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San Francisco Bay Fly Fishing Report

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Kevin DeGulis reports on 5.3.18

What a difference a week makes! The bay is hot and heavy right now, so get after it. 

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Saturday we hosted our second Fly Fishing the Surf Clinic, it was a home run. We had 8 participants join us for the day: Martin, a long time fly angler and part of the Golden Gate Casting Club, has always dreamed of catching a California halibut on the fly. Over the past couple months, we would have conversations about how they are all over the bay and certainly possible for Martin to catch one of these flatfish. Excited for Saturday’s clinic, Martin tied up some of his own surf creations before meeting up with the group. In the second hour of the clinic, I heard a loud cry from Evan Praskin, “come over by the rocks!” I raced over there and it’s Martin hooked up! and sure enough, it was the elusive California halibut.  

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Later in the tide, LCO teammate Ben Engle hooked up after only a couple casts. While reeling in the fish I noticed large fins than just your normal striper. It was clear that this was “something different” (shoutout Nate Fairand!), it ended being a lingcod! A Lingcod! In the surf? Amazed, confused, and just plain excited, we all admired the fish and set it free. Crissy is starting to develop a new nickname and it’s Crissy aquarium. 

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The next day John Tyndall and I decided to really chase stripers on the LCO Bote Paddleboards. While I was setting up the boards I told John to get after it and cast to busting bait right at sunrise. In a matter of 30 minutes, John got three fish, two of them in one cast! Double rig hook up! 

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Feeling good about the day, we took on the bay with the paddleboards, finding bigger fish in deeper water. Long drifts were the key to finding good size fish, we accomplished this by covering water and staying connected to our flies. 

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A week back, Max Salit and Patrick Mullen came into the shop wondering about the surf game in the bay area. Both grew up fishing for trout at Putah Creek and the high sierras, but certainly interested in the salt. 

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Bradford Butler with a nice striper!

After some conversations and recommendations on reels, lines, and flies, I told them to just go get after it. Patrick ended up getting an Echo Base for only $89, I told him, “this is all you need to get started”. Over the next few days, I received picture after picture of fish after fish, from perch to bass. It’s great to see people like Max and Patrick get into the bay fly fishing, right in our backyard and it’s totally doable. 

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San Francisco deserves this fishery. With the amount of noise and distractions in the daily city rat race, it’s nice to keep your mind clear with getting a line wet, even only for an hour. You don’t always have to drive 3 to 4 hours to find solitude, casting a fly rod and looking at the golden gate bridge with the Marin headlines can go a long way in the work week. 

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