Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Memoriam

Frank vom Desert Dancer
Son of Auzie vom Grousehafen and Enck vom Orion
February 10, 2008- November 10, 2017
Goodbye Sweet Boy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Post Wedding Fish.

Fished Canyon with Luc on Sunday after only getting two hours of sleep the night before.  I was in LA for my cousin's wedding and didn't get home until close to midnight.  I set the alarm for 3:50am so I could met Luc at his house at 5.  He let me know the day prior the fishing had finally come back and he and John managed 20 or so all on top.  So I couldn't refuse.  Fishing was slow but early on I had a huge blowup on a new fly I was testing.  I think the fish missed my fly completely.  Luc managed a handful of dinks throughout the day.  Towards the end of the day I switched to a Iwai minnow and had a few dinks flow.  Manged to get on that was only twice the size of the fly.  Luc had me fish his rod for a spell and managed to get another only slightly bigger bass, probably in the pound or under range.  Luc confided in me and said he was kind of hoping I'd have texted him at midnight to tell him I was too wiped to make it.  Maybe that's what I should have done.

Monday, July 17, 2017

South Bay Weekend. Owen's Personal Best.

I went out Saturday once again in search of yellows.  This time there were no private or party boats there to keep the fish localized with bait.  Despite that there were several kayakers who were getting a few.  So the hope wasn't lost but made more difficult for a guy pitching flies.
I could not manage a yellow but did get into some nice bass up to two pounds.  Most were sandies but I did manage a handful of calicos as well.  I headed back to head my buddy install the fish finder and GPS to the zodiac.
After dinner I decided to stay the night and fish the following day.  I slept on his big boat which was more comfortable and spacious than I thought it would be.  When I awoke 7 in the morning, I decided to give the new finder a spin and stayed with in the marina fishing looking for a group of 40 bonito that tend to stay in a particular area.  I managed to hook up early and to my surprise I managed a 14 inch white seabass.  Unfortunately I did not get a pic of it as it popped off just as I grabbed it.  I haven't caught one of those in years and I definitely do not have one on digital film.
After an hour I docked the zodiac to wait of the ideal tide to start fishing the outside.  Joel having talked to his buddy who fished Saturday let us know we ought to fish sometime at mid incoming tide.  So I waited until 11am before heading out with Joel's son.  He would fish traditional gear and I would be on the fly.  I spoke with a couple kayakers how the morning was and he told me it was slow.  So it was a good plan to wait until later to come out.On the first cast I managed a respectable calico and then preceded to catch two more in the smaller range before Owen wanted to change lures.  I put him on a iron and it was not long before he got bite.  It was a long runner and Owen tried his best to get him in but it came loose before we could see what it was.  A yellow perhaps?  We'll never know.  We moved to another section that was metering a ton of fish.  I manged more compact sized fish.  Owen managed a hard fighting fish.  Beforehand he'd asked me if I'd help him reel it in if he got another one, normally I would have liked him to do it all himself but since he lost his last one I agreed.  He fought his fish for a while before he asked me to help.  I reeled it in and landed it for him.   After a few pictures he wanted to go back in and despite the fact it was primetime for a yellow bite we came in.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Opportunity For Yellowtail

Yellowtail has been sighted within the bay for the past weeks, so I took out the boat in search of them.  Most of the morning was spent inside and I could only caught dink bass.  No yellows or bonito.  I tried the just outside the mouth early in the morning, water was glass but no fish were caught.  After spending hours in inside, at around 11am boats outside were starting to hook up on bonito and yellowtail.  I took off to see if I could get in some of the action.  I only managed three bass one 2 pounds but no pelagic fish for me.  At around noon at peak tide I quit and came in so I make it home before LA traffic started to get ugly.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mostly Calicos and Lost Bonito

I fished Friday the 23rd at King Harbor with the niece and we managed five dink calicos before calling it quits after less than hour on the water.  Having not checked the weather forecast beforehand, it was simply too cold for her and we came unprepared for such weather.
I returned Sunday with a fishing buddy and fished a few hours, we caught numerous calicos most in the dink range but had a few respectable models.  We managed to chase a bonito blitz and had one on and had it to the boat before it popped off at the boat after I was dicking around with the GoPro.   It was larger than the bonito I caught the last trip.
In addition I managed a salema, a rather underwhelming fish, other than it is said have LSD-esque hallucinating effects when eaten.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Looks Like Bad Luck Passed On To Luc

