The Fish Sniffer - Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod
Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod

Written By: Headwaters Fishing Team, June 7, 2014
Species: Rockfish Lingcod
Location: Bodega Bay, Half Moon Bay, Humboldt Bay, Golden Gate,

Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod
Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod
Kayaking For Albion Rockfish With A Fly Rod

I'm always looking for something new to try when it comes to fishing. My latest goal has been to catch a fish in saltwater with a fly. Sounds simple right?

Those of you who fish know that attempting a new technique can be a daunting task. Add to that the unforgiving conditions that are often encountered on the Pacific Coast and I figured it would easily take me a year of attempts to accomplish my goal.

Fortunately for me, Nor-Cal Kayak Anglers hosts their saltwater events at some of the best places to catch fish along the coast of California and so far all of the events I have attended have had ideal weather conditions.

Going into the weekend I was hopeful that I would be able to break out the fly rod, but at the same time I was being realistic and brought along conventional tackle as well.

On the morning of the Albion Kayak Open the sea was totally flat. I though to myself, ”Today is the day." I met up with Dan, Victor, and the latest edition to the Headwaters Kayak team, Bam, and we headed out.

As we exited the mouth of the cove we had launched in we headed south. Right away Victor and Dan started marking fish and bait. Determined, I broke out the fly rod first thing and cast out, counting down to a depth of 40 feet, which took 80 seconds with the fly line I was using. It may as well have been an eternity.

The other guys were into fish almost immediately, a school of black rockfish. I kept trying, but no luck. Swayed by the fact that everyone else was catching fish and I was getting skunked, I stowed the fly rod and deployed a swimbait. We all started catching fish.

I started paddling in at about 10:30, since at this point we were fighting a pretty strong tide and paddling a fishing kayak isn't exactly a speedy process.

I arrived at a cove with a bridge spanning across it and stopped to ask another angler if this was the cove we had launched from or if it was the next one to the north. I noticed another angler to my left catching small blue rockfish non stop.

I paddled over toward him and out of the corner of my eye saw several white flashes as a school of rockfish darted away abut five feet below my boat. I grabbed my fly rod confident that I could catch at least one of these. I tied on a size 2 clouser minnow and chucked it out about 40 feet and let it sink for 10 seconds.

I began stripping in the fly and within seconds I could feel fish trying to grab the fly. I paused my retrieve momentarily and then stripped hard. Fish on!

I saw the school dart away as the fish I had hooked tried to frantically free itself. I couldn't believe it. I had actually done it. The fish measured about 10 inches, but to me it was a trophy.

I mean, how many people can say that they have caught a rockfish on a fly rod? Of course I didn't want anyone to say that it was just a lucky fluke, not to be repeated. So I continued working kelp edges, much like working weedlines for bass.

I ended the day having hooked 7 blue rockfish, and boating and releasing 6 of them. I could not have been happier. This was a day I won't soon forget.

For more kayak fishing information, visit Headwaters Kayak Shop on line at


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