View Full Version : Steelhead in the surf

02-03-2006, 09:10 AM
First time here at the forum report on my first steelhead.

Some days are perfect ~ moon phase ~ tide ~ swell ~ wind ~ current ~ beach pattern and shoal structure, broken clouds ~ clean water and not a soul on the beach but me. So no witnesses to the event.

I built the rod last year from a two piece 10 weight 13 foot fly rod blank to use with 8lb modern braid for surf casting with a conventional casting reel.

It was my first outing this year -- I caught my first Steelhead ever on a pumpkinseed 2" grumb rigged on a drop loop # 4 salmon hook 7 feet above a modified carolina (fish finder) rig of my own design.

The fish was a very light colored 30" steelhead caught and released a mile North of Sunset Beach on Monterey Bay.

It took about 45 mins to get the fish on the beach -- little green, blue or pink color -- very steely looking.

A rarity -- I'll never forget it -- what staying power!

Good Fishin' & Better Catchin', Rich

02-03-2006, 07:04 PM
sounds like a good memory
welcome to the boards


02-07-2006, 11:28 AM
Be careful, it is illegal to target steelhead in saltwater.

02-07-2006, 12:47 PM
Hey Fish Comin' Down,

For the record:

Steelhead are rarely if ever caught in the surfline here in Monterey Bay The outfit and rig I caught the fish on was one that target surfperch and striper. One would be hard pressed to control what takes an offering. Knowing that this fish species is on the endangered list it was returned to the sea 30 seconds after landing without a scale harmed. I dropped by Ernie's Casting Pond in Soquel to tell him the fish story. He was quite surprized to here it. Frankly, I rather doubt it'll ever happen again. They're obviously pretty tuff to fool.

Respectfully, Rich

02-08-2006, 11:48 AM
WoW! Nice story. I've seen steelhead and or salmon caught in the surf break before (once) near the Salinas River mouth. That is definitely a once in a lifetime experience! Hope you got pics...but if not thats Ok. You'll remember that one forever. North of Sunset hmmmmm? I might know the spot... ;)
Did anyone see the thread on pierfishing.com about the guy who caught a salmon in Morro Bay throwing a surf net for smelt back in December? Amazing!
Congrats on the great catch! And sounds like a nice rod too.


02-08-2006, 03:38 PM
Hey C.C. Ang.

Not time for photos mate. I'm usually knee to waiste deep in the surf when I'm fishin' and I'm not up to destroying my camera with on false move in the surf line ~ anyway I had to get the fish back in the water ASAP. No sense killing it. Just too beautiful to waste.

Gettin ready to build another rod, slightly heavier to throw a little over an ounce. The on I caught the steelhead on maxes out at a little over 1/2oz.

Good Fishin' & Better Catchin, Rich

02-13-2006, 10:18 PM

"It took about 45 mins to get the fish on the beach". Hey! Cool dude!!! Thanks for the story. Sounds like a great steelhead. Fly fishing too! Even better! Congradulations! Some rarity. Make me very curious about why the steelhead was around Monterey. If only the steelhead could talk. Great catch! ;)


02-14-2006, 09:31 AM
Hey Predator,

For the record there are still a few steelhead running into Soquel Creek, and the San Lorenzo here at the north end of Monterey Bay thanks to the salmon projects in action here. I don't know whether the fish was wild or a hatchery fish (I was too excited to notice whether the adipose fin had be clipped or not) but this species is seen every so often around the surf line from late November 'till the end of February around here. This fish (most likely a female according to Ernie (Casting Pond, Soquel) probably had already spawned and was working its way back into its saltwater habits.
As to the gear used. I have settled on using a very soft rod with 8lb triple fish bully braid with and ABU Garcia 5601 conventional reel. I prefer the very soft rod to give shock relief for the line with no stretch. I can cover much more water with a very light drop weight (1/2oz.) even when there is a moderate side shore blowing. A good 20 mono shock leader is a must for pendulum casting. Flies are part and soft rubber grubs are the principle part of my arsonal; I fish with clear water filled floats in calm conditions. The target is nearly always perch and striper. Summer sometimes brings few inshore salmon runs and the occasional leopard shark run -- other species do volunteer of course.

~ hoping to wet a line tomorrow and looking toward my first stiper.

Go fishin' & better catchin', Rich

02-15-2006, 03:06 AM

I haven't seen Ernie for centuries since I bought a Sal 1 fly reel by Hardy( I think).

