cityevader

Finally catching...

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As a noob with only "the internet" to learn how to fish, it has been a discouraging couple of years. (Granted, those "years" comprised of only a handful of times to even try.)

It was discouraging due to a completely inadequate/incorrect rod for surf casting (I'm dirt poor with a hand-me-down setup) with lures not even making the 15-20 yards to the first breakers, plus lots of issues with wind knots and tangled lines, and even expensive lures snapping off mid-flight.

Aside from the equipment issues, the personal ones were the hardest to overcome. Each cast went a different direction, or arced straight up, or even landed at my feet. Without anyone to mentor me, I didn't know how to teach myself. Practice practice practice wasn't in the cards since one trip out per month was lucky. Life only allowed once every other month usually. There were even many times I "could" have fished, but dreaded the inevitable bad times. It wasn't like pizza or sex, which even if bad is still good enough. Nope...to avoid disappointment, I avoided fishing altogether.

 

Fast forward many moons, and life has changed enough that I can have vastly more time to give to fishing, so I have...plus got a new rod and reel which instantly improved to the casting distance by four fold! Then I reduced from 30# braid to 14# and more improvements were made. My casts had fewer arcing-to-the-moon and wind knots vastly reduced. I discovered that careful attention to keeping at least a wee bit of tension on the line vastly reduced tangles.

While reduced equipment failure drastically reduced my prior "dread" of going out fishing, getting a few nibbles drastically improved my enjoyment. Landing 7 tiny "Croakers" had me giggling like a school girl! 

 

With equipment and attitude taken care of, reading the water was the next mystery that started revealing itself. What once looked like a mile-long single-crashing breaker, actually has areas of different colors. Blue for deeper and brown for shallower. Hey! That spot pushes my bait in while that spot pulls it out, despite both looking the same. Huh...toss it out six feet past the sand into the blue and (tiny) fish on! 

 

Finally, what I had always scoffed at while reading threads here, was that "confidence catches fish."

What I've now come to realize is that it isn't the confidence itself that works magic, but rather, that zombie-fishing whilst unmotivated/discouraged does NOT work.

When one is "confident", their behaviors change. Instead of cast/reel/repeat, ad nauseam, there is more care taken to "where" it gets cast to. There is more attention paid to holding the rod "just right" in a balance act of keeping the line tension just so. There is a patience to keep the bait in a nibbly-spot longer and playing with it subtly. Even one's imagination comes into play here, of where the bait really is compared to the hole/channel/structure you're aiming for. There is a sharper sense of the line, to tell if that was a nibble or wave action on the bow of it, and better timing of when to yank to set the hook.

It isn't "confidence" that catches fish. It's the person being alive and alert, tuning in to the world around them while slowly gaining more knowledge from each expedition, that catches fish.

 

Yesterday was the first day of truly joyful fishing. Each cast was an experiment, and they all added up into seeing how the fish- much like the fisherman- would "catch here", then move to "there", then back to "here" throughout the day. 

 

There are three keeper Perch in my fridge right now, awaiting tonight's BBQ!

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Good for you. Fishing is what you make it. Recommend you check out the upcoming fling. An eye opener for me was looking at what the big guns throw. Granted, they throw custom pikies, poppers, etc. But they also catch on hair-raisers. 

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I take my hat off to the guy who start from scratch. Fishing is  constantly a learning process. Without someone experience fast tracking you to the next level it takes years and years to get your head around it. I have been fishing since I was a kid and sometimes I end a session with my tail between my legs. That’s why they call it fishing and not catching lol. I always think you have to be a hard worker to get it done. Giving up gets you nowhere and for sure isn’t going to get you a fish. You have to work at it like you have and keep trying until you get your turn. You start to get a few fish and then you get little ideas on what might be going on and what you want to look for. Happy to hear how far you have come and about the last good haul buddy. good job!!!

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I love hearing this. Persistence and keep at it is the key. I have been fishing every day for the last several weeks. AM and PM today and I learn every day. Even when you don't catch fish you are learning.

Good job brother.

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8 hours ago, Haywardstriper said:

I love hearing this. Persistence and keep at it is the key. I have been fishing every day for the last several weeks. AM and PM today and I learn every day. Even when you don't catch fish you are learning.

