FLY FISHING IN LOCAL SALTWATER with MICHAEL SCHWEIT
If you’re tired of long drives to the Sierra or Kernville, the Pacific Ocean might become your next fly rod destination. The Channel Islands and Catalina abound with calico bass, yellowtail, white sea bass and barracuda and are a short boat ride from Oxnard or the South Bay. If you haven’t seen the backing on your fly reel lately, this could be the program for you.
Michael Schweit, known to many of you as the ex-President of the Southwest Council of FFI, has been fly fishing these waters for 30 years. His local charters have been a training ground for trout fishermen eager to expand their species portfolio. His program will cover the gear you will need, the clothing, footwear and even a guide to avoiding sea sickness. This program is especially geared to those that have NEVER used a fly rod in the ocean and will answer ALL of your questions.
Born in the San Fernando Valley, Michael’s angling career began early: “I started fishing with my father at around the age of 6. As he was somewhat frugal (cheap), we would go to what we now call “Pay-to-Play” venues like Sportsmen Lodge (right on Ventura Boulevard in the heart of the San Fernando Valley) and as they charged you for any fish you caught, he would crimp our barbs. We said “Oops” a lot to the fish manager when fish got off our line.
After the draw of those first tugs, I got my dad to teach me how to cast and soon after, we were off to the Kern River. I caught my first river trout there and promptly “released” him into the water in my attempt to place him on the stringer. Catch and release from the start.
My father, and later my mother, loved saltwater fishing and once I was old enough, I started fishing the barges that used to be anchored off our coast. From there, I graduated to half day boats, then full day and finally multi-day trips out of San Diego. I caught my first albacore at 12 and never looked back.”
He learned to fly fish from Neal Taylor who ran a teaching program at UCLA, paid his dues catching trout on the Owens and Hot Creek and joined Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers. At a meeting, he asked visiting speaker Lefty Kreh if you could catch albacore on the fly. When Lefty told him “You can catch anything on a fly,” new horizons opened. In 2011 he set the IGFA world record for a fly caught white sea bass and has landed albacore, yellowfin and dorado on the charters he runs out of San Diego. A dedicated adventurer, Michael has tested his salt skills in Baja, Ascension Bay, Xcalak and the Bahamas. His preference for DIY (unguided) flats fishing has sharpened his stalking and casting skills. Well known for what his friends call his “flyangelism,” Michael organizes Special Events for the Southwest Council and is devoted to introducing newcomers to the sport.