I had the pleasure of flyfishing with two old buddies yesterday, John Whitaker and Capt. Vaughn Podmore of SaltyFly Charters
The day looked to be epic, with perfect size baits in the well, calm seas and a good tidal swing on the horizon. We worked hard to find our target species of yellowtail. It was a grind, jumping around to different spots, searching for these crazy fish. We were fortunately occupied with a solid calico bass bite at almost every stop we made. They were chewing the paint off the red crabs flies Vaughn had tied up for us. The fish were pretty solid specimens in the 2 to four pound range. We had a steady pick of bass all day long. Thank god!
With time running out we ended up going back to our first stop. Threw some live sardines to see if anyone was home and nobody came to the door. Then Vaughn jumps up and looks straight back towards the front of the boat and yells yellowtail on the surface, get ready! There were bearing straight down on us. The school was around thirty deep, breezing along the surface. He throws another scoop of sardines and the ocean exploded all around us, with big fish sending sardines to heaven. All of us frantically and in the unison of a ballet threw casts in every direction, stripping back our flies with mach speed retrieves, but no love. The school didn’t eat the flies, they sank out, with an occasion strangler blowing up the surface. I had on a small anchovy fly. Vaughn managed to see a fish, breezing the surface, he make a good cast, the fish ate and blew up his leader of 25 pound tippet in a nano second.
I was kind of bummed we all missed a great opportunity to get a big yellow on fly. So Vaughn says we got a couple more scoops of sardines, lets use up the bait and stay another half hour before heading home. Well they were around so keep at it. I changed my fly to a my big deep sardine “bend up” fly and proceeded to make long casts and giving the fly go deep sink before retrieving super fast like a fleeing baitfish. On my third cast, the fly came to a violent halt and a yellowtail was off to San Clemente. I let her take a long run, then beared down on her, taking back as much line as she would give. In around ten minutes she was netted and laying on the deck, fly in mouth. A couple of high fives later we were heading home with some Catalina gold. A tenth inning yellowtail end up making the day for our target species. Remember it only takes one cast, one eat and its always better to be lucky than good. Don’t give up till the fat lady sings…