The surf has been rough for a long time, but yesterday it laid down and I had a chance to fish with one my my dory owner friends and oh my goodness it was an AMAZING day! The ocean was flat and ranged from dead calm to a slight breeze. We caught a few ling cod and had a MONSTER ling take a swipe at a 3 pound black rockfish right at the boat. It was so big it looked like a shark at first. Not that I’ve ever been known to let a little adrenaline cause me to over-state a fish’s size, but anyone would have been impressed with the size of the beastie.
There was barely any current and – get this – we were able to SIGHT-FISH for black rockfish! That’s a first for me, but the ocean is a place where i’ve found that new experiences are more common than same-old-same-old.
About mid-morning, the perfect glass surface plus clear water, plus sun angle on the water combined perfectly and I spotted a big black about thirty feet from the boat, about 8-10 ft deep. I cast to the fish, watching my fly, teasing the fish, and pretty soon there were two fish playing with it, then sometimes 3, 4 or 5 fish circling the fly. I would give it a twitch now and then, they would circle and approach and almost but not quite nip at it and this would go on fir or minutes until one of them would swoop in and inhale the Clouser.
We were able to sight fish for close to two hours until sun angle and a riffle on the water closed us down and the fish moved deeper into the water too. I found myself talking to the fish, not unusual for me. there were ten minute periods when every cast brought a quick take, and then the fish would get reluctant and it would require extraordinary patience and teasing to finally trigger a take. It was fantastic to be able to see the different ways the sea bass would take the fly. Some would raise up and engulf the entire fly as it sank without any action whatsoever. Some would follow and nip the fly repeatedly before taking it viscously on the turn. Some would slide up behind the fly, take it half-way into their mouth and just sit there, motionless. Being able to see so many fish interact with the fly was a blessing and gave me deeper understanding of what is going on underwater the 99% of the time when I can not see my fly and the fish’s reactions.
A wide variety of flies worked for us, but the smaller Clousers got more solid hook-ups than the monster flies. Water temps were over 54, and I’m really looking forward to a spectacular year in the ocean for 2014.
Hope to be able to send another report soon, I heard the first few springers are being caught in the Tillamook and Nestucca, so here we go! Let the madness commence.
JN May 2014