Fly fishing the California Coast

ironslinger.805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 7, 2017
129
85
Central Coast, CA
Name
Frank
Boat
None
What would be a good beginner outfit for myself? Anyone on here with experience fishing for surf perch and other surf species using the fly rod that can guide me in right direction? Thanks
 

walkerman

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 7, 2008
3,552
1,194
Ventura
Name
Steve
Boat
n/a
Are you near Ventura? Guy out of Erics does fly guiding and teaching.
 

Wandering Blues

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2008
1,352
1,346
The Land of Entrapment
Name
Curtis
Boat
A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
Look at something like an Echo Ion XL in 8wt. For $169, it’s a good surf stick and waaaaaay better than any Bass Pro crap. TFO is another consumer level company doing things right.

For reels, a well designed sealed drag is critical. Unless you find a close out, they will run you some cash.
 
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Cheech

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 11, 2008
404
249
Tustin, CA
Name
Jeff Cheechov
Boat
Skipjack 24FB, AD41P diesel
Seven or eight weight. Not necessarily to handle the fish, but to manage the line and be more effective casting into the breeze. I like my Scott rods. The rod needs to be fast enough to handle the line well and throw a tight loop. I generally fish a sink tip line in the surf, but I'm no expert. You will need a stripping basket to keep the loose line out of the water. It's fun and nonstop casting practice!
 
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ironslinger.805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 7, 2017
129
85
Central Coast, CA
Name
Frank
Boat
None
Look at something like an Echo Ion XL in 8wt. For $169, it’s a good surf stick and waaaaaay better than any Bass Pro crap. TFO is another consumer level company doing things right.

For reels, a well designed sealed drag is critical. Unless you find a close out, they will run you some cash.
I’ve been looking at the Orvis Hydros reels, what do you think about those? Would that pair up nice?
 

ironslinger.805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 7, 2017
129
85
Central Coast, CA
Name
Frank
Boat
None
Seven or eight weight. Not necessarily to handle the fish, but to manage the line and be more effective casting into the breeze. I like my Scott rods. The rod needs to be fast enough to handle the line well and throw a tight loop. I generally fish a sink tip line in the surf, but I'm no expert. You will need a stripping basket to keep the loose line out of the water. It's fun and nonstop casting practice!
From the few articles I’ve read, most recommend a longer rod like 12’ for better control and longer cast. Not too familiar with line weights and stuff quite yet but I’m going to continue reading on that subject
 

tuner

pysgotwyr
May 24, 2006
1,359
897
Huntington Beach
Name
Steve
Boat
260 Mackinaw
Twelve years ago, I bought a Sage 6wt and a Galvin reel to fish the surf. I fish it regularly. It is a good compromise for the majority of fish I catch with it, BSP, Corbina, YFC, etc. I think an 8wt is overkill for how I fish the surf, but a big striper or WSB would be an exception. My 6wt is also a great rod for larger trout at Lake Crowley.

The TFO rods have a great reputation for value. I am considering purchasing an 8wt for the 3 B's.
 
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Wandering Blues

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2008
1,352
1,346
The Land of Entrapment
Name
Curtis
Boat
A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
From the few articles I’ve read, most recommend a longer rod like 12’ for better control and longer cast. Not too familiar with line weights and stuff quite yet but I’m going to continue reading on that subject
A 12’ stick is much more difficult to cast if you’re new to the addiction, especially when you’re using a shooting head and sink tip line. 9’ is a ‘standard’ length, though a 9’6 is what my surf rods are. And, the Hydros reels are quite nice. I’m personally a Lamson junkie.

As a suggestion, I’d hire a guide for your 1st outing to get the techniques down. It’ll pay off in the long run.
 
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speyman

Iron Chucker
Aug 12, 2014
568
369
Carnation (Seattle)
Name
jack-e
Boat
Intrepid, Ms Magoo
i used an 11' 7wt with a full sink shooting head and white bunny leech. Strip slowly across the bottom and hang on. Did well targeting halis in santa barbara and goleta
 
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r46chevy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 6, 2012
195
14
San Jose
Name
Ed
Boat
Plastic Navy
One Thought Echo makes an 8 foot Bad Ass Glass rod, it should shoot about anything. I have 4 or 5 echo's and they all cast great. I would look at a 8wt or maybe a 7wt depends on the person casting.
 
