Monday, January 18, 2016

January 17th 2016

We didn't make a new year's resolution to fish at least once a week, so that's probably why we have been able to fish once a week for the entire year.  Granted, the entire year is only three weekends old but we're getting our fix.  New year's day we hit spider point on the north side (the part you have to trek a little way down the hill to get to) and found the bite to be pretty good considering it was about 15 degrees out with the wind chill at 2pm.  This beach is one of the steep ones that has a few spots that the shelf starts right at shore and drops deep quick.  We hit spider two Sundays in a row with completely different barometer patterns. It's no secret that Pyramid fishes better when the weather sucks but there's two sides to the shitty weather coin.  We've fished Pyramid with good results in rain and shine but the leading edge of a front when the pressure is dropping tends to give the most steady results over the course of a day, particularly if your hauling flies from a ladder. The tail edge of a low when the pressure is rising can shut things down hard.  On our first trip out with steady barometer we had some luck.  The following Sunday with a rising barometer we got skunked.  Also, this time of year (late Jan - Feb) is when I start to notice guys on ladders catching more fish than me when I'm in the pontoon and the favorable beach profile starts to shift from the deep shelf beaches to the more gradual shallow beaches.

This Sunday on the way out I dropped by the creel census station and the gal confirmed it, most of her reports were coming from guys on ladders at the Nets beaches but one report of a 25 lb at Dago.  A few of us started the day early at Dago / Howard bays with little or nothing to show for it.  I showed up later in the day and saw similar results from the row of guys on ladders with out rods bent.  To be fair, I only watched for about 10 minutes while trying to figure out where the crew had moved to.
Indian Head beach was the spot (contrary to the shallow beach theory) we hit from about 1pm to 4pm with the first hour proving to be pretty productive.  After that, it shut down, got windy and folks left to the point that we were the only guys left on the beach.  The wind showed us a little mercy and shifted out of the west making for easy long casts.  I should also note that while we had been experiencing some luck over the past three weekends I was laying an egg.  Three Sunday afternoon / evenings in a row and I'd managed zero fish to hand.  That's luck though and its still worth it to snap a pic of your buddies' fish.  At 4pm, after trying every retrieve variation at every foot of the water column I was down to dragging slow strips on the bottom with a purple Slump Buster I tied up that morning and bust my slump it did.  It's an occupying feeling, bouncing off the sand rifts on the bottom.  You know its not a strike but the minor stimulus is enough.  Strip, strip, bounce, bounce, here comes the shelf - the bounces are becoming a solid drag, thud - there's the shelf.  Strip, strip, OHHP! There he is!  Both halves of your brain agree to set the hook, then the reasonable half feels the dead weight and calls it a snag.  The optimistic half, still high off of the tug, remembers the feeling of a strike and refuses to believe its the bottom. Then both halves watch that full-rod twitch under the stress of a head shake that clears up any doubt of it being a snag.  Then you realized he's either got a real good hold of the bottom or this might be the one you've been waiting for.  Living through it in your mind on every cast so far this season.
My ladder was right at the shelf so there was only 20 feet between my bounty and I, then he showed himself and I lost 30 years of experience in one still frame of how big he was 10 feet below the surface.  Kellen was 100 yards down the beach so I whistled to signal for some assistance and it came out like a wet fart, followed by two more that weren't going to get anyone's attention that wasn't standing on my ladder.  Luckily Kellen's old man noticed my rod bent and they both came to check it out.  They didn't need to run, that 20 feet of separation became 10 feet, then 100 and the cycle repeats for 10 minutes.  A few arm changes later and an equal quantity of praise for Rio 10 lb test leader and we had him in the net.  Ever since learning about and following Landon Mayer, I've carried a net that makes people think I catch big fish like he does.. suckers.  I wondered if I'd ever see the day that net met its match.

He went 33 inches on a quick tape, a couple pics and then back down the shelf to prepare for his next photo opp with the next lucky cad that he gets to turn into a quivering mass who forgets everything he's learned over the decades.  Hell of a thing, that.  Hell of a thing...

An item of note, the gal at the census station noticed the color of the algae covered tag - bright green under all that scum - which put that fish as part of the 2010 - 2011 stocking effort. Now I don't know exactly how old they are when they release these fish but that guy has only been doing his thing in Pyramid lake for 5-6 years.  He's at least keeping up with my 5 year old daughter, made the same face in a picture too and didn't ask to play on my phone.


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