Good job brother.

X2... Very Nice...

 

Butch

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Today i went out 9am to 9pm, between Seacliff and Rio del Mar. 

Arriving at low tide, i just walked along while casting. It took about 200 yards before my bait stopped being pushed in/constantly reeling for tension. Then, where there was a bit of outflow to keep line tension easier, i noticed what seemed like a drop off? The waves were rolling in blue water and suddenly crashing while the wash was brown with swirling sand. 

If i cast just past the breaker into the blue, the bites would come before the bait hit bottom! Seemed every other cast would hook up. Approx 30 tiny Perch and one keeper in the first 3 hours after low tide, then 5(?) hours of nothing. 

Returning to the same spot of earlier success, that drop off was farther out due to higher tide but i could still reach it. A couple dozen more tiny Perch and another keeper. 

Then a different bite altogether! Friggin fish kept leaping into the air! It took some doing to maintain a tight line. I thought perhaps a small Striper, but turned out to be a Jacksmelt. 

 

Good times! 

 

 

Of, and i need to start a log of times/tides/catches etc etc to compile information to eventually find a pattern. That's three times now that early afternoon didn't catch fish. 

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Your post or story’s are so well written I’ve really enjoyed reading them. I can tell you are a smart guy. That teamed up with a hard work ethic and you will be a great fishermen! Just a word of a caution about giving out your hot spot aka spot burning.. you don’t want to be so specific about where you are fishing. A few weeks ago I had a good little bite one day and couldn’t help but tell a buddy, next afternoon I go down there to find him and some of his other buddy’s all over my spot that I work hard to find. If a guy is trying and you want to help that’s cool but look out for the lazy ones that wait for a good report before they want to pick a rod up. 

   I fish the surf for YEARS as a kid with out catching anything. Your doing great buddy.

 You should rent one of the skiffs in capitola and go out for rockfish and halibut. I bet you would have a blast 

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I've gone out twice since my last post. The first was a sunrise trek with my 8yr old boy. Low tide 3:30am, high 10:20am, and we hit the sand a bit after 6am. 

 

Things are different with a l'il 'un in tow...such as ending up carrying a shovel as well as a rod in that hand...and scouting out fishing spots becomes difficult when the other guy wants to just plant himself and dig in the sand. :)

 

It was early and quite foggy, yet a long sleeve t-shirt was warm enough. (it stayed overcast till past noon) 

With the first cast, it ripped hard from right to left in the current. Really fast; a full distance cast 45° right had it missile-ing back waaay to the left and onto the beach in about 10seconds. 

I walked 200 yards right, and about 400 yards left, and it was always the same current with no outflowing water. 

Resigned to that current, i set up shop closer to my boy whom didn't even know if I was close or far, whilst he dug one hole to fill another, dragged seaweed around, piled driftwood, and smashed shells with the shovel. 

And while i was frequently catching many tiny Perch, the gray sky made determining water depth difficult...I could only cast based on the shape of the water, but without any color variations for clues. 

6 hours later the sun came out and throngs of people washed in to avoid the hottest day of Santa Cruz weather thus far....THERE IT IS!!! 150yards to the left, where the water's shape AND color clearly showed a sandbar with a hole in front... but there were humans. 

Foolish, ignorant humans whom would swim out onto my line right after casting, or walk under the rod tip while reeling in. 

Clearly I am to be the responsible one to yield just as a cyclist must yield to a horse on a trail. But I also had many hours straight of experiencing that R to L current. I could position myself with a clear cast 45° right, reel it quickly into the hole to soak the Gulp for a few seconds, and then superman-fast reel it in before the hook went too far left and into the crowd. Bang bang! Keeper Perch and my biggest Jacksmelt so far. I ended it there, with people admiring and commenting, surprised that fish could be caught at "the human's beach."

:)

 

The next trip was 2 days later after work. I decided on New Brighton as  it is the closest beach with guaranteed parking. 

Having never been there before, I ended up walking way over a mile, well past the cement ship, and spent the entire time harvesting seaweed. It sucked. Big time.

But i noted "that distinct tree on the bluff" had no seaweed in front of it. So did the area in front of "that RV"...(I'd later catch my one single keeper Perch there on the way out). 

