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The Fisherman

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About The Fisherman

  • Birthday 11/08/1960

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    Middletown, CT

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  1. I miss the old days of writing for print. :-) Steve Culton
  2. At the risk of stating the obvious, it's extremely difficult to find -- or make -- a fly, and then fish it, that can replicate what you're doing with the Sluggo. You'd need a fly that had weight incorporated into it, and that would make it very difficult to cast. It's probably doable with a 2H rod and a very heavy grain weight line. Or, you'd need to fish a full sink head, and that may be problematic in a boulder field, especially if it has bubble weed. If there is current, you'd probably want a floating line for mending, or a full sink tip (up to 25 feet or so) attached to a floating line, both with a very thin diameter. You'd likely need to keep that fly moving to prevent hangups. Finally, you may not need to think along those lines. Fly fishing isn't spin fishing with a weighted Sluggo. Embrace what fly fishing is. A flatwing style like Ken's Eel Punt or my Bombardier will give you the illusion of mass without adding excess casting bulk. You may not need to get the fly that deep. If you do, a sink tip line is probably a good place to start. Hope that helps, Steve Culton
  3. Of course, the fly line is never going to be absolutely straight. When performing a mended swing, I teach my students to try to keep the line from rod tip to terminal end as straight as possible. There are all manner of mends that can be done to achieve this. The OP stated, "the hookset power and angle was compromised by the bow in the line." Any kind of mend that produces a bow large enough to compromise a hookset isn't the kind of mend I'd be teaching. There's a happy medium. :-) Steve Culton
  4. As I mentioned, this is so hard to diagnose because we weren't there. But this is important: if you're dead drifting, you shouldn't have a big bow in your line. It's quite possible that you weren't dead drifting. Or you were dead drifting, and the takes came just as your fly was starting to drag. To be clear, a dead drift is the fly moving downcurrent as if completely unfettered by a line attached to a fixed point. That's hard to achieve with a big bow in your line. This is why line control is so important, and why there's a learning curve with a floating line presentations. Fish above 10 pounds generally don't miss. There's likely some kind of operator error here. If you were greased line swinging, you'd be in a much better position to set the hook and convert every one of those takes. A good place to start might be to go back there in the daylight so you can see what you're doing and see how your fly is behaving. You could also take a lesson (that should horrify @Mike Oliver ) or watch someone who really knows what they're doing. Hope that helps, Steve Culton
  5. One reason I don't usually get into these things online is that with none of us being there besides you, they are tricky to armchair quarterback. But, you've sucked me in. I would start with sticky sharp hooks. Are your hooks sticky sharp? Regardless of size or point type, they should stick into your fingernail if you try to drag it across its surface. That's a sticky sharp hook. It's the single most important thing in fishing. Next question is: what size fish? Sometimes schooligans can be frustrating little nippers. You say your hits were coming at 10 degrees perpendicular to the current. That's right in the hook set wheelhouse. The two most likely scenarios are the fish were not fully committing to the fly -- if they were, you'd be on every time -- or they were eating something far smaller than what you were throwing. Your fly was a larger surprise to them. I am confused by this: "So many of my takes were dropped simply because they were light and by the time I felt the resistance my line was bowed down-current from the striped bass introducing slack." If you are mending, performing a mended or greased line swing, your line shouldn't be significantly bowed, nor significantly slacked. I'm also not clear on how the bass were "introducing slack." Can you explain? If you're greased line swinging correctly, you are constantly in contact with your fly. It seems counter-intuitive, but it is a tight line presentation. If the bass were in fact holding on station, not willing to chase, they should be feeding with confidence. (This goes back to the possibility that they were on something small. In that case, try droppers. You can find my striped bass team of three with a web search.) You're essentially feeding them. Here's another counter-intuitive thing to try next time this happens: try to NOT hook the fish. You'll be surprised by how many times you can't not hook the fish. :-) Another thing to try is to close your eyes -- think Luke learning the light sabre with the blast shield covering his eyes, and Obi-Wan saying, "Your eyes can deceive you."....and fish by feel alone. Try to meet the fish halfway. It's part Zen, part Jedi, part Ninja, and part figuring out when to strike. It is remarkable when it comes together. Most of all, there is no substitute for experience and time on the water. Get back there ASAP and have at it. What a rush you'll get when you figure it out. Hope this helps, Steve Culton
  6. I love ya, Mike, but everyone learns differently. It may very well be that the OP would find a proper lesson invaluable. I say this not just as a teaching guide, but as someone who frequently hires guides and is always looking to pick up new ideas, approaches, and even discover that I'm doing something in a non-optimal fashion. You've taken in-person casting lessons and benefitted. Why would a fishing lesson be any different? Sometimes you need to see it, touch it, and do it under the supervision of a skilled instructor. I trust that given our long history of courteously disagreeing, this still keeps me in Kelly Kettle favor... :-) Steve Culton
  7. I teach that "confidence catches fish." Having said that, if your favorite striper fly is an olive over white dumbbell-eyed pattern 4" long, and the bass are sipping matchstick sand eels on the surface, your favorite fly will very likely be a source of frustration and disappointment. So my favorite striper fly is the one that the stripers are most likely to eat in the current scenario I'm fishing, whether that's February on the Hous or July on Block or September in LIS. It's a constantly changing dynamic. Hope that helps, Steve Culton
  8. You might find this interesting and/or helpful. The thread has a lot of good questions and answers. Ray Bondorew even chimes in: You could also do a web search using my name and "good night for a five weight." That will take you to an article I wrote many years ago on the subject. I still use the 5-weight for stripers and enjoy fishing with it. Hope this helps, Steve Culton
  9. I regret having to discourage the OP, but the best use of your time may be to take that beach walk, smoke a cigar, and leave the rod in the car. Not even my secret shore spots are producing right now, and then it's on one night then dead the next five. Sad but true. Best of luck, and enjoy the sunsets. Steve Culton
  10. Well....wow! What a nice way to start the day. The voice is genetic, so thanks to mom and dad, etc. I'm grateful to Tom for having me on. You're correct in that I apply so many trout tactics to my striper fishing. Although as I point out in the podcast, I was fishing a three fly team for stripers before trout. If there's a particular podcast you like to listen to, you can always reach out to its producers and have them reach out to me... Steve Culton
  11. Congrats to my old mate! Steve Culton
  12. I had the privilege of appearing with Tom Rosenbauer on the Orvis Podcast a couple weeks ago. While we talked about swinging wet flies and soft hackles for trout, I did make the point that that method lends itself well to multiple striper scenarios. If you get a chance to listen to it, enjoy! Steve Culton A wild Farmington River brown taken on a soft hackle by my client Alan last week.
  13. Glad you enjoyed it! I'm not really a tea guy, but there's something about Mike's midnight beach brew that goes down wonderfully on a chilly Cape night. Steve Culton
  14. The one and only! IIRC, we destroyed that kettle on that night. I believe Mike has a new one. He better if he wants me to go fishing with him.... Steve Culton
  15. You can read about my journey into 2H rods (spoiler: our friend Mike Oliver plays a major role) in the current issue of Surfcaster's Journal (#78). It's both story and how-to. Thanks, Mike! Some of my implements of destruction, and then Mike having at it on the back bays of Cape Cod on a windy June morning. What wicked midnight alchemy is master beach tea brewer Mikey O concocting? The answer can be found "Out Front." Steve Culton
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