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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Any Tips on Surf Fishing the Sonoma Coast?  (Read 13254 times)

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Half a dozen tries around various beaches over a few months and I haven't had a bite.  Gulp baits, shrimp and mussel for nada.


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Spike - hook up with Dustin / Rock Hopper - he's from Santa Rosa and is well versed in the art of catching fish from the Surf. He knows "da spots" too :smt002


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I'm not sure what you're targeting but I've had a lot of success fishing for perch in the surf at the Point Reyes beaches and Dillon's beach in Bodega.

I'm using an 8' 6" ml rod spooled with 8lb mono mainline to a carolina rigged 1.5" Kalin's grub. Here's my rig: 1/2oz to 1 oz barrel weight depending upon the surf, a bead, a good ball bearing swivel, 18" to 3' of 8lb flourocarbon leader, size 4 Owner mosquito hook, and a nose hooked Kalin's 1.5" grub. My favorites are the Motor Oil Red Flake, and Perch Power.

I walk the beach looking for holes under the surf which you can identify by watching the surf set up and as it passes over deep spots, you'll notice the wave "hesitates" a bit or just lays back down a little before continuing to form into a breaker. It's a little tough to explain, but once you see it a few times you'll get good at recognizing it. I also look for rip currents and mud clouds in the surf. When you see any of these things, cast your rig out along side the feature and work it back to you, varying the speeds until you figure out what the perch are looking for. Also, when you find one fish, there are likely many more nearby.

If you're lucky you'll get into a school of red tail surf perch. These guys can be bruisers and I've commonly caught them 12" and 13" when I'm into a good school. They rip drag and give a great fight in the surf. Hope this helps!

Here's a friend holding one of the 13" fish we caught on a trip out to Point Reyes. Remember, there's a 10" minimum for Red tails!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 09:14:03 AM by Fishin-Jay »
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Any Tips on Surf Fishing the Sonoma Coast?

Yeah here's a tip, watch for "sleeper waves". They seem to kill somebody about every year or so on the Sonoma Beaches.

What Joel said about Dustin "Rockhopper" is right on.  He's got the place dialed in. 

Are you just looking to catch surfperch from the beach?  Or are you interested in all forms of shore fishing in Sonoma County?  Other options include leopard shark/bat ray fishing from the Tides Restaurant back deck, jetty fishing for lings and rockfish, and Spud Point break wall for pileperch.  Again Dustin is the one to talk to about all of this.

Fishin-Jay's advice on tackle seems right on regarding the beach based surfperching.  The few surfperch I've ever caught out in Pt. Reyes area where caught that way.  There is a very good article on this technique here on the NCKA site.


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Here's a link that talks about reading the water and structure.



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Thanks for all the great info.  I've been at it a few years down south but need to acclimate here and appreciate the info.  It looks like my approach is good so I'll keep at it.  I'm just fishing for perch anytime I have 10 minutes on the beach plus, I usually drop a line in the surf when I land from fishing my kayak.  Those redtails are AWESOME!  And I'll bet delicious?
I'll take all that advice, try to hook up with RockHopper and post when I catch one.

I hear ya on the surf danger.  I do better fishing in the surf than off the sand too.  The mortality is high on these beaches, 2 so far this year just in Sonoma that I'm aware of.  We just ordered a yellow PFD for the girlfriend's dog.  Those Sospender PFD's I'm endorsing are easy to wear (like nothing) and I'm getting accustomed wearing it in the surf.  A funny side note to this...of all the "hate mail" I've received in my career, the majority has been (from traditional kayakers I think) over the use of images of anglers without PFD's.  In the old days, if I only published pix of anglers wearing PFD's, I'd of had precious few photos to use.
Thanks again!


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If you ever get up north a bit, try fishing the point arena pier... drop a little shrimp fly rig off the end and try to catch some smelt, or whatever little baitfish you can, then hook one up and chuck it as far as you can.  Some of the best lingcod fishing I've ever seen is off that pier... Me and a couple of friends caught around 16 off them in just a couple of hours... nothing too huge, but nothing too small either.
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