Demo Day at Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club

 

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Spey Nation 2016

Come Join Temple Fork Outfitters at Spey Nation 2016 in Salmon River, N.Y., on June 25.

Take part in this gathering of of anglers, manufacturers and two-handed rod enthusiasts.

This one-day event features casting, fishing and on the water presentations as well as many top manufacturers from the fishing industry.

TFO’s own Nick Conklin will lead off the day with an on the water presentation, starting at 9 a.m.

Nick will be presenting a basic overview of tackle, (rods, lines, reels and other tips).

For a full list of presenters and vendors, please visit, Spey Nation.

 

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TFO at the 2016 Sandy River Spey Clave

Come join Temple Fork Outfitters at the 2016 Sandy River Spey Clave at Oxbow Park on May 13-15.

Take part in this gathering of of anglers, manufacturers and two-handed rod enthusiasts.

Often touted as the “Woodstock of spey casting events,” this three-day event features casting, fishing and fly tying demonstrations and presentations as well as over a 30 product booths.  spey-clave-2016

Friday is “Beginner’s Day,” which focuses on introducing new anglers into the sport of two-handed rod casting and fishing.

Male and female instructors/presenters will be mixed into all three days of the scheduled on-the-water programs.

For more information on the event, please visit, Sandy River Spey Clave 2016.

 

Surf Perch, Think Crappie on Steroids

nickBy Nick Curcione, TFO Advisory Staff

 

Churning waves and rip currents with undertows that suck the bottom from your feet like a giant vacuum give new meaning to the word turbulence.

It’s no wonder then that confronting these conditions with fly gear can seem downright foolish. However, as with most challenging endeavors, with proper technique and equipment, fly anglers can successfully fish any surf zone.

The following discussion will concentrate on Southern Calif., and its vast and virtually unrestricted beachfront.  The primary species is the barred surf perch. Think of it as a crappie on steroids. By saltwater standards it is relatively small but its abundance and readiness to strike a variety of artificials serves as an ideal adversary for the light tackle fly aficionado.

Surf perch can be taken on various fly patterns in sizes from 1 to 4.   Photo Nick Curcione.

Surf perch can be taken on various fly patterns in sizes from 1 to 4.
Photo Nick Curcione.

 

Geographically they range along a considerable stretch of the Pacific coastline from Bodega Bay, (approximately 70-miles north of San Francisco) all the way south into the area around San Quintin.

 

Productive perch fishing can be had from beaches at both the northern and southern limits of this range, but, for this article the area from Oxnard south to San Diego will be the focus.

 

Most of these fish are in the ½ to 2-pound range, but are hard striking and strong fish. They are designed that way to survive their daunting habitat. Unlike the tranquil environment of their freshwater cousins, they live and feed in a very dynamic, turbulent water system. So, while they are not line burners, they’ll put a good bend in the rod and resist you for every inch of line you strip back.

 

Catching barred perch can be a year- long proposition, (one of my largest close to the 3-pond mark was taken in mid September) but the best months typically run from Dec. to April. Jan. is usually the month when you can expect larger specimens in the form of females that come into the surf from deeper water in preparation for spawning. They also come to feed, primarily in the form of sand crabs, which make up approximately 90 percent of their diet.

 

Study the tides and surf

As in all forms of surf fishing, feeding habits of the perch are closely tied to tidal phases.

Strong tidal currents like those associated with full and new moon phases act like a giant mixer churning up the bottom stirring up food sources, ( like sand crabs). Perch key into this so, time fishing o coincide with periods of optimum water movement. Generally this means you should try and fish during incoming or outgoing tides. However, not all beaches fish the same. Some will yield the best action on an incoming tide while others are best fished on an outgoing.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, so reading the waves is imperative.  Photo by Nick Curcione.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, so reading the waves is imperative.
Photo by Nick Curcione.

Just as trout anglers know that all sections of a stream are not equally productive, so it is with the beachfront.

To the uninitiated all beaches may look relatively similar, but as experienced surfers and veteran surf anglers there is an important variation. Surfperch like other predators are programmed to feed in habitat that will yield a maximum payoff of food with a minimum expenditure of effort. Fish will congregate in places where there the food source is abundant and readily accessible. In the case of their principal food source, sand crabs, anglers need to quickly identify areas in the surf line where the crabs are most likely hold. These areas are a function of bottom confirmation. Holes and troughs in the surf are places where sand crabs are relatively abundant. Whether they frequent these places by design or are simply washed there by the current, no one can say for sure. It’s enough to know that these are areas where you want to present your flies.

In most cases the bottom may not be visible, reading the waves is imperative.

Waves tend to break over shallow areas; they tend to roll over deeper areas such as cuts and troughs along the bottom.

For example, if you observe a relatively flat area of water washing toward shore with waves breaking on either side of it, that’s a sign that there is a bottom depression directly beneath the flat section of water. This deeper water will tend to hold fish like perch because that is where bait sources are likely to be concentrated. Sand crabs and small baitfish that are swept into these calmer pockets where they become easy prey for likes of perch.

Bottom depressions are prime areas to direct your casts but you also have to exercise an extra measure of caution when wading particularly if water visibility is compromised. In the event you are having difficulty identifying these spots (repeated trips to the beach front will sharpen your skills) do not despair. The truth is perch can be taken in all kinds of surf conditions so the best practice is to walk the beach and try to cover as much shore front as possible.

