop to dry off and refuel before heading back over the hill to do some more stalking for California’s elusive “Goldens” (carp).

Once back at the carp ponds, the weather looked to be clearing, but we wore the rain jackets just in case which turned out to be a good idea. The fish weren’t any easier to spot than the day prior but we still had some great fly fishing action and I was personally fortunate enough to have the ugliest 13 pound carp I’d ever seen casually scoot over and confidently inhale my fly. I wonder if there’s an IGFA category for ugly?

The last day, the clouds broke, the sun came out and the Stripers were on the bite at the big lake. The wind was up, but we managed to duck out of it and work with it enough to catch some nice fish.

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