puppet

My first season in the salt

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I thought I would share my little adventure into saltwater flyfishing in the event it is helpful to someone else who is just starting out.

 

I did have the advantage of surfcasting for years with spinning gear and already have a few spots pretty dialed in.  Every season I do some multi day binge trips.  A couple of them this year were earmarked as flyfishing priority, and only would break out the spinning gear when conditions were too rough for me.

 

Overall I had a pretty good season. I did not catch any monsters but enjoyed hooking bass to about 30".  I probably caught about 60 or so bass, and a fair number of blues and shad.   I was really hoping for some fluke, but none presented themselves.  I had a lot of goose egg trips.  It was a season of feast or famine.

 

I forget the source but they compared fighting fish on a flyrod to handlining, which I found to extremely accurate.  I am in the habit of horsing in my fish and found the most difficult part to be bringing the fish to hand.  I dropped quite a few but that was fine with me.  It is a very interesting dance trying to land green fish on a flyrod, I am still learning.  Obviously much easier with spinning because of the durability issues with the rods.

 

Like any normal fly fisherman I went off the deep end being my first season.  Of course expecting to fish a lot more than I did, and buying some stuff I did not need.  I bought a bunch of flies that probably will never see the light of day.  Mostly because I almost immediately started tying my own.

 

I purchased a pair of rods and reels. 

Colton tradewinds XS 9wt and a ColtonTerrapin 1012

and a 10wt second hand rig.

TFO TiCrX  10wt and a 3Tand 120

 

Both are fine outfits. If I had to guess I may have fished 30 - 40 outings total over a couple couple dozen or so days.   None of them show any wear or corrosion.  I fished the Colton rig about 85% of the time.  It is a beautiful looking combo and priced reasonably.  Robert is fantastic.

 

Pre season I taught myself to cast and after getting the line weights dialed in I can occasionally get a cast that is around 70 -80'.   Most casts land around 60 ', and when I finally got on the water I suspect there was a 20% casting penalty when the line was wet as the casts definitely felt shorter.

 

The short of it, this season I will seek out casting lessons.   I would have last year, but I was between jobs and on a budget.  The motivation for casting lessons is less about distance and more about confidence in form.  I know I can catch fish in close if need be.

 

Another large part of the motivation for casting lessons was what I witnessed on the water.  I witnessed a flyrodder  cast effectively in a 20 -25mph head wind.  I have no idea how he was doing it, as it was one of those days I chose spinning over the flyrod.  In that sort of wind I would be lucky to get 10' of line out.

Other motivation was on a couple of occasions I hooked my head in crosswind.  Not a big deal because they were barbless, but I started wearing shooting glasses at night and sunglasses in the daylight.  It would be good to be able to cast in wind, and also cast well with my other arm.

 

The other thing I did was fish some rocky surf with bubble weed and white water.  Well, I should rephrase that I tried.  It was totally absurd and thankfully no one was there to witness.  A mess is not the right descriptor.  The incoming water was faster than my strip speed, and if I hesitated at all my line quickly found the bubble weed.    If any of you fish rocky surf, I am impressed and in awe.

 

Thank you to all who have helped me in starting this journey.  I am already looking forward to next season.

 

I found that although I caught fish on clousers, I had more casting control of unweighed flies especially in wind.

 

 

 

 

 

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That was helpful and gives me something to look forward too. I ordered my gear and it’s on the way. Can’t wait to get started, the journey will be a long one. I hope I get a few fish by the end of next year. 

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3 mins ago, HL said:

Puppet

What areas are you fishing -  States and what areas - i.e. North MA - South MA - RI??
Herb

I fish the whole northeast, NJ thru MA. 

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45 mins ago, Mark L said:

That was helpful and gives me something to look forward too. I ordered my gear and it’s on the way. Can’t wait to get started, the journey will be a long one. I hope I get a few fish by the end of next year. 

The only thing I can say is to employ patience with every aspect and in general flyfishing has required so much more investment practicing and experimenting, than I remember with other forms. 

