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Hadn't gotten one in a while, but here's a report from my buddy who plies the Delta Region of N. California.

Do you admire those among us that can work over a fish for an eternity, searching for the perfect unison between cast, drift and fly pattern to entice a fish to take? I guess I lack the emotional maturity for that kind of perseverance because I?m not one of those people. At least not the eternity part of the equation. Not anymore, not since I started striper fishing.

Now the plan is locate fish, present fly, catch fish.

There might be a fly change or two involved and there might be an alteration in presentation, changing the retrieve a bit, but other than, an eternity it isn?t. The archilles heel in the plan is Part I. If you don?t locate fish then parts 2 and 3 of the plan are rendered moot. Yesterday was a lesson in Part I.

My buddy and I had made the plans for Sunday. Weather was cooperating, wind had laid down, weather had warmed to the 60?s, water temps were ticking up, a couple of reports came in that fish were back on the bite in the Delta with good water visibility - all factors designed to buoy the spirits of the keen angler. So we debated venue and settled on San Luis Reservoir hoping to catch the early season bite as the fish come out of the winter doldrums. We launched a little after dawn and spent the next 3 hours searching for signs of fish - birds, bait or fish marked on the sonar. What we found was a complete absence of all three. The lake was full, I mean really HUGE, they use this impoundment to store water for Southern California. Spots we fish that normally were 12-25ft deep were under 150 plus ft of water. With that much water the baitfish had scattered and the stripers had followed suit.

I no longer view pulling the plug on a busted day as failure, merely the acknowledgment of the facts and circumstances at the time and a chance to modify tactics for next trip. Plus the drive down I5 to San Luis takes you right past the access to the Delta so a u-turn and a drive back to the Delta was already necessary, just earlier than scheduled. A year ago I had some fantastic fishing in some of the eastern sloughs, spots that had produced at this time of year. My buddy had been on board when I hooked the biggest fish I?ve ever had on rod and reel only to suffer heartbreak as this freight train with fins motored out of the slough trailing backing and leaving me second-guessing myself to this day on what went wrong. At the ramp the water looked great, excellent visibility and the last of the incoming tide still pushing a little water upstream. We made the run down to the slough and then all the way bank into the slough just short of the end. The whole time my buddy kept badgering me to stop and fish ? my response was he could thank me later. We finally pulled up about a ½ mile from the end of the slough, two casts later my buddy nails a 21 lb?er, a really beautiful fish, with a pale violet iridescence around the head, what followed was as unexpected as that incredible ice-breaker. We cruised silently up the slough under power of the electric trolling motor and every 30-40 yards we had our flies crashed by a big striper, the smallest fish was 6 lbs, the rest were between 8-24 lbs and we busted off a couple of nice ones and had a few come unbuttoned. What a session!! What a salvage job!! We were throwing our flies hard up against the rip rap or tules on the bank, giving a short count and then moving the flies to swim them down the bank. The fish were crashing the flies, taking hard, not the gentle tugs of winter fish but the aggressive takes of pissed off critters. We put a couple of 8 lb?ers in the livewell which was our first harvest in a long time and with the first light drops of rain in late afternoon we took our cue to bail on a great day of fishing. My buddy landed the two biggest fish, his largest stripers to date in the Delta, truly magnificent creatures, successfully released and hopefully they?ll have a chance to spread their genes in the next few months.

The drive from San Luis to the Delta was dour. The drive from the Delta to home was a shameless exhibition of two middle aged guys having more fun than they should be allowed.

I can?t wait for the next trip.

Jimbo
 

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Jim I've tried, but obviously I can't put it better. Thanks for sharing & glad someone (else) is getting out. Ron
 
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