On Saturday June 24th I fished with Luc at Canyon once again.  I've been pretty poor at my hook rate lately there.  Not sure what it is but I've been getting fish to rise but I simply couldn't seem to get them stick.  It wasn't until the last trip with Koji was I finally able to get a fish to hand.  I seemed to do better this go around although I had a lot less fish come up.
I managed two out of three fish this go around and surprisingly Luc went zero for eight. Looks like my bad luck passed onto Luc.  My first fish was pretty early in the day and was probably a pound and a quarter.  I switched to a chartreuse UMF fly after I realized white version I tied the night before simply wasn't creating a loud enough pop for my liking.  I used a foam from a different brand and it seemed less rigid.  So I switched colors as I didn't have any white left.
I missed one mid trip but managed this nice three pounder towards the end of the day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


The other day I was looking at the Iwai Minnow I tied for Luc prior to going out to Canyon and thought to myself this mylar tubing looks alot like the rapalas I used to fish with in my youth.  I thought how can I take advantage of this.  I think I've come up with a way.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fit For A King

Friday June 16
Now that I have access to a boat(s) at King Harbor, I took my niece out for a boat ride in the hopes of getting her a fish or two.

Unlike my outing with Koji, I was able to chose the tide I wanted to fish.  I arrived a little later than I wanted to, just before 11:30am.
Since the zodiac was unavailable, I used another boat, a catamaran, this outing.  This worked out much better since it was outfitted with a fish finder which kept my niece easily entertained.  It also helped since I am too familiar with this harbor as I am with others further south.

We were metering most fish at around 20 -30 ft.  It took a few drifts but I did manage our first fish by a drop off near the shoal.  It was a dinky spotted bay bass.

It was less than a pound but it didn't matter to her as it was the first fish of the day.  It proved to be the only spottie we managed for the trip but it was the first step toward the salt water bass slam.
After fishing near the drop off we decided to take a look at the sea-lion platform which was quite a thrill for her since she never seen one in the wild.
We metered a large clump of fish and tried our luck.  We managed a rather heavy fish I initially thought was a a larger bass as it was running toward the boat so I had a hard time determining what it was.
I had my niece fight the fish with me but after a blistering run she told me to take the reigns.  I realized then it was no bass.  It took some time to finally get the fish to the boat and in typical bonito fashion it had no quit.   After landing it I bogaed the fish at 2 pounds.
We tried again to find these fish but we could not relocate them.  So I asked what we should do.  Since she heard that the last time I caught a barracuda, she wanted us to try and get one this time.  So after a few unpromising drifts, I asked if we should keep trying or go after bass.  She suggested bass.
It was a wise choice as every few casts produced a fish albeit mostly dinks.  But we did manage a few moderately respectable models.  We also managed to complete the saltwater bass slam adding all three species, spotted bay bass, sand, and calicos, to the list.
It nice to see her get so excited about the outdoors.  Whenever someone passed and asked us how the fishing was, she proudly told them "We caught 11!"  This was the most fish she's ever seen on a fishing trip and clearly she wanted people to know.
On the boat she asked if we could have The Habit for lunch when we were done.  I told her of course we can.
A burger, fires and a strawberry shake later we had to muscle through LA rush hour traffic to get home but was well worth it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Koji's Layover Trip Part II: Canyon Lake and King's Harbor