Tackle Choices

 

I opt for the 6/8-weight TFO Mini Mag rod.

It is a hybrid combination of S-Glass and carbon fiber. It’s only 8-feet, but it will throw all the line you need to reach perch, (most casts don’t need to be longer than 60-feet). This rod weight could be considered the heavy end of the scale for this type of fishing and it’s a good choice if the surf is especially violent and you have to throw heavily weighted flies.

Two good choices for two-handed anglers are the Pandion 6-weight and the 7/8-weight TiCr X conversion kit. With both of these sticks I use a Skagit line with a fast sinking tip.

Shooting heads are the way to go.

The leader set up is very simple and consists of a single section, (5 to 8-feet) of 8-lb test mono. Fasten an end loop in the mono (make it about 8 to 10-inches long) by means of a six-turn surgeon’s knot, (this is an overhand knot where you go through the overhand knot six times). Take this loop fold it over itself and tie a surgeon’s knot, (a double overhand knot). This gives you a double line loop in the leader that you interlock with the loop in in the tag end of the shooting head.

 

Fly Patterns

Fly patterns for surfperch can also be simple affairs but they should incorporate three basic features. They should be durable, they must not have any tendency to foul and should be tied in such a manner that the hook point rides up.

On practically all my surf flies I incorporate some type of weight either in the form of bead chain or dumbbell eyes. Any fly that bears a resemblance to their principal diet source, (sand crabs) will draw strikes. Color varies from grey to tan. Anglers should incorporate a clump of orange chenille to simulate the roe sack on female crabs.

Practically any bonefish pattern tied on size 1 to 4 hooks will be productive.

Two-handed rods in the surf

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By TFO

TFO Advisory Staff member Nick Curcione, an innovator in two-handed rods, recently did a write up for RIO products on his specialty, two-handed rods in the surf. Here is an excerpt of that piece. For more on this technique and some fun ways to utilized two-handed casting, check out the RIO blog at: http://goo.gl/C8km4 

“The initial motivation for using a double-handed fly rod for fishing off the beach was based on my years of experience surf fishing with conventional and spinning outfits. The added length of these 11 and 12-foot rods made it relatively easy to fire off long distance casts beyond the breakers and I reasoned that the same would be true in the case of two-handed fly rods.” 

For more on two-handed rods, and fishing in general, head over to the RIO blog: http://goo.gl/abcbg

Nick Curcione casting in the surf near San Francisco, Calif.

Nick Curcione casting in the surf near San Francisco, Calif.

Deer Creek (5/6-wt.) Rods for Bonefish

The TFO Deer Creek series of rods is getting good praise (and time on the water!) from Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Here is a follow-up excerpt from one of Clay’s posts on the 5/6-weight Deer Creek Spey rod:

Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Hawaii have been making good use of the DC series of spey rods for bonefish. Photo courtesy Nervous Waters Fly Fishers.

Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Hawaii have been making good use of the DC series of spey rods for bonefish.
Photo courtesy Nervous Waters Fly Fishers.

“The TFO Deer Creek 12’ 6” 5/6, not surprisingly, maintained the same “good rod” characteristics of its bigger bro the 13’ 6/7.  Easy loading, nice feel throughout the cast, and (most importantly) very forgiving.  It conked repeated long casts effortlessly as all good bombing sticks ought to.  The Deer Creek 5/6 is probably physically lighter than the 13’ 6/7.  It has to be as it is a lighter line weight and shorter rod.  I didn’t notice any difference in “lightness” between the two when casting them.  Going strictly by fatigue factor, both are effortless to cast and cast all day.  Not to mention super fun too.  d loop fire, d loop fire, d loop fire, and a multitude of fancy pants line flailing to get to the point of d loop and fire… what could be more fun than that!” 

Clay at Nervous Waters Fly Fishers has been doing some creative write-ups on chasing bonefish with long rods. For the complete posts, check out http://goo.gl/d0kKA 

Deer Creek Rods for Bonefish

The TFO Deer Creek series of rods is getting good praise (and time on the water!) from Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Here is an excerpt from one of Clay’s posts on the 6/7-weight Deer Creek Spey rod:

Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Hawaii have been making good use of the DC series of spey rods for bonefish. Photo courtesy Nervous Waters Fly Fishers.

Nervous Waters Fly Fishers in Hawaii have been making good use of the DC series of spey rods for bonefish.
Photo courtesy Nervous Waters Fly Fishers.

“Long story short, the rod performed beautifully.  Very forgiving of shall we say less than perfect casts.  The rod loaded easily and I could feel it throughout the cast.  It launched long with very little effort. I casted it for five hours straight with absolutely no fatigue. The only thing that wore me out was fighting a bunch of fish, (as it should always be when using any fly rod).  I didn’t hook anything big but the rod handled the rats i got into very well.  It felt like it still had some reserve power for when the big boy bites, yet it was light enough that every fish I caught put some serious bend in the rod. The Deer Creek was just a pleasure to cast and fight fish with. absolute super fun which, after all, is the point of all of this fly fishing stuff.” 

Clay at Nervous Waters has been doing some creative write-ups on chasing bonefish with long rods. For the complete posts, check out http://goo.gl/d0kKA