squammer

Catching Big Stripers on the Fly -- I'm Only Catching Sub-26" Fish

43 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, mtfallon88 said:

When I fly fish I'm usually in a small boat (14-16ft)

That makes sense.  I often can find bunker schools in daylight with binos but they are always out of reach from shore.  I could definitely see fishing big flies around big bait as a great way to catch cow stripers.  It would be super cool to see a big fish come and take a huge bunker fly :howdy:

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Posted (edited)

On 10/2/2018 at 7:26 AM, The Graveyard Shift said:

That really is a great post, Graveyard...about fishing in general.  All I have in response is some commentary, in agreement.

 

Pick one estuary and pick one area that is ocean front.  Take those two areas and work the hell out of them and eventually you will figure out big fish patterns.  Consistency is key to figuring it out. 

Its natural for new visitors and residents to move around, I'd do some moving too. But not to the extent of spending so little time that nothing's really learned about any of them.


I am a pragmatic fly fisherman not a purist so some of this advice may shock you.

It's more than pragmatism for me, it's that I just enjoy different tackle types. This fall migration time of year, I've got a couple of fly rods and a couple spin rods in my truck. Sometimes I bring one of each to the water with me. And it's not as if you can't try out flies on spinning gear, you can use them as teasers.  Some of my flies, like crab flies, are heavy enough for me to cast far enough with light spin gear.

 

 

 

My first shocking statement is you should use surfcasting as your method for scouting areas for big fish... I apply topwater, plugging and jigging/bucktailing to cover the three major areas of water column quickly which I find allows me to fish 1 mile of water per hour a rate that is impossible on a fly rod....

Yup. But if somebody chooses to use only fly gear, I'd never criticize. Unless they get superior about it.

But there's places..primarily in FW...where I wouldn't use anything but a fly rod.

 

 

1. Wade fishing I have yet to catch a striper over 30" after 6 am in the morning except in three scenario’s:
a. Sight fishing flats in May through end of June.
b. Fall daytime blitzes.

c. Cape Cod Canal first light blitzes
FISH AT NIGHT 90% OF THE TIME IF YOU WANT BIG BASS...

All agreed with. Except that in my case, I've simply chosen not to fish at night from shore as much anymore. Places like The Ditch are exceptions, but even there, I don't fish through the night.

Then again, I have a boat, and it's way easier to find bigger fish in boats.

 

Quote

 


d. You need large flies that produce ratting noise, push a lot of water, and

     (iii) if using smaller flies and you tie your own add rattles to the patterns. 

You've said it, there isn't necessarily a correlation between fly size and fish size. I think rattles can help, but it's prolly 15% max of my flies I add rattles to. I figure they help make your fly stand out. Some patterns,  I consider rattles an essential ingredient.


3. Patterning large food sources is critical:
a. Herring in spring
b. Bunker are often elusive wading, but after storms when water gets murky on beach tends to bring them into beach as they are filter feeders.
c. Eels in estuaries and inlets of estuaries.
d. Lobster/Pollack/Bergal in rocky areas with deep water access.

e. Green crabs around rocks and shellfish beds.
e. Squid around areas adjacent to lit docks or any artificial light source that brings in the bait squid feed on...

+2. In that vein, somebody else's activities can help you out. Tuna fishermen this time of year, when herring are migrating, like being around herring trawlers. With something else, boat fishermen might be looking for draggers. The fish know about easy meals. Things happen close to shore too.


5. Fish Inlets regularly: All of my personal record striped bass both surfcasting and fly fishing have been caught in bridges/inlets or the cape cod canal which is also an inlet.

They're all different, but similar in this respect...with moving water, every second is different. Which is an encouraging thought when the fishing is slow. :bucktooth:

Ultimately, it's observation, trial and error, and time that makes the fishermen; there's only so many shortcuts. I got a good start getting schooled by some RI and MA fishermen. But they only told me so much, and the rest was up to me. As it should be.

Edited by patchyfog

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40 mins ago, patchyfog said:

 

Ultimately, it's observation, trial and error, and time that makes the fishermen; there's only so many shortcuts. I got a good start getting schooled by some RI and MA fishermen. But they only told me so much, and the rest was up to me. As it should be.

Time on the water is everything in the end could not agree more.  Once someone shows you the way is up to you to go out put it to use, be observant, and figure how how to catch those bass on your own.   Good feedback in general. 

 

I dream of the day when my kids are older and I am not working long weeks.  In those dreams I have a boat and I get to fish in the daylight :lock:  For now grinding it out at night from shore is my only shot at big fish and fishing in general.  

