Our May speaker was again for the third time in more than a few years, going to be Jon Baiocchi, talking to us about the Skwala (stone fly) hatches and fishing on the beautiful Yuba River, Jon’s home river where he has been guiding nearly every day, all day, for years.
If you were Jon’s friend, or new him from Facebook and Instagram, every photo is a smile a mile wide, and not just from Jon’, but the hundreds of men, women and children in his photos.
I knew Jon’s dad, Bob Baiocchi, when I was working so hard to change the regulations for the entire state of California when it came to fishing for Steelhead and Coho. We are responsible for the emergency changes that took place, after three years of work, in 1998, and which are part of every Steelhead and Coho river/creek in California today. Jon was just a few years younger than me. He was a free-spirited guy who started out as an amazing shred expert on a skateboard and snowboard. He was also super proficient on a moto-cross bike. Everyone that knows Jon says the same thing about his energy, friendship, smile, dedication, …
I didn’t meet Jon until I came back to the club in ’17. His dad had passed away and I was sorry I didn’t know that. But we became friends and I got him to the club to speak his second time, and then I found excuses to have him back every year.
Jon and I were communicating on Wednesday night while we were having our board meeting. I was excited to be seeing him for the club meeting and looking forward to fishing with him after he got back home.
Thursday, Jon went to work on his favorite river and had two friends with him. They were on the warm, sunny, rocky bank of the river, starting to fish. It’s reported he mentioned he had a pain in his neck, then his arm hurt, then he fell and was gone.
Selfishly, I am missing a true hero of our rivers and steward of our rivers and those who get to learn from his infectious enthusiasm. I can’t believe I was just talking to him the night before and how excited he was to be with us, and then the chance to fish together. Weather and fishing had been so epic for Jon and his clients during Covid. He had a new truck, new friends, and business was so very good. He was only 56.
This is why I challenged you to join our club- if you’re also reading this and you’re not a member. Life is too short and can be taken from us at any moment.
If you’re reading this, please join us on Wednesday May 6th, at 6:30 p.m. We are going to hang out together, check in with each other, maybe make sure we’re all where we need to be right now, remember Jon, and figure out where to go from there. I will suggest we take Jon’s fee and maybe something more to contribute to a cause in his name.
Five wt rod and reel with floating line and leader.
This Adamsbuilt package includes a 9 foot 4 piece rod with matching reel ready to fish. Perfect for the new trout season. It comes in a cordura nylon covered hard tube case with reel pocket. It is a complete backup rig or is a perfect starter set for the new fly angler.
Custom Shad Flies
Those in the know keep time available for Shad fishing in the month of May.
With that in mind we have two dozen custom Shad flies hand tied by Northern California river guide Bill Adelman.
These proven producers have made there chops on the Sacramento, Yuba, and American River. Should be a good year for Shad, win this box of flies to make it great.
Klamath wet/dry bag by Adamsbuilt
This heavy duty gear bag will hold everything from your wet waders to your dirty socks and everything in between. The heavy cordura nylon exterior and rugged molded bottom are up to the task of those long drives down the dusty bumpy back roads. The waterproof interior pockets keep everything dry when the rain pours down.
Now for the fine print:
Raffle tickets are sold for a dollar each in packs of five. Spend $20 dollars and get 25 tickets. Click on this link to purchase tickets:
Long before “A River Run’s Through It”, there were six guys in Santa Cruz who fished together, likely since they were kids. One of them, Ernie Kinzli, had recently opened a Fly Shop in Soquel, at the bridge on Soquel Drive over Soquel Creek. At this time there were several fishing shops in Santa Cruz as many of our creeks and rivers were chock full of trout, Steelhead, Coho and Lamprey Eel, all year.
Jim Hall, Ernie, Manny Gutierrez, the Morelli brothers and Rick McCary knew about the San Jose Fly Casters and the Salinas Fly Fishers. In Santa Cruz there was another group who called themselves the San Lorenzo Steelheaders. Jim teases that they were known as the hardware, bait guys, and were in fact the guys who founded Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.
