Meng and Vaughn’s Excellent Adventure

Pull my chin, stroke my hair, scratch my nose, hug my knees
Try drink, food, and cigarette, tension will not ease
I tap my fingers, fold my arms, breathe in deep, cross my legs
Shrug my shoulders, stretch my back, but nothing seems to please

I need contact,  I need contact
Nothing seems to please
I need contact…

Peter Gabriel “I Have the Touch”.

February 16, 2024.   It’s been a year since I last went fishing with my good friend Vaughn, and surprisingly, I’ve never been out on the water with him in his boat. Typically, we’d exchange fishing reports regularly while taking out other anglers. However, our plans shifted when Vaughn’s fishing partner, Dan Blanton, had to cancel last minute. That’s when Vaughn extended the invitation for me to join him on his Crestliner out on the lake, and needless to say, I was thrilled.

Fishing from someone else’s boat on familiar waters with a skilled fly fisherman like Vaughn presents a fantastic opportunity to glean new insights. Despite discouraging reports the day before, a promising forecast reminiscent of two weeks prior emerged—a calm, warm day preceding a week of rainstorms.

We rendezvoused at the Tractor Supply Company in Gilroy, where I transferred my gear over to Vaughn’s 18-foot Crestliner. Although we had discussed bringing my portable Livescope, we couldn’t figure out how to attach it to his boat’s gunwales. Initially, I worried that not having my “eyes” might make a challenging day even tougher. However, recalling my success last week, particularly along the dam rocks and among fast-moving schools in the forebay, I figured we would fish it the same and get the same results, without livescope.

Vaughn had been tinkering with his boat for a couple of months, eager to get it out on the water for a tune-up. We launched at Dinosaur Point, and having two experienced boat handlers made the process seamless. Launching and trailering a boat is a personal ritual for every captain, and it’s beneficial to learn their methods beforehand. Our launch went off without a hitch, but Vaughn waving at me and water trickling from the bilge signaled a familiar issue—a forgotten plug. Quickly rectifying the oversight, we were soon back on track, heading straight for the Bay of Pigs.

Since Vaughn fishes the opposite side of the boat from me, we approached the dam face from a different angle than I’m used.  It felt surprisingly odd and different and I think there is some merit to approaching familiar areas from different casting positions.   In the  future I’ll try mixing it up a bit when it gets slow during  familiar approaches.  Fishing started slow, yielding only two catches along the dam face. However, as we moved to the flats area of the Bay of Pigs, our luck changed. Fishing the banks and up to 30 feet of water, we began consistently hooking fish, tallying a dozen by the end. Despite 2D sonar fish at fly fishable depths on the racks later in the afternoon, we couldn’t entice any bites. We then tried the dam near Monument, but again, no luck. Our final stop at Los Peidros proved fruitful, with Vaughn landing another three fish, bringing our total to 15—a satisfying end to a day filled with laughter, song, and plenty of fish, all without relying on Livescope.


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