Fishing with RED and JULIE – August 17th
Julie was visiting from Gig Harbor, and was already parked, waiting out in front of Jack’s Fly Shop when “Red” and I pulled in at 6:15. We all helped with introductions. Capt. John warmed up the Johnson 75 outboard while we loaded our gear, into the dory and then it was time to head down to the beach,with the Gold Comet in tow. A truck was stuck in the sand at the bottom of the ramp, so we had a ten minute wait until the ramp was clear. There was only room to launch one dory at a time, way down in the corner near the Toadstool Rocks along the cape, but John roared down the beach and had us in the water with no hesitation.
Jack was standing by to hold the dory and push us out, and we headed along the sheltered side of the Cape with swells that were in the four to five foot range, with a breeze already developing at 7 AM. John started us fishing west of Haystack Rock, over schools of rockfish that were anywhere from twenty to forty feet deep.
Julie fished a 450 gr SA Streamer Express with a pink Clouser and found fish pretty quickly. I fished a RIO 350 gr Striper Line and found willing bass too. Red took photos while Julie and I fished, and then I traded places with Red, so he could fish while I ran the camera. Julie fished an 8 wt ECHO PRIME, Red fished the ECHO BASE.
Julie continued to catch fish, Red was having a slow streak, and then – oops – Red’s line got fouled around the prop. That was the end of that fly line.
John pulled the motor, cut the line loose, and then Julie and red went back to fishing, Red with a different rod & line. I shot more photos, and then looked at the fly line head, laying on the deck. Putting the camera away, I tied a loop in the end, about three feet behind the head, and lowered the still-attached fly overboard, holding the loop in my index finger. The head was about 25 ft, the leader about five ft, and I figured that I had about thirty feet of line danging over the side when I leaned over the side of the dory, letting the fly settle, jigging it a little, letting it sink again, and occasionally raising it up three or four feet before letting it settle again. Julie and Red were laughing at me, kidding me about hand-lining, until I hooked my first bass. Two more bass followed my hand lining adventures, unanswered by either of my fishing partners.
John was laughing too, and remarked that maybe the use of rods and reels was over-rated, judging by who was catching the fish. I was having a great time, and was fascinated by the subtle nature of the take I could feel with my fingers, compared to what I could feel working with the line on a rod. I thought that I could feel fish taking my fly far better on the hand line than I ever had before.
John repositioned the boat again, and this school was spread between forty and fifty feet deep, so my hand line technique was no longer effective, being limited to my 30 ft line. My hand-lining experience was fun, I caught fish on the hand line, and it all made me wonder how much better I might be able to feel bass take my fly if I tried hand lining with longer lines on more occasions. I dug out a spare reel and went back to fishing with conventional rod/reel/line, but the possibility of hand lining again has me quite intrigued. Maybe I’ll just give it a try next time I go out into the ocean.
Here are some photos from our day chartered with Pacific City Fly Fishing
Wonderful day, great seafood to take home, and most excellent companionship and guide service. Highly recommended to anyone interested in fly fishing the near shore Pacific.
My best to our readers.
Jay Nicholas, August 18, 2015