Since Ernie’s store would become the nucleus of fly-fishing in Santa Cruz in the early 70’s, these six guys came up with an idea of a club. I bet it was over dinner with their wives, because I know Mona is always the one coming up with the best ideas for the club. Ironically, they wanted to be “different” than the San Jose and Salinas clubs, and didn’t like the word “fisher” or “caster”, so in 1977 they named their club, The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen.
The guy’s wives became members, performing duties such as Vice President, Conservation Chair, Membership, Finance and Secretary. Ernie Kinzli and Jim Hall, who are still members today (I fished with Jim at Pyramid last month!), acted as the clubs first presidents and fishing trip coordinators. Soon thereafter, people you know even today, joined the club and participated in some capacity as board member, fishing trip organizer (Fish-Outs), Spaghetti dinners, Conservation… They teamed up with the fledgling MBSTP and began more organized efforts to save the fisheries. They had meetings and parties at nearly every Elks Lodge, Portuguese Hall, German Hall, and Grange in Santa Cruz.
Women joined the club and got their boyfriends and husbands involved. Kathy Powers, Elaine Cook, Betty Rentz, the Steele’s and more. Family memberships were created so people could get the whole families involved. Singles started mingling and fishing together, then were a couple. The Annual Dinner was created simply as a means of getting together to celebrate friendship, fishing and food. Ernie had some things from the store and came up with an idea for a raffle, which then became something he contributed every single month his store was in business for over 30 years. The Pyramid Lake and Mammoth Fish-outs were born. People joined who often fished at other places – like the Delta and San Luis Reservoir, Ed Marcillac and Gil Santos, which then became fish-outs. Kathy Powers jumped into Conservation. Pat (Patricia) Steele and Elaine mastered what became our award-winning news-letter – seriously. Lois and Walt Robinson started casting classes, George and Pat Peterson – fly-tying and rod building. Programs started to involve anglers from afar who came over, had dinner with us, then spent the night talking to us about new places to fish, photography, hiking and horse-packing – which then lead to the creation of the “Pack Trip Fish-Out” which went on for years. Fly-tying classes came about as a way of just getting together to hang out with the friends you were making. The Con-Fab was created because we were all competitive by nature so it was a fun way to enjoy casting, exchanging gear and hoping to claim the “Big Dog” trophy, for being the proclaimed best caster for that time, that day!
I joined the club in ‘91/92, after I got married and one of my wife’s friends was telling her about fly-fishing and the club. I just realized at this moment, that if it were not for my wife, I would not be a fly-fisherman. Hmm. I met Kathy Powers, Manny Gutierrez, Elaine, and Henry. Never forget that. Kathy got me hooked and that was it.
Some of you know, I became the Conservation Chair (where, in my exuberant youth, I proceeded to piss off a great deal of anglers as I worked to change regs on Steelhead and Coho fishing in California – who ended up liking me because it was weird- I was a fly fisherman), then President, and then Program coordinator. We had a lot of fun teaching so many people of all kinds who had seen the movie, and were interested in fly-fishing. We were in all the schools teaching the kids, and the teachers and the parents! We were in parades, in the newspaper, in other places all over the world.
Fly fishing is fun, it’s about being, as Hank Patterson would say – “in nature, all peaceful and quiet, alone with yourself, screaming at a bait-fishermen who just plunked into yer hole with a two pound chunk o’ lead, a night crawler and a bobber – that thing fly anglers call an indicator. It’s a bobber!”
In my business, these last 20 years, if we didn’t change when technology changed, we would never have lasted a month. Covid. Covid taught us all how to change very quickly. We were, all of us, shoved off a cliff and made to fly or land with a splat. We all did things we never, and I mean never, thought we would do. Some of us said the word “never”, but within a month we were doing exactly that thing we said we’d never do.
