River Stripers with Wayne

During my recent return journey from Portugal, enduring a grueling 17-hour marathon flight, I had ample time to reflect on the wonderful aspects of residing in San Jose, California. Among the many advantages, one that stood out was the diverse range of opportunities available for fly fishing within a five-hour drive from my home. Currently, the fishing prospects in San Luis are particularly promising, while the Sacramento River boasts an excellent Striper Bite, and Oroville Lake entices with its abundant Spotted Bass. Excited about the fishing prospects, I made plans with my fishing companion, Ken Oda, to embark on a Float and Fly trip with the renowned angler, guide and Lacrosse fan Hogan Brown on Saturday. Additionally, my cousin Wayne, who holds a special place in my heart and happens to be an avid angler himself, convinced me to join him for a fishing excursion on the Sacramento River on Friday. Naturally, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to fish alongside Wayne, especially considering our upcoming trip to Palapas Ventana in Mexico, scheduled for next month.

Just last week, the Striper bite was incredibly active. Setting out early in the morning, we positioned two livescopes on our boat. Wayne speculated that there might be shad in the vicinity, but unfortunately, we couldn’t locate any. The water levels were exceptionally high, resulting in the absence of shad. With visibility limited to approximately one foot, we managed to livescope a couple of banks teeming with fish. Employing flys and jigs, precisely cast into the back eddies on the shorelines, we were able to land half a dozen keeper stripers. Nevertheless, it was not quite as fruitful as the previous week, during which our friends had the luxury of securing prime spots and enjoyed a banner day of fishing. Wayne surmised that the fish had likely migrated upstream. Catching stripers in the swift currents of the river presents a distinctive challenge compared to angling in the forebay’s flowing waters. The river-dwelling stripers tend to make a dash under the boat on their initial run. Moreover, native stripers exhibit slight variations in terms of girth and scale patterns when compared to their counterparts residing in lakes. We were fortunate enough to reel in a migratory striper resembling a football in shape. Undoubtedly, the highlight of our day was utilizing a newly acquired state-of-the-art electric fillet knife known as the “Bubba Knife” to clean our limit of stripers. Its remarkable efficiency made the filleting process quick and effortless, leaving us astounded that we had not employed this remarkable tool sooner.

As we eagerly anticipate our upcoming fishing trip to Mexico, Wayne introduced me to some simple yet highly effective flies that he has been tied.   I find his approach to fly tying both inspiring and practical using only 4 steps,  as we strive to create patterns that are easy to replicate and yield successful results.


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