The Graveyard Shift

What fly sizes eliminates size classes of stripers taking fly

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6 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

I wish you best of luck in finding time to fish again.  I am fortunate that I am able to get to the ocean in 10 minutes or less via car.  I get up early and do short trips before work.  Its a constant juggling act to get out there.  

Thanks for the kind words.  No one to blame, it's just the reality of my work and family situation at the moment.  If my local waters weren't so barren I might be more motivated to deal with some sleepless nights, but these days if you don't have a boat my area is devoid of bass.  Irene and Sandy back to back really screwed the ecosystem around here.  It's great to hear that there is bait a plenty your way, I'll take the good news where I can get it.

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15 hours ago, Oakman said:

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. . .

Heh Oakie

 

This is a continuing theme for you. I guess I call it the reality of life. You work hard to make a crust and have a demanding family life. You dishcharge  your responsibilities  without much regard for self. One day the time balance will shift and you will have more you time.

You have this week soon so drink deeply and tear the place up.

The American dream comes at a price it seems.

 

oly

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9 hours ago, hunt for blueessss said:

The great tail slap debate. We were doing so good! Did you see a tail slap or did you see a big miss and quick follow up from a powerful predator? Possibly even a second predator 

 

An unnecessary but always fun debate - I don't believe that a fish that can swallow a 14" bunker, 1.5 lb lobster with claws,  10" spiny porgy, skates, sea robins or 18" eels would need to spend a second to stun a fly or lure ever.

 

Just a thought tho!

I saw fly knocked out of water and what looked like a tail.    

 

What I do know for sure is the sound made when they knock lure out of the water is distinctly different then when they engulf it.  One always follows the other in the dark.  

 

The best way to describe it is the sound of a paddle whacked on waters surface.  The other is a deep suction sound like pulling a bucket under water.  

 

They dont always make the slapping noise more than half the time I just hear the suction and the fish is on.  The "slap" tends ro happen when fish are acting neutral to my presentation and I choose to wake it very fast like a spooked herring running along surface.  Most of the time I move it as slow as possible that can still achieve a wake and in that case they usually just suck it down.  Maybe they try to stun the faster moving bait.

 

All I know is I have been through

these exact sound sequences in the dark I know when to pause and when to set.  Slap sound dont set hook wait for suction sound

 

Maybe the slap noise is a smaller fish attacking fly ineffectively then the suck is big fish following through on a "stunned bait"  all I know is one sound never results in a hook up.

Edited by The Graveyard Shift

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Tell me about this great tailslap debate.  I have seen it up close and personal, sometimes within just a few of the boat,  I can not tell you why a striper might tailslap anything, but they definitely do.

 

One of the coolest things you'll see fishing in NJ is a pod of bunker just hanging out, then you'll see this really long large tail fin standing up in the middle of the pod.  Then whack whack whack whack back and forth tail slapping on the surface of the water, so now that there are a dozen stunned bunker on the surface you'll see the thresher shark come around and casually suck down those bunker.  Scary part is, the first I've seen this in NJ, I was standing on the beach and shark looked to be only a 100 yds off.

 

Here is some more fodder for debate, ever hear the stories about that giant that the fisherman couldnt turn and then eventually the line busted or the hook pulled or bent and of course it was the fish of a lifetime.  My theory for some of these is that a plug was tail slapped and the fish was tail hooked, by being hooked behind the dorsal was able to run at a much higher speed then a mouth hooked fish.  More than once after a drag screaming run and lost fish, I've had a plug come back with a scale on the treble.

 

Sorry for the thread hijack TGS, but some of the best content in your threads is off topic.

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>>Hard to decide but taking skunking this frequently definitely tests your resolve.

 

haha! you should try striper fishing with a fly on the West Coast. I'm so used to being skunked that I'm surprised when I hook a fish of any size. 

 

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I’d always know bass to take a lure or a fly head first so the length of the fly is not a good indicator.

 

it is plausible that a larger fly will hook fewer smaller fish but this kind of assumes you are fishing an area with a mix of fish of different sizes.