There wasn't a wave in sight for the first two hours BUT there were plenty of Pelicans diving out in the just-too-far distance. If only there was a kid around with a boogy board, i'd have knocked him off of it in order to paddle out those stolen 200 yards! :)

Alas, all i could do was throw back seaweed and two little Croakerfish. 

It was getting late, and I figured there were 50 minutes left to get back to the car (at the entrance kiosk, upon my inquiry as to the closing time, a boy said 8:30 and a girl said 8:30-9pm).

8:10 I've long since turned around and am well over halfway back toward the entrance...the time-math seemed ok. 

8:15 Screw the math... I start to jog.

8:20 I see the Ranger's red/blue lights flashing, heading up and away from the beach, so I gear it up into max effort/max endurance mode. 

8:25 How is it possible that I'm somehow FARTHER AWAY now?! Gasping for air... 

8:30 I pray for the next 10 minutes. 

 

After ten thousand foot-kicks-backward against the sand, I finally finished travelling those one thousand steps forward. 

 

8:40 There's a Prius still in the lot (whew!) while I start my minivan and drive away just to STOP at a locked gate! 

8:45 I jog then knock on the kiosk window...it was "the boy".... I reminded him of "the girl's" time frame.... Response: "I said 8:30 and the gate was locked at 8:30".

I was prepping to spend the night, as i always keep survival camping/cooking/sleeping stuff in the van, and was somewhat looking forward to bandit camping and bandit fishing- along with a ticket in the morning. 

9:25 Gate gets unlocked. 

9:40—10:30 I travelled a mere 1.3 miles through road construction work in Scotts Valley. 

 

 

Lessons learned:

 

A super early start is OK if alone/no 8yr old. 

Early starts might make water reading more difficult if one is looking for colors that indicate depth. 

Seaweed sucks; better to stay home unless you've nothing better to do. 

Aiming a cast to hit the backside of a wave just as it crashes, is rather productive. 

Park outside of gates if ever poisible. 

 

 

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"It isn't "confidence" that catches fish. It's the person being alive and alert, tuning in to the world around them while slowly gaining more knowledge from each expedition, that catches fish."

 

Well spoken for a self-proclaimed "noob."

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It takes time and patients to make it all work for you! What will help you quite a bit is learning to read the Tides. Even though the fish has the ability to swim where they want the Tides push them to an area when they are resting or not holding against or behind structure like Rocks, Pilings, bridges...etc.  What you may want to do is find a or some spots next to pilings and other structures and fish it with some bait like shrimp, worms and other fish either frozen of live. Fish normally face into the current and depending on its speed("current") will wait for food to come to them. They use the structure as a point of ambush their prey. This ought to give you a boost with your knowledge on fishing :) Have fun the more time you spend doing the better your skills will become :) 

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>>Seaweed sucks; better to stay home unless you've nothing better to do.

 

a bit of advice on seaweed for when you get further down the road... fly fishing allows an angler to fish successfully in high-salad conditions that might prevent spin fishing with lures or bait. More than once i have caught nice pech and striper from within, under or next to swirling clumps of kelp that have been piled up by the currents. 

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I got out again last weekend, up north around Bodega Bay. Holy cow, I can't seem to get out of crazy fast right-to-left currents! Hundreds of yards of walking and it was all the same. Oh well.

 

After a long time without even a nibble, I hook what was clearly my biggest fish yet. My heart was pounding!

Once close to shore I saw only a part of it out of the water and it was big. 

I learned another lesson: don't walk backwards. For some reason I backed up 10 paces or so (Actually I was trying to keep the line tight) and didn't realize how much worse it makes it. In trying to keep it tight, the very low angle of the line actually made it easier to slacken during the final wave break onto shore, and it threw the hook.

I loudly screamed "NOoooo" and my boy came running thinking I had hurt myself.

Immediately I cast out again and immediately hooked another heavy fish. "You caught the same one again?!" the boy exclaimed incredulously. "Yes, son. Yes I did!" I said, chuckling quietly.

Then another hard lesson was learned... While I did stand close this time, to have gravity aid in keeping the line tight, I mistakenly put too much effort and not enough thought into the last few feet. Instead of timing the retrieve to land it in between breaks, I just reeled super fast to get it through the wash of the final breaking wave. Duh, I couldn't reel fast enough and it slackened just enough to throw the hook.

