Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hitting road at 4am is never easy but when it's for fishing I can make an exception!

We knew that this week's big waves and super force winds would make fishing tough but we were up for the challenge. After a quick stop at mcdonalds in Malibu for a visit to their newly remodeled foyer including couch and tv we arrived just below Pt. Mugu at sunrise.

The water had been stirred by the waves and there were large areas of kelp and debris. Because we know that surf fish don't like the salad (not vegetarians, obviously), we walked and found clear areas. With just a few casts of the grub we played with a few perch.

Once we found the schools we pulled out a variety of baits: lug worms, mussel, sidewinder crabs and ghost shrimp--and went to work.

Finding edges where rock meets sand was very productive. We had some great double breaks where sand met rocks and light met water. Instant hook up on the larger perch to 14".

Heading down the coast we stopped to fish what seemed every few miles. One stop took us to a beach that had great surf structure. This is an example of why you should scout out places at low tide and see where the rock and tidal structure lies. Just look for the structure, line it up with something on land behind it, and then come back at high tide and catch fish. Simple equation.

It was a steady pick on the smaller perch throughout the day with no trophy size fish or exotics to be caught--With the exception of a gray whale that breeched on our bait right outside the surfline (just kidding!) here below Pt. Mugu--incredible experience!Once we called it a day we headed south to spend some time with our friend Ginny Wylie to talk about surf fishing in Malibu.

Wylies is one of the oldest tackle shops in Southern California and represents what life was like in Los Angeles when we still had wide open spaces and a love for the outdoors. History was created by and at their store and everyone should visit there. I guarantee you'll leave with a smile on your face as Ginny and her friendly staff can't help you enough to catch fish.

Another thing you will learn at Wylies is that one of Ginny's good friends (and the father of modern surf fishing) has his 4lb 2oz barred surf perch mounted there. Fred Oakley, was a tireless bait collector and fisherman. At one time he was the sole supplier of bait to almost every tackle shop in Los Angeles. He would collect sand crabs, mussel, opaleye moss, blood worms, red worms and any other bait you could think of to stock the shops. We have him to thank for the suppliers we have today and many of the techniques they use to catch, store and distribute bait.

Amazingly, Fred didn't know how to swim. But he didn't let that stop him to become the originator of so many of the techniques we use today. He is credited with catching a 10lb calico from the surf, perch over 4lbs, light-line and heavy line rigging, surf lures and so many other incredible feats. On one occassion we climbed out of his fish-stinky van and threw our line into the water across the street from Wylies. Both of us traded off fighting the fish for almost two hours and it wasn't until about 2am that we got her up on the rocks and had a chance to see that it was a 10 foot hammerhead shark. After cutting the line at some distance, she swam off to sea.

That was back in 1969, right across the street from Wylies--and it feels just like yesterday. I wonder if that fish is still there today!

Don't forget: It's the year of the What?

See you on the beach...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Surf Fish Update

Almost had to put myself in the sand spike yesterday to keep from being blown away!

Yesterday was one of the windiest days I can remember in a long time. Coupled by this week's unprecedented south swell--it might take a day or two for the fishing to recover. South swells, like the one this week originating off the South American coast, usually hit our shores in July, August and September. They are very rare in April--but this year's weather has been very strange.

When the swell first hit this week it brought warm water up from the south and raised the water temp two degrees to 61. Yesterday's wind did the exact opposite by churning up cold water and lowering the temp back to 59. Wow, that was a short summer!

For those of you fishing in the HB Slam this weekend you should have some good tides and fairly calm conditions. I still think the surf will be up a bit so be sure to use a bit heavier (3/4 to 1ounce) egg sinker on your carolina rig. If you have time today go down at low tide and look for the inshore holes. Scout out where you are going to fish tomorrow by finding the troughs where the fish will be hinding from the swell and current.

Days like this week and yesterday in particular are a great time to go down to the rocks at a minus tide and collect some bait for the weekend or for freezing for later use.

Good luck if you fishing in the "Slam"--for me I'll be on a surf fish road trip looking for calm seas and big fish! I'll report back Sunday with the results!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Road Trip!

The pro staff are on the road again!

This week we're traveling to Oxnard and will be fishing from that point south to Huntington Beach. Look for a post this week from Orange County and this weekend from places like Pt. Mugu, Zuma, Pt. Dume, Broad Beach, Malibu and points in between.

Pro staffers will be trying new tackle and we'll post pictures to show you what works!

If you're fishing in the Albackore surf fish slam in HB next weekend--good luck! I'll do a bit of prefishing there and I'll post a report with some tips before the weekend.

So check back this week and again on Sunday for an updated report and lots of pics!

Until then good fishin'