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DickB

Cape Cod this summer: thrashing the surf

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New Here, this is Post #1.  So I'll begin at the beginning.  I live in hill country and sometimes make the trek to Cape Cod (from Wellfleet to Race Point).  I only get  few days so I tend to devote much time with rod and reel in hand.  High point of past visits was with a surfcasting rig -- a mid-size (30"+) striped bass.  Last year's effort however was my low point: 0 strikes.



 



This year the plan is to continue surfcasting but to bring along a fly rod/reel.  Rod is from freshwater days, so be kind to me!  Got to slowly feel my way into this saltwater flyfishing.  A home built (me!) 2-piece Scott Powr-Ply 9' and (oh oh) 6 wt.  There's a Pflueger 1498 that I'll fix up with enough backing on a WF6S line. I know this will be a lose-your-line if I hook up on something sizeable, but a bit of the snapper blues would be okay for my first fly fishing in the surf, and also on the bayside too.  Perhaps the bayside from a kayak if water conditions allow.



 



Given all that, suggestions, please, on tippet, some flies, backing.  



 



Ill formed thoughts: 



 



Tippet = 20 lb. straight mono?--set me straight please. 



 



Flies?  I'm not thinking here...need help.  BTW, I do fly ties (or did some 30 years ago and saved my equipment although the moths cleaned out my feathers, hackles, etc.)



 



Backing: thinking maybe 200 yds. 20 lb. braided line on the Pflueger Medalist? 



 



Stripping basket, if I go there: a carpenter's apron opened up enough with some flexible open fabric screening.



 



Thanks for reading.  Thanks for comments, steering me....



 



Cheers, DickB


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A 6wt will be fine for throwing smaller flies in sheltered locations. For the surf it will be largely inadequate. But it's what you have, so I guess it's better than nothing, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't work out for you. Your biggest problem in the surf will be wind. The 6wt probably won't cut it, especially if your casting technique is not the best. You could overcome some of this by buying a new fly line. But that would require you to spend money and it could also be a problem with the reel. The mass of the line is what's most important in turning over flies, so an 8wt line would allow you to fish some bigger flies and face some breeze. However you are going to need to adjust your backing accordingly. You might only be able to get 100 yards on.

 

Your stripping basket idea-don't bother. Some manufacturers make mesh stripping baskets. They are three shades of useless in the surf. You would be better served spending $10 on a plastic dish pan and a bungee cord and make a real homemade basket.

 

You will also need to clean your setup thoroughly after each use. Your reel isn't a saltwater reel and your rod is likely not built with saltwater friendly components. I have seen fresh water fly reels ruined after not being thoroughly cleand just one time.

 

Flies-something to imitate a sand eel is never a bad choice during the summer. I also like to have a good arsenal of cluosers and decievers. They are good general searching patterns when you don't know what bait is around. You could also check with one of the fly shops on the Cape.

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Bob has much more experience than I so I agree with all he said. I would add that you might be able to buy yourself a bit more usefulness with your six weight rod if you use a 7 wt line. That's what I do. Also, using an intermediate line (smaller diameter) will help a bit in the wind and waves and backing capacity, and, in my experience, getting your fly down to the fish. Fishing clousers, or otherwise weighted flies, helps fly turnover in the wind.

 

Regarding flies, see my nearby post. If that's too radical, I've noticed that most of my colleagues use simple THIN olive white clousers, often accessorized with a long flat wing dark saddle hackle, as a sand eel imitation.

 

I second Bob's thoughts on the mesh stripping basket. Although I generally prefer to use no basket and just get all tangled up in my line, I'm sure the bucket he describes is the way to go, if you can handle it. If you're going to not use one, a floating running line will help.

 

As long as your tippet is weaker than your fly line core, you're ok. I use 20 lb, with a simple 3 piece 35/25/20 lb leader.

 

Steve

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Those old Scott's are not typically powerful enough to go up a line size in an SW line, I'd stick with the line you've got, then if you really decide to persue SW fly fishing you'll go out and get a proper outfit without having spent money unnecessarily. I'd would also suggest that you start on the bayside, the surf would be baptism by fire.

JC

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Since you mentioned kayak fishing, you might want to check out the Bass River. I have fished it from a kayak before and have caught schoolies and snapper blues during the summer. This would be ideal water to fish with a smaller rod.

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Fine start on this Forum with you guys.  Thanks. 



 



Basket idea out of a carpenter's apron?  Scrapped.  Will look into other options on that one including some more thoughts on home-rigging something practical out of pie plates or whatever. 



