Thanks for sharing this post. The pics on the link were pretty cool!
On that site, you talked about using bigger flies to catch bigger fish. I think you know where I stand on that issue where spotted sand bass is concerned from prior conversations.
You'll catch more spotties more often if you fish where the fish are and feed them something they can see that is small, non-threatening, and easy to kill. For me, that is almost always a Newport Special in size 8, and chartreuse is the right color, nearly all of the time.
Spotted sand bass don't spend a bunch of time chasing baitfish around. They eat crabs and burrowing shrimps. On average, you'll catch far more spotted sand bass on smaller flies like Newport Specials or Bonefish Bitters than you will on size 2 Clouser Minnows.
I know that's a tough concept to accept and I know that a lot of folks down your way don't buy into my mantras on size and color.
But I'm not the only one whose fishing of spotted sand bass is predicated on the reliance of small chartreuse offerings. There's a gear fishing guide named Mike Gardner who will catch hundreds of the things in a day, and he'll do almost all of it on a 2.5 inch or smaller AA's single twist-tail grub, chartreuse with a gold vein and black back. When my 6 year old son fishes with me, he'll catch 25 or 30 on 1/8 ounce (yep, you read that right) Foxee Jigs in chartreuse.
How many encyclopedia inch or larger trout have you caught will fishing midges? If your like most who fish them, you've probably caught more than a few. It's all about "matching the hatch" and that's why the little stuff gets the nod in the bay.
Barred sand bass will spend a lot more effort chasing baitfish around, and they'll go for bigger flies, but they'll take the smaller ones, too.
I fish the honey hole around the Coronado Bridge several times each year, and I almost always catch 25 fish or more during a single outing there, and I usually catch them on the same chartreuse size 8 Newport Special that I started fishing with when I made my first cast of the day. If I change flies, it's because I got broke off or tying on a new one is faster than sharpening the hook of the old one.
If a three foot smoothound shark will inhale a little size 8 Newport Special or Bonefish Biter, I promise you that a big spotted sand bass will, too, because they eat the same things.
Will spotties take big flies? Yep. But not too often. Most of the people who claim to do well on stuff like size 2 Clousers or larger are doing the bulk of their catching in eelgrass beds in July and August, during the spawn, or they're doing it just after the jacksmelt and topsmelt eggs hatch, but even during those times, the smaller stuff will work well.
If you are going to boat big numbers of spotties, you need to embrace the fact that fish have three feeding modes: Active, Passive, and Negative. Spotties spend most of their time in mode number two, when they can take your offering or leave it. If you make the job of killing your fly too tough, they'll let it pass by and wait for the current to deliver them a smaller, more easily killed meal.
This is why the finesse fishing tactics work so well on these fish, whether you're fishing with fly tackle or gear tackle.
So instead of thinking large flies, think about leader length, line density, boat position relative to structure, current velocity, and all of the other things that could have an influcence on the quality and quantity of the spotties you catch.
"I fish, therefore I am."