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Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of questions! (Read 3274 times)
ward
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Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of questions!
Sep 8th, 2007, 10:05pm
 
Hi! I'm new to this forum and to the Santa Barbara area as a whole and thought I should introduce myself a little bit before I start asking all of my questions! My name is Ward and I just moved (August 27th) to Buellton from the Oklahoma City area. I just graduated in May and felt like I was just spinning my wheels a little bit and decided to move out to Buellton after coming out to visit my girlfriend for a week. It's been a bit crazy since I have been here trying to find a job, but I've managed to do quite a bit of exploring and some fishing!
 
I've been fly fishing for 5 or 6 years now... mostly in farm ponds (sunfish/bass) and in some local lakes (sand bass/saugeye/walleye) and the occasional trip to a little tailwater trout fishery in SW OK. I feel pretty confident with most types of freshwater fly fishing, but this whole saltwater fly fishing thing has me quite intrigued! I splurged a little bit and spent some of my emergency cash fund (read: rent money!) at the Artful Angler getting set up to do some fly fishing in the surf, but quickly realized that I really have NO idea what I am doing. Eric at the fly shop was quite helpful, and I thought I understood what I needed to do... but realized as soon as I started cruising the harbor and the beaches that I was out of my element.  
 
After picking up an 8wt winston and some line/reel from Eric I headed back home, but decided to stop off at El Capitan to give it a try... I just couldn't wait. I was a bit nervous about the tide coming up (literally no clue how/when the tides come up/go down/etc) and leaving me stranded, but I cruised the beach looking for a "fishy" spot. I then realized my first problem... I don't know what I am looking for. Put me in a river or on a pond and I can find fish... but in the ocean, it was a lost cause!
 
I tried to find an area that wasn't covered in kelp and ended up walking to the left of El Capitan back into a little cove. The waves were BIG which made things a bit difficult for me (not even sure if I should fish where there are big waves!?) and was unsure if I should stand in the water or on the beach. I decided that I would wade out a few feet (waves coming in knee/waist high) and after 20-30 min of casting I started to feel uncomfortable. I went back to the shore and put on my sandals and started to head back to my car a bit frustrated... only to realize that I was literally COVERED in gross sticky tar. It was quite an uncomfortable experience!
 
After spending about 1hr+ in the shower trying to clean myself off (fairly unsuccessfully haha) I decided that I needed to find a new place to fish. The next morning I woke up early and arrived at the SB harbor around 8am. Again, I had no idea where to fish. I ended up cruising on a walkway (the one that breaks up the waves) and fished from some rocks back into the harbor (towards a barge that was anchored in the middle). From there I worked my way around the rocks to the beach area, again getting skunked (but thankfully avoiding the tar!!) I just really don't know what beaches/area I need to fish, what I need to look for, where I need to stand, how to cast/strip while dealing with the waves, and how far out I need to cast. I should also say that this is the first time I have ever really used a sinking line, so perhaps I am just unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of fishing sinking line... I'm just at a loss!
 
I also heard that Paradise Road offered some freshwater fly fishing opportunities... but soon realized that the river was dry (except for a few pools) and the road was closed even before the first crossing.. making things difficult. I fished Cachuma, but didn't get out there early enough and had to fish in the heat of the day. Beautiful lake... but its so big that is a bit intimidating! I also did some exploring/fishing at lake Casitas (another beautiful area... really these places make my jaw drop... it's definitely no Oklahoma) and managed to get a couple takes... but couldn't set a hook to save my life. I even tried to fish the Santa Ynez river down the street from my apt. in Buellton, but was stopped by a kind local fisheries biologist who informed me I was breaking the law. I had no idea I could not fish anywhere below a dam! Sooooo, after a few frustrating days of fishing I decided I needed to suck it up and make the drive to the Kern which was a great decision. What a great river! Caught and released a handful of nice bows and had a great time.
 
All that is to say... The local fishing has been kicking my tail. I have a lot to learn and I look forward to learning from you all! Any suggestions/tips/reading materials you can offer will be much appreciated. I definitely plan on attending the meeting on Tuesday and look forward to meeting some of you!
 
Sorry this is so long!
 
Ward
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #1 - Sep 9th, 2007, 3:21pm
 
Welcome to the forum Ward!
 
I can tell by your enthusiam and willingness to explore that you will do just fine.   Smiley
 
The meeting will be very helpful. Gary's presentation will fill in a lot of the questions you have.
 
