July 14, 2023 – The most challenging day of fishing is often the first day back on the lake after a fantastic week of destination fishing. Just a week ago, I was engaged in an intense battle with 10-15 lb Mahi Mahi, tirelessly tugging on a 10-weight fishing rod. The memories of that exhilarating experience lingered as I returned to my usual routine of San Luis Striper fishing. Before heading to Baha, I had observed abundant schools of young stripers in the lake, so I decided to start with lighter rods to target those active groups. However, my attempts to get out on the lake since returning had been thwarted by relentless winds. In fact, the lake had been closed for a total of 30 out of the past 45 days due to excessive wind conditions. Today seemed to be the first day in weeks when the gusts were finally below 10 mph.
At 8:00, I launched my boat, finding myself in the company of seven other boats. A gentle 5 mph eastward wind propelled me smoothly towards the Trash Racks, gliding on the wind-blown waves. Making a brief stop in the upwelling area, I observed deep schools of stripers congregating, although the absence of muddy water indicated that the pumps were not in operation.
Brian and Rod were already present at the Trash Racks, each engrossed in their fishing pursuits. I had met Rod several years ago on the forebay, and I vividly remembered his impressive performance at the lake a year earlier, relentlessly targeting the Rack Stripers with a small brown and white clouser fly. Despite being 80 years old, Rod remained one of the last seasoned fly fishermen on the lake. He sat on the padded front rail of his Boston Whaler, skillfully maneuvering his old-school trolling motor with his left hand, while fishing comfortably from a seated position. Rod’s friendly nature and willingness to share his knowledge made him a valuable mentor for me, even through the simple act of observing his fishing techniques. The Trash Racks held a special place in Rod’s heart, as he meticulously worked the deeper areas around them. Today, he managed to hook two sizable stripers using a 60-80 second count. Inspired by Rod’s success, I followed suit and employed a longer count, resulting in my own memorable catches later in the afternoon.
In the morning, I ventured to the Bay of Pigs, where I stumbled upon some small fish actively feeding on the water’s surface. Using a crease fly, I successfully caught one of these smaller fish by casting directly towards the bank. Although they were modest in size, I found great enjoyment in using my Echo Bad Ass Glass 7-weight rod, relishing the feeling of the cork bending under pressure. It seemed that the fish had a preference for brown and white flies on this particular day.
I also had the opportunity to utilize my XReal AR glasses with livescope technology. The AR glasses proved most effective when the livescope was set to perspective mode, allowing me to align my casts with the grid displayed through the glasses.