Our club is now a part of Santa Cruz history. We have a very real purpose here and are looked upon with a good bit of respect. This community leans on us soundly whenever there is a question or concern about the creeks and rivers here that so desperately need our help. Whenever fish are stranded, or the runs of steelhead are coming in, or a clean-up is needed, we participate in so many ways. We did the work, laughed, joked, and then had coffee or a beer together later, thankful we did something good. When Covid is over, if you’re new, you’ll see and have a chance to participate. If the club ever went away, it would leave an enormous hole in the stewardship and accountability role we play here in Santa Cruz, and thanks to our Conservation Chairs, around the world. Our Scholarship fund, which came from an idea my wife had to honor Gary Hazelton, John Fong, Ric Von Carnap and others who left us too soon, started as simply as adding the word “Donation” to the bottom of our membership form, and is now a maturing high-school scholarship fund for students entering environmental studies and science.
Change is the only constant in life, and while no one can ever please everyone, we are always considering things we need to do, or should do to improve, to meet the spirit of our mission, which is “To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing”. I didn’t create this. Our founders did. Forty-four years ago.
More than a few times, the word “Fishermen” had been brought to our attention. When firemen became firefighters, stewardess became flight attendant and horseman became rider, or when nurse became – uh, well, wait, it’s still nurse – you know what I mean. Men were starting to become nurses and flight attendants; women were becoming firefighters, law-enforcement, and now today, Vice President of the USA. Changing “fishermen” was at times contentious. And you should know, that resistance did not always come from the ‘men’.
After careful consideration, the Board has decided to change the name of the club to fit more appropriately our unwavering dedication always to being a welcoming place for anyone interested in the sport of fly fishing. We are now “Santa Cruz Fly Fishing” or you will see The Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club where appropriate. SCFF will still be our acronym, if you will, because we are an active organization. New logos, patches, stickers and some really cool art is to follow.
We are not a name. We want everyone to feel they are an important part of who we are. We are more concerned about the future of how we can best represent fly-fishing, conservation, preservation and restoration. Your background, our experience level, how you identify – none of this matters to us. If you are interested in fly fishing, you are our type of people, and we’d love to meet you.
While there were a multitude of different sentiments on the naming decision, this does not change who we are as a club, or our commitment to our mission. It was hard. There is a lot of history in “The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen”. The name was never meant to exclude anyone. Our founders will tell you they chose that name because it was different than the other two; they didn’t like “fishers” and they weren’t just “casters”. So, this name still holds a lot of respect and historical significance to us. Our founders, board and membership are the most caring and supportive people I’ve ever met. Considerate, embracing, engaging and fun to be around. I personally have the fondest, best memories, and love for those we’ve been involved with for forty-four years.
The foundation, mission, spirit and fun this club is, remains. It is growing stronger and younger. Our members (I like to think of you as family) are the most important part. Our perception and respect in the fly-fishing world is important. We want to be a role model, good stewards, set good examples, do good, work hard, give back and have fun.
If you are not a member, and you are reading this, I challenge you to join, now. Yes, right now. Go to the “Join” button and join. ALL are welcome. Step in, be part of the next forty-four years. You will see what I mean and you will find friends you never thought you’d ever have. Do not hesitate. Time is too short.
Back in the 1980s, there was a Fly Shop in Los Gatos named ‘The Upstream Flyfishing company’. The proprietor contacted the Santa Cruz Fly fishermen, (at that time we were a fairly new organization). He offered to sponsor an annual award that he named ‘The Dame Julianna award’.
Dame Julianna was purportedly a 15th century woman of means. She greatly enjoyed the field sports of the day. She has been generally credited with writing some of the earliest treatises on Hawking, Hunting, and Fishing.
The ’Book of St Albans’ was a sporting tome written in about 1486, with an addendum in 1496 called: ‘A Treatise on Fysshynge with an Angle’. This book is generally considered one of the first writings about fly fishing. She also wrote of the virtues of environmental conservation and field etiquette.
In honor of Dame Juliana, we were asked to name the one club member that assisted our other members the most in their flyfishing journey. Upstream Flyfishing then donated a gift to the luckily chosen member.
While Upstream Flyfishing ultimately went out of business, the Santa Cruz Fly fishermen’s club continued the award tradition for the next several years, giving each years chosen member a cash award to purchase their own fishing tackle.