The Santa Ynez has had a tough summer. With the low flows, high temperatures and the fire it has not been a place I've headed to in a while. That will change with the winter, although we don't get a lot of rain out here. Some years it's not flowing good until February. The Dept. of Fish and Game (aka DFG) will plant trout when the flow gets good and the water temp is OK. Let's hope for a good rain year. The river also provides some exciting carp fishing for tbhose of us that pursue. Catching carp on the fly is a challange and a lot of fun! The Santa Ynez was once a great steelhead river. Steelhead still come up river from the ocean when the flows allow it and they are a protected species in this area. That's why you were told about the no fishing between the dam and the ocean.
 
Cachuma is best fished from a boat. Your limited with shore access and no float tubing allowed for some dumb reasons. They claim they want to keep the water clean so they don't want human contact with the water. What's thatgot to do with float tubing? They allow people on the shore, I know they "contact" the water! They allow boats with motors and people in them that can easily urinate in the water. That's kind impossibe when your in waders and in a float tube. Anyway, Cachuma offers some decent largemouth and smallmouth fishing. There's trout and panfish as well.
 
Casitas is home to Florida strain largemouth and can produce monster size fish. Many feel there are world record bass lurking in Casitas. They allow float tubing.
 
Most of the beach areas can produce fish, many of them are also good at producing tar, as you found out. Some areas have the rocks along the beach covered in tar. The Native American living here used to use the tar to waterproof the seams of their canoes. I personally don't need my skin water proofed, or my waders in winter, so I use orderless mineral spirits to clean it off.  There are other remedies including mineral oil or baby oil but I prefer the mineral spirits witch is a paint thinner. It's works fast and well!
 
I've heard the harbor has been good lately. It can also be fished with a kickboat. That barge you saw was probably the bait barge and it often has fish hanging around it.
 
The Kern, even with it's low flows this year, is a good river. The lower Kern has a lot of smallmouth as well as trout and some largemouth.
 
There are a lot of other nice places to fish within a few hours drive. Come to the meeting to learn more.
 
See you Tuesday nite.
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Joe M
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #2 - Sep 9th, 2007, 5:44pm
 
Alas, the oil seeps off the coast are a natural phenomenom resulting in a tar-like substance clinging to the skin and clothes.  It is not everywhere or bad all the time but it is something to watch out for.   Try baby oil or vaseline to the skin and rub around and the stuff will come off painlessly.
Local fresh water fly fishing is NOT terrific.  I usually travel to the mountains, the Sierra to do REAL fly fishing.  But, it is 5 to 6 hour drive.
 
John Burk
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #3 - Sep 10th, 2007, 12:53am
 
Thanks for the replies guys!
 
Joe, I was particularly interested in what you said about carp fishing in the Santa Ynez. I really enjoyed throwing a few nymphs at grass carp in a few of the golf course ponds that were near my home in OK. I couldn't find enough water out here to hold fish though... Is it possible to fish for carp right now? It's been a few days since I have been on Paradise Road, but the last time I was there the road was closed just past the Ranger Station. I stopped by the station to ask if it was legal for me to hike up the riverbed in search of water, but was informed it would be quite a hefty fine if I was found in any closed area. I guess if nothing else, I could always cruise up to Cachuma and try to spot some carp back in some of the coves. Surely they patrol the shallows back in a few of those coves.  
 
As I drove to Santa Barbara late this afternoon I noticed that the surf was considerably less than it has been the past few days. I wish I could have pulled off the 101 into one of the turnouts to drop down and do some fishing (the gear stays pretty much permanently in the back of my car in the event I can stop!), but I had to meet the gf for dinner. I'm definitely heading out tomorrow morning though! I think I am going to give the harbor a try again. I know its late, but if anyone is interested in doin' some fishin' with a salt water newbie, I'll be out on the beach/rocks in the harbor around 7ish tomorrow! At this point in time, I still haven't found a job... so my schedule is pretty wide open. If any of you are heading out this week and want some company, holler.  
 
It's going to feel good to bring that first salty fish to hand... I keep having dreams of some giant fish taking me deep into my backing! But hey, even if it's a little perch I'm going to be pumped.
 
Thanks again for the replies.
 
Ward
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #4 - Sep 10th, 2007, 7:16am
 
Ward you need to come to the meeting Tuesday.  Hope to see you there!   LEW
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #5 - Sep 10th, 2007, 5:48pm
 
The carp fishing might be real good if you can get to the places with water where they are holed up but if the area is closed I guess we'll just have to wait for rain.
 
