Person Reporting: Jerry Neuburger
Rating: Three out of five stars
My main fishing buddy, Sturmer White (The Fish Magnet) agreed to instruct for the club's Casting Day II and also agreed to bring along friend, John Peterson, to instruct spey and switch casting. Neither of the two would accept a cash payment for their services but would happily fish with me for stripers on the delta as a reward for their services.
We met at Denny's, I-5 and Hwy.12 at 6:15 for our regular, before fishing breakfast and talked up the day, Sturmer saying that the current news about the water was not much and what there was, was not promising. It didn't make any difference, we were already committed and ready for a day on the water. Breakfast done, (and Sturmer paying, he's such a nice guy!) we headed to the No Nonsense, my 22 foot skiff, berthed at Korth's Pirate's Lair Marina at the mouth of the Mokelumne.
As we headed out, it was obvious that the tide was fully in and an outgoing tide was about to start. Another pleasant surprise was that the water was much clearer than anticipated and a little warmer as well, at 50 degrees. The sky held some light clouds and the wind was almost non existant as we headed up river with the plan to fish downstream, following the outgoing tide.
Sturmer and John were first up, casting two fly rigs of Clousers on T-14. After about 20 minutes, Sturmer stepped back, saying it was time to move, no fish here. I told him I'd make a few casts and almost immediately stuck a fish of about 18 inches. Sturmer moved back into position and threw a line for another 15 minutes with no results. John was striking out as well.
We moved downriver and passed through some of my favorite water, Sturmer and John casting, but no strikes. In the mean time, the sky was lightening and the clouds thinning. At the third location, I started casting in Sturmer's place and and stuck an 18 incher on my first cast. I moved out of the way again and both guests made many casts but no hook ups. Before leaving the water, I took a few more casts and again, stuck a fish, this time a dink. My count was now 3, Sturmer and John both zero.
The next stop drew blanks for all of us. I continued down river to some water that had held fish the last time out. By this time the clouds had almost disappeared, the wind was
almost nothing and the sun bright and warm. Sturmer after only a few casts, stuck two fish, one that took line and when in the boat, measured 23". John still had not had a bump and I suggested he try one of my flies instead of the two he was casting. I cut his bottom fly off, a really small and skimpy black Clouser, and tied on one of my Chartreuse and white ones. John had his first fish shortly after. Since we were now into fish I sat back and ran the boat while Sturmer and John played catch up to my three. I finally moved Sturmer out of the way after his total was six, and caught three more for myself. John, in the mean time, was now up to four. It was almost time to go home, about 1:15, (Sturmer lives in Lincoln and likes to get ahead of the rush hour traffic going north) so I moved out of the way to let the Fish Magnet make the last few casts. He stuck the last fish of the day. We ended with Sturmer, seven fish including the two largest, 23 and 21 inches, me, six, and John four.
I'm not usually a competitive angler, many times being happy to catch fewer fish than others, but catching them using a certain technique rather then what is working for everyone else. That is not the case when I fish with the Fish Magnet. Many times we catch so many fish we lose count and just enjoy the fishing. But when things get a little slow, we count fish. The competition keeps us on our edge. It also provides for a lot of banter and braggadocio, including the words, "Fishing with a legend," and, "the Fish Magnet," nick names I came up with for Sturmer, now 88 years old, during the 12 years we've fished with each other. He shakes his head when called either but, folks, it's really true. He IS THE FISH MAGNET and has, at his age, become a legend on the delta. Hey, how often does one have the honor of fishing with a legend?
About 15 anglers converged on Buckley Cove today. Fishmeister Bill provided coffee and donuts and kayaks and canoes for anglers that had requested on-water demos. Rocky and I loved the Northstar canoe we borrowed! Fishing was slow with about half the anglers landing something and Jim Rich and Joe Balderson doing the best in their large vessel. President Jerry landed several. No one got skunked at lunch as president Jerry served up hot dogs and chili and John Highsmith provided the yummiest of cakes for dessert. Fish tales were shared over lunch to add to the ambiance.
Another fun outing with DFF!
Disclaimer: Not my picture! Not my fish! I was a bad fishmeister and didn't take any fish pics. I will explain here:
Distance members Rick Greene and John Walsh signed up for the outing and we made plans to meet at North Nets at daybreak. I arrived at Pyramid Lake about a half hour before dawn. Ladders already stretched across the North Nets fishing area. Daybreak brought a beautiful sunrise and my first fish. I was casting a retrieving setup of a midnight cowboy with a popcorn beetle on a tag line. The trout took the beetle and took some line before I netted it. It was a beautiful cutthroat with deep red sides (Similar to the picture). My hands were frozen and I struggled to get the fish released so I wasn't able to take a picture. John Walsh arrived about then but, lacking a ladder, he left for a wading-friendly beach. Rick texted that he had a family emergency and wouldn't be able to join us but kept in contact throughout the day with texts of encouragement and assistance. Thanks Rick!!!
The weather was freezing and it didn't take long for me to pack up and head to Crosby's lodge for additional gloves and a moment to defrost my frozen hands. I then joined John at BlockHouse Beach. John had just caught and released his first Pyramid Cutthroat he caught on a large Copper John under an indicator. (Congrats John!!!). BlockHouse proved to be an easy access and productive fishing spot that day. It has an immediate and steep drop off and John shared that his fish hit just a few feet off of shore. The wind was powerful and cold and John and I both fished indicator setups. The waves were moving towards us and the sky was overcast. We fished until frozen (noonish) and headed to Crosby's for lunch.
John and I chatted over lunch, sharing fish stories and our appreciation of DFF and its amazing members. John shared the story of his first fish on a fly on the Yuba River when Mike Nicholson picked a fly and showed him where and how to cast. He said that in less than five minutes he had his first fish at hand. (DFF has the best fishing mentors!)
After lunch John headed home and I returned to BlockHouse around 2pm. Between 2pm and 4 pm I landed 3 beautiful fish- a peach colored thick trout, a red sided trout with a massive hooked jaw and a shiny silver trout with beautiful spots. I was fishing a black Mahalo midge on the bottom and a snow cone midge on the tag line and fish hit both. I hadn't brought my net from the truck to the beach. After the first afternoon catch I wondered if I should hike and grab it but decided against it. I thought the same after the second afternoon trout. By the third, I trekked to the truck for the net and then didn't catch anymore fish- so no pics! Sorry!
I wrapped up fishing at sundown and headed to Crosby's for a yummy dinner and a few drinks. Got a nice room and woke to a phone call that my son was not feeling well so I had to forgo morning fishing and head home.
Great outing and special thanks to John Walsh and Rick Green for making it successful and fun!