TRADING PACES

The change over is comingIt’s cross over time in urban SoCal.

The local weather conditions and temperatures are such that Fish & Game is stocking both catfish and trout at many of the local urban lakes. This influx of fish is stirring up all kinds of fishing activity. For most of us brownliners that’s about as close to winning the lottery as it gets.

A quick stop at or even a drive-by past many of the local waters will easily confirm this and will attest to the fact that while we may not be a lot of things, we urban anglers are apparently quite literate, at least as far as fishing news is concerned and we apparently follow the stocking schedules the way blue-haired heiresses consult astrological charts — that is, frequently and faithfully.

This past week, for example, Sean and I managed to connect for about an hour and a half between appointments to squeeze in some fly-fishin’. We expected to find a couple of guys soaking bait but instead the lake we choose to hit was packed with a horde of fellow anglers catching everything from Bass to Trout to Catfish to Crappie on just about every kind of rig imaginable.

It was, as is often said in fishing circles, “wide open” and the local angling community responded accordingly and enthusiastically.

We found some decent and promising looking shoreline and I began tossing Sean’s variation of a bead head wooly bugger that I call “Fenner’s Phat Fly”. It’s olive green and black, has a little bit of flash in it (appropriately “ghetto” enough for the urban fly fishing environment) and it has been catching me a whole boatload of fish for the last three weeks. Sure, it is getting a little ratty looking and I’ve had to re-bend and re-sharpen the hook after snagging it in a bush and what not but, I gotta say, I’m lovin’ this fly.

Anyway, it worked it’s magic again and I landed a couple of Bass in short order. While I was playing one Bass, Sean hooked up to a Trout and a bait fisherman a few yards away landed a catfish – all within the space of about five minutes. Like I said, wide open.

Perhaps because of the frequency and relative ease of actually catching fish or maybe due to the density of fisherfolk or possibly even because of the crisp freshness of the air but whatever the reason, there seemed to be an overall congeniality at this lake that went beyond the norm. Don’t get me wrong, SoCal anglers are almost always cordial even if we don’t speak the same native tongue, which is highly likely since, according to linguistics experts, there are something like 224 different languages spoken in SoCal, not counting variations in dialect. This just seemed to go beyond mere courtesy and I ended up in several conversations including one that led to an invite down to the casting pond at Recreation Park in Long Beach from a member of the Long Beach Casting Club.

The LB Casting Club has night sessions and informal casting clinics every Tuesday and Thursday in addition to a whole bunch of other activities throughout the year ranging from rod-building clinics to multi-day excursions. I’ll have to check my calendar and go check it out. We will be sure to post the outcome when we do.

Anyway, as I made my way around the lake, I got pointers on the best fly lines, the best flies, the best fly rods to use on urban lakes and so on and so on which was rather amusing since Sean and I were the only ones actually fly fishing. Still it was all good-natured and sincere and considering that I was consistently bringing in a few decent fish under an amazing sunset, it was a pretty good day.

The cold is starting up

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