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The sun had not yet brightened the morning sky when I arrived, groggy from lack of sleep. To pass the time until I could see, I read by headlamp, battling that same sense of anticipation I always get when fishing somewhere new. Slowly, painfully, the light crept into the sky, and I was calmed by the sound of waves as I slipped into my waders. Carefully, I studied my surroundings in the new light, and crossed the grass onto the stone beach.

The aroma of the ocean filled my nose and the salt tasted fresh on my lips. I caught traces of rotting sea weed, damp wood, and a salty breeze as I remembered the phone conversation the night before. My friend had told me to walk to the end of the houses, and fish up the beach to where a small stream dumps onto the beach.

Spread out before me in a half moon, the rocky beach was lined with cliffs of dense green that transitioned to bareness on the northern end. Three hundred yards offshore lay a large kelp bed that ran almost the whole length of the cove. The tide was full, and combined with the close proximity of the cliffs and a stiff breeze coming from exactly the wrong angle, casting was slightly difficult and positioning was the key.

The first strike came when I wasn't paying attention, as usual, as I worked the clouser with fast, short strips. Slightly surprised, as I had half expected not to catch anything, I fought the fish gingerly to hand. I caught a view of the blackness in the fishes mouth just before the hook popped out. I fought a mixture of feelings, slight disappointment in not being able to get a photo, and joy at having caught my first blackmouth. After all, that's what I'd come here to catch.

As the tide peaked, the sky brightened even more, and numerous fish jumped just out of casting range. Working my way up the beach, I focused on areas where I could see rocks and other structure beneath the crystal clear waves. Five minutes later, the line tightened again, but this fish fought differently, and vaguely familiar. After I laying it gingerly on the sand for a photo, I carefully studied the inside of the mouth and the tail. This fish was different from the first, and later would identify it as a silver.

Within another five minutes, I had LDR'ed another fish, and had missed a solid strike while I was letting the clouser sink. However, the tide had began to ebb, and after spending ten minutes arguing with a knot in my line, I noticed the activity had began to slow. I no longer saw fish jumping, and the kelp bed offshore became more and more visible. After fishing for another two hours without a touch, I finally gave up and sat on a large rock overlooking the beach. Well, I thought to myself, I had accomplished a lot, I had caught my first blackmouth on a fly, and my first coho in the salt.


Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job.
-Paul Schullery
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