 

the strategy used to be to “walk away” from the direct areas where there are smaller fish beating larger fish to the lure 

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17 hours ago, Uncle Stu said:

>>Hard to decide but taking skunking this frequently definitely tests your resolve.

 

haha! you should try striper fishing with a fly on the West Coast. I'm so used to being skunked that I'm surprised when I hook a fish of any size. 

 

Well if you ever make a trip to Boston happy to help you get a few on the fly.  Can get skunked even throwing smaller flies, but I have never stayed skunked for more than 48 hours using clousers and standard offerings.  Is that why surf perch are the main target of west coast anglers in California the low striper densities?

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2 hours ago, JohnP said:

I’d always know bass to take a lure or a fly head first so the length of the fly is not a good indicator.

 

it is plausible that a larger fly will hook fewer smaller fish but this kind of assumes you are fishing an area with a mix of fish of different sizes.

 

the strategy used to be to “walk away” from the direct areas where there are smaller fish beating larger fish to the lure 

Though I am sure there are isolated instances in which a bass would attack it's prey head first, bass attack their prey tail first the majority of the time and we should bear this in mind when choosing and presenting a fly. 

 

I know this to be true when bass are holding in current and feeding on station, much like a trout would in a river. In these situations I often employ a wetfly swing or greased line swing to present the fly broadside or tail first to the fish. However, when I let my fly line get ahead of the fly, causing the fly to travel head first at the fish, they are almost always spooked. Simply put, prey do not swim into the mouths of their predators and bass know this. 

 

Besides my anecdotal experience, there is also an anatomical argument for the tail first strike. Almost all baitfish have eyes that are set slightly forward on the sides of their heads. This allows for some binocular vision and great peripheral vision. However, it also means that these fish have blind spot directly behind them. When bass are hinting they don't think about this, but they do notice that they can get closer to a baitfish if they approach it from behind. 

 

Then there are the physical difficulties of a head first strike on a fly or lure. Unlike toothy fish, such as a bluefish, pike, barracuda, etc., bass do not chomp on their prey. Rather they approach their prey and create a vacuum by flaring their gills, opening their mouth, and sucking down their prey. ( Follow this link for a great video example with explaination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ6rTia_0ho). When you feel that tell-tale "jump" in the line when a bass takes, that's not the hook piercing the fish, that's the fish sucking in the fly. Only once you feel head shakes do you know the fish is actually hooked. Given the mechanics of a striped bass take, it seems that more anglers should be missing fish if all takes are head first on a lure or fly. If a fish was to attack the fly head first it would likely intercept the line before reaching the fly. Not only that, but the fly would essentially need to perform a 180 degree turn to get the hook point from facing down the fish's throat to facing out to out to puncture the lips. It's possible, but seems unlikely that such a take would result in a good hook set or consistent hookups. 

 

This is why I concur with others in this thread who believe that larger flies can exclude smaller fish. A 20 inch bass will not have the same jaw power as a 30 inch bass. Therefore a 20 inch bass may only be able to create a vacuum capable of sucking down. say, 6 inches of a 12 inch fly (thus falling about 5 inches short of the hook). A 30 inch bass on the other hand may have enough sucking power to inhale a 12 inch fly in one go. This does not mean a 20 inch bass cannot or will not attack a 12 inch offering, such as a herring. They will. But in order for a 20 inch bass to consume a 12 inch fish, it would need to swallow the fish in to acts. First, the initial suck would get about half of the offering down. The bass would then grasp the offering in its mouth, holding onto it with it's sandpaper lips, then perform another suck to get the rest of the offering down.This is likely why so many anglers experience short strikes when fishing a large fly. The schoolie size bass are expecting to take the offering in two acts, but after noticing the offering is not a real fish, they spit it out. 

 

You might be compelled to ask, "why does this matter?" Indeed, at the end of the day who cares what direction the bass attacks from so long as my hook ends up in its mouth. I would argue that such an attitude inhibits our ability to become better fisherman. The more we know about our target species' anatomy, physics, feeding habits, etc. the better we can understand the various puzzles we face on the water. I hope this was helpful and not perceived as an attack, as that was not my intent. 

