don’t stop believing….hold on to that feeling

photos courtesy of Larry Acord

Me and my buddy Larry flew to Mexico to visit my old friend Jeff DeBrown (thereelbaja) out of Los Barriles, on the East Cape of Baja last week with the soul objective to try and land a Roosterfish off the beach on fly. With only three days to fish, it would be a challenge to say the least. Prior to setting out we went through the routine of casting and stripping the fly, over and over. Jeff didn’t want any “what ifs” or leave anything to chance, we would maybe get a few shots, so they had to count. The most important piece of this puzzle was to make sure our flies swam straight at high speed, we had good knots in our leaders, and we stripped out enough fly line in seconds to make accurate casts. These exercises would come into play and had to be executed at the highest level, for anything could go wrong in the heat of the pursuit.

So we set out on the first day, the three of us on a ATV, loaded with two fly rods and a positive attitude. Searching and hunting endless white sand beaches for any signs of life. The first two fish came early, down the line from left to right, my bad side of course, so i jump off the ATV running to get way ahead of them, my line all messed up, wrapped around my tip. Jeff yelling to slow down and breathe, I regroup and make a good shot just ahead of the fish and immediately start stripping the fly, NO LOVE, unaffected, I run ahead of them like a sprinter doing a hundred yard dash and throw again, strip, strip and NO LOVE, this continued two more times until they turned out into deeper water. Scratching my head and completely winded, I looked down in defeat, thinking this might have been my only shots. I reran the tapes in my head to try to understand why the fish didn’t turn on my fly and the only thing I could think of was I was using an intermediate line with a light fly and didn’t let the fly sink long enough for it to be in their feeding zone. It is weird and hard to perceive the depth of water, it looks shallower than you think. The water was fairly deep even though it was only a fifty foot shot. Ok, live and learn, do better next time dummy!

Back up on the ATV, we cruise mile upon mile of beach, when my buddy Larry says stop, and begins to run left with a rooster hugging the darker strip off water just off the beach. Jeff jumps off to assist him. I am sitting watching them when it dawns on me, grab you rod and walk the opposite direction, you never know? I look and see two nice fish coming right to left about a hundred yards away. They are happy and moving nice and slow, about forty feet off the beach over white sand. Ok, i will repeat the drill but this time I will sink out my fly. So i take off stripping line running left, Jeff looks back and sees me, He jumps up on the berm of the beach and yells at me to slow down and breathe. When I get in the perfect position to make the money shot, I throw a tight loop and let my fly sit. They approach, the larger fish on the outside and a smaller fish on the inside. When they got to around ten feet away from the fly, i bumped it and watched the attitudes of the fish, nothing, I bumped it again and the smaller fish saw the fly and came forward. I stripped as fast and steady as i could watching the smaller fish track and gain on the fly as it got to about ten feet from the waters edge, when all of a sudden the larger fish made up the time in a nano second and shouldered the smaller fish out of the way, inhaling my fly within two feet of the sand. Comb out of the water, this giant, with it’s belly on the sand turned and retreated, I hit him three times, driving the fly in the corner of his mouth and doing a Mexican tap dance as i cleared all my line onto the reel. Drag singing, it was game on!

With an instant loss of two hundred yards of backing, Jeff comes running up asking me how much backing do I have, I reply about three hundred yards, he says, That may not be enough? I fight this fish hard, using side angles, staying down and dirty, walking up and down to gain precious line. I had on straight forty pound so I knew I could pull and put the wood to this fish, making sure I never gave her any slack. Within thirty minutes I had my fly line and started to figure out how I was going to land her. I told my bud, Jeff that if he tailed this fish I was going to kiss him, she was tired and massive, glimmering in the torquoise water. I saw a small wave and decided to swing her around and use the wave to push her onto the steep sand, which worked to perfection. Jeff jumped in the water and grab his tail like Mike Tyson throwing an uppercut in the corner of the ring. We estimated this fish between 60 and 70 pounds, it took two of us to lift her out of the water. When it came time to release this fish I grabbed it by the tail and it kicked so hard it almost knocked me over, drenching me from head to toe, LOL. She swam away, healthy to fight another day. What an experience, I am blessed it all came together for me, Jeff and Larry. We all witnessed an unreal accomplishment, sight fishing and landing a super grande off the beach in Baja, a bucket list accomplishment and a memory I will never take for granted…  – Al Q

