The Graveyard Shift

What fly sizes eliminates size classes of stripers taking fly

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A couple of years ago I was using a surface slider type fly quite a bit. One version of it had only one hook up near the front. Hardly ever caught a small bass on that but the would pounce on it all the time. So I added another but smaller hook at the tail. I then started catching a lot of small fish. One day though, I saw a really nice bass grab it, hooked it for a couple of seconds, but then was gone.  That fish grabbed it by the tail and straightened that hook right out. So I guess even a larger fish will grab by the tail once in a while. But this was a surface fly so maybe the weeding out approach doesn't apply as it does to sub surface streamers.  

 

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3 hours ago, hipkvw said:

I didnt read this all yet but ive caught 20” stripers on 8” flys. 

8" fly equals 20" or larger fish is theory. Not all the time but most of time.  of course when spin fishing with a huge 9" lure last year I managed to catch a 10-11" bass so every rule can and will be broken.  Its not saying small flies dont work just what is the size ratio that seems to deter or reduce hooking a certain size fish.  Its not proven just a full seasons observation.  Needs more data for sure.

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4 hours ago, ferret said:

I dunno if anybody said this. but add a  trailer hook on your next ties. very common technique with salmon flies.  or if you make tube flies you can adjust the location of the hook "on the fly"

I worry about deep hooking the larger fish.  Its easy to make one.  I guess I could make one Conomo with a stinger and if it kills a fish discontinue the use.  But I kind of like not hooking the smaller ones.  The only fly I made with two hooks is a night fly for testing with similar proportions to a double rigged 12" sluggo.

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12 mins ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

8" fly equals 20" or larger fish is theory. Not all the time but most of time.  of course when spin fishing with a huge 9" lure last year I managed to catch a 10-11" bass so every rule can and will be broken.  Its not saying small flies dont work just what is the size ratio that seems to deter or reduce hooking a certain size fish.  Its not proven just a full seasons observation.  Needs more data for sure.

Thats funny. I didnt read the initial post when I posted that response. Interesting topic. When I plugged the surf it was nothing to catch a 12” Bass on a 3oz plug. No idea why they would hit something more than 1/2 their size. 

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13 hours ago, The Fisherman said:

 

Sage advice from an old salt.

 

The famous Jimi Hendrix Trippy Acid Flash photo is a 38" fish that ate a 4.5" sparse sand eel. She was part of a school that was feeding on smaller bait. John, my fishing partner that night, caught bass in a similar size class on 11 consecutive casts. He was using a 3 1/4" sand eel fly. Of course, when the bait is large, match it likewise. Noteworthy: large flies that night produced zero strikes for me.

 

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Steve Culton

I have seen this big fish keyed in on sandeels on the Cape.  In fact my first large fish of 37" came in shallow water on a sandeel 4" clouser variant.  I have tried large american eel flies on the Cape flats and no takers yet.  So I think you raise a great point along with @Tin Boat sometimes bass wont come off a prevalent bait that they are keyed in on.  

 

When I first started fishing herring runs short bass were ignoring my clouser because they were keyed on herring.  So going small did not produce fish you had to go larger to connect.

 

In both cases you have to match bait to succeed. One think i should mention is now I try to fish areas that generally have large baitfish present in addition to small baitfish.  Spring is river herring, Summer is american eels or tautog and cunner, fall is bunker or sea herring.  The small bait will be present also and in much greater density most of time.  So I think big bass are more opportunistic in these areas eating small bait but also the larger baits too.  An large eel preying on small baitfish is a great opportunity among the silversides one I feel a cow wont pass up.

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I got nothing to add other than I wish I had the time and energy to put this much thought into my fishing. . .

 

Haven't tied a fly in a year, literally and have yet to wet a line this season, and probably won't until I hit the Cape in June.

 

Sucks. . .

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My favorite go to fly has been an early season squid, inch long body and 2 inch tentacles. I follow that up with clousers and deceivers always in the 3.5-4" range. I also try to fish primarily late nights on large sand flats and inlets where the water moves fast and is shallow. I typically enjoy weeding through the smaller bass to keep me sharp on who's in the area. If there are 20" bass I may move on but if there are short striking larger fish, 25-26", I may wait until water begins to slow down in hopes of catching larger bass that seem to follow those schools for scraps. 