 

Tight lines! :)        

 

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4 mins ago, S.K.S said:

Though I am sure there are isolated instances in which a bass would attack it's prey head first, bass attack their prey tail first the majority of the time and we should bear this in mind when choosing and presenting a fly. 

 

I know this to be true when bass are holding in current and feeding on station, much like a trout would in a river. In these situations I often employ a wetfly swing or greased line swing to present the fly broadside or tail first to the fish. However, when I let my fly line get ahead of the fly, causing the fly to travel head first at the fish, they are almost always spooked. Simply put, prey do not swim into the mouths of their predators and bass know this. 

 

Besides my anecdotal experience, there is also an anatomical argument for the tail first strike. Almost all baitfish have eyes that are set slightly forward on the sides of their heads. This allows for some binocular vision and great peripheral vision. However, it also means that these fish have blind spot directly behind them. When bass are hinting they don't think about this, but they do notice that they can get closer to a baitfish if they approach it from behind. 

 

Then there are the physical difficulties of a head first strike on a fly or lure. Unlike toothy fish, such as a bluefish, pike, barracuda, etc., bass do not chomp on their prey. Rather they approach their prey and create a vacuum by flaring their gills, opening their mouth, and sucking down their prey. ( Follow this link for a great video example with explaination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ6rTia_0ho). When you feel that tell-tale "jump" in the line when a bass takes, that's not the hook piercing the fish, that's the fish sucking in the fly. Only once you feel head shakes do you know the fish is actually hooked. Given the mechanics of a striped bass take, it seems that more anglers should be missing fish if all takes are head first on a lure or fly. If a fish was to attack the fly head first it would likely intercept the line before reaching the fly. Not only that, but the fly would essentially need to perform a 180 degree turn to get the hook point from facing down the fish's throat to facing out to out to puncture the lips. It's possible, but seems unlikely that such a take would result in a good hook set or consistent hookups. 

 

This is why I concur with others in this thread who believe that larger flies can exclude smaller fish. A 20 inch bass will not have the same jaw power as a 30 inch bass. Therefore a 20 inch bass may only be able to create a vacuum capable of sucking down. say, 6 inches of a 12 inch fly (thus falling about 5 inches short of the hook). A 30 inch bass on the other hand may have enough sucking power to inhale a 12 inch fly in one go. This does not mean a 20 inch bass cannot or will not attack a 12 inch offering, such as a herring. They will. But in order for a 20 inch bass to consume a 12 inch fish, it would need to swallow the fish in to acts. First, the initial suck would get about half of the offering down. The bass would then grasp the offering in its mouth, holding onto it with it's sandpaper lips, then perform another suck to get the rest of the offering down.This is likely why so many anglers experience short strikes when fishing a large fly. The schoolie size bass are expecting to take the offering in two acts, but after noticing the offering is not a real fish, they spit it out. 

 

You might be compelled to ask, "why does this matter?" Indeed, at the end of the day who cares what direction the bass attacks from so long as my hook ends up in its mouth. I would argue that such an attitude inhibits our ability to become better fisherman. The more we know about our target species' anatomy, physics, feeding habits, etc. the better we can understand the various puzzles we face on the water. I hope this was helpful and not perceived as an attack, as that was not my intent. 

 

Tight lines! :)        

 

 

Ive all but concluded most bass will attach head first to the point that I regularly remove the tail hook on fishing lures 

 

just too many years of seeing majority of bass hooked on the front hook to change my thinking 

 

there are a couple of threads on the main forum on this

 

 

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11 mins ago, JohnP said:

 

Ive all but concluded most bass will attach head first to the point that I regularly remove the tail hook on fishing lures 

 

just too many years of seeing majority of bass hooked on the front hook to change my thinking 

 

there are a couple of threads on the main forum on this

 

 

As is often the case with fishing, experience tends to trump logic. Nevertheless I'd like to posit my own theory as to why the majority of bass are hooked with the front hook. 