As I mentioned in my previous post, I called Luc and asked him if he'd be willing to take my buddy Koji out at Canyon Lake.  I had told him I didn't need to fish and I would simply record the whole outing. He was going to have none of that and told me he was going to guide us.  I fished with Luc on two previous weekends.  Both times it was tough.  Luc managed a few but I came home with the skunk both times.  I had my opportunities including one that was in the four pound range, but missed it.  I let Koji know you'll get your opportunities but you better make the most of them as the window of good fishing is short.
We woke up early around 3am to make sure I could get Koji something to eat ad coffee before we met Luc at 4:45am.  We arrived early and waited for Luc to come out of his house.  We them made our way to the east end dock.  I had told Koji to rig up the night before as we wouldn't have time to do it on the boat as once we were on the water we'd be fishing.  Also since the window for good fishing is short, we did not want to waste any time.  When we reached the water we could tell that the fly Koji picked was too wind resistant to his rig.  He swapped out the fly for a Iwai Minnow fly and he was casting like a pro.  It was not long before he got his his largemouth of the day.  Luc was ecstatic. I've seen it before when he knows its going to be tough and he managed to get you a fish he gets jacked.  He gets more excited than the fisherman.  Luc had texted the night before he fished with John and while they manged five fish to hand and multiple blow ups, once the wind picked up the fishing shut down completely.  Forecasts were windy all day on Sunday.  He wasn't expecting much.  I warned Koji don't expect much.
It was not long when Koji hooked up on another.  I had already missed two which seemed to continue my theme of sucking lately at Canyon.  So when Koji got his next Luc's exact words were "We've already had more than I was expecting."
At around 6:45am the wind was starting to make Luc concerned and we moved to some protected coves.  Koji managed another. 
Time passed and Koji managed another one.  Luc moved the boat to one of his honey holes.  I role casted my fly into the direction of where we going to fish and waited for a casting lane to open for me.  After about 30 seconds a five pounder blow up on my fly.  Of course I wasn't ready, in fact was wasn't even fishing at the time so I couldn't hook him.  Seemed the perfect metaphor for my Canyon trips lately.   Fishing slowed significantly by now.  Koji had broke his leader and started to rerig.  Luc decided to take the helm for the time being until Koji was ready once again.  Luc managed a swirl but no hook up.
We would try one last cove before Luc was going to call it a day.  One the last spot I finally managed to get my bass.  After three trips multiple misses I finally got one hand.  The curse now lifted.  With that it was the end of Koji's topwater freshwater bass trip.
Koji was using the Iwai Minnow, also known as the Magic Minnow.  It's a Japanese variation of a Jack Gartside fly.  I've used it with great success particularly at Barrett with a sinking line.  Luc was quite impressed with it and asked if he could have Koji's.  Without hesitation, Koji obliged. 
This fly is made from a tubular foam used for insulation in Japanese construction.  I asked Koji on my time to Japan if there was a place we could stop to pick some up on the way to our fishing grounds in Yamanashi.  Unfortunately there was none on the way so I just forgot about it.  Koji brought me some.
I let Luc know that Koji brought me enough material to last a lifetime and that I could tie him a bunch of these Iwai Minnows.  We drove back to my place to shower and take a nap before heading out once again for some more bay fishing at King's Harbor.
I didn't get a chance to nap as I was trying to offload my videos on my Gopro to my laptop but since my computer was giving me the fits, I had to fix it.  By the time I had it dialed in and the data offloaded Koji had already woken up.  So we headed for lunch and then to the bay.
Again the tides were less than ideal but we had to make the best of it.  Wind was blowing quite hard all day.  Controlling the boat was quite the pain.  Koji had a 9:48 flight to catch which meant we needed to stop fishing around 6pm or so, so I could get him on his flight. 
Fishing was tougher this day but Koji still a managed a few bass both sand and calico along with a halibut.  By 6pm brought the boat back to the dock, I told Koji to take a shower at the restroom while hosed down the boat.  I managed to get him to LAX on time and since I didn't hear from him I assume he made his flight to Panama.  All in all not bad couple days of fishing.

Koji's Layover Trip Part I: King's Harbor

I got an email from my buddy, Koji, that he might have a couple days layover here in LA before his business trip to Central and South America.  He'd asked for me to arrange some fishing opportunities for him.  On his pasts trips here to California I had taken him to a few places, one of which was Newport Bay.  Fishing was alright and Koji manage to get all the saltwater bass species among other fish.  He'd asked if he could fish that again.  I haven't fished Newport for some time now so I checked pricing for rental boats.  Pricing has increased to the point of it not being worth it.  In addition, since he's flight was afternoon on a Saturday, we couldn't even reserve a boat for that day.  I already knew where I was going to take him Sunday morning, assuming Luc was game I would take him to Canyon Lake.  I decided to call my buddy Joel to see if I could use his small boat (he has a larger one) to putz around in the bay.  This offer has always been extended to me but I never took him up on it until now.  He was down and I asked if I could use it both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  He agreed.  This made things super convenient as King's Harbor is only minutes away from LAX.
Friday I visited Joel so he could show me how to run the boat and so that I wouldn't look like an asshole out there.  After a brief tutorial and a run through the bay I was ready the next day to guide Koji around.  He arrived on time and was out of customs faster than I expected.  I picked him up at the airport and headed to the harbor.  We were fishing in no time.  I was a bit skeptical on our chances as the tide was not ideal.  Normally I wouldn't have even bothered fishing type of this tide but I had no choice.  We did better than expected catching a nice mixed bag of calicos, sandies, cudas, and mackerels.  I had warned Koji not to expect much but I think we did alright all things considered.  We ended the fishing at around 6:30pm since we were going to wake up early to meet Luc at Canyon next morning.
When I was in Japan about a month ago, on my last day I intended to go to the Sansui Shibuya store to pick up some items.  Unfortunately when I arrived it was closing early for the Golden Week holiday and so I missed out.  So when I heard Koji was coming to America, I asked him to pick those items up for me assuming he had the time.  Of course I'd repay him back when he got here.  He got me all the items I wanted and saved me some significant money from buying these items here in the States.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UglyMuddaFucker (UMF) Fly

Here is the fly I had success with on the last outing for bass.  This idea came when I was fishing for snakehead in Taipei with a gear angler and his topwater lures were making such a ruckus while my popper fly sounded like a fart from Richard Simmons.  I wanted to create a loud obnoxious fly that moved a lot of water and had a lot features that trigger predatory fish.  It is articulated so it will move side to side but also since only the head is buoyant while paused the fly will sit ass down creating a hinge motion when you start stripping again.