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Posted (edited)

39 mins ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

Time on the water is everything in the end could not agree more.  Once someone shows you the way is up to you to go out put it to use, be observant, and figure how how to catch those bass on your own.   Good feedback in general. 

 

 

I didn't learn too much from the easy days, I learned from the tough, frustrating ones.

Edited by patchyfog

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16 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

Time on the water is everything in the end could not agree more.  Once someone shows you the way is up to you to go out put it to use, be observant, and figure how how to catch those bass on your own.   Good feedback in general. 

 

I dream of the day when my kids are older and I am not working long weeks.  In those dreams I have a boat and I get to fish in the daylight :lock:  For now grinding it out at night from shore is my only shot at big fish and fishing in general.  

Boats . Don’t do it TGS. Dont sell your soul to the Devil. We need to keep you within our shore  fishing ranks.

 

The dreams are great. I am now sort of retired at around 66. My kids have flown the nest but my grandkids have moved in to take their place.

 

Most of us in sort of retirement and even total retirement find that we have even less time than when we were working full time.

 

Its good mind stops us from vegetating and fading quickly.

 

Have a look at Mike Smidt’s Double Deceiver. You can google it up.

 

Mike

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19 mins ago, Mike Oliver said:

Boats . Don’t do it TGS. Dont sell your soul to the Devil. We need to keep you within our shore  fishing ranks.

 

The dreams are great. I am now sort of retired at around 66. My kids have flown the nest but my grandkids have moved in to take their place.

 

Most of us in sort of retirement and even total retirement find that we have even less time than when we were working full time.

 

Its good mind stops us from vegetating and fading quickly.

 

Have a look at Mike Smidt’s Double Deceiver. You can google it up.

 

Mike

Mike at 36 years old (as of last weekend) and with my youngest child under 2 years old I think that dream of retirement is a solid 20 years out for me.  If I ever got a boat the primary purpose would be to chase Pelagic species on a fly rod not striped bass.  My dream of retirement is chasing yellowfin and bluefins on a fly rod, but it may just make more sense to pay for a certain number of guided tuna fly fishing trips a year than invest in a boat that is offshore capable.  

 

In full disclosure I do currently have a small 14 foot row boat with no engine.  I use it to take my son out on little adventures that don't involve fishing yet since he is too little for saltwater fishing.  We catch shrimp/crabs/fish with minnow nets and the cast net as well as spot wildlife with binoculars.  Jack loves the trips and in two years we will have him do some flounder fishing with bait as that is best introduction to catching fish in Boston Harbor.  I have never fished from the boat yet and got the boat because I wanted my kids involved in being on the water at an early age, but was too uncomfortable taking them out on ocean in a kayak.  Hoping to put an engine on it at some point but money has been tight so man power is all I have to move it for now.  Pretty much all of my "boat fishing" will be on weekends during the day and I will probably never fish myself.  Instead I will be the charter captain trying to ensure my little anglers are catching fish.  So you can pretty much count on my personal fishing efforts being a night fly fishing from shore guys for 2 more decades at least.  

 

My typical trips are 3 hour night trips including driving too and from spots then to gym to change and head to work.  Doing that on foot makes for pretty easy logistics and trying to get out in a boat complicates things too much so I really only plan on using it for family activities on the weekends for a long long time.

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Heh TGS

 

You really are a great Dad. Must be awesome to have a dad like you who thinks about his kids so much and what you can do with them. 

Small boats and young kids are to me like bikes and young kids. They are a perfect fit. 

I am not totally adverse to boats and I am betting that if I lived by the sea I would find one hove to in my driveway before too long.

We just need you to continue your pioneering from the shore for a while yet.

I get it time wise. I forget what it was like when my kids were very young. 

You are causing me to remember big time. Good times to.

 

mikey

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Mike,

 

What are your thoughts on a full on boat vs a kayak like a hobie? I was thinking of getting one eventually for fishing my local lakes as there's lots of great structure in places I just can't reach from shore on fly. 

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Posted (edited)

Kayaks I do have a soft spot for. Plenty of stealth.

 

But heh  it’s your call not mine.

 

One of the reasons I am not crazy about boats Is because of the appaling behaviours of some owners.

 

I like lake  Trouting .  Rules are quite clear no boats within either 50 or 75 yards of the bank when there are guys fishing the bank.

