Normally I don’t like a falling tide, especially if I’m fishing from the beach. I’d made a promise though and with nasty weather coming in I didn’t really have the option of backing out. Putting my waders on and stringing up my 6wt I tried my best to lower expectations as much as possible. Phrases like “we might catch a couple at the start” and “well, it’s better than sitting on the couch” kept popping up. This can be a great time of year to fish the beaches; big perch and leopard sharks cruise the surf line looking for easy meals. Not on a big falling tide though and not after a rain like we’d just had.
Even so, we hadn’t had a chance to fish together for a while and with his work keeping him busy Patrick wanted to give it a shot anyway. Without much hope for success we wandered down the beach, stripped out line and indexed it back into our baskets. At least the structure looked good I thought to myself. I aired out the 200 grain line and sent a cast over the first breaker. As soon as the line came tight I felt a tap on the other end and missed the hook up. I figured at least that was a good sign as I brought the line in and made another cast.
The next cast and the one after were basically repeats of the first one until I finally managed to make solid connection. The fish wasn’t big by any stretch but it took the threat of a skunking off and so I showed it off, just in case there was any doubt later as to who had caught fish. Patrick managed to follow up with his own fairly quickly after that and it soon became a game of who could catch more. We’d managed to hit a bunch of small to medium sized perch in the first spot and went 10 or so fish on the next dozen casts each. Personally I was surprised, the fish should have been moving out as the tide dropped but we just kept on catching.
The first rule of fishing is don’t leave fish to find fish. Sometimes though you just feel the need to push your luck anyway and with the bite being this good I figured that if we found better structure the size might improve as well. Maybe it was luck just favored us but the fishing got even better as did the fish. It wasn’t long before something hit that made Patrick slip some line through his fingers so he didn’t lose it or break it off. I could tell he was excited as he slid the fish from the surge and up onto the sand. He was stoked to manage a personal best and on a day that shouldn’t have been that good to start with. You have to bear in mind that the perch are a lot like bluegill just in saltwater. So seeing a 13-14 incher is pretty impressive if you’ve never gotten one that big before. Think about it, when was the last time you managed to get a bluegill that size?
The bite kept on even as the dropping tide started to expose the sandbar on the far side of the trough. After a while though our arms were getting tired of catching and casting so we decided to pack it up and get back in time to watch some Sunday football. As we were walking back we both decided that it had been one of the better days we’ve ever had in the surf and I just couldn’t help but think to myself that for as much and as long as I’ve fished the beaches out here, maybe I don’t know as much as I think. I shook that thought from my head and settled on it having to be an early Christmas present instead…