Fly fishing the surf is a truly unique experience. California has over 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, much of which is fishable with a fly rod. Join us in Monterey Bay, as we target surf species such as: surfperch, jacksmelt, and striped bass. With a deep underwater canyon in the middle of the bay, this is one of the most varied marine habitats in the world.
Surf species are typically most active around sunrise and sunset. Our half-day guided trips focus on beaches around north end of the bay, near Santa Cruz, Aptos, and Moss Landing. However, we do guide the south end of the bay, near Monterey and Carmel. These beaches are classic wide and sandy beaches; stretching nearly 30-miles.
The gear used is much different than that used for trout fishing. We use 7- & 8-wt rods with fast-sinking shooting lines and stripping baskets. For flies, we use single sand crab and clouser variations (hook sizes: #2-6). A myth about surf fishing is the need to make long casts. The reality is, most of these fish are caught within 30-feet from shore, and sometimes as little as 6-inches of water. However, like most saltwater fishing, quick casts into structure is key along with covering water quickly but efficiently.
Spring is a great time to start fishing the surf. As ocean currents change and rough winter tides recede, many saltwater species make their way back up our coast following baitfish. This is also a great time to view marine life, as whales, dolphins, otters, and seals are common. Fishing will tend to slow down deeper into summer, but surfperch fishing will pick up again in the fall, during their spawning season.
Instruction is also available. We will teach you how to read water/waves, understanding tides and beach structure, wading safety, fly presentations, rigging, and casting techniques.
Peak Months for Surf Species:
April-September: Striped Bass
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Rio Del Mar Surf Perch
Casting at Santa Cruz