The full moon minus low tide cycle, combined with warm water temps were a slam dunk for corbina sight casting on the fly this past week. The last few days were as good as I have seen it on our local beaches with lots of happy fish moving around. It’s good times in bean land, lets hope it continues through the summer.
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.
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
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!
Me and my buddy Jon Nakano will share our experience and knowledge on sight fishing skinny water Corbina, tomorrow morning between 11 am and 1 pm at The Fly Stop in San Diego. We will go over all tactics, tackle, attitude and even tie a few flies… hope to see you there.
I have been getting a lot of buzz about this fly recently. I did a CA Fly Fisher magazine article about a few months ago on it as well. Here is the step by step for my friends that were not fortunate to get this past article. Its a little fuzzy cause i shot it with my phone, but you’ll get the idea, its pretty easy to tie. Just remember to tie all EP fibers on top of the shank and pulled back, (opposite of the merkin style). Also be careful not to use too much CA thin glue or it will harder the fibers and ruin the gape of the hook, which will hurt your hook set. The fly has a higher profile in the sand and I believe the corbina can track it easier…give it a try.
HOOK: Gamagatsu SL15 size 6 or 8
THREAD: Orange 210 Denier for base and securing eyes, Clear Mono for building fly.
BODY: Original EP Fibers, Grey, Orange. This fly can be tied in all orang, grey or salmon pink too.
ANTENNA: One piece folded stiff Saltwater Orange Krystal flash
REAR LEGS: Hareline Dubbing Round Barred Grizzly legs
SIDE LEGS: Sili Legs Clear/Pearl with Silver Flake
EYES: Large Bead Chain or Dazl – Eyes 5/23” black
CEMENT: ZAP CA Thin
HEAD AND UNDERBODY: Epoxy or Tuffleye, Light Cured Epoxy
Well, I just got back from a week long, family vacation in San Francisco, got to work and started to plow through all my emails when i stumbled onto this cool email from Justin McGruder. This made my day and is why I love to fly fish and share my experiences with others… WTG Justin, so happy you will be able to pass this wonderful gift of fly fishing forward, you made me proud!
I just wanted to take a second and thank you for always being so willing to share you insights and knowledge to us aspiring fly fishers. I really have enjoyed following you and all your adventures over the years. I remember clearly back in ’08 I created my Fliflicker account and reached out to the community to help me get started. You were the first to hit me up, you gave me your number and we briefly spoke and you welcomed me to the fray. I also hit up your photo shop class years ago at your work I believe. Man the more I think about it, you have been a huge factor in my growth over the years, from fishing, tying flies and photography. I can’t begin to thank you enough for that.
Anyway I really wanted to share a few pics from this weekend down in Oceanside. We are here for a week on vacation. My son Bruce is 13, and really starting to get into fly fishing. We have been Bean hunting everyday since we have been down here. We’ve seen dozens more than I have ever seen in the last 10 years down here. I was able to get out early before the weekend crowds and I got lucky and stuck one just south of the Oceanside pier. I was so stoked they are so much fun on a fly rod! Bruce has had a few good shots (you can see in the 2nd picture he was close) but no grabs yet. After I got one I put down my rod and I am just working with him. I have to admit, it is so much fun passing on the passion to someone else, and as many did for me I can now begin to pay it forward. Al I just wanted to say thank you and share a bit of my story, feel free to share if you’d like. Oh yea Bruce was asking about tying flies so were going to try to ty up some of your Holy Moley’s I was the one who hit you up for a step by step. Keep up the awesome work Q!
This morning it seemed to all come together for me. I am a believer that if you pay your dues, the universe will throw ya a bone once in a while. lol Last night, I observed the tides and paid close attention to the water table. It was perfect for the area I was looking to fish. I wanted one to two feet of water to be in a spot where I knew the sand crabs would be and the fish had to crawl to reach them. It was going to be an early deal but that works perfect for a working-class guy with a family and short opportunity. The magic window was going fall between 5:45am and 7am. I was ready, got the equipment ready and got down to my spot in the early light, there was no-one around, it was perfect. As I walked along the beach I saw tell tale sign of nervous water and v wakes working in low light. I stayed way back on the beach. My third cast came tight and I had my first bean on the sand. The action didn’t stop until around 6:30, when it was over I looked back and realized in a forty five minute window, I had landed 5 faired-caught beans, lost two fish to user error (didn’t strip hard enough as they came straight at me) and released another that was foul-hooked under the belly. The moral of this tale…its better to be lucky than good and always better to be it the right spot so you have the chance to be lucky… #corbinapatrol
This morning me and my buddy Jim fished one of our favorite local spots. There were no other anglers around except for a few football players doing drills in the sand. We had an idea where some fish were going to be, given we have been tracking them the last few weeks. It is all about getting enough water on the flat so they could get up and over onto the secondary sand crab flats. We fanned out, Jim sat in the honey hole, I went north looking for signs of life. On the way back, I see Jim’s rod bent, so I scurry back to take his pic. The flat had filled in. He landed a beautiful bean and had her on the sand. I took a few pics and began to fish. He waved me in and said there was a mystery pod, working very shallow, right at the edge of the waves, to fish right there and not to cast to far. I saw some dimpling on the surface which indicated fish but never saw a back, fin or tail. I changed my fly from grey to pink. Made a soft cast as the wave began to push water over the flat and continued to strip the fly until it hit dry sand. On the second cast just before the fly was a foot from coming out of the water a bean rushed and ate, she shook her head as to say WTF! I saw the whole take, it was sweet. Just as Jim predicted, she ate right on the doorstep. I landed her in short order, we high-fived, Jim took a nice pic and off she went back with her friends…
Moral of the story, it is always refreshing to fish with a buddy that doesn’t have an ego, willing to call ya in when the fish were working right in front of him. He wished my fish on me. I wouldn’t have gotten a fish this morning if Jim didn’t show his experience and sportsmanship. I didn’t have to write this, but I feel it is important because this used to be a normal occurrence. Something changed. I see anglers today, that only care about how many they caught and will throw over your back to catch them. If you hook a fish they run right up to where you are and start casting before you even land your fish. That wasn’t the case this morning. I will take one fish, out of kindness, to forty. It should be fun not competitive. Thanks Jim! Tight lines and have fun out there…