Peninsula Fly Fishers

Santa Cruz Fishout

When I stopped at the Caddis Fly Shop, Ted complimented me on a good fishout. Art Kaufman had been visiting the shop earlier and had raved about the fishing he had experienced. Twenty minutes later at the general meeting Bobbie came bouncing up and told me in her excited way that Dave Black hadn't stopped talking about the fishout for the last half hour.

Actually the Santa Cruz fishout was a story of the haves and have nots. Four boats with 8 people embarked into the darkness one early Sunday morning. One boat caught and released over 40 fish. The remaining boats caught between 5 to 10 fish each.

Shortly after reaching the fishing grounds it became apparent that there were no schools of rockfish over the reefs. However, the fishfinder showed plenty of rockfish virtually on the bottom about 40 feet below the surface.

Reaching into his memory banks of past rockfishing experiences, Dave Black tied on the heaviest lead core shooting head he had and attached the biggest clouser he could find. The entire setup was then lowered to the bottom and jigged. Fortunately, there was almost no wind that morning and he was able to reach and stay near the bottom with the setup.

This form of fishing proved to be a costly affair. The two partners were constantly fouling the bottom and Dave even lost a full shooting head system. But the rewards were great. They caught species of rockfish which are seldom caught by flyfishers: china rockfish, gopher rockfish, and the beautiful vermilion rockfish.

The rest of us dutifully fished the almost barren water column and managed to hook a stray fish now and again. Ozzie Schmidt had a memorable battle with a large rockfish and I caught a yellowtail rockfish of about 4 pounds. But, primarily we watched Dave hook and land his rockfish. Periodically, he would turn around and holler "Hey Igor! - Got another one".

Tight Lines,
Igor Doncov

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