Sounds like your a noodle rod man! DKfish on the Salmon steelhead board loves(light tackle) noodle rods w/ 4/6LB test and takes big fish. He tells me noodle rods are similar in action to fly rods without the fly line drag.

So your going to a bigger rod to throw 1+ OZ. When I fished in CA rivers I did not like throwing much over 1 OZ. The rivers have quite a current and it was necessary to fish for sturgeon and stripers in the SAC or in the Bay. Are you throwing past the surf to fish?


02-16-2006, 08:00 AM
;D Try the surf for steelhead, and sometimes salmon, in the fall and early winter. I've taken a number of steelhead off the beach in Capitola and off the pier there. #3 or #4 hammered brass or gold seem to work pretty good. Some of the other stream mouths such as the San Lorenzo, Aptos Creek, Scotts, and Waddell would be worth a try. If you see jumping fish, break out your rod, QUICKLY!! Fishing off of the point at the mouth of the San Lorenzo was popular. I've caught nice steelhead and salmon from there too. Don't forget to try the Cement Ship. I've caught both salmon & steelhead from there. Check your CF&G regulations since things have changed since I fished this way.

02-21-2006, 06:39 PM
Hey Predator & CaptSalmon,

The rod I caught the fish on I built to fish 4 to 8 pound line with and throw anywhere from 1/8 to 3/4 oz. It's too soft to plug or throw bait with so I use it for fly and soft rubber presentations. Any kind of bait just takes the cast down way to fast. I'm fishing with a wetsuit cut off at the arm pits so I can just slip in on easily at the beach. I wear a pair of surf booties and stay pretty comfortable even when the water temperature is down close to 50 like it is now. I can wade out waste deep this way and cover a good amount of water this way. It's real easy to rinse out at the end of the trip too. Picked up the wetsuit used for $40.00. booties were new an just a little less money.

The next rod will be about the same length from a 3 piece Lamiglass blank. I'm shooting at throwing 1 to 2 ounces with it. This rod I'll be able to throw bigger stuff with and soak some bait with it as well. I'll put an ABU Garcia 6501 on it that has some real sweet candy in it. They make the best conventional left handed reel going IMHO ~ smooth a silk and real easy to maintain. I spun as a kid but have found you just can't beat conventional gear for casting distance, touch and presentation in the surf. I'll probably fish the outfit with 10 or 12lb line. I may find it works well for plugging and throwing hardware too.

For the record: I simply can't bring myself to fish off a pier. It just takes all the fun out of the experience to me. I go to the sea to touch the water. If I touch a fish too that's a bonus. It's good to bring home dinner so I almost always target what I can keep. I do some fishing off a surfboard too. Got a whooper Leapord Shark (excellent table fair) a little while back off my 12 footer. I have plans to make a full on stand up board to paddle out and have some real fun when the swell is down.

I fished commerically here in Monterey Bay for about 15 years and have sport fished here since the early 70's. The biggest salmon I've ever caught was on a solo sport fishing trip in my 18 foot dory on 12lb line. It weighed 40lb dressed and looked like a suitcase, It was just over 36" long -- what a beast! That was back in the 80's. It was the biggest salmon of the year. Harbor Marine's prize at the time was $100.00 worth of merchandise. I wonder what it is now.

I hope to get some fresh salmon once the season opens here.

Good Fishin' & Better Catchin', Rich

02-21-2006, 06:46 PM
Nice story. I just saw the steelhead in the surf thing on the bottom of the forum and had to come check it out! Great story. Its very rare for that to happen. And a slamon in Morro bay? Thats incredible. That whole bay cant be deeper than 10feet. Ive done some brant hunting in the bay and during low tide most they bay is dry. That would be a suprize in a net!


02-22-2006, 08:17 AM
Hey Striperman,

You miss-read the post mate, the North coast of Monterey Bay is where it happened.

Good Fishin' & Better Catchin', Rich

02-22-2006, 04:25 PM
striperman is talking about the thread on pierfishing.com that I referenced. Guy got a salmon in his throw net in Morro Bay. But i'd much rather catch one on rod and reel, especially a nice homemade lightweight rod like the one you used.

02-24-2006, 08:44 AM
Hey C.C.A.

Sorry, I missed the reference to salmon caught in a throw net, my bad.

Good Fishin' & Better Catchin', Rich