 

Many of the guys fishing boats have no idea what 50 yards is like. Even more so when they see you into fish. They mug you. They motor through the water you are fishing to get to another spot. These are the guys that could not cut it from the bank. Not all are like this and I have had some great days sharing fish with the boat guys. Even calling them into good fishing. That makes for a real nice time on the water.

 

Montauk in the fall. Typically it’s been a hard day. The fish are just out of range. 

 

Late on a shoal comes within casting range and so often stupid boaters will plough Into the shoal full throttle and put them down. All they had to do was drift into the edge and cast from the seaward side. We could share the fishing then. Some Guides well best to say nothing.

 

mike

 

 

Edited by Mike Oliver

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2 hours ago, RedGreen said:

Mike,

 

What are your thoughts on a full on boat vs a kayak like a hobie? I was thinking of getting one eventually for fishing my local lakes as there's lots of great structure in places I just can't reach from shore on fly. 

I have owned hobies, a jet boat, a aluminum bass boat, and still own two watermaster rafts.  The problem is there really is no one solution watercraft just like fishing gear can get very specialized.  If you plan to fly fish I would not use the pedal drive hobies because its very difficult to manage your fly line and fish out of those boats.  I tried it several times and gave up.  I only used the boat to get to flats then would wade fish the flats.  

 

So if getting a kayak you should focus on ones that are well set up for a fly angler to manage their line in the boat.  I personally like the following kayaks for fly fishing and I have fished out a all of the boats below (swapped boats with friends on a couple trips)

 

1. NuCanoe Frontier 12: Has a stand up bar and ability to add a second seat for two people.  This is great boat because if later you have kids you can add a seat and take your child fishing. Part of why I no longer own my hobie kayaks was no way to safely put a child angler into them.  Other thing I liked it get gets you up higher so you can spot fish better while seated and paddling.  What I did not like is similar to the Hobie Angler models since you sit up high wind impacts you a lot more than a lower profile boat.

2. Native Ultimate 12: Lower profile handles wind very well not a sit on top so not great for waves, but excellent freshwater and flats boat.  Can stand up not as solid as NuCanoe, but is a much faster boat paddling.  Open area around feet allows for fly line management.

 

I used my watermaster rafts as kickboats with fins and a stripping apron to fish freshwater lakes, but their primary purpose was fishing rivers for trout and salmon in Alaska.  They can run class 4 whitewater if you are experienced and you can easily portage and pack them out 3-4 miles if necessary.  Happy to take this discussion off line with you to talk about personal preferences. 

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9 mins ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

I have owned hobies, a jet boat, a aluminum bass boat, and still own two watermaster rafts.  The problem is there really is no one solution watercraft just like fishing gear can get very specialized.  If you plan to fly fish I would not use the pedal drive hobies because its very difficult to manage your fly line and fish out of those boats.  I tried it several times and gave up.  I only used the boat to get to flats then would wade fish the flats.  

 

So if getting a kayak you should focus on ones that are well set up for a fly angler to manage their line in the boat.  I personally like the following kayaks for fly fishing and I have fished out a all of the boats below (swapped boats with friends on a couple trips)

 

1. NuCanoe Frontier 12: Has a stand up bar and ability to add a second seat for two people.  This is great boat because if later you have kids you can add a seat and take your child fishing. Part of why I no longer own my hobie kayaks was no way to safely put a child angler into them.  Other thing I liked it get gets you up higher so you can spot fish better while seated and paddling.  What I did not like is similar to the Hobie Angler models since you sit up high wind impacts you a lot more than a lower profile boat.

2. Native Ultimate 12: Lower profile handles wind very well not a sit on top so not great for waves, but excellent freshwater and flats boat.  Can stand up not as solid as NuCanoe, but is a much faster boat paddling.  Open area around feet allows for fly line management.

 

I used my watermaster rafts as kickboats with fins and a stripping apron to fish freshwater lakes, but their primary purpose was fishing rivers for trout and salmon in Alaska.  They can run class 4 whitewater if you are experienced and you can easily portage and pack them out 3-4 miles if necessary.  Happy to take this discussion off line with you to talk about personal preferences. 

I will PM you shortly as this is something I've been thinking about for a while and I definitely want to add a kayak or some sort of watercraft to my arsenal to expand my range. I also want to see just how far I can take fly fishing with respect to capability and use. 

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7 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Boats . Don’t do it TGS. Dont sell your soul to the Devil. We need to keep you within our shore  fishing ranks.

 

 

Mike

Don't be jealous, Mike.  :howdy:

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