The Bay of Pigs with Ken

July 21, 2023 -Today was a truly unforgettable day spent fishing with my good friend Ken Oda. We took advantage of the predicted calm winds, making it an ideal day to go out on the water. Meeting at Dinosaur Point around 9:00 AM, we set off towards the Trash Racks. Although I had anticipated the pumps to be on and showcase the upwelling phenomenon to Ken, they were off, leaving us hopeful for some action around the racks while waiting for the pumps to activate.

I used my Livescope to explore the south tower where we had seen massive schools of fish just two days ago, but to our surprise, it was empty today. We tried a few blind casts in hopes of catching any hiding fish but had no luck. My initial plan was to search around the trash racks, believing that the fish must be somewhere nearby. As I carefully scanned the area with the Livescope, it became evident that the fish had disappeared. It was perplexing; where had that substantial biomass of fish gone?   Only days ago,  there were tens of thousands of fish around the racks and I had even entertained the idea of setting a boat record with Ken, considering his exceptional skills.  The previous boat record was set by Dan and I at 93 early this week.

We spent two hours on the lake without a single fish at the racks, which was unexpected on such a calm day. We then decided to head to the Bay of Pigs. Before going there, we briefly checked the dam at the causeway, but the Livescope advised against wasting our time there. So, we made our way straight to the Bay of Pigs and started where Vaughn and I wrangled  38 fish two days ago on the west side of the bay.

Despite receiving a report yesterday  from Brian about a slower day, we were thrilled to find that the water pump was running, which I think attracts more fish and bait to the Bay.    We spotted some fish breaking the surface and noticed large schools of American Shad on top of the water. We adopted a technique of moving until we hooked a fish and then holding that position till we went fishless for a few casts. We worked our way from the west bank to the dam, experiencing numerous double hookups, and even managed to catch fish at greater depths, where some schools were found at around 25 feet.  Ken’s casting skills are the best Ive had in the boat which gave us the ability to really cover lots of water.  The livescope shows that the schools of fish are always moving  and the quicker you can get the second cast to the vicinity of the first hooked fish ,  the better your numbers will be when fishing two in the boat.

Keeping up with Ken and his pink flies on 2/0 60-degree hooks was quite a challenge.   I was fishing a heavily weighted  3 inch white and tan sparsely tied clouser that I tied to have more vertical jigging action.   Kens fly hooked larger fish than mine and it was lightly weighted.  I think Bay of Pigs flies should be designed to hover more.   Number 98 was the biggest fish of the day and hit a lightly weighted SV Clouser made of Craft fur stripped very fast in shallow water.   It seemed that schools of fish were roving close to the shore in the bay, with our biggest catches being in less than 10 feet of water.  Each school of fish we located was good for 5-10 fish before they seemed to vanish.  Although the Livescope wasn’t as helpful in shallow water, we still managed to end the day with an impressive tally of 103 stripers. Among them, we caught four fish over 20 inches, with the largest measuring 25 inches and weighing 7 lbs. Using a clicker to keep count was essential, as we had many double hookups and the constant excitement made it challenging to keep track of the catches. Having a skilled and efficient partner like Ken, who could handle an 11-ft rod backhanded over the boat, made the day very  productive, as we covered the fishing grounds thoroughly and meticulously.   Ken fishes one of my favorite rods –   a Golden Gate 11ft 5/6 made by Lost Coast Anglers.   I think this rod is the ideal two hander for San Luis.

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