 

Last spring I bought some cheap lines to cast across the snow and grass in my backyard.

 

It is good to tie your own flies if you can and keep the patterns simple.  If you are anything like me you will shred your flies making contact on the back cast and go through them fast.  Learning how to tie will allow you mend beat up flies. Thankfully, they often do not need to be pretty to convert fish.

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puppet

I am in RI from may - Oct.

Spent 20 yrs fishing May and June on cape Cod.  RI not nearly as good as the Cape.

Did you fish RI at all - or by-passed it for MA?
Herb

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2 mins ago, HL said:

puppet

I am in RI from may - Oct.

Spent 20 yrs fishing May and June on cape Cod.  RI not nearly as good as the Cape.

Did you fish RI at all - or by-passed it for MA?
Herb

I fish RI and MA equally. Home waters are CT, but I fish NY a bit as I am on the border, will fish LI and Mtk, and sometimes dip down in NJ. Really, I like fishing on the road.

 

If you fish the Cape, I would not be surprised if we have crossed paths at some point.  I have been surfcasting the cape for about 20 years too.  Nauset is always a draw even though the fishing can be challenging and a lot more work than other locations.

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Nauset - yes - long walk to the inlet.

Since we stayed in PTown - fished mostly Race Point, Head of Meadow, Coast Guard Beaches and the Refuge mostly.

On RI -Napatree, Charlstown, Weakapaug Beaches. Sometimes up into Naraganset Bay.

Herb

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2 hours ago, puppet said:

I thought I would share my little adventure into saltwater flyfishing in the event it is helpful to someone else who is just starting out.

 

I did have the advantage of surfcasting for years with spinning gear and already have a few spots pretty dialed in.  Every season I do some multi day binge trips.  A couple of them this year were earmarked as flyfishing priority, and only would break out the spinning gear when conditions were too rough for me.

 

Overall I had a pretty good season. I did not catch any monsters but enjoyed hooking bass to about 30".  I probably caught about 60 or so bass, and a fair number of blues and shad.   I was really hoping for some fluke, but none presented themselves.  I had a lot of goose egg trips.  It was a season of feast or famine.

 

I forget the source but they compared fighting fish on a flyrod to handlining, which I found to extremely accurate.  I am in the habit of horsing in my fish and found the most difficult part to be bringing the fish to hand.  I dropped quite a few but that was fine with me.  It is a very interesting dance trying to land green fish on a flyrod, I am still learning.  Obviously much easier with spinning because of the durability issues with the rods.

 

Like any normal fly fisherman I went off the deep end being my first season.  Of course expecting to fish a lot more than I did, and buying some stuff I did not need.  I bought a bunch of flies that probably will never see the light of day.  Mostly because I almost immediately started tying my own.

 

I purchased a pair of rods and reels. 

Colton tradewinds XS 9wt and a ColtonTerrapin 1012

and a 10wt second hand rig.

TFO TiCrX  10wt and a 3Tand 120

 

Both are fine outfits. If I had to guess I may have fished 30 - 40 outings total over a couple couple dozen or so days.   None of them show any wear or corrosion.  I fished the Colton rig about 85% of the time.  It is a beautiful looking combo and priced reasonably.  Robert is fantastic.

 

Pre season I taught myself to cast and after getting the line weights dialed in I can occasionally get a cast that is around 70 -80'.   Most casts land around 60 ', and when I finally got on the water I suspect there was a 20% casting penalty when the line was wet as the casts definitely felt shorter.

 

The short of it, this season I will seek out casting lessons.   I would have last year, but I was between jobs and on a budget.  The motivation for casting lessons is less about distance and more about confidence in form.  I know I can catch fish in close if need be.

 

Another large part of the motivation for casting lessons was what I witnessed on the water.  I witnessed a flyrodder  cast effectively in a 20 -25mph head wind.  I have no idea how he was doing it, as it was one of those days I chose spinning over the flyrod.  In that sort of wind I would be lucky to get 10' of line out.

