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The Graveyard Shift

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  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Fly Fishing, Surfcasting, Bass Fishing, and Fishing in general
  • What I do for a living:
    Commercial Real Estate

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  1. So I agree with JRT that just adding rattles to most fly patterns is more trouble than its worth because they break pretty quickly. If you want to use them you need to design the fly so you can change out the rattles when they break. Also you want to design the fly to maximize how easily the rattle initiates on movement. They do make a big difference in catch rate for me. The way I tested was actually spending one week in a consistent schoolie spot at night fishing two of my Mitchel Dancing Minnow flies. One with a dead rattle and a fresh one with a loud rattle. 4 trips switching it up every hour produced 24 fish for the working rattle fly and 10 for the dead rattle fly. That is end of week results not per trip. The Mitchell Dancing Minnow is designed to be fished on a fast short strip two hand retrieve staying on the surface making a v wake while rattling continuously. This pattern is designed around the idea of a rattle chamber for a large plastic jig rattle to slide back and forth hitting foam stops activating the rattle. Also leaving the space allows the mesh bod to bend keeping fly and rattle from breaking when in a fishes mouth. The foam at rear and the front keep it on the surface and the angled cut helps it push a wake. The only change is recently I am adding glow foam tabs to help me track it on dark nights I cannot see the V wake. I have tried doing surgery to replace a rattle on this fly but it does not workout. They are easy to tie and usually last about 50 fish before the rattle dies. So I just make 5-8 flies to get me through a season. My versions of Rich Murphy's Quarter Moon Special are made so the rear rattle feather tail section can easily be cut off and replaced. The rattle in this model is one of Hilltop's metal ones. The mesh goes through the swivel eye and is doubled over then thread wrapped. You can easily cut it off then add a new tail and rattle. Also the soft velcro is an experiment. it has increased the hook up ratio. Google "frog fur lure" if you want to understand the reason for the velcro. I have added a new rattle tail to that same fly at the start of each season its caught tons of fish over the past four seasons. The rattles usually die by mid season and a new tail is attached.
  2. Daylight I do the same except its 4'. I lengthen it to 7' of straight 20lb when I sight fishing flats for stripers. At night I use 3' of 40lb test and a 50lb Tactical Angler clip. At the canal I use 3' of 60lb with 125lb clip. For sight fishing bonefish, tarpon, and permit. I use what the guide tells me too.
  3. I am interested. Will reach out via phone to set a trip up.
  4. The main reason I throw big flies is because what I have observed in my local area is a secondary predation link. When there is a ton of silversides in certain areas I have observed when spotlighting at night large american eels and squid preying on the silver sides. These big schools of silversides do not concentrate bigs schools of cow bass usually. Generally its schoolies with slot fish mixed in. By throwing an eel or a squid I start catching the slots and occasionally a cow bass. The bigger fish take the target of opportunity squid/eel when they encounter them. I have not killed any to see what those cows stomach content looks like but it would be interesting to know if it has silversides or mainly the eels/squid that are lurking around. If I switch to a smaller silverside imitation I catch a lot more fish but the % of schoolies is 75% or greater. On the squid or eel flies it's only 30% schoolies. But the catch totals would look like this 10-20 fish throwing silverside imitations 2-6 fish throwing eel flies. You skunk a lot more throwing big flies. All this is at night. I have no claims of understanding daylight tactics other than sight fishing which is my favorite fishing chasing tails at sunrise. A lot of bait is in totally different places at night then during the day so I dont think my advice applies at all when the sun is out
  5. the mesh product is called Flexo PET. The color used in that fly is called Black Magic its a combo of black and dark purple woven together. I buy it from wirecare.com But there are other websites that sell Fexo PET.