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Sagedaddy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 29, 2017
376
164
44
Ventura
Name
Sagedaddy
Boat
Radon 24’, Parker 2120(looking for a new home)
I’ve been flyfishing most of my life. I’ve typically used a 9.5’ 8wt. It has always been a good compromise but these days I would not hesitate to fish a 6 or 7 wt switch rod in the 10-10.5’ range. I’d pair it with a short integrated shooting head in an intermediate to slow sink rate for perch and corbina. Maybe a faster sink rate for halibut in case you want to fish some deeper spots. Redington and echo would be a good place to start for a rod in that range. Shoot me a message if you have any more questions.
 
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mistercameron

Newbie
Mar 7, 2018
1
1
40
Ca
Name
Cameron
Boat
-
I was recently in hour shoes. I picked up a Redington Vice 7wt. I’ve been pretty happy with it so far. A crosswater reel is also a decent choice - I’ve been told it’s a very good saltwater option as long as you care for it properly (as you should with anything). Lamson Liquid reels are also highly recommended.
 
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njoyflyfishing

Well-Known "Member"
May 3, 2016
48
20
Diamond Bar, CA
Name
Nathan
Boat
16' Slideright
I am a bit old school in my tackle, so for the surf I look for a mid/low range single handed 8wt that can cast. Because the beach and the salt are a rough environment for equipment, I look for a rod that has either an inexpensive graphite reel seat or an aluminum one, as opposed to something fancy with a zebra wood reel seat. Key is equipment that works but can take the beating delivered at the beach.

Same with the reels .The beach is probably not the place for your Hardy. You can buy a nice saltwater reel, or take a machined aluminum reel that you like, but make sure you clean it well when you are done. Alternatively you can purchase a cheap composite reel like the Echo base that will hold your line, has some drag, and works fine in the salt. If you trash it, you won't cry about it.

I like an 8wt because it can cast the sinking tips and the shooting heads. When I first fished the beach I used to use a teeny line. Not sure if anyone uses those anymore, but the problem is that they are very expensive, and the beach trashes them. I would use a type 4 shooting head as well, but same problem there as the heads are expensive and the beach treats them poorly. Another option would be to set up a reel with a cheap running line and make your own heads from either leadcore or the tungsten line that is used for spey heads. Just need to be able to cast the heads. I used to fish with a bunch of guys in Franks Tract that used leadcore heads to get striper flies down fast, and casting those heads required a bit of practice.

Others mentioned switch rods. I haven't used these on the beach, but any rod that allowed you to spey cast and not have to back cast over the beach would probably work nice. Just need to make sure that the rod is "salt worthy" and not the kind of equipment where you will cry about if it gets trashed. Also, you might need to figure out your line and how to keep the costs down as the modern lines are quite expensive and the beach is harsh on equipment.

As for flies, there are some really great tiers that have patterns for the surf that work. Similar idea at work here for me as well. The beach is harsh, and wasting money on a fancy tie and hook doesn't make sense. I have been gravitating to tying flies on short shank live bait hooks like the Mustads as they have heavy wire and are cheap. Most of the flies amount to something like a maribou or hair jig in crab or baitfish colors. Lead or tungsten eyes help them get down, and if you make them yourself, use a bit of superglue on the entire thing to keep it together as best as possible as they are ground pretty well in the surf.

Ken Hanley used to hang his hat on surf fishing, and would tour the clubs and give presentations on it. Not sure if he has updated his book, but "Surf Zone" used to be a pretty good primer on fishing the surf. Scott Sadil wrote a book "Angling Baja" which had quite a few essays related to surf fishing, although it wasn't really a "how to" book. There are probably more recent books that would cover some of the newer gear and applying them to the surf.

Good luck, and tight lines.
 
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