 



Flies: Had heard of the Clousers and seen a video on one being tied.  That's sort of my first thought--imitate what I usually surfcast, the sand eel.  Then there's Lefty's Deceiver which looks like a bait fish-- on that: hmmmm, for the Cape?  I do wonder if there's a brown/black eel pattern and its effectiveness.   So I'm thinking, until you guys come up with other ideas, of eels--sand and those larger and live jobbies that were always to expensive to cast and see them fly off the hook....



 



Tippets.  God, but I love to tie them up from scratch, so that multi-weight jobbie is right up my alley.



 



Rod.  It is a graphite--an early one at that, and a pretty stiff rod for a 6 wt.  If the guides are corrosion resistant I'm okay.  I recall that the seating device was of German Silver...just what that is and how it tarnishes I'll discover this summer.  In VT waters I wallowed in self pity wanting to cast with it but to retrieve/play a fish  with my bamboo T&T Special Trouter.  Hopeful, in time, to make the switch to weightier lines and rods.  Trying out a heftier line for a starter strikes me as fun.



 



Reel.  Dunking in the sink for a soak and slosh after a bit of salt strikes me as reasonable. Been fond of old Pflueger Medalist reels (1494) since the '60s when I was gifted an older one.  Happy to have a 1498 from the old days.



 



Kayak.  Wellfleet harbor more likely the spot. 



 



For the moment, that's it.  Thanks to all for comments.  Hope that I covered all of it, but let me know if something went amiss.



 



Cheers, DickB


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Dick,

 

What you are looking to do is not easy so lets be upfront about that right from the off. Its not fun fishing with gear that basically is not suitable and you not as yet having the skill to use it. Why waste your time fishing that way you would be so much better off investing some time reading up and if you are serious about fishing the surf with the fly rod investing in teh right gear and also get some fly casting lessons. Its just not possible to go from a near zero position to hero with little to no effort.

 

Mike

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I second what Bob says. 8wt is the ideal saltwater rod. Flies wise I think he has covered the bases. And Mike Oliver has some interesting input on being prepared. Having said that, I suggest just making sure you have smaller flies so, if you're using a small rod, you can downsize the fly and cast moderately well in the wind.

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Dick I've used a 6wt from time to time on the yak, my biggest was a fat 30" on a olive surf candy, 5' of 20lbs straight mono, definately not a waste of time, it's fun and more productive covering lots of ground. no need to make long cast on your yak, not to mention a blast when getting towed around,get one of those plastic lip grippers and pliers for a quick release and those toothy blue fish.

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Yes I totally agree on the issue of a quick and safe release thats why fishing from a yak can shorten the fight due to the kayak being the drag, it's like the fish is pulling you toward the fish and not the other way around also when I'm releasing the fish it's done while the fish is still in the water also making sure it's strong enough to swim away with a nice rub to the head for good luck ;)

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Yes I totally agree on the issue of a quick and safe release thats why fishing from a yak can shorten the fight due to the kayak being the drag, it's like the fish is pulling you toward the fish and not the other way around also when I'm releasing the fish it's done while the fish is still in the water.

 

Nice. There was some guy out there on the main forum showing his video to everyone. Kayaker who caught a cow. Pulls the cow out of the water--could have popped the hook at the side of the boat very easily--and lays it across his lap, picks it up in the air, twists it around a bit, then lets go. At least 45 secs out of water. But it was def. longer because you see he cuts out part of the video. Anyways, this guy is shopping his video around to everyone, posting it etc. No problem with that, but to me it seems like bad news that we're are creating a market for these kinds of pcitures and videos. Sure, let people share the good news of their awesome catches, but don't encourage them--by example or simply not caring--into mistreating the poor fish.

 

another video we had in the WC forum was of these guys landing a wild steelhead and basically taking 2 mins to release it. Just digusting. All videotaped and then shared to the web.

 

And yet the powers-that-be demand that we only give praise to these people. Which just makes the problem worse. People post their videos to be praised and congratulated. To make these videos, they keep fish out of water for long time. Videos set example of bad practices. Board members aren't supposed to criticize these people.

 

It's a vicious cycle that's killing our fisheries.

 

1000

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The first bass I caught in salt was on a 6wt. It was a schoolie and it was blast, but in an inlet and the fish was small. Still, will nevwe forget.

 

Mike, i think youre right that the surf can be very different, but remember it is often different here from what you see when you come in the Fall. There are lots of days I would love to have had the 6, but its just not option 1, or even 2 when you don't exactly know the conditions.

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