  6. Assuming this is the James Browne I have fished with in Maine. Completely agree bass are not crazy tough fighters a 12wt makes my fishing easier at night in sketchy spots with strong current. Other than some very specific scenarios its really not needed, but it makes my fishing easier so my 10wt stays home most nights. @FelixaMerm If this is the Maine Guide James Browne you should listen to him above all else. In my opinion James is probably the best from shore striper fly guide on the entire east coast. If I had unlimited time and resources I would book him for an entire season to shave a decade off my personal learning curve on striper fishing. I highly recommend you book some guided trips with him. He is probably best qualified to teach you how to catch true cow bass from shore on a fly. mainestriperguide dot com
  7. The goal is to push a lot of water while remaining reasonable to cast. You also cannot make anything thats truly rigid. Rigid flies break and give fish leverage to throw the hook or impede the initial hookup. The work horse I use the most is this "McKenna Special" fly I designed to fish similar to a McKenna double rigged sluggo. It uses flexible mesh Flexo material to give it volume but maintain plenty of flex. it has double rattles in the center section and the largest double barrel popper head slider style in the front "head" to make it float just barely. I fish it on an intermediate and it makes for a very interesting diving/swimming presentation where I can keep it within 12-18" of the surface. This is my go to for beaches, boulder fields, and eddy areas of inlets. On my 12wt in daylight I can cast it a full fly line on a 525 grain outbound intermediate line. At night I rarely try to cast further than 70' and usually stay in the 20-60' range which gets me into plenty of fish. This is the owner aki 6/0 tail section Then you wire the tail to lead head Owner Aki 8/0 hook with 65lb titanium wire and a crimp. I thread wrap the wire so its easier to tie materials on to it. The you add the mesh center body with two jig rattles inside. Then add the slider foam head Then you cover head in more mesh. the last reason for the mesh body is if you wish to add scent it washes out of the mesh easily. Most fly materials are a ruined stinky mess once you add a scent to them. This fly you can add eel super gel scent and them it performs like a rigged eel. That greatly increases your chance of getting a fish over 45" from shore at night. Its not necessary and I do not use scent regularly. I also surfcast and when I get on a hot live eel bite for big fish I try to come back and fly fish that same pattern. With scent I have had solid luck connecting and without it its only worked out twice. I have throw plenty of other flies like traditional beasts in that scenario and also had bad luck. For whatever reason those areas when bass are keyed in on big eels they are tough to catch on anything that does not smell like a real eel.
  8. I bought the mackerel gamechangers from Nightmare Musky. I personally hate tying gamechangers so I outsource them to someone who excels at them. Those mack gamechangers have been great producers at the canal.
  9. If you are sight fishing from shore or only casting near bunker schools as the target instead of true sight fishing any decent 9' SH 12wt should do the trick. I don't own any SH 12wts so cannot advise on which one would best fit your needs. If your fishing from a boat a 10wt is probably fine on big fish in current. And with just switching to a sinking line you will find casting beasts on a 10wt is way easier with a sink line than a floating. If you plan to blind cast for several hours from shore in areas of heavy current day or night then you really should get a two handed 12 wt designed for two hand overhead casting. These are expensive and I recommend starting with the cheaper single hand 12wt as you can keep it for trips to the tropics for tarpon or small tuna or big jacks. Only commit to the two hander when you are certain it will be your primary rod for most striper outings. That said I love my thomas and thomas 12 wt exocett surf two hander. I fish it on 80 % of my night fly trips and do not limit it to heavy current. I use it for boulder fields, inlets, beaches, and backwaters during the herring runs. I fish 4-6 hours blind casting big flies with no fatigue at all. Its truly a game changer for fishing in wind with big flies. I used the Rio Levithan 500 grain full sink at the Canal. For fishing other areas I use the Rio Outbound Tropical lines in either an intermediate or a floating line depending on where I plan to fish and those lines are 525 grain 30' head tapers. Since I fish at night I only use fully integrated fly lines because when a loop to loop line connection hits your rod tip in the dark it feels like a strike and you false set all the time. Another rod option is the Chippewa 2 Hand 10' Custom Predator Fly Rods. He has three options and I plan on getting the 9'10" Beast model in 2025. You would be best off getting the 10' 12wt which throws 500 grains. These rods are awesome for two hand overhead casting. These are what I throw for flies on a regular basis with the 12 weight two hander
  10. I made this fly to work as a suspender. If you don't want the night colors you can just change to pearl colored Ez Body, white foam, and your choice of Squimpish Hair colors. If you want it to have a bit more buoyancy add a small top wing of bucktail fibers.
  11. No problem. The last comment I have is the rods were designed for compact heavy heads. I accidentally bought a normal tarpon line which had a 39' 385 grain head and I absolutely hated it for the Exocett 10wt surf rod.
