Saturday Sept 24, 2023 – It’s been a couple of weeks since my last Striper fishing outing in the local waters. After an incredible week in Alaska, battling massive salmon, I needed a couple of days to recuperate. Last week, I returned to reports of fantastic fishing from all the regulars frequenting the lake and forebay. Despite some promising forecasts on my days off, the unpredictable winds and a discouraging call to the kiosk thwarted my fishing plans.
Yesterday, I saw half a dozen fellow anglers out on the big lake, having a field day, catching fish in every corner. I couldn’t resist, so I decided to brave less-than-ideal wind and moon conditions today.
Opting for a noon launch instead of an early morning one, I hoped the pattern would hold true: winds dying down in the afternoon and the bite heating up until dusk. There were even reports of fish chasing schools of shad on the surface, a sight I hadn’t witnessed since this time last year.
I set out on Los Peidros, contemplating whether to fish the east or west shoreline. Reports from Lone Oak and Portuguese Cove were glowing, as were Brian’s reports about the Bay of Pigs and the Racks. The one consistent theme from yesterday’s reports was that the fish were in shallow water, hunting for shad and eagerly striking smaller flies.
Although I didn’t spot any fish on the sonar, I worked my way down the west shoreline and managed to land a couple of 17-inchers, although nothing like the fish mentioned in yesterday’s reports. The lake had small whitecaps, but it seemed the wind was subsiding, so I headed toward the middle of the lake.
I pulled out my binoculars and surveyed Lone Oak, Basalt, Bay of Pigs, and the Racks. It appeared that everyone was congregating in Portuguese Cove, so I decided to make a run for the Bay of Pigs and fish the Dam to Romero .
As I approached the south bank of the Bay of Pigs and began fishing the point, I struck gold. After catching a couple of 20-inchers a short distance from the bank, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. As I continued working along the bank toward the back of the Bay, the fish averaged around 17-18 inches and were voraciously attacking my fly. Some required surgical precision to release.
The bite was scorching hot, with strikes almost every cast, and I lost count of the fish I landed. I experimented with various retrieves and discovered that the fish were huddled near the bottom, making a slow shoreline retrieve incredibly effective.
My Livescope revealed that the entire Bay was teeming with schools of fish. Most were in the 10-15 feet depth range, but it seemed the larger ones were right up against the bank and didn’t register on the sonar. Perhaps they found it easier to ambush bait in the shallows.
I tried different rods, like my trusty Bad Ass Glass 7 weight, as well as various flies. It turned out that my lightly weighted clousers in flashy pink, white, and rainbow brown were the day’s winning ticket.
Today marks the first day of fall, which means it’s time for Oregon Ducks and Niner football games while fishing on weekends in the local waters. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started this tradition, but it’s been well over a decade. With streaming services and wireless internet technology, it’s become quite convenient to at least listen to the games while casting for Stripers from the boat.
Today, I took it up a notch and actually watched the game while fishing, all thanks to my Xreal Air AR glasses. I recently upgraded to the iPhone 5 Pro Max, as this year’s model has a USB-C port compatible with the Xreal AR Glasses. With a transparent screen integrated into my sunglasses, I streamed the game effortlessly. This upgrade also allowed me to monitor the Livescope through the Active Captain app wirelessly from anywhere on the boat, simply by glancing into the corner of my sunglasses.
Watching the Ducks dominate Colorado while annihilating the Stripers in the Bay of Pigs made for an almost perfect day.
On a sad note, A bank fisherman went missing and the Merced Sheriffs department was out in full force looking for him with boats launched. Merced County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue teams are trying to locate Chang Cheng, 57, of Fresno. Cheng went missing around 7PM Thursday night while on a fishing trip at the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area, off of Highway 152 on the Dinosaur Point side.