I've never targeted carp in Cachuma but I'm sure their in there somewhere. The Kern river has some areas with a lot of carp and Lake Isabella can be real good for carp as well as areas in the central valley around Bakersfield. Check the Kern River Fly Fishing forum's "Carp on the fly" section.
 
There is a lot of interesting and good fly fishing that's not too far a drive. I'll fill you in at the meeting.
 
Are you coming down this way tomorrow in the morning again? If I don't have to take my car in to the dealer I might want to get out and do a little fishing. Check your PM
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #6 - Sep 10th, 2007, 9:35pm
 
Well, I just google mapped the location of the meeting and I'm ready to go... I am really looking forward to meeting you all and to begin the learning process!
 
I went back to the SB harbor today. The water was a few feet lower than the last time I was there (the tide really reminds me of the constantly changing tailwater flows of the oklahoma trout rivers) and there was a TON of kelp (sp?) in the water and on the beach. I fished a few of the area that were not quite so concentrated with vegetation, but the water seemed to be either 1. too shallow or 2. too flat. I wasn't able to identify any troughs or other structure that would hold fish.  
 
After an hour or so on the "beach" side, I cruised around the point and fished off of the rocks into the harbor itself. I didn't bring any fish to hand (although I think I had a strike, but it could have just been a rock), but I did manage to "catch" a squid/octopus (not sure how to distinguish the two). As I went to start a cast, my line seemed to be caught underneath the rock I was standing on. I began to pull it out and felt something pull back. I pulled harder, and out popped a some crazy looking animal that had ingested about 20ft of my fly line. Its head was probably about the size of a softball (maybe a bit larger) and its suction cupped arms had a firm grip on the rocks it was hiding in. After about 5 or so minutes of struggling to pull my line from its mouth, I finally got it all out. It was quite a crazy experience for me. What a weird looking animal. I had never seen one in real life before. I thought they lived deep in the ocean? This one was in 8-10in of water! Well, I was worried that it might have damaged my precious and newly purchased line, but it seems ok! Even going out and getting skunked is a blast and interesting. I see something different every time I go out. I noticed LOTS of little crabs (size of quarters or a little bit larger) among the rocks. I would think they would be a pretty easy target for the fish, but didn't notice any fish pursuing them.
 
Thanks again for the kind and helpful discussion everyone. Look forward to tomorrow evening,
 
Ward
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #7 - Sep 10th, 2007, 10:05pm
 
The tide swings at times can be very dramatic. Small octopus are common in shallow water at low tide. Squid look a lot different and are found out farther. The little crabs are Shore Crabs, very common and very tough shells to protect them from most of the fish that hang in the same area.
 
See you tomorrow.
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #8 - Nov 20th, 2007, 4:04pm
 
Welcome to the area Ward. I've not posted anything in quite some time, but then again with the water levels being what they are my fly rod has been gathering dust.  
 
I dove into the surf fishing fly rod exercise a few months back and still find it a frustrating experience. Tides, waves, line wrapping around my feet just drives me nuts. Hitting the right conditions is not easy, but when you connect it's alot of fun.
 
With the river conditions being what they are (pray for rain) Cachuma may pan out to be the best local bet this spring. If you can land a fishing partner with a boat, you can have some great days on the lake slinging flies for the bass when they are tucked in shallow along the shore. Chart/White clousers are my go to on the lake.  
 
My biggest concern is that if we get alot of rain in short order it will wash down the ash from the fire and really hit the river hard. Hopefully, well get a little at a time if any at all......
 
Again, welcome.
 
Fishstick (Santa Ynez)
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Re: Introduction and a few (aka A LOT) of question
Reply #9 - Nov 24th, 2007, 11:37am
 
I'm right there with you Fishstick. Surf fishing is frustrating, but I just can't get enough of it! I went out early this morning and parked just off the 101 north of Refugio and fished the surf for a few hours. skunked... I did manage to get hung up on some sort of vegetation that felt like a fish for about 3 seconds, but that was about it. It seemed like the waves were getting progressively larger and more difficult to manage, so I left and fished Cachuma for a few hours. Spotted a few very large pods of carp, but again, skunked. I'm definitely maturing and learning how to enjoy "fishing" and not just "catching," but I am starting to think the fish out here just don't eat!
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