 

From now on, i'll be more calm in the final few moments, and time it so that outgoing water tensions the line.

And I won't back up.

Oh...and i'll wait to sharpen a hook until AFTER tying it to stiff mono leader. :)

 

Going back out tomorrow with the boy and hopefully will continue to learn something new each time...even if it IS learned from mistakes.

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On 7/26/2019 at 2:01 PM, cityevader said:

 

 

From now on, i'll be more calm in the final few moments, and time it so that outgoing water tensions the line.

And I won't back up.

 

 

Once the fish is tired and close enough, I try to use a big swell to bring it onto the beach for me. If you keep the line tight, the receding wave will leave the fish high and dry. But if its not high and dry, wait for the next big wave it try again. Don't try to drag the fish up the beach while the wave is receding. Too much water pushing the fish away from you. 

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On 7/21/2019 at 11:12 PM, Uncle Stu said:

 

a bit of advice on seaweed for when you get further down the road... fly fishing allows an angler to fish successfully in high-salad conditions that might prevent spin fishing with lures or bait. 

Hehe, last time out, i kept getting real hard nibbles on the Gulp. A pair of fly fishermen had been making their way down the beach and were about to yield a respectable distance around my position. They had a funny look on their faces when i asked them to try the spot I had been working. BAM! The biggest Perch I had ever seen! My lunch got caught and released. Sigh. 

 

But tonight. TONIGHT! 

Thursdays are now "my day" to do as i please so it is officially fishing-practice day.

And on this unusually hot/humid day in Santa Cruz the beach could not happen soon enough! Thankfully the large numbers of bikini babes have reduced with the school year starting, so the focus was better, plus fewer humans to dodge at water's edge. 

I strode up to the first spot after entering, and liked how the water was swirling in from right and left, funneling out in the center. It was tough standing, where those opposing currents met and tried to wash me out to sea. The sand flowing out looked like a flat mushroom cloud extending about 30 yards out. 

The first cast just past the mushroom cloud had a hard nibble. The second cast landed a near keeper of 9"+...and within minutes a second one of equal size was caught and also released; in front of everyone watching, the just-showed-up-guy is catching fish. Oh yeaahhh... I'm cool... 

 

But then the typical human species' behavior interrupted. City dwellers unaccustomed to any dangers around them, enter the water where my hook is exiting. 

An hour after surrendering the spot, i regretted releasing those first two Perch. Small as they were, my boy and I could have made a meal of it....hardly a nibble was had the entire length of beach before heading back.

Two hours later, yielding a respectable distance around those humans that were still in "my spot" and while squinting into the low western sun, the un-tried opposite end of the beach now seemed promising. Some saw-tooth-shoreline with "shorebreak" waves were evidencing deeper pockets.

Casting just beyond the large breaking waves gave some nibbles. And after that set of large rollers calmed, and the whole area was flooded, i cast to where i believed the deep end of the kiddie pool started, and holy moly, that 7' Ugly Stik bent right over! My personal best Perch of  13" and it was THICK!

Working quickly to knife the brain/gills/tail to quickly kill/bleed/scale it and minutes later I'm working at it again...nothing...kept moving to the next spot which was nearly identical and i got my 2nd best at 12.5"! (picture taken almost 4hrs post-mordem) 

After that, "one more cast before going home" became "one more tangled leader before going home" ; which turned into "one more tangled leader that is too dark to fix" had me leaving an hour after sunset.

Happy, but in the back of my head still pondering... just how much influence really, does the fisherman have on catching versus the fishing influencing the catcher? 

 

20190822_212511.jpg

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Good job on the perch! Sounds like you're ready for one of those epic winter days when every cast yields a 15-inch bruiser. It does happen. 

 

Every day is different. Some days you can't buy a nibble even when you do everything right. The point is--you gotta be doing everything right when they do decide to bite. Most often, the epic bites will happen on a changing tide at dawn or sunset. 

 

A word of advice. If there's any way you make this happen: fish at dawn. The fish are more active and the beach will be empty. It's a win-win. Good luck.

 

 

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