Vaughn Podmore is a saltwater fishing guide based out of Huntington Beach, California. Whether it's in shore, off shore, or cruising around beautiful Catalina Island, Vaughn knows how to get his clients on fish. Rumor has it, he's on the water guiding 364 1/2 days of the year, so we tracked down that half day he had free to spend a morning fishing at his local beach.
Vaughn, it's great to see you. Judging by your accent, we all know you’re not from around here! Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and more importantly how did you end up here?
I grew up in South Africa and left there in my early 20’s to travel the world, surfing and fishing. I somehow ended up here in SoCal in 1989 and loved the vibe and opportunities it offered, and decided to stay a while.
Now that you've been in the U.S. for so long, do you consider yourself a Californian or are you still clinging to your South African roots?
Yeah, I consider myself a Californian, and more so proud to be a USA citizen 100%. Sometimes getting together with other South Africans we might reminisce about growing up there a bit but that’s about it.
How did you get into guiding? What is it about taking people fishing that you enjoy so much?
I think it was always my calling and I just never knew it. As a kid I used to love taking my buddies fishing and teaching them. Here in the USA I started helping a local fly shop with destination trips, casting, tying flies, building rods, etc. That’s how I got into guiding here and most importantly just sharing the stoke that I continue to have.
What are some of the species your clients can expect to target? What does a typical day on the water with you look like?
Like most areas it’s seasonal, but spring through summer here in SoCal we get calico bass, sand bass, barracuda, bonito, yellowtail and sometimes yellow fin tuna, blue fin tuna, dorado, and a few other species as well. Most mornings for me begin at 3:30am. I gas up, grab my gear out of the DECKED system and launch the boat by 5-5:30. We fish hard and are generally back at the dock by 3:30pm if we are fishing Catalina Island. I’ll end up getting home by 4-4:30pm, wash up, hang with my lovely wife, tie a few flies and then in bed by 9pm, to get ready to do it all over again! That’s my day.
Guiding can't be without its ups and downs, what's the craziest day you've had out on the water?
I’ve had my crazy days, both fishing-related and other things as well. I prefer to remember the fish stories and there’s a ton that I have. One which sticks in my mind - I had three guys getting in on a wide open yellowtail bite that lasted for hours. They caught and released 65 yellowtails not to mention bonito, calicos and 'cuda, all on the fly.
What are some dos and don'ts for clients to keep in mind when getting onto your boat?
Coming on the boat with me is about having a good time. I’m not a hardass about things in general but respect my boat, it’s my livelihood! I always joke around and say, “there’s only two things that I can promise. Firstly…the water is wet and secondly...if you listen to me you might learn something."
What advice do you have for someone looking to get into saltwater fly fishing?
Getting into saltwater flyfishing is like an addiction, be careful haha!! Find what you like about it and what you want to pursue. There’s a lot of different species out there from fishing the bays, inlets, beaches or the blue water. Fly fishing can take you to awesome places if you like traveling.
Fishing from the beach is going to be probably the least expensive. I would suggest a 7-8 wt, sinking line setup which you can use in so many different areas. A handful of flies, leaders, stripping basket and you’re all set. Practice your casting, distance is important and of course a bit of luck.
What is it about the DECKED system that you like so much? How does it keep you organized while juggling so many clients? What accessories do you like?
I’m so stoked with my DECKED system, I love being so organized. Everything has its place from fishing gear, boat stuff and tools and get this, I don’t have to climb in the back of my truck anymore! The drawers just slide out and everything is right there in different sections or tool boxes. It lockable and safely hid away which is a nice peace of mind when leaving my truck parked while I’m out on the water.
If someone wants to spend a day on the water with you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?
If you’re interested in fishing with me or just curious about my fishery visit my website saltyflyfishing.com or send me a email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me to hear my accent, 714-235-7715.
Here’s a funny story to end with…many years ago I was at our local Dairy Queen ice cream takeout with my daughter and after ordering we drive up to the window. The employee says to me, “I just love your accent, where are you from? Texas?” 🤣