Other motivation was on a couple of occasions I hooked my head in crosswind.  Not a big deal because they were barbless, but I started wearing shooting glasses at night and sunglasses in the daylight.  It would be good to be able to cast in wind, and also cast well with my other arm.

 

The other thing I did was fish some rocky surf with bubble weed and white water.  Well, I should rephrase that I tried.  It was totally absurd and thankfully no one was there to witness.  A mess is not the right descriptor.  The incoming water was faster than my strip speed, and if I hesitated at all my line quickly found the bubble weed.    If any of you fish rocky surf, I am impressed and in awe.

 

Thank you to all who have helped me in starting this journey.  I am already looking forward to next season.

 

I found that although I caught fish on clousers, I had more casting control of unweighed flies especially in wind.

 

 

 

 

 

It sounds like you had a very good season , a lot of fun and excitement. thanks for sharing

 

Only word of advice, don’t tell the Mrs. how much you spent . Tight lines

“the other Chuck “ 

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Sounds like a pretty great first year.  I don't count the fish I catch, but I'd be surprised if I ever caught 60 bass from shore in a year.

 

I think taking casting lessons is a great idea.  You say you're focusing on form over distance - which I think is smart, partly because better form will increase your distance.  It will also let you shoot line with few false casts, keeping your fly in the water and out of your head.  (BTW, please always wear eye protection while fly casting, windy or not.  I'm glad those hooks buried in your head and not your eye.)  The key to casting in the wind is to use heavy line (10wt is plenty), keep your loops really tight, and the closer that loop is to the surface of the water, the less effect the wind will have, so try side arm casts.  You should also practice your backhand cast - if the wind is coming at your casting shoulder, you can simply turn around to keep the fly away from you.

 

The last advice I'd give is to fish close to the shoreline.  A lot of surfcasters are aiming for the fish sitting on the sandbar or beyond it - fly casters are generally targeting fish in the trough.  So instead of aiming straight out, aim your cast down the beach and cover more water.

 

Good luck!

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13 hours ago, puppet said:

...

I found that although I caught fish on clousers, I had more casting control of unweighed flies especially in wind.

true, but likely you will catch more on clousers :D

 

congrats, nice read.

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25 mins ago, JCH said:

I don't count the fish I catch, but I'd be surprised if I ever caught 60 bass from shore in a year.

I am with you and I am not a numbers or size guy.  In general, I am happy with whatever happens.  That is an estimate, I am sure there is a plus or minus part of it.   It was not a point of bragging either because I have had flyfisherman tell me that they have caught that number in a day.  Hammering on a school bite.  Of the outings I fished probably 6 of them were wide open, so that is how I estimated the number.   A lot of my outings were casting practice or I was lucky to convert one fish.

 

25 mins ago, JCH said:

fly casters are generally targeting fish in the trough.

Yes thankfully that has worked to my advantage when I factor in my casting distance.   I had 4 outings where the bass had the bait pinned to the shore.  20' cast was all that was needed.  I target the trough with spinning and sometimes it is surprising the size of fish we find hugging the shore.

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Just now, puppet said:

I am with you and I am not a numbers or size guy.  In general, I am happy with whatever happens.  That is an estimate, I am sure there is a plus or minus part of it.   It was not a point of bragging either because I have had flyfisherman tell me that they have caught that number in a day.  Hammering on a school bite.  Of the outings I fished probably 6 of them were wide open, so that is how I estimated the number.   A lot of my outings were casting practice or I was lucky to convert one fish.

 

Yes thankfully that has worked to my advantage when I factor in my casting distance.   I had 4 outings where the bass had the bait pinned to the shore.  20' cast was all that was needed.  I target the trough with spinning and sometimes it is surprising the size of fish we find hugging the shore.

Bragging? Not at all , it just proves that your choices : location 

tide 

presentation 

decisions on where or direction you were casting are on 

If you were to stay close to home then your reading is dialed in , keeping a log book from year to year ( not anal) sure helps making that decisions when water , weather ,Eviromental changes happen . 
I like to hear guys catching results and failures too because it’s a difficult game ESPECIALLY from the shoreline. Learning never gets old 

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