A fish of a lifetime! Photo courtesy of Larry Acord

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liquid structure…

This fish was caught in what I refer to as liquid structure. The flat I was fishing this morning was as flat as a pool table with no visible hard structure. This can make for a long, frustrating morning, when there is no place to hold fish. So where to you fish if the Corbina can go anywhere like loose pool balls on a hard slate table? You look for anything that is slighty different. I noticed as the tide started to push there was only one spot on this gigantic flat that had two seams crossing each other as moved towards the shore. This is what I refer to as,”liquid structure”, Often times, the fish will use this extra 6 inches of water like a kiddie slide to propel them toward the shallow end of the pool as the tide begins to fill in the flat.  Focusing on this area of the flat allowed me to toss into a group of about five fish moving towards me, and lucky for me, one ate the fly. So the lesson here is you have to create your own luck by concentrating on areas that hold promise. The fish ate a size 6 pink, Holy Moley.

 

Every now and then I get a stupid one to eat my fly. Photo by James Dwyer

Early morning sun over the horizon. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Pretty in pink. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Loving my Hatch reel new Sonic Surf fly line combo…Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Categories: Corbina Patrol | 3 Comments

keeping it real…

I can’t believe that it has been almost three years since the last, One Surf Fly which was held at Dockweiler State Beach in 2016. We had our raffle ceremony at the Redondo Beach SEALAB  courtesy of our buddy John Whitaker, who volunteers working the sea bass pens. It was the grand finale for me and we were proud to hand Capt. Charlie a check for $2500. Me and my daughter also picked up plastic from the beach prior to the event and hand-made Charlie a plastic fish which he really liked! We had the honor of supporting Algalita, which was founded by Capt. Charlie Moore to help clean up the ocean. For those not familiar with Charlie Moore:

In 1997, while returning back to the mainland from Hawaii from a sailing expedition, Charlie stumbled upon what is he referred to as the “Garbage Patch”

In Charlie’s words,

“As I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean,” Moore later wrote in an essay for Natural History, “I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic. It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” An oceanographic colleague of Moore’s dubbed this floating junk yard “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” and despite Moore’s efforts to suggest different metaphors — “a swirling sewer,” “a superhighway of trash” connecting two “trash cemeteries” — “Garbage Patch” appears to have stuck.

As a family we use metal straws and no plastic cups. When we go out to eat, we refuse plastic straws. its a small start, if everyone did their part we can begin to reverse this crazy practice of killing our oceans and wildlife, especially ocean birds.

Check out Capt Charlie’s NY Times Best Seller, The Plastic Ocean

Plastic garbage is swimming on the water surface — Image by © Gary Bell/Corbis

 

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family bean time…

I asked my daughter, Quinn if she was willing to get up early with me this past Saturday to try an catch a Corbina. She remembered our first outing two years ago when she was 8 and she landed two fish that morning with her dad, so she was all in.  I rigged up the spinning rod, using a carolina rig with a light 1/2 oz. barrel sinker and a size 4, red mosquito hook. She asked me if we were going to use crab sandwiches and I replied yep. The crabs were still a little small so I like to pin two crabs, back to back, or sometimes even three crabs on one hook. They can’t resist the crab sandwich. The one thing we had going for us was I knew where these fish lived. We saw a few sliding so we casted her crab sandwich just behind a small wave heading for the real submerged crab bed. The light sinker allowed the sandwich to roll over the crab bed, sort of like rolling a beer bottle into a jail cell. It was less than ten minutes when Quinny’s rod went bendo and she replied, “Dad I got one!”. We rehearsed the fish fighting technique in the car so she was on it, pumping the rod up, reeling down and putting the wood to the fish.  When she got the first fish close to the beach I coached her on how to surf her fish to shore and let him run if he got freaked out by the shallow water. She slide a 21 inch fish on the beach.  She later landed another around 19 inches. So in doing the math, she’s been out with me twice now and landed a total of four Corbina in just few hours and Pop’s got zip. LOL I think I am gonna stick to guiding her, we make a good team! LOL

Photos courtesy of Janet Chang Quattrocchi (mom)

Categories: Corbina Patrol, Surf Adventure | 5 Comments

last week’s bean update…

Last week’s minus, early morning low tides produced a few nice fish for the boys…the water temps are still a little cool in my opinion, varying around 63 to 65. The next early July new moon tide cycle, is the best Corbina opportunity you will have if you want to land one on a fly especially if the water temps hit the magic 67 plus…it should be wide open with fish crawling all over the place… hope to see some new faces on the beach…tight lines and message me on this board if you have any questions…