 

When a bass sucks down a lure or fly you feel that tell-tale jump in the line. As I stated previously, this does not mean the fish is hook, it just means it has the fly/lure in it's mouth. For a brief moment (we are talking milliseconds) the fly/lure is suspended in the fishes mouth. The hooks do not make contact with any part of the fish until we set the hook or the fish turns it head to swim away. It is when either of these happen that the hook then pierces the fish. Being that the front hooks are closer to the fishes lips and jaw, it would make sense that the front hooks would often be the ones that hook the fish. 

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2 hours ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

Well if you ever make a trip to Boston happy to help you get a few on the fly.  Can get skunked even throwing smaller flies, but I have never stayed skunked for more than 48 hours using clousers and standard offerings.  Is that why surf perch are the main target of west coast anglers in California the low striper densities?

Thanks Graveyard! Yes--we can almost always hook a perch or two to avoid being skunked. Our "bluegills of the sea" can put up a stubborn fight that's a lot of fun on lighter gear. In summer, they are mostly small but they are everywhere, and can be good sport on a trout rod--really fun. In winter, they get big and fat, up to 3-4 lb. and 15-17". There are a few baits that can catch both stripers and perch: chartreuse or orange clousers, Lucky Craft Flashminnow 110 hard baits, and live mole crabs. I've been targeting stripers since early April and I'm 2 for 5 hookups this season. Lots of perch in between!

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4 hours ago, JohnP said:

 

Ive all but concluded most bass will attach head first to the point that I regularly remove the tail hook on fishing lures 

 

just too many years of seeing majority of bass hooked on the front hook to change my thinking 

 

there are a couple of threads on the main forum on this

 

 

I fish at night most of the time but I do get to see some very close strikes at first light pretty regularly.  I have seen fish take my flies or lures two ways: broadside and from behind.  I have never seen one take it head on.  It's pretty clear from the wear marks on my plug's finish that they do take in the front third when they hit the lure broadside or in the rear third of the lure.  So both definitely happen.  

 

I agree with your walk away strategy I do that on beaches or in estuaries the schoolies group up and bigger fish can be found through mobility.  The problem I have is very generally my really large fish are coming from very small areas that have extreme current or extreme food densities.  These spots are loaded with small fish in the 20-inch class.  You literally cannot get through them sometimes if you use small flies.  last year I was fishing a dropping tide with a 10 inch conomo special had no touches for an hour and I broke down and switched to 4 inch clouser minnow I hammered 20 fish under 20 inches with the skunk off I put the conomo back on and went no hits for 40 minutes then I hooked a 36 incher.  I went another 30 minutes without a hit decided I had accomplished my mission so put clouser minnow back on and started hammering small fish again.  I ended up with 67 fish of that 66 of them were 20 inches or smaller.  My issue is I can't keep my fly in the water long enough sometimes to find the big fish.  I guess that is a good problem to have depending on your goals.

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FYI 8 trips now.  No small flies no fish under 24" yet.  No big fish yet either but two "keepers" mixed in with oversized schoolies.  Only 9 fish total for season and out of 8 trips had 3 skunks.

 

I think my only conclusion is I have at least eliminated catching fish under 20".  watch I catch a 12" fish on a 12" fly tonight lol

Edited by The Graveyard Shift

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15 mins ago, The Graveyard Shift said:

FYI 8 trips now.  No small flies no fish under 24" yet.  No big fish yet either but two "keepers" mixed in with oversized schoolies.  Only 9 fish total for season and out of 8 trips had 3 skunks.

 

I think my only conclusion is I have at least eliminated catching fish under 20".  watch I catch a 12" fish on a 12" fly tonight lol

Could happen! I've caught a couple bluegills on 6" hollow fleyes when fishing for largemouth bass before. I would never have entertained the thought of it being possible before it happened to me. Twice. In one day!

 

 

IMG_20180707_203149479.thumb.jpg.5f518e7d6b6426a7e20b134a057164a2.jpg

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17 mins ago, RedGreen said:

Could happen! I've caught a couple bluegills on 6" hollow fleyes when fishing for largemouth bass before. I would never have entertained the thought of it being possible before it happened to me. Twice. In one day!

 

 

IMG_20180707_203149479.thumb.jpg.5f518e7d6b6426a7e20b134a057164a2.jpg

That bluegill is one savage little fish!

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