  12. First thing I want to put out there: I fish 95% of the time at night so I rarely fish heavy surf unless its is a bright night and there is big swell (A very rare scenario). Since storms tend to generate those conditions its generally close to pitch black and after getting my ass kicked really bad by well overhead waves I did not see coming in the dark now if the surf is over 6' I just fishing using my surfcasting gear at night from a safe position on the sand. So I still do fish beaches in moderate waves 3-5' with a fly rod at night and in general if I am going to do that I take my 12wt rod and throw my full sinking line with my floating McKenna Special fly pattern. I also fish boulder fields and other rocky area in 3-5' waves and I also use the 12wt rod with an intermediate line and the same floating fly pattern. So I will be the first to admit "Out Front" fly fishing is not my main way to target fish. Those getting in the water in those wild conditions is not something I do anymore as I am getting older and have a lot of injuries so trying to do it in the dark is just too big a risk for me. Here is the breakdown of where I fish my Exocett Rods over an average 60 trip striper season: 40% of trips are to inlets 25% of trips to rocky points or boulder fields 25% of trips to estuaries usually targeting light lines at bridges or herring runs in the spring 10% of trips are to beaches Here is my feedback on both Exocett Surf Rods: 10 Weight: 1. Fully integrated lines with 425-450 grain 30' heads are my preference. I have had good luck loading the rod with the Rio Outbound series, Rio Coastal Quickshooter series, and Wulff Triangle Taper line series. These lines all have a 30lb core strength so keep your leaders 25lbs or lighter. I use either a 3 foot long leader with a dropper at 20" from the loop knot (Dropper is 8-10" long to a 25lb TA clip) then 16" to the TA 50lb clip for the floating fly. This slider/dropper leader is made out of 25lb mono. If I am going to fish big solo flies 8-12" then I use a 3 foot straight 25lb fluro leader ending in a TA 50lb clip. 2. The type of line you use makes a huge difference in performance in wind. With the Rio Outbound 10wt floating line I can comfortably cast flies 4-7" 60-70 feet in wind up to 10mph with little difficulty. With the Rio Outbound 10 wt 6ips sinking head version of the line casting 4-7" flies 80-90' in 10mph wind is not difficult. In general if the wind is over 10mph I will reach for my 12wt instead of the 10wt. 3. Generally I fish with my floating line 8/10 trips I use the 10wt rod. I primarily use a top water fly pattern I tie: which is a rattling slider that pushes a nice v wake with a dropper rig in front that uses a 25lb tactical angler clip. I change out the dropper fly to match the bait I am seeing in the water. For droppers I carry 1" size 4 ultra shrimp, 2" size 2 ultra shrimp, 2.5" size 2 ez body minnows, 3.5" size 1 ez body minnows, 3" size 2 worm flies, and 4" single feather flatwings. I can also switch out from the dancing minnow to a flawing gurgler for the top water if I am going to dead drift or swing. I find in beaches with light surf, estuaries, or inlets this combination on the Rio floating 10wt outbound full integrated line is awesome. It allows me to cover a lot of water, attract fish, and match other small bait in the water. Steve Culton is big on the three fly rig which I have done, but I prefer only one dropper and a clip so I can change flies very fast and multiple times over the course of a trip instead of a fixed team of three different flies. The other thing i do is I fish crab flies like nymphs with a glowing indicator on this rod around mussel beds with rip currents. I use flies that are all less than 7" in length on my floating 10wt line. 4. If I am going to throw big flies 8-12" in length I fish the Rio Outbound 10wt line that has the intermediate running line with 5ips/7ips head configuration. With this line I am very happy throwing 8-12" conomo special and beast flies in winds up to 10mph. I find at night I can comfortably cast this big fly and sinking line combo 60-90 feet. This is what I use during herring runs or at inlets when I think eels, bunker, or squid are present. In general these areas have moderate to fast current ranging 4-8' deep or are quite deep 8-15' with slower current. 12 Weight: 1. Fully integrated lines with 500-525 grain 30' heads are my preference. I have had good luck loading the rod with the Rio Elite Tropical Outbound series and at the Cape Cod Canal I use the Rio Elite Levithan series. The Elite Tropical lines all have a 50lb core strength so this allows me to use a 40lb leader comprised of 3 feet of fluorocarbon to a 50lb TA clip. The Elite Levithan series has a 75-80bl core strengh so I fish a 60lb leader comprised of 3 feet of fluorocarbon to a 125lb TA Clip. 2. I fish 50% of my trips with the 12wt using the Rio Elite Tropical 12wt Float/1ips/2ips (clear tip) fly line. This works great fishing shallow inlet rips 6' or less in depth, fishing beaches in moderate surf (3-5' waves), and I fish this line at rock points and boulder fields. I use floating flies that fight against the intermediate sink rate to keep a near surface presentation. The two main flies I use are my McKenna Special and my variation of Rich Murphy's RM Shortfin which I have dubbed the Murphy Special. 3. I fish 35% of my trips with the Rio Levithan line in the 12/13wt version which has a 26 foot long 500 grain head with 1.5ips running line to a 8.5ips head. I use this setup at most of my inlets to fish flies deep 10-15' and at the canal to get deep enough (no way you are getting to the bottom in 4kts of current but hanging down 8-10feet is sufficient). 4. I fish 15% fo my trips using the Rio Elite Tropical 12 full floating fly line. This is what I use to wake big flies for bass focused on herring in the spring or bunker in the summer.
  13. June I did a lot of night trips, but the highlights were two epic first light tailing fish trips with local Cape guide Steve Kean. On the night portion of the trip I was catching tons of shad. Fish wanted sandeel clouser with a well placed cast to the tailing at sunrise Later in the morning as water got to high to see tails working poppers produced fun action. Later when the sun got higher I was able to do some solid sight fishing as well. Steve also got in on the sight fishing action.
  14. May was pretty interesting with herring and stripers showing up about 2 weeks earlier than normal. Been trying to not remove fish from water for all my solo photos. I was lucky one night to have John Fields fishing with me and he took that one picture.
  15. I realized four season back the weird light hits I was getting at night in certain areas were squid after I finally snagged a couple in a similar manner. Another critter that often hits my flies but gets hooked rarely are american eels.
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