Striped Bass

As a kid, bass were my thing.  The set of percolation ponds in my neighborhood was full of them.  A few times a week, my brother and I would ride our BMX bikes down to the ponds, spinning gear in tow, and hop the fence.  We'd throw jigs, spinners, and crank baits up against the tule reeds until it was too dark to see.  Just in time for mom to get worried.  We never landed anything huge but it was always a good time. 

When I moved to Texas for High School, the bass just got bigger.  I had turned in my BMX bike for a little truck, which meant my fishing range exponentially increased.  My buddies and I would go to the local lakes and drag plastic worms across the rocky bottoms in search of big largemouth.  Our favorite, however, were the little farm ponds that dotted the North Texas landscape.  Those were the ponds that dreams are made of.  From time-to-time I'd hop the fence (you see a pattern emerging here?) and practice my fly fishing while standing on a bale of hay next the water's edge.  That's really where the obsession began. 

Since moving back to California and graduating college my bass fishing has taken a back seat to exploring the Sierras and searching for trout and steelhead.  With the recent bout of Northern California storms, most of our rivers have blown out again.  No complaints here though, we need it!  To add insult to injury, work has kept me in the city the last few months.  Needless to say, fly tying and watching fly fishing videos can only quench a thirst for so long. 

So...when Aaron asked me if I was interested in heading for a little half-day striper trip in the Bay, I was quick to jump on the bandwagon.  Up early to catch the right conditions, the rain was light and the coffee strong.  We met up with George from  Lost Coast Outfitters and started throwing some bait fish imitations around the structure we could find.  After about an hour or so the rain was absolutely pounding us and we had only landed one fish with a few other bumps between the three of us.  With our tails between our legs we found refuge from the rain and building wind in a local coffee shop. 

We strategized over warm beverages and toasted bagels.  Before long, we were back in the truck and headed to a second spot we thought might be promising. We each took a position along the bank near a current seam and began our assault on the water once again.  Within minutes, Aaron had hooked up with a nice (for a schoolie) striper and George had another bump.  Although the rain and wind just kept getting worse, the water conditions kept improving.  Our casts started landing fish more regularly and eventually we figured out where a nice little pod of fish was setting up.  The three of us bombarded the area with our casts and every few attempts resulted in another fish.  It was only my first time getting after stripers and I left with more than a dozen under my belt.  It can't be that easy right?  

I'm sure the next few times I try to get into a school of stripers I'll be met with a skunk.  That's kind of how this game works though.  Although my expectations are high for my next striper trip, I won't be completely disappointed if the results aren't quite as epic.