Happy New Year!
At this writing, I’m pretty happy cause I hooked a steelhead with the Spey Rod and a red/black woolly bugger in the San Lorenzo under the train trestles today.
Considering I’m still learning how to control line on this big stick, I was totally stoked. Third cast this morning. Course I didn’t land it and it was likely a young first year fish cause it was not more than fourteen inches (and I’m being as realistic as I can be) but bright and silvery. It was what we’d call an LDR – long distance release! Considering my casting, I was quite happy about it. My hands were frozen. It said 28 degrees in Ben Lomond when I left, for the river.
For the next three hours I continued, by myself. Seriously strange if you know the history of the San Lorenzo River. If the tide was high in the Estuary, and it was a fishable day, before Christmas, you’d see at least 10 people fishing. Over the years, three or four. But yesterday and today? One. Me. It was awesome, practicing my casting with no concern about some other angler laughing his arse off watching me pummel the water learning. And it was beautiful. Oh – I had an audience alright. Donned in my Santa hat to keep my ears and cranium warm. It is the “season” after all. They knew very little about how good I was, but I was, the Fly Fisherman. While I paid no attention, focusing on my casting, pretending I didn’t hear their marvelous accolades, praises and adorations, it was nice to be raising awareness that yes, there are fish in this river.
It was not likely I was going to catch another fish, as my casting was not near enough as good as it was yesterday. I called it, ‘beating the water to death for the next three hours’. I suppose I was suffering from YouTube Spey Casting overload. Too much information. I was likely trying too hard, mixing up my Perry Poke with the Snap-T, or is it Iced-T? When that wasn’t working and the breeze was blowing counter to my downstream shoulder, I must’ve needed to change to my Double Spey. Yeah – that was it! Nope. Maybe I was casting with the wrong hand – switched hands. That didn’t do it either. Oh no, please don’t tell me it’s the Snake Roll. No way I got that one yet. Was clearly my overhand pushing and not my underhand. Arrggg.
Back to basics – roll cast, watch my D-Loop, keep it up,…, Single Spey. Ahhhhhh. You know you have it right when all the line runs out, tugs on your reel and you realize it’s pretty far away all nice and straight and you hardly heard anything hit the water. Try to remember how you did that and do it again, and again, and again? More practice.
When I learned to cast the single hand rod, I would practice for hours and hours. It’s a little harder to do with a Spey Rod. Taking a 13’6” 8 weight to the park is a good bit different than a 9’ 5 weight. So I like these days when I am okay with casting away in the estuary when the tide is up. I’m not worried about hindering a larger fish that might be moving up to spawn, when the flows are again, tragically low.
One good year does not a Steelhead river make. The San Lorenzo is suffering again with little less than 22% of “average” rainfall again. The flows for the last several years, but one, have been 50-60% of the 82 year average flows.
If you fish the river, be careful. Make sure you are single-barbless, no-bait, no scents, and are careful where you walk.
Some have asked why fish when the river is in peril. To raise awareness. If the fishermen go, who will speak for the Steelhead, Tide water goby, the Stickleback, Lamprey Eel? The San Lorenzo will turn into the LA River – just a water supply for the city and the majority of population who will never know why the Steelhead, Coho (and all the other wildlife), are so important and necessary to thrive.
In the last 50 years, our biodiversity in wildlife which was 65% of the entire plant, is today just 35%. The San Lorenzo, and our adjoining rivers, Scott, Waddell, Pescadero, Soquel, Aptos, Pajaro…, are in peril. They need water. Pretty much it. Water. More than these rivers are being allotted today. And I don’t mean just from a Water Department perspective, but a development, stewardship, awareness, do something about it stance.
Some of the water departments would have you “Conserve” with a belief it’s good for the environment, but the water you are conserving is not going to the fish. It’s going to developers who don’t even live in these watersheds.
Whoa! Where did that come from? Wasn’t I just hooking a young steelhead in the estuary with my Spey Rod? Yeah. Let’s get back to that.
2020 is now behind us – we can look for a lot of new things in 2021. Even when Covid is gone, we’re hopefully realizing that gardens are good, less is better, working from home is doable, and we don’t need to be flying around the country to have fun.
The club will take a lot of what we were forced to do in 2020 and use it to your advantage for 2021 and beyond. You have a great club and it is great because of you. Love your input, even if it’s constructive. Keep it coming. Jump on a committee or a board position- have fun with us.
Happy New Year. Hogye
Posted on December 30th, 2020