Hook: 2x Gamakatsu B10 Stinger 2/0
Tail:  Marabou
Body:  Baitfish Emulator (pre-cut to taper before wrapping)
Collar:  Marabou
Connection: Beadalon + Red Bead
Head: 3 Evenly Cut 3MM Foam Folded Over
If you don't get the reference to the name of the fly:
See the resemblance?
If you still don't get it:

I recommend fishing this fly with an over loaded 10 weight with a reverse leader to help with turn over.  What I mean is use the heavy end to the fly and the lighter end to the fly line.  I generally use old 3x-0x used leaders with about 2-3 feet of the tippet end cut off.  Tie the butt end to the fly with a nonslip loop knot.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Back in 'Merica Fishing for 'Merica's Favorite Gamefish.

Got a text from Luc asking me if I wanted to come over Saturday and fish Canyon with him.  It didn't take long for me to respond "You bet I do."  Jet lag or not I was going fishing.  I tied some big obnoxious articulated poppers when I came back from Taiwan.  I wanted to create something loud the next time I go and fish for snakeheads.  When Luc asked me to fish with him I thought it be a good time to try the fly out.  I managed five blowups connecting with two.  Luc had just as many blowups and I believe two fish to hand as well.  All in all not a bad day having fished only from 5am to 9am.

The fly proved its worth and I gave the fly to Luc as I told him I'll tie more.  Next time though I promised the new ones would have weedguards,  something Luc had suggested but I did not have time to retie any more before our outing.  Luckily I didn't really need the guards this time.  More about the fly in future posts.

Taipei (Fly Fishing) 101

Photo from Shin-Yung Hsiuh
My trip originated in Taiwan for personal reasons but I was able to jet over to Tokyo for a bit to catch up with old friends, do some sight seeing and of course catch some fish.  I returned to Taiwan, extended my trip a few days so to do some fishing with some new friends in Taipei.  Initially I planned to fish with a fly fishing friend who planned on taking out to Hsinchu to hit up a river to catch some Taiwan Mahseer (or as some call it Holland's Carp though I don't think there is an official common western name).
My friend Donny with a Taiwan Mahseer.  The precise fish I wanted to target. (Photo from Donny Wang)
Due to foul weather we were forced to cancel that trip which is quite unfortunate as that was the particular species I had really wanted to target in Taiwan.  Also the fishing would have been in the solitude of nature rather than the hustle and bustle of the city.  But that is life and that is fishing.
A suckermouth catfish.  A fish no one wants to catch in Taiwan but me. (Photo from Shin-Yung Hsiuh)
So instead I hooked up with Peter at Fishing-Traveler, a fishing exchange program.  They show foreign anglers the ropes in Taiwan, in exchange when they travel to your country they expect you do the same.  Pretty cool concept actually.  So if these boys show up in SoCal I'll have to figure out where to take them.  Unlike Donny though they did not fly fish.  So I was on my own to figure it out.  I asked them about their terminal tackle and tried to imitate it with a fly.  We set out for African catfish, Indo-Pacific tarpon, and snakehead.  When we arrived at the river in the outskirts of Taipei I could see fish rising all over.  Fearless.  They could care less about people. Peter told me those were junk fish.  No one in Taiwan ever fishes for them.  "Garbage" he called them.  He didn't know what they were called in English at the time.  Later he facebooked me the name suckermouth catfish.  Whatever they were I wanted one.  I casted a dry fly billion time in the hopes one would take.  I left my box with small flies at my grandma's, thinking I wouldn't need them.  How I was wrong.  I couldn't tell what they were taking but it was tiny.

I gave up on them as I didn't have the proper size flies to attract them.  Since Peter was using a popper lure I decided to try the same in fly format.  I was fishing from an elevated position and the current of the river was somewhat swift so getting the popper to properly pop was difficult.  So I switched to a flashy rattle eye clouser.  I managed to get two Indo Pacific tarpons to attack my fly but I failed to get a good hookset on either.  My chance of catching a fishing in Taiwan was dwindling quickly as more anglers started to arrive at our spot.  After a while we left and decided to try a nearby spot that held snakeheads.  I retied a popper and we scootered 10 minutes away.
Photo from Shin-Yung Hsiuh
Our approach needed to silent as these fish were extremely spooky.  My first cast I hooked into some weeds and had to hand line all that garbage back to me.  We went up and down this canal but managed no fish.  My Taiwan mission was a bust.   Peter apologized to me but I told him there's no need.  It's fishing nothing you can do but try.
Peter refused to let me treat him to dinner and he took me to the best dumpling house in Donghu.  He said most likely there will be a long queue.  Fortunately there was not and we only needed to wait a breif moment before getting a seat.  Thanks Peter for everything.  I'll be back for sure as I have unfinished business here.