On the Fly

It is rare to find a woman as passionate about fishing as Jean Sedar, the president of the Santa Barbara Flyfishers. A trim, 5-foot, 5-inch sparkplug of energy, Sedar has been a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker for 18 years, but conversations with her turn quickly to the subject of the outdoors.

“I am a fifth generation Santa Barbaran and my father, Bill Sedar, and brother Steve were examples of natural hunters and fishers; dad got me fishing before I was five,” Sedar says. “I used to watch my dad pull in steelhead (an ocean-going trout) out of the Santa Ynez River after Bradley Dam was constructed.”

Sedar’s mother’s side of the family, the McCaffreys, owned the first sporting goods store in Santa Barbara and her dad and brother opened Hook Line & Sinker, a fishing tackle shop that they owned and operated for eight years, before selling to Yong Shin in 1985.

Sedar gained her fundamentals in fly fishing through a course in the UCSB Extension program taught by Neal Taylor.

“We learned everything from entomology and casting techniques to knot tying and reading the water for areas that hold fish,” Sedar says. “At the end of the class we went to the Bishop area and we would ‘dabble’ the fly (a type of lure) on the near bank and then cast across to the undercuts on the far bank where I caught my first fish on a fly rod. It was there (the Sierra) that I discovered that fish don’t live in ugly places.” Bishop is on the eastern side of the Sierra, near Mammoth, a locale better known for skiing, but adequate for fishing nonetheless.

Sedar and her dad, who is now 92, still go bass fishing at Lake Cachuma. Before going out, they get a daily briefing from Jim Batty, at the Tackle Shop, and then they take a boat out on the lake.

“I like casting lures for bass and fishing for Red-Eared Perch,” Sedar says. “The perch are delicious! We release the bass, but keep the perch when in season, fillet and cut them up into bite-sized pieces, dip in egg and roll them in cracker crumbs. We fry and eat them right away; they’re excellent.”

As opposed to bait fishing, the sedentary side of the sport, Sedar prefers casting lures and flies because it gives her “a target, something to aim for.” Fly fishing in streams is even more active as you look for changes in the structure of the river, the bends, eddies and current lines. A fisherman is constantly studying the river’s flow and learning where the fish lie but also observing what is around them – mainly bugs.

“You are constantly active and trying something new – a new spot to cast to, a new fly that might attract the fish or a new location,” she says. “You are not just sitting down holding a pole with bait, waiting.”

On the Club

The Santa Barbara Flyfishers hold clinics and fishing field trips along local ocean shores. “I use to do a lot of deep sea fishing with heavy tackle,” Sedar says. “I still enjoy that but now I have added a different style of saltwater fishing.”

The club, which meets monthly, has about 130 members with 20 youth members brought up through its fishing academy. The club also sponsors Trout in the Classroom, where youths raise trout from eggs to fry and release them into approved local waters, and they have a clean-up day on the Santa Ynez River.

The club’s next general meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:15 pm at the Westside Community Center, 433 West Victoria Street. For more information visit www.sbflyfishers.com.

Tackle Box Tidbits

The 12th annual Trout Derby takes place at Lake Cachuma on April 21 and 22. (For more information visit www.cachuma.com or call 693-8381.)

I continue to get e-mails about favorite fishing lodges and spots in California and the Western States, but I welcome more suggestions. Send me an e-mail for your favorite fishing spot in the West.