A few years back, we recognized that we had a club member that personified Dame Juliana, in that he strove to constantly give back to our flyfishing community. In addition to being a founding member of our club, he has at one time or another filled just about every position on our board of directors. He has donated incalculable hours of time, material, monies, artwork, fishing knowledge, and general good spirits. For decades he gathered and stored all of our annual club dinner raffle prizes and silent auction items, (many of the items he hand made himself). To this day he and his lovely wife continue host our monthly board meetings.
I am speaking of course of our own John Steele. We decided to rebrand the Dame Julianna award as the John Steele award. It is our attempt to honor both Dame Juliana, and our own John.
Each month, we ask our membership to nominate any and all who have helped them. Whether it be teaching a skill, showing a hot fishing spot, giving a fly, volunteering as a board member or fish master, encouraging or just humoring a member on their own flyfishing journey.
Members may nominate as many members as they like, as often as they feel they have been assisted. Nominations can be made by Emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. A sentence or two about how you were helped makes the actual presentation more fun. We make the presentation each year at our annual club installation dinner. Last years winner was Scott Kitayama. Who knows who next years winner will be?
As the name implies, this fly is fished subsurface for trout. An easy fly to tie and if you are a beginner, you can borrow vice tools and thread from the club. You can use either black or olive 8/0 thread. Have available a dubbing hook or a bobby pin or something similar. Sign up by calling me at (831)688-1561. Allow enough time for a packet of materials to be assembled and put by front door for you to pick up. This summer, while I’m on vacation, there will be 3 great tyers conducting the classes. Please be sure to support them by attending the classes that they have spent a lot of time and effort putting them together.
Understanding how to fish this fly is important. The rear end of the fly needs to hang down in the water and the thorax and wing out of the water. Accomplish this by applying saliva to the body and tail, then floatent to wing and hackle. During a hatch fish tend to be more eager to take an emerger than a dun because they are not ready to fly off.
Hook: TMC 100, size 16-18
Thread: yellow 8/0 but 12/0 or 14/0 are preferred (Note: Rather than purchasing multiple colors of very fine thread, get one spool of white and use a Sharpie pens to make various colors.)
Tail and Body: Brown marabou (fluffy)
Thorax: Pale yellow dubbing
Wing: Deer hair with light color and narrow fibers
Hackle: Ginger neck or saddle
1. Crimp Barb.
2. Attach thread one eye length behind eye. Touching wraps to rear of shank.
3. Cut 3-5 marabou barbs from stem. With tips extending hook length length to rear, make 2 thread wraps forward, then fold marabou backward and make 2 thread wraps backward.
4. Make thread loop. Hold loop and stem end of marabou together, and wrap thread 2/3 forward on shank.
5. Twist loop and marabou into rope, then wrap up to hanging thread with touching wraps. Tie off,cut excess.
6. Dub a round thorax that covers shank from 1/4 to 1/2 back from eye.
7. Cut a small bundal of deer hair from close to hide. Clean out under fur. Stack tips. Lay on top of shank, tips out over eye so that they measure a shank length from thorax. Tie in place by making first wrap around only hair fibers then second wrap around both fibers and hook shank. Make several snug wraps on top of one another. Then one around base of wing to bundal it, then one more around shank. Cut butt ends so they just cover thorax. Apply very sm. amount glue to thread wraps.
8. Select hackle, barbs 1 1/2 hook gap. Cut off fuzzy end. Cut 5-6 barbs short on each side of the base of stem forming a “crew cut”. With feather tip to rear and dark side facing you, tie in crew cut between wing and cut deer hair butts. Make 3-5 hackle wraps around shank. Tie off cut excess.
9. Tie off with half hitches behind eye. Cut thread, apply small amount glue to half hitches.
Spring is here and fishing has been favorable for those who drove eastward to Pyramid Lake and especially the timing of our annual club fish-out which could not have been any better planned. My tenth year at the lake with the club and we all agreed that this is the grandest year for the fish and fishing as the bays filled with thousands of large trout all in spawning mode moving past our feet by the dozens and all day long.
