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Bayviewrr

Too Much Bait?

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Been regularly getting into some nice fish out of the boat. So much bait in the water and fish swirling on top well within casting distance. My only surprise is how few hook ups I have been getting compared to the number of fish in the water. The bait is sand eels, nice size at that. Cloud after cloud of them Probably six or seven inches long. I have fished every sand eel pattern I have in the box. I have fished up high in the water column (fish swirling on top) and as deep as I can get. I have fished a fast two hand retrieve and a slow twitch (and everything in between). I have fished right in the middle of feeding fish and around the edges. I am not really complaining as I have been averaging three to four fish per morning, all in the 12 to 18 lb range. Thanksgiving morning I took my all around best which was probably between 25 and 30 lb. My only surprise is how few hooks ups I have had based on the number of fish and the amount of bait. The only thing I can think of is that there is just too much bait in the water and the fish just have so much to choose from. Thoughts and comments?

 

[ATTACHMENT=3458]Dec 2 - 11.jpg (567k. jpg file)[/ATTACHMENT]

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Nice work! when there's lots of bait I sometimes do a very very slooow long strip allitle outside th bait ball if that doesn't work get ur fly into th thick of it and slooowly pull th fly towards u.

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I wish I had your problems! This is a "problem" even with fly fishing for trout. When they're keyed in on the natural bait (or fly) your pattern may not be good enough to fool them. Thaistick has a good suggestion placing your pattern outside the bait ball. You might try a totally different pattern to see how opportunistic they are. Enjoy figuring out how to get more hook ups. That's why they call it fishing and not catching.

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I'm not surprised by your experience. And it sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on the situation.

 

I too like the idea of fishing the edges of the bait ball.

 

Another tactic to increase your odds in those conditions is to fish multiple flies. If, say, you're fishing a three-fly dropper rig, you have 3x as many tagets in the water. It also gives you the option of fishing different sizes and colors and even patterns. The downside is that dropper rigs can be 25-30# fish unfriendly (I've had larger bass tear a rig apart on 30#) unless you're using a good heavy leader. I wouldn't go with anything less than 30#.

 

Hope that helps. :-)

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Got another idea. If you aren't already, how about using flourocarbon tippet maybe the fish are seeing the line at the last second. They aren't known to be as picky as albacore but it's worth a try.

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Even though i am not a fly fisherman i run into the same situation on a regular basis where i fish, and sometimes the only thing that works is to actually try an offering that does not perfectly match up to whats in the water,(although it's not my main strategy , and i only try when all else fails ) it does work. Most other times i get my offering down deeper to where the bigger lazier fish pick up the tidbits left over from the smaller more aggressive fish on top. Any time you can make your offering act in a different, distressed type of way that differentiates it from the others it will (most of the time) draw instinctive strikes from predatory fish whether they are hungry or not.

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Got another idea. If you aren't already, how about using flourocarbon tippet maybe the fish are seeing the line at the last second. They aren't known to be as picky as albacore but it's worth a try.

 

I always use a 15 lb fluorocarbon tippet. Just part of my standard set up.

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Great problem to have! I think you have the problem diagnosed however. There's so much bait you're flies are getting lost in the masses. I also agree that working the edges is the right move. Since you are hooking some fish, I don't think the patterns you're using are a problem, but perhaps you could improve your hook up's with something different. Perhaps not!

 

You say you've tried all the patterns you have, but are any of them really different from the naturals? Like a color combo that will set them apart? Perhaps an all black pattern, or something really wild, like Chartreuse or Hot pink? Worth trying.

 

I recently read a report on another site where an angler has been doctoring BKD's with plastic dyes. He's LTJing, using chartreuse & pink dyes on whitish (white, pearl, Albino, etc.) colored plastics, but indicated the added color seems to draw more strikes than the undoctored plastics. Not the same as flies, but perhaps the same idea will work. He says there's a lot of bait in the water, but I doubt the same numbers as you're seeing. I'm not so sure the color is key, but perhaps the contrast of colors.

 

Might also try a completely different pattern as others have suggested, maybe something big, that may represent predatory competition. Can't say for sure if it will work, but again, what do you have to lose?

 

Any time you can make your offering act in a different, distressed type of way that differentiates it from the others it will (most of the time) draw instinctive strikes from predatory fish whether they are hungry or not.

 

I too have had occasions where this was the only thing that seemed to work. :th:

 

 

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