 

My shoulder stopped me from throwing super large flies years ago but when I did I was able to convert on larger bass. 

 

Interesting topic I haven't thought about in a while 

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Small bait attracts squid.  Big bass come in after the squid.  You most definitely can cull large bass out of a small bait scenario by imitating squid rather than the bait itself.   But this doesn't happen until several hours after dark.   

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14 hours ago, ferret said:

I dunno if anybody said this. but add a  trailer hook on your next ties. very common technique with salmon flies.  or if you make tube flies you can adjust the location of the hook "on the fly"

So I fished a tandem hook fly I bought from a musky tier and a beast both are 12" profiles.  All three hits on musky fly converted to fish on back hook.  All four hits on beast did not convert hookset.  All fish caught were under 26".  So it seems a 24-25"

fish will hit a 12" herring fly but they are striking rear and not getting the front hook. I switched flies after a hit or fish caught with seven strikes over 90 minutes of fishing then sun came up and bite died.

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I think a 24" fish will gladly eat a 12" fly but requires the angler to set the hook later giving the fish more time to eat it. I've had large flies get inhaled on a swing but never on a retrieve by smaller fish

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26 mins ago, hunt for blueessss said:

My favorite go to fly has been an early season squid, inch long body and 2 inch tentacles. I follow that up with clousers and deceivers always in the 3.5-4" range. I also try to fish primarily late nights on large sand flats and inlets where the water moves fast and is shallow. I typically enjoy weeding through the smaller bass to keep me sharp on who's in the area. If there are 20" bass I may move on but if there are short striking larger fish, 25-26", I may wait until water begins to slow down in hopes of catching larger bass that seem to follow those schools for scraps. 

 

My shoulder stopped me from throwing super large flies years ago but when I did I was able to convert on larger bass. 

 

Interesting topic I haven't thought about in a while 

On shoulder problems I am in same boat mine are wrecked.  When I tried this last year single hand casting it was wreaking havoc on me.  After three mornings I was so toasted I could not fly cast for a few days.  The arthritis was awful.

 

Then I made the switch to heavier two hand rods designed for overhead casting.  That was late June of last year its been a game changer.  I have fished the last three mornings for 2 hours throwing almost exclusively 12" flies.  No aches, no swelling, no pain.  So if you are looking for solution to shoulder pain its worth switching to two hand rods.  There are several great threads on here about rod options.  I would not go any lighter than a 10wt if you plan to throw the larger stuff.  

 

I was super pumped last trip I did some practice casting after sun came up and I finally threw a legit full fly line (110') cast four consecutive casts in a row with the 12" beast fleye.  

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6 mins ago, hunt for blueessss said:

I think a 24" fish will gladly eat a 12" fly but requires the angler to set the hook later giving the fish more time to eat it. I've had large flies get inhaled on a swing but never on a retrieve by smaller fish

That is an interesting observation!  There is not much current where I am currently fishing so a swing presentation does not work well.  You pretty much have to move the fly stripping to induce action.  

 

I think you may be right that on a swing a smaller fish is more like to take fly in a manner that it gets hooked.  

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34 mins ago, numbskull said:

Small bait attracts squid.  Big bass come in after the squid.  You most definitely can cull large bass out of a small bait scenario by imitating squid rather than the bait itself.   But this doesn't happen until several hours after dark.   

I have yet to try squid flies, But I fish 2-5am it sounds like I need to try them this year.  

 

I just found an area near me that is reliable for squid showing up.

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Just now, The Graveyard Shift said:

That is an interesting observation!  There is not much current where I am currently fishing so a swing presentation does not work well.  You pretty much have to move the fly stripping to induce action.  

 

I think you may be right that on a swing a smaller fish is more like to take fly in a manner that it gets hooked.  

With less current, I also move to a floating line which gives the fly a bit more time to hang in the column and puff out some for profile. I switch to a lightly weighted fly instead of an intermediate line to work the water longer 

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