The old pro’s in our group said the (4) of them conservatively landed over 500 fish that 6 days sitting on the platform chair. I enjoyed all the friends and activity but had to slip away to a south lake beach to be more remote and fish deeper water from shore. Never before have I had multiple double digit fish days and landing more than one fish in the teens in a single day. The unusual thing was the high numbers of fish foul hooked this year. It was more likely your fish was foul hooked than legally hooked and even when you were trying not to set the hook too hard or too soon. Even small midges like the albino wino was hooking the fish in the fins more often than not.
News flash: Pyramid Lake, Pilot Peak fish up to 16 lbs are now being counted as they pass the fish ladder on the Truckee River. The hatchery folks (Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Gardnerville NV) monitoring the fish as they pass are marking and numbering these spawners. It will be an exciting river to fish once the cutthroat trout establish themselves again.
Locally, as was in the local news and ‘Slim’ was not aware of the coho salmon planting into Scott Creek from our local Kingfisher Flat hatchery in Swanton. NOAA has control of this and has their own crew of workers. The low rivers was the reason to release the fish early. These fish survived the wildfire that heavily damaged the hatchery infrastructure and killed about half of last years hatched fish. The hatchery access was burned and destroyed (2 bridges over the creek). There is still no timeline as to the replacement of bridges and plumbing and tanks. (Photo taken years ago of salmon smolts entering salt water for the first time, the jumping part ended when they started adding salt to the water in the tanker trucks prior to being driven to the harbor from the Feather River Hatchery).
‘Cal Slim’ remembers the time when he arrived at Lake Davis and Jon was standing in front of the fishing camp he set up for his clients at Grasshopper campgrounds. He was smiling and waived to us like he expected our arrival and we may need some info. He said the lake was fishing very poorly and that he was driving to Frenchman’s daily to be catching small but scrappy rainbows. He had that smile and penetrating eyes that made you feel comfortable and at ease being around him instantly. I know many of our members know what I mean and have fished with Jon and or followed his posts on Facebook.
I will always remember that campground as Baiocchi Flats from now on, Life is so precious, It is very sad to realize he is gone but not forgotten.
Stosh (Steve Rudzinski) will hosting a social casting practice at Jade Park in Capitola on Saturday, May 8th. There is no agenda, just be at Jade Park at 2 pm and stay as long as you would like. There will be novice casters and experienced casters to assist as desired.
We will have plenty of Club 5 weight rods there for practice too.
Let’s hope the beaches remain open so we can once again enjoy teasing the Surf Perch and Stripers (Strippers?) on Rio Del Mar Beach. We will be fishing mid-flood tide. Sunrise is just after 6 am.
Take Rio Del Mar Blvd all the way until it drops down onto the flats, take a left 180, circling left around the roundabout and drive down Beach Drive about half a mile to the State Park area and park outside. Do NOT stop near the round-a bout! You will see us.
Sign Up Now! Experience a new HIGH! Fish for Dorado, and many other salt-water fish, including Bonito, Roosters, Yellowtail and Sailfish on a fly! Join the group going to Loreto in Baja from Tuesday, July 13th through Saturday, July 17th. This trip includes:
Four nights at the beautiful Hotel La Mision, on the water-front next to Loreto Harbor.
Three days of fishing on 24-foot Super Pangas, with fly fish-ing guides.
Ground transfers and fishing licenses.
It does not include meals, because there are some nice restaurants (A lot of fresh seafood!) in town or if you prefer, eat at the hotel, where they will cook your catch.
The fishing day starts around 6:00 a.m. and we usually get back to the harbor between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Spend the rest of the afternoon fishing from the beach, having a cool drink in the pool, exploring Loreto, or just sitting around telling some tall fish stories. And, you will have many exciting moments on the Sea of Cortez to talk about.
The approximate cost for everything but meals and airfare is: $950.00 per person (double occupancy). Interested? Please contact Rich Hughett, 831-757-5709, for all the details. You will need to book airline flights* as soon as possible. No advance payment needed.
