Surf Perch, Back to Monterey

[Image: surf fishing perch]The tide didn’t look any good but I was in a desperate need of soaking a fly, somewhere. When I got the word from Gabriel that he’d recently “gotten into them” off one of the Monterey beaches I had all I needed. The tide was basically flat until 11am so Jeff, Mrs. Jeff, and I took the opportunity for a lazy, late morning start and headed south midmorning, allowing just enough time for a Sunday morning breakfast stop at the Beach Street Cafe.

It was 11:30 by the time we made it to the beach. The sky was overcast and the wind was non existent; perfect!

[Image: Monterey Bay Beach parking lot 1]

[Image: Monterey Bay Beach parking lot 2]

We ran into Gabriel when we first got to the beach and he reported slow fishing with only a few tugs. The tide was a little high which was putting the good looking water a little too far out of reach.

Gabriel headed South and Jeff & I headed North.

[Image: Dead Porpoise washed ashore on Monterey Bay]
This was a little sad to see.

[Image: Harbor Porpoises washing up on California beaches]
Apparently there has been an increase in dead harbor porpoises washing ashore off California beaches this year. According to the marine Mammal Center there had been 24 since May. You can read more about it here.

We kept walking North looking for some fishy water but didn’t find anything for a long while. When we finally did, WHAM!

[Image: Pregnant surf perch]
Big Birtha! (spelling intentional)

[Image: Spawning surf perch]
1 fish turned into 2, and then 3, and so on…

[Image: Newborn surperch]

I remember catching piling perch with the whole family (mom, dad, sister, and brother) way back when, shortly after we’d moved up to the Puget Sound. I must have been 7 or 8 years old at the time and the 2 things that stand out in my mind were, 1) grossing Mom out with green tube-worm guts and, 2) seeing the big piling perch we were catching spew live babies. Apparently it’s not only piling perch that give live berth.

[Image: Baby Surfperch]

[Image: hanging out at the beach]

[Image: Sand crab]
Sand crab (aka: Surf perch bait)

[Image: Sand crab roe]
Sand Crab with roe (aka: SERIOUS Surf Perch bait)

[Image: fly fishing California beach]
Elsie in action

[Image: fly fishing photographer]
Now that’s my kind of photographer!

[Image: surfperch]
I just couldn’t resist posting the Orvis tag

[Image: Monterey Bay Beach birds]

One thing I love about the Monterey beaches, vs. the San Mateo coast, is all the other wildlife to take in between fish.

[Image: Monterey Bay Beach sea otter]
Sea otter

The sea otters were right on the beach! They’d dive down for a few seconds, pop back up, flip to their backs, crush crustaceans on their belly, and munch.

[Image: Jeff with surf perch]
Jeff swearing that he’s caught the exact same fish twice

[Image: barred surf perch]

We eventually caught back up with Gabriel and compared notes. We all agreed that it had been a slow couple of hours and that the beach was flat, but Gabriel’s definition of “slow” may have been a little different than ours (unless of course the “fly rod” vs. the “spinning rod” handicap is considered).

Me: 1 (unless newborns count)?

Jeff: 2 (regardless of if it was the same fish)

Gabriel: 4!

[Image: Monterey Bay surf perch fishing]
“Yeah, flat”, “Uh huh, no holes”, “should have been here last week”

[Image: Monterey surf perch spin fishing]

[Image: spin fishing for barred surf perch]

[Image: Spin fishing for surf perch]

[Image: Monterey Bay Beach, coming back over the sand dunes]
“Clam chowder”?