Today after not fishing San Luis for two weeks, I headed to the trash racks hoping that the new moon cycle and low winds would improve my luck. I got to a calm lake at 7:30 and set out for the racks. When I got there, Ed Givens was working his way around. I pulled up at the opposite end and together we worked the trash racks till we both found a school of fish on the south side of the racks. The fish were deep and we hooked most of the fish on a long drop with lots of pauses. Working a t-14 and a size 1 yellow rear weighted fishmask craftfur fly. I managed over 20 nice sized fish and Ed looked like he caught as many. The Dam Patrol showed up around noon but we were fished out by 11:00. I decided to make a few casts around the Bay of Pigs before heading back at noon. The fish are in prime shape. The water level is substantially lower-about 20 feet lower than two weeks ago. They seem to be pumping it out at a very rapid rate considering we have been having rain this last month, With the non stop current at the dam, its no wonder that the shad and stripers are concentrated in the area. Large schools of shad are still breaking the surface all around the dam and there are much less concentrations of fish at the bay of pigs.
It was one of those days were working the fly properly paid off. The fish were deep on the fishfinder. Most were too deep to fish for with the depth around the pilings over 100 feet. Schools of fish sit or slowly cruise around the pilings (according to the 360 sonar) and once in awhile they move to schools of bait that try to take cover near the pilings. Sometimes I see minnows hugging the wall for cover right on top. I guess its hard for a striper to accelerate at a wall and grab a meal without colliding with the cement. Smart move for the minnow. I like to cast at least a foot out from the wall parallel and 30 feet. I use a progressive sink retrieve where I let the fly sit for 20-30 seconds, strip a couple times, and wait another 10 seconds, Strip and wait again. Eventually, by the time i have stripped the 30 foot shooting head to the boat, its pointing almost strait down. I then short strip it straight up at a constant rate and sometimes fish will hit it coming up. Watch for it too, since a couple fish today hit right on the last strip for both Ed and I. When the stripers come out from the wall to chase bait, I noticed the bait balls are still about 30 feet under or more. which makes waiting for the sink even more paramount. I notice the stripers will come up about ten feet if they see a stray. Its a good idea to hard strip the fly once in awhile as it sinks. Sometimes the fish will spot it from below and rush up ten feet to get it and not in a subtle way. Once the fly was in the zone, i noticed lots of very subtle hits–small ticks barely noticeable. Strip setting these is productive and if you don’f connect, often the fly movement alone is enough to draw something to the fly. Be the minnow but channel the hungry fish and move the fly like you are presenting food. Thats what makes fly fishing unique, in that we can present the bait like a puppeteer–with precision and fine control unlike hardware chuckers– It is slow teasing the fish in to reacting.
Addendum: Sunday-May 29th
Steph tried to make it out today and was turned away by red lights on the lake!. The lake is blowing over 25mph today and even the forebay has whitecaps. Go figure that yesterday was almost dead calm all day and in less than 24 hours, the lake is red light closed with no storm front around. Ed and I got so lucky yesterday. The calm weather makes fishing the racks slow and deep, so much easier by not drifting the boats which raises the fly line in the water Tomorrow, is Memorial Day and there is an event at my father in laws grave site at Los Gatos Memorial Cemetery. Im looking forward to spending the day there honoring Nick’s service in WWII where he was in the first wave on Omaha Beach on DDAY.