*Southwest Airlines from San Jose and Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles to Loreto. Rich will help with your airline reservations
Roy Gunter writes: I am offering to sponsor a fishout to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska leaving on September 4, 2021 and returning on September 12, 2021. Limited to 4 participants including Roy. We will stay in the Riverside Cabin at the Eagle Landing Resort in Cooper Landing, AK (go to eaglelandingresort.com to check out Resort and Cabin). Trip will be fishing the Kenai River, Russian River and nearby creeks, targeting rainbows and dolly varden, but catching many salmon along the way. Trip includes 2 guided trips on the Kenai River, including at least one boat trip down the Kenai River Canyon to the delta of Skilak Lake. You will have to provide your own airfare to Anchorage and return, which can be arrange for virtually no charge if you obtain an Alaska Airlines Credit Card. Alaska Airlines now flies out of Monterey. However, a rental car is included in the trip. Food and beverages are included and obtained from Costco and Carrs Supermarket for preparation at the cabin. Since I am cooking for the most part, meals are gourmet including wine and/or other beverages. Since I am an Alaska Air card holder, over the last 20 years I have never exceeded $2,000 for the entire trip, including the cost of a motel before flying out, and once paid only $770. Couples are welcome, but there is only one queen bed in a separate bedroom. Other Club Members who have accompanied me include: Bob Monaco, Steve Rawson, Milana Rawson, Daneen Gunter, Don Foskett, Gary Hazelton, Harry Petrakis, Mark Traugott and Gil Santos. Requirements: $1,000 deposit subject to forfeit unless you find a substitute fisherman to accept your spot and you must have recieved all of your covid vaccinations at least 14 days prior to departure. Prior participants have priority. If interested please contact Roy Gunter at 831-809-0316 or email at email@example.com.
Sam Bishops adds some insight on the Alaska Airlines Credit Card opportunity: “Buy a new Alaska Airline card and get 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in 2 or 3 months. $75 for the card, but you get a free bag. Without it the first bag is $40. I just got a new card for about the fourth time. I let the old one expire and get a new one for the mileage. I paid the house insurance on the new one and bingo I am covered.”
by John Cook fishmaster-- (831)688-1561 or (831)234-6515
Dates: This fishout will take place over two consecutive one-week periods. You may sign up for one or both weeks. Week 1: Sept 18 – 25. (Spots Open) Week 2: Sept 26 – Oct 2. (Condo is full)
Location: The town of Mammoth Lakes is located on the eastern side of the Sierra, 6 or 7 hours drive from Santa Cruz. There are many lakes and streams in the area to fish.
General: We will be staying in condominiums in the town of Mammoth Lakes. Condo has a lovely hot tub, so bring your suit. Two people per bedroom. Most people bring a sleeping bag to share king size bed or a pad and sleeping bag to sleep on floor. A private room option is possible at an increased fee.
Cost: Covers 7 night’s lodging and 3 meals per day. $320/week, $640/two weeks. $535/week for a private room. $ is not refundable unless someone takes your place. Any unused funds will be used for prizes at the annual fund raiser.
Food Preparation: Breakfast and lunch items will be purchased by the fishmaster ahead of time. Each person will be assigned a Kitchen Day. On that day, tasks will include setting out breakfast and lunch items, store unused food, and preparing the evening meal and clean up afterwards.
SignUps: Call John Cook letting him know which week or both or private room. ASAP or up to May 1st. We will be leaving town mid May, so need to put things together and confirm reservation by then. Receiving your $ will reserve your spot. I will maintain a waiting list and, if space becomes available you will be notified by phone, even while we are on summer vacation. Deliver your $ by mail ( PO Box 2822, Aptos, Ca. 95001 ) or deliver in person. (215 Treasure Island Ave., Aptos , Ca. )
Covid Issues: All participants must have completed the vaccine regiment at least one month prior. Must be free of symptoms. If negative public health issues arrive, the fishout will be canceled and $ returned.