-Al Q

Slayed with the Okuma Nomad fly rod and Hatch5 combo. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Uncle Denny stalking the beautiful So-Cal flats. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Another one eats the grey/orange Holy Moley fly. Photo by Jim Solomon

Q bendo. Photo by Jim Solomon

Nicky lands a beauty. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Nick gets picked up on a light pink, surfin merkin..Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Solly walking his Corbina onto the sand. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

 

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pic of the day…

Avalon Tuna Club
“The Leaping Tuna”
The sport of Big Game fishing originated in Avalon when Charles Frederick Holder caught a 183 pound Blue Fin tuna with sport fishing tackle on June 1, 1898. This angling milestone inspired him to form the tuna club of Santa Catalina Island, an organization dedicated to promoting conservation of our marine resources and good sportsmanship among anglers. It was once common for vast schools of tuna to arrive in early summer within view of the island, often amazing onlookers with their ability to make spectacular leaps after flying fish. This bronze is titled “leaping Tuna” to honor the great game fish and to commemorate the tuna clubs “centennial Year” The base is in the outline of Santa Catalina Island, with a stripped marlin on the upper portion in recognition of it being caught here first in 1903, and the broadbill swordfish below it symbolizes the world’s earliest sportfishing capture of that species in 1913. Bronze by artist Joseph Quillan, 1998 photo by Al Quattrocchi

Last week me and a few buddies made the pilgrimage to Santa Catalina Island and had the good fortune and honor of getting in to visit the famous and historic, Avalon Tuna Club, which represents one of the most sacred blue water fishing clubs on the planet, it was truly an honor to go back in time to witness first-hand the history of modern day saltwater sport fishing and where it all began. – Al Q

photo by Al Quattrocchi

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the jackarandas are blooming…

A nice corbina landed by John Whitaker. photo by John Whitaker.

Jim Solomon with a surf slam of corbina, yellowfin croaker and surf perch. photos by Jim Solomon

Al Q with three beans all landed on the holy moley crab fly.

I always say, When those purple jackarandas start to bloom, the corbina are staging to feed in shallow water.

Me and the boys hit the beach early Sunday morning after hearing about a good yellowfin croaker bite. We were all spread out down the beach of sight, connected only by cell phones. When I got down to the beach in the early morning light I stopped to observe the pattern of the waves and look for structure. To my surprise the Corbina were feeding in the shallow water right at our feet in multiples, sliding and tailing. It was weird because the water temps on my app were showing cooler water, they shouldn’t have been doing this but the water was warm. I told my buddy, dude, change flies, put on a sand crab fly, stay way back and cast, the beans are working. It felt like the middle of the summer, only there was no one fishing, the beach was empty, it was cold with the early June gloom, and no sun. But nobody told the fish. It was a very cool and welcome early season start to the Corbina patrol…The water temps today showed 67 degrees, which totally makes sense! I personally like 68 but what do I know? It’s officially summer bean time, its on!

Categories: Corbina Patrol, Crab flies, Surf Adventure | 6 Comments

happy 80th birthday igfa

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it was a great run…

photo by elena revelez

This year’s CTD was really awesome and thanks to all that made the pilgrimage to Lake Henshaw but all good things someday must come to an end! Me and Conway had a heart to heart conversation and we are both on the same page, it’s time to go out on a positive event! Thanks to everyone that helped make this event possible, our friends, all the fly fisherman and partners. We will be taking a break with no plans for any future CTDs on the horizon, but you never know? We could bring it back for a CTD reunion someday. LOL Me and my bud, Conway had a great run of nine years. We made lots of new friends, raised lots of money for notable non-profits and enjoyed watching all the kids grow up at the Throwdown. Nothing but fond memories. There will be new adventures and fun events for us ahead, so stay tuned…life ain’t nothing but a party…carp on, good people!

-Al Q

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count down to the throwdown…

Quinn_CTDTrophy_WEB

We are very proud to have, off the hook (pun intended!) trophies this year for our 9th annual Carp Throwdown at Lake Henshaw, San Diego, which will take place on Saturday, June 1st at 7am!

If you come up on Friday night we usually have some live music and a potluck barbecue
prior to the event & festivities on Saturday. It’s a lot of fun.

There will be a first/second place plaque awarded for wading, a first/second place for boat and one for biggest Trash fish. A trash fish could be anything from a Bluegill, Catfish to a Largemouth Bass. ( we are all carp people! LOL) Special thanks again to Dwight Hwang @fishingforgyotaku and to our good friend Rick Olsen from Olson Visual. Please support these folks they both make a difference in the quality of their excellent detail and